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Story/IC Bard of Nowhere (Closed but feedback is welcomed!)

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Hi all!  So first time posting one of my personal stories.  I wrote this one in about three or so hours, so there's quite a few rough edges.  I apologize for that. 


This story was inspired by Coatleque Crofte's recording of an rp that Otto and myself made, which can be found in here: http://ffxiv-roleplayers.com/showthread.php?tid=7390 (five post from the top)


Otto and I are pretty much writing our own perspective of what had happened that night.  Might is very slightly different as it gives info about my IC as well as the event that had taken place.  I hope you all enjoy it, and feedback of any type is welcomed. 


Otto will be writing his own variation of what happened and will post it when ready (seriously, stop being lazy Otto!)


Big thanks to Otto for his random RP story for giving me some inspiration to pick up some writing.  Thanks also to Coatleque for recording what had happened that night.  Otherwise this story would never have happened!




I closed my eyes and inhaled, willing her voice away.  I had other problems to worry about, and adding her voice to my predicament would not help.  There’d be a time later, when I’m stronger to confront her, but now… I needed fire.  I needed this.


“We’re one and the same, Mother.  You can’t will me away that easily.  You need me as much as I need you.”


I bit my lips.  If I could cry I would, but those years spent with an abusive father had drained me of all tears.  Instead I continued to focus on my current task.


Steel and flint met, and sparks ignited.  But that was all it was.  There was no warmth, no fire. 


“I can do that if you’d just let me take control, Mother.”


I continued to ignore her.  It was the same tactic I used against my father.  If you ignore it long enough it’d go away.  Give it attention, give it notice, then it’d only grow stronger. 


Something echoed in my mind, like a breeze across the skin.  I took that as her sighing at me in my determination.  “Fire.  Just focus on the fire.  Focus on that and nothing else.” 


Still, there was no fire, and the sun was dipping even lower.


“Mother?”  That question, it was such an insult.  I did not bore this thing.  I don’t want it.  I don’t care for it.




I threw the flint down in frustration.  Much like the fire, my resolve broke.  “What?” 


“Let me take control.  I can keep watch.  I can help.”  In my mind I felt a snicker, one projected by this thing.  She’d take control, but she wouldn’t stop there.  She’d use my body to her own end, doing things I would not do out of principal. 


“You’re not real,” I hissed. 


“I am as real as you are.  You made me to take your place when you couldn’t face reality anymore.  This would be like those times.”


Memories of Father came to mind.  Him towering over me.  Him in that angry face.  Him.  Always him.  Him.  No one else.


I allowed my anger to fade away.  “Ignore it.  It’ll go away.”  I focused instead on the memories of my real mother.  Always calm, always caring.  Always a pillar I could lean on.  A smile, one that I hadn’t experienced in many moons danced across my face.


She’d tell me to be gentle, to have patience.  It’s just tinder and flint.  No need to let it take control of you. 


A dark thought crossed my mind.  Where were you when I needed you? 


Shock overtook me.  No, that wasn’t fair.  She passed away long before he became like that.  It wasn’t right to lay all the blame at her feet.  It was no doubt that thing who put that idea in my head.  Yes, that was it.


The voice quieted for some time.  Then, it spoke, “I’m not a monster.”  She appeared beside me, sitting on a lump of rock that hadn’t been there before.  Her hair swayed to a breeze I could not feel.  “You have too much pain inside you.”  The thing tilted its head to the side.  “Let me take charge of your body.  I can take it all away, if for a brief bit of time.”


I shook my head vehemently.  “Go away.  I don’t need you.  I never called for you.”


She smiled that sad smile.  “You always say that, but it has been I who had taken the pain for you.  I was the one who took control when you hide from that man.”


I wanted to say more.  I wanted to, but just then a caravan came into view.  The light of its lamp startled me.  I turned to it, then to that thing sitting beside me, but she was gone.  Swallowing, I stood and brushed a strand of loose hair behind my ear. 


A tall, bald man strolled easily towards me.  His stride was as calm and elegant as a courel on the prowl.  I stepped back, shock and fear siding into me like a sword into a sheath.  He reminded me so much of father.  The way he moved, the way he looked at me with those eyes.  Would he be like him?  Would he hurt me?


Just then that thing came back.  Though this stranger was speaking to me, I couldn’t hear the words that flowed out of his mouth.  The thing was speaking to me.  “Hmmm… brings back memories, does he not?”  The thing eyed him up and down with eyes of deep blue.  The thing turned to me, and spoke in the tone of my soft voice. “I think you need to retreat mentally.”  She edged closer, pressing a hand into my chest.


“Don’t worry, Mother.  I’ll protect you.”



I found myself with no shoes the next day.  What was worse was the fact that after a thorough investigation of my bag showed that I had the stranger’s pants as well.  And his shoes as well.  Panic surged through me.  What was I doing with his stuff?  What happened last night?


The thing echoed a soft laughter.  Once more I found her sitting on some rock, one that wasn’t there before.  She stood then when she noticed me looking at her.  With a flourish, she bowed and walked about, the helm of her skirt caught in some wind not of my world.  “Not much happened.  You shouldn’t concern yourself with it, Mother.”


The sun was rising, bringing with it warmth, but that could not dispel the cold that gripped my spine.  This thing was crazier than I am, and that spoke volume.


“I am not crazy.  I did what I had to do to make sure we would survive.  Can’t you see what I do is in your interest as well?”


“You call stealing pants – pants I cannot wear – is in my interest?”


“Sell it.” 


I was flabbergasted.  This thing… where’d she learn to be so evil…


I shouldered my burden and walked away from her.  It wasn’t much I could do, but if I ignored her long enough, she might retreat back to where she came from.  It was a long way to U’lah, and conversing with a figment of my imagination would not help matters at all. 


The thing followed me, hands behind her back.  “Such a lovely day, I think.  I wish I can feel the warmth on my skin.”  She turned to me, arching a brow. 


Breathe, I told myself.  I’m under too much stress. Resolve too weakened and this thing is taking advantage of that. 


The thing moved in front of me, walking backwards.  That smile never left her face as she continued to keep her gaze locked onto mine.  “I could make this go faster.  You could just rest deep in your mind while I take the burden of walking.  It’s a small price to pay, but I’m willing to accept that.  For the greater good.”  She imitated a smile, one that I had done so often when my mother praised me.


“Go away.  I don’t need you.”


Again there was that mimicking of my attitude.  The thing laughed but made no show of leaving. 




By the time I had reached the steps of U’lah the sun was setting already.  It was a long walk, tiring walk.  What was worse, however, was the fact that I had this thing speaking in my voice, acting like me, as companion.


The thing placed her hands on her hips, puffing her cheek as she surveyed U’lah.  “This place doesn’t seem as grandeur as Grandmother made it out to be.”


“Don’t you dare reference her!  She is not your grandmother.  She is mine.  Mine alone!” I snapped, finger pointed accusingly at her.  To passerby it appeared as if I was talking to myself, but I knew better.  This thing did not belong in my family.  As much as I hated to admit that my father is my father, it was also acknowledging that my mother was my mother. 


She looked at me with round eyes.  Eyes of shocked expression when my father turned his anger to me.  “I…” The thing turned about and walked away, fading as she does so.


I leaned against the wall, out of breath.  It was the first time I had truly snapped at that thing.  My heart was beating fast, and my entire limb was shaking.  It was like teetering at the edge of a cliff.  And yes, I have stood near those, when I thought I couldn’t take it no more.  Though I always blacked out and found myself a great distance away from them. 


With that thing gone, I began focusing my attention to U’lah.  The city had the grandest architectures I have ever laid eyes upon.  Thousands upon thousands of buildings all laid side by side.  More pillars and columns than I cared to count, however.


Not that it meant much, as I’d come from a modest home.  I was a country girl through and through.  But at least here, I hope I was able to apply my trade and earn myself a modest income.  Here, I hope, I could find myself a patron. 


Wandering bards was common, but hopefully I could charm a few people.  It would only take one note, one beautifully written song to fall on the right ear and then that was that.  I could do this.  I need not let intimidation of the unknown be an excuse to hold me back. 


I continued to walk around this city in what felt like ages.  There was so many wonderful sounds and noises.  Everything here was filled with warm, from the local street vendors shouting their wares to the chocobo dung.  This, I thought, would be a place I could enjoy waking up to.


But first, I needed to find work. 


The local Quicksand tavern set me on edge.  Its name was strange.  I thought to myself, if one was not light on their feet, they could find themselves buried here by its patrons.  I hope that would not become me.  I needed this.  Badly.


As I entered the tavern, the first thing that I noticed wasn’t the people.  I didn’t notice the noise of other bards.  No, those things were far removed from my mind.  What had caught my attention was food.  Half eaten, half discarded.  They were barely given notice by their buyers, but to me… I wanted all I could eat. 


I sighed and closed my eyes.  There’d be no free food.  I had to earn every morsel. 


I swallowed and adjusted my dress nervously.  I was unaccustomed to the workings of this city, and so wasn’t sure if I needed permission first before I could apply myself fully to my harp.  Picking my way to the bar, I waited with interpretation as I called the barman.


He gave me the barest nod, then made a gesture with his hand.  I wasn’t too sure if he was flipping me the chocobo, swearing at me much how wild chocobo flapped their wings and dash off, or allowing me to perform.


My brows bunched together as I stood there dumbfounded.  “I…” 


“It means,” he said slowly, “That you can play, but the tavern gets a small percentage of what you make.  If you make anything at all.”


I nodded.  It was better than I thought.  Then hope blossomed into fear.  “How much?”


The bartender did not bother to conceal his greed.  He smiled a toothy smile before saying, “Seventy-five percent.”


“That’s highway robbery!” I exclaimed.


“Yes, but think of it as the businessman’s form of robbery.  At least you still get to keep some of the gil you make.”  He narrowed his eyes, then leaned in. “And don’t think about pocketing more gil.  We always know how much you bards make.  Cheat us, and you’ll never sing here again.” 


My hands tightened on my harp.  This wasn’t right.  Just wasn’t right.  I doubt I could make enough to even cover a meal here. 


Just as I was about to say more on the matter, that thing encroached on my mind.  “He’s not overly nice to you… I could take care of him, if you don’t mind lending me control.”


I ignored her, instead focusing on the bartender.  “And you’ll keep doing this for as long as I am here?”


He gave a slight laugh.  “For now.”


“I can kill him for you.  No need to have your hands dirtied.  Speaking metaphorically, of course.”


I nodded to the bartender.  “Where and when can I start?”


He shrugged and continued cleaning a mug with his towel.  “When you’re up to it.  And anywhere you want.  Though I would suggest not to make your noise near other bards.  Your kind is as viscous to other bards as you are elegant with your harp.”


I thanked him and moved away. 


The crowd was small enough where I wouldn’t get overly nervous, at least.  A quick glance showed that there were no other bards about, either.  With the exception of the thing, it seemed that fate was on my side.


A small flight of stairs lead down to the tables where patrons were able to order their food, and it was here that I chose as my stage.  They would notice me.  They would pay me, if they deemed me good enough.


I pulled my harp and began tuning the strings.  The sounds that echoed forth all at once eased my mind.  Even that thing quieted as I warmed myself up. 


There was so much noise here.  So much discord.  As a musician it was such an annoyance.  Speaking strictly from my perspective, everything had to be in alignment.  Nothing was allowed to be out of place as far as music went. 


I closed my eyes and inhaled.  The sound of laughter, of talk came flooding to my mind.  Instead of drowning them out, I pulled them in, welcoming them like a fat kid eating pie.  Everything had a purpose, and so did their voice.  I’d use their words, I would add what they say to my song. 


Again my fingers danced over the strings of my harp, gentle as I rehearsed mentally.  This was something that I enjoyed.  It felt as if my mother was with me, watching as I began my ritual before lunching into my songs.


Before I could start, however, someone pulled at my arm.  The power of the jerk threw me off, and I found the song I had been holding gone with it.  Instead I found myself came face to face with my father.


My legs lost their strength, and even my voice became a whimper.  Those eyes, angry and focused on me, had such hatred in them that they rendered me paralyzed.  I couldn’t do anything but stood there.


“Mother?  Focus, it’s not him.  It’s that man from last night.” 


I still couldn’t think of anything to say.  He jerked me again.  Hard.


Memories came flooding to me like torrents on a rainy night.  Clouds of anger enveloped me so strong that whatever he said was lost to me.  Instead all I saw were lashes that repeatedly bit into my back.


“Mother?”  Her voice was almost pleading.  “I’m sorry.” 


By the time I realized what was happening, I found myself staring at myself and the stranger from last night.  That thing had taken control of my body, had spoken in my stead as I stood helpless and hopeless. 


My legs gave way, weak and unable to support me as she argued with this man.  I sank to the ground.  This man was like him.  In every detail.  I didn’t want to deal with that.  Anything but that.


Her voice came to my mind, even if I had not asked for it.  “I’ll take care of this.” 


I sat there, watched with vacant eyes as she continued to trade angry comments with him. 


“Fine!  Outside it is then.  If I’m not there in ten minutes, start without me!”  It was my voice, though not me who spoke.  She crossed her arms, a pout on her face.


The stranger, with more hair on his face than his head, stood there half naked.  He shifted from foot to foot, though his attention was at one of the guards.  Even with my state of mind, I could see how much anger he had.  He pointed at the thing, screaming, “You’re coming with us!”


I cringed inward.  I was scared and confused.  What did he wanted with her?  Why was he targeting me? 


Before I could give more to the thought, I heard the thing’s voice inside my mind. “You don’t need to see this.  Just close your eyes and imagine that place.  Just imagine it and you’ll be fine.”  I bit my lips, but did as I was told.  This was just too much for me.


Closing my eyes, I imagined that pristine white, marbled house.  Beautiful, serene, near the beaches of The Mist.  The sun was high, warm filled me with a happiness that I haven’t felt in a long time. 


I was dressed much like I was in the real world, but that didn’t matter to me.  I pushed a strand of loose hair behind my ear, and entered the house.  The voices of those arguing could still be felt, but they felt so distant.


“… just see about that… consorted with the Momodi.” 


I wasn’t too sure what a Momodi was, but I couldn’t care less.  Here I was happy.  Here, there was no pain.  I walked up to the house and opened the doors, entering a house that did not welcome pain. 


White.  Everything was white.  Just the way I preferred it.  Mother was sitting on one of the sofas, and on her lap was a sewing kit.  I grimaced slightly at that.  Much as I hated sewing, it was a favorite pastime of hers. 


The walls shook, and the chandelier hanging above us shook and banged against each other.  The sound of their ring drew mother’s attention from her current project.  “What was that?” she asked in her soft, song-like voice. 


I closed my eyes and forced the sounds away.  This was my world and my world alone.  He had no right to intrude.  “Nothing,” I said calmly.


I closed the distance between us.  The more I came near her the more eased I became.  The tension I felt was subsiding.  The fear I felt was fading.  Everything was good.  I was safe. 


But I was far from hurt.


I looked at her.  So serene.  So calm.  So warm and welcoming that I couldn’t help but cried.  “I miss you.”


She arched an eyebrow, then tapped the seat next to her.  I took the invitation and move to sit next to her.


The voice of the stranger boomed through the entire house. You!


I felt some of my resolve draining away.  Felt his voice crashing against the walls and shattering the glasses.  Cups, windows, chandelier, all shattered and cast shards against the interior of the house.


But mother took no notice of this.


She’s not real, but I sorely miss her.  But this – this mother was still real to me. Even as the thing continued to argue with that man, mother’s presence here still gave me a strong foundation to lean on.  Even if everything was falling apart, here I was still able to find comfort. 


She pressed a hand against my cheek.  A small gesture for some, but to me, it was enough to open the fountain of tears.  I leaned in, taking memory and adding them to the physical form of her.  Remembered how warm, how uplifting she had been when she was part of my life.  “I miss you so much…”


She smiled as more of the man’s words came crashing through my world.  “…by me in particular…!”  I cringed and leaned in to my mother.  His words drew other memories that I wished forgotten. 


Her arms were around me, shielding me.  “It’s all right.  Sometimes you have to take the good with the bad.”


“I don’t want him.  I want you.”


“You have me.  As long as you have your memories I’ll always be here.”  Words are such strong things.  They can make or break a person’s will.  Bring them to greatness or even reduce them to a crying infant. 


I nodded.  There was truth in what she said, but I was still too scared to face the reality of the situation.


The sound of footstep drew me from reverie.  The thing and that man was still in a heated argument, but for now I was safe.  As he stomped outside, I could feel the foundation of the house shaking with his every step.  Footsteps that shook the house like earthquake. 


I inhaled and forced their argument out of this world.  I didn’t need this.  I didn’t deserve this.  But it was to no use.  Their world was as much of mine.  “And shoes!  Together worth more than what most people in this city consider a month’s wage!” I cringed at that. 


Mother shifted her gaze to me.  “And what mischief have you been getting into?”


I brushed tears from my eyes.  “I… don’t know.” 


Mother sighed.  It was that same sigh she did when she knew I had gotten myself into trouble. 


“It was… that thing.”  I adverted my eyes.


Mother smiled, then leaned in.  “She’s your responsibility.”


Before I could say more, the anger in that man’s voice pulled me out of the house.  Mother’s figure seemed to drag away, turning smaller and smaller as I find myself back in the real world. “I miss you,” I said softly. 




It felt good to see her again.  Even if she wasn’t real, it offered me comfort.  That was what I needed more than anything.  Maybe I could face this man.


I found myself standing outside the entrance to Quicksand.  The thing and that man was still in deep argument.  Both seemed to ready to strike, though now there were passerby as well.  I bit my lip as I watched.



"What more do you want to know? You see the evidence for yourself, Knight! Would you like to also investigate the depths of how she insulted me? Or how she impersonated a member of the Maelstrom? The men and women who mirror your selfsame status in Limsa Lominsa? Or perhaps I should explain how she left me... ME... in the middle of Thanalan!?"


“What troubles have you gotten me into while I was away?”


“Nothing bad, nor worth mentioning.”


The knight seemed as shocked as I was.  For a few moment all she did was look between the two, unable to say anything.  "Please, Ser, I would like her to speak. I believe you, verily, but your story may be colored by your anger right now."


"Indeed. She is lucky I haven't colored her face with my anger!"

The thing blushed and freighted innocence.  I knew better than to trust her, however.  "I-I don't know why this man claims I stole his stuff!” she said in my voice. “Besides... he has gil enough to purchase more!" She looked down at his bare lower half. "Can he at least go buy something to wear now before we continue?"


"Madam, I make my own clothing. I am a very Brand in this town!"


"I didn't steal them! He gave them to me! And I had to sell them just to make my way here!"


"This, this, this... harpee met me in the woods asking for directions."


I balled my fists.  He was so much like my father, but… I feel that he was more bravado than anything.  Just something about him felt… annoying.  He was like a bitter ale.  Poor to the last when it came to taste. 


"Ser? I'm sorry... so this apparent transaction took place on a previous night, alone, in a remote location?"


"There was no transaction!” he retorted harshly.  "Only lies and thievery! And it was earlier this very day!"


"What? You asked me for directions, not me asking you for directions!"  I don’t remember that part.  But then again, I didn’t remember much of the night.


I wasn’t sure who I should be more angered by.  The thing, for doing this in my absence, or this madman standing before everyone.  Half naked as well.


"So you met earlier this day in a remote location, removed your pants, and she ran off with them?" the knight continued. 


"I met her on the roads on my way here!" the man corrected.


The poor knight.  She was now having a headache from all of this, and it was evident.  I know I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes.  Not to mention I wasn’t in my own shoes, either.  And I was a part of this tirade.  "Yes, the roads, very well. Still… you removed your pants and she ran off with them?"


"He gave them to me!" the thing screamed in anger. "He wanted me for the night, but I refused. Yet he still gave them to me hoping for a second meeting!"


I think I vomited a little after hearing that. 


"Alright... accusations of apparent affection aside... did you indeed give her the pants, Ser?"


"I did." 


I nodded a little in triumph.  At least now he admitted to giving his clothing freely to me.  "At bow-point! I mean... sure I'd like to have her alright, but I'm a married man! I have no need for... loose women. She came to me under the pretense of being a simple Bard..."


"Loose?”  Loose!” the thing screeched.  “You've never even been inside to be able to make such a comment! I should slap you, Ser!"


"Don't tempt me young woman to take you into a room and show you.  It’s clear you get around wherever you come from.”


My jaws dropped to the ground.  He went there… he had to say that.  Anger fueled me, and before the thing could retort, I wrestled control of my body from her.  The fear I had once felt was transformed into anger due to this man’s insult. 


"Mmmf... Ser, I care not for those details at this time,” the knight said in controlled fury.  To me, she asked, "You held him at bow-point?"


I wasn’t sure what had happened, but I had to think quickly.  “I use my bow for protection only. He's of an addled mind. Look at him. His stance is the only thing that's standing at attention! Why would I hold him at bow-point? And besides, I could do much better than him if I were to take a man to bed!"


It seemed that I had more bravado than a bard does with songs.  We continued to trade insults at each other.  For a moment before the knight interrupted.  “Enough! Please... Ser...How much were these items worth?"


I turned my attention to him, watched as he added the price of gil in his mind.  I was sure that the pants were cheap.  More or less, I felt that he was calculating how much gil he could take from this poor knight. 


"About eighteen thousand gil total. My brand fetches a high price in this city."


Goodness! I wondered what they were used for.  Certainly there was no sane person willing to pay to wear that ghastly thing.  More likely his clothing was used after one relieved themselves of waste.


Even the knight was in shock.  “Eighteen thousand?” she repeated, voice trailing off.


"Yes indeed. A fair price to be sure, but I can certainly work you into something nice later at a discount if you arrest her right now."


"I told you this man was a thief!”  Who the hell would pay for that much?  I know I wouldn’t.  “Look at the outrageous price he's trying to charge me!"


The knight sighed, but made no response to my comment.  Instead she dug into her side and produced the gil he demanded.  "In the name of her Grace, Sultana Nanamo Ul'Namo, I hereby make restitution for this apparent theft of property.  Now, Ser, I would ask that you do not bait her further. Your debt is settled, and she is my responsibility going forward."


I sighed as I listen to the crowd.  They were not happy, nor was I.  But I was too tired.  The energy I had felt earlier was gone now.  All I wanted to do was find some place safe, some place to be left alone.


"Since she is your responsibility, perhaps you will consider sending her to work for me at my estate. I assure you she will be scrubbing and cleaning non-stop until she can repay this debt to her Grace." 


He eyed me the way my father did, and I found myself biting back fear.  There was something in the way he looked, in the way he acted that brought those memories back to the forefront of my mind.  I felt the world around me crumble again, but just as I was about to fade into darkness, the thing took control of my body. 


“Rest, Mother.”


I complied, allowing the blissful abyss to greet me.


I honestly did not recall much of what had happened after that encounter.  The thing did not speak of it, and I did not, nor did I wanted, to press for answers.  I just remembered finding myself under a bridge, U’lad not too far away.


I had not allowed myself cry in this real world, but with everything that had happened, with the memories that was brought back by this man, I couldn’t hold it all in no more.  I cried, and the beasts of the countryside cried along with me. 


I had trained my mind, conditioned it to the things that reminded me of my father.  I was used to that.  Eventually that pain would go away.  Eventually I’d be strong enough to face the real world. 


What I had not conditioned myself to, however, was the memory of my mother.  The feel, the warmth that she gave me.  I missed that so much.  It was the little things that brought the most pain. 


And so, in the wild, with the stars as my witness, I continued to cry.


I felt the thing’s presence in my mind.  Her touch more real, stronger than I had ever felt.  I lay upon her lap, tears streaming my eyes as she gently caressed my hair.  “Shhhh it’s all right.  You have too much weighing you down.  I can help.” 


“Who… who are you?” I croaked. 

“Call me Witchbane.”

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