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Into Briny Depths [Semi-Closed]


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OOC Note: This thread will be used to record Sounsyy's current work with the Maelstrom. Whether that be part of other plot lines or her more private behind-the-scenes work. If something my character does gives yours reason to reply ICly, please do so. Just send me a message! ^^


That is all. Now to catch up with events.








The sea below hissed, spit, and roiled under the weight of the latest ferry vessel to brave its choppy waters. A strong tailwind guided the vessel south, away from Vesper Bay and towards its path to Vylbrand. High above the unfurled sails, the moon sat heavy and full in the sky. Sounsyy looked upon it in wonder as she leaned out across the forward railing on the bow. The thought struck her how only five years ago, the last time she had sailed these same waters, she had gazed upon a very different moon, Menphina's Hound. And she recalled how that moon had fallen.


She cut herself off from those thoughts and let them blow away with the next heavy gust. Her hair had escaped its tie and the brown strands whipped her face. She breathed deep the salt and it was as if the wind returned color to her. In Ul'dah, locked away in the Phrontistery, she had looked pale, unkempt, and hollow - as if she were slowly shrinking inside herself. Now these winds were inflating her, returning sustenance to her cheeks. She nearly wept at the feeling of freedom that washed over her like the seas' spray. She was finally going home. Five years late, but for Sounsyy, Carteneau was finally over.

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A heavy fog had settled in earlier that morning, bathing Limsa Lominsa in the strange glow cast by street lamps and ship lanterns. Sounsyy was headed north across the decks from the Mizzenmast Inn, where she had stayed the night before. Her head was full of nauseous anxiety and her dinner with Ul'dah's Most Fashionable at the Bismarck the night before had almost been entirely forgotten. At least, to Otto's credit, it was not her most pressing concern at this moment.


As she approached the Coral Tower in her already damp leathers, she worried what fate might befall her return. She had the Sultansworn Caerkoel's word that an arrangement would be met, but she hardly trusted the Sultansworn, especially her, even with the Roegadyn's attempts to mend old wounds. Either she would return to the Thalassocracy or be hanged. At least she would die at sea.


Two Yellowjackets opened the door for her to pass and she entered the Tower. It was similar, but not quite as she remembered it. Desks had been pushed to the sides to allow for the queues of privateers and foreigners. Yellowjackets and Maelstrom officers alike bustled about the room.


To her right, a grizzled War Sails veteran eyed her from his desk as she passed. He expressed the only word that came to his mind at the sight, "Shite..." Sounsyy ignored him, but the pit inside her stomach grew tenfold. A Yellowjacket soon announced himself as he crossed the room in a few bounds. Sounsyy did not salute the sergeant, nor did he salute her. Instead, the moment passed and the Yellowjacket stammered, "Miss Mirke, I presume?" Sounsyy nodded and the Yellowjacket hurried her off to a set of stairs which led to the Commanding Offices above.


The Yellowjacket eventually came to a halt outside a door very familiar to Sounsyy. The tarnished brass "3" above the knob brought her back years. She wondered who had made this office his or her home now. The Yellowjacket opened the door, simply stating, "Commander Gavronchette has been expecting you," before hurrying back down the stairs. Sounsyy entered and spied the form of an Elezen woman hunched over her paperwork, making careful effort with her penmanship. Sounsyy stood at attention before her desk so as not to disturb her efforts.


"Captain Mirke, please," the Elezen motioned for Sounsyy to be at ease, "Your reputation precedes you of course."

"The good or the bad?" Sounsyy asked freely, almost too freely.


"Both," Sabine Gavronchette replied, quickly cutting to the chase. She was not one to mince words or meanings. A quality in which Sounsyy approved. The new Commander of the 3rd made herself busy with the mess of papers upon her desk. She tidied it swiftly and tucked the documents away within a drawer. She returned her gaze to the former captain and continued, "You are fortunate in that your arrival was preceded by that of a Sultansworn who attested to your whereabouts since the Calamity. It has been made apparent to me that were you able to survive the travel, you would have."


"Yes, Ma'am. I've no desire to carry out me miserable existence in any place without water."

"Then I'm glad you were able to make a full recovery as well as retain your sea legs. As I said your reputation precedes you." Sabine paused for a moment as if contemplating whether her next words were necessary or not. Deeming them to be, she continued, "It is my understanding that you were quite close with my predecessor?"

"Yes, Ma'am."

"Then I must press upon you, I am not Commander Sylbachtsyn. Though I admire the man for what he tried to accomplish with the 7th. I am of a different stock entirely."

"Yer a Kraken, Ma'am, one of Carvallain's arms."

"I am," Sabine said, "I do not hide the fact. When the Admiral asked for more hands on deck, I put my own two forward. But the question remains, will you Captain Mirke?"


"You know," Sounsyy said as she slowly took in the office. She noted that touches of Iyrnlahz still remained about the room, such as his favored paintings. But also much had changed. As if the sea had swept Iyrnlahz's footprints from the sand. A trace yet remained, but only a trace. Mirke continued, "the last time I was in this room, I was facing court marshal. Is that-"

"Officially, you were presumed dead and the pending court marshal was suspended. Should you return to active service, I am confident disciplinary actions will not be enacted for an old offense."


The weight that had once hung heavy on Sounsyy's shoulders relaxed. Internally, she breathed a sigh of relief, but made no outwards expression of such. She wasn't entirely sure she should trust her new Commander, even giving the fact she had the Admiral's and the Commodore's trust. Six years ago, before the Maelstrom, the Thalassocracy would have never allowed a pirate access within the ranks of the Barracuda. Much had changed if the Admiral had succeeded in truly uniting all pirates under her banner. But the politics of it didn't matter to Sounsyy, so long as she would not be hanged.


"Yer pushing," Sounsyy said finally, "I take it you have an assignment in mind?"

"Very astute, Captain," Sabine said, "The fact of the matter is that I have many and not nearly enough culls to see to them all. Several suns ago, the Maelstrom received a report of a Garlean strike in eastern Thanalan. The Immortal Flames believe the intended target was Ala Mhigan refugees, as there are reports of at least four casualties and an upwards of a dozen refugees missing. While terrible, normally this would not be an issue necessitating the Maelstrom's involvement, however, the Admiral is concerned by the manner in which the Garleans carried out their strike. There are no reports of Garlean airship activity in the area, leaving the question of how Garlean agents were able to infiltrate deep into Alliance territory undetected. If the Garleans have developed a way to cloak their magitek, Limsa Lominsa may also be at risk. Seeing as how you're recently acquainted with Ul'dah and have history with the Ala Mhigans, you're my natural choice to represent the Maelstrom in this operation."


Sounsyy offered a perplexed face in response. "Ma'am, I'm not an investigator. I'm a soldier. Are you sure there are none better fer the task?"

"Captain, I have little need of just soldiers. Our wars are over. We fight a very different sort of war now - a war to evade future wars. I need captains what can look beyond orders to do what must needs be done to ensure the safety of this nation from all threats. Most importantly ones which may not be yet apparent. I take you for woman who is up to this task, and I am rarely incorrect in such judgments."


Sounsyy gave a sharp saluted. A small smile showed upon her lips. "You have yer girl," she said.

"Mirke," Sabin began with a smile, "This mission is to be carried out in uniform. It should not have to be said that the Maelstrom's involvement in the matter is to be minimal. You are to investigate the incident and determine the method of attack and withdrawal and report back your findings."


"Uniform hardly seems necessary, Commander," Sounsyy replied, "I've no Levy to captain."

"Quite, you are to be temporarily reassigned to the 8th Levy, who are already investigating the case. Until such a time that I can reassemble your command, you will remain with the 8th. On that subject, I understand that your old First Mate is currently assigned to the 6th Squadron on a mission in the Cieldalaes. If you'd like I can reassign her to your new command?"


"Cambre's alive?" A mixture of shock and hope crossed her face, then dissipated, "Thank you, Ma'am, but no. This is not a mission I would take her on. But I would appreciate if a letter be sent informing her of my wellbeing, if at all possible?"

"I will see to it, Mirke," Sabin said with a smile. She opened one of the drawers of her desk and pulled out a dusty bicorne from within. She handed it delicately to Sounsyy. She said, "I believe this to be yours. Sounsyy Mirke, I hereby reinstate your rank as Storm Captain. Til sea swallows all!"


Sounsyy took her old hat and gave a quick pat to release the dust. She was suddenly stricken by a similar memory of this office, just before the Calamity. Unwelcome tears escaped her eyes as she replaced the bicorne on her crown. She repeated, "Til sea swallows all."


"Good to see you back, Captain Mirke," Sabine said as she withdrew the packet of documents from her desk drawer. She handed the stack to Sounsyy with a smile, "I look forward to reading your reports."

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Sounsyy looked on as Shiv'to Vodha left the Coral Tower with his brisk pace. Their meeting had gone well enough, in Sounsyy's mind, at least. Though she was loathe to trust anyone in or outside the Maelstrom, she had little choice but to reach out for help in this matter. An airship pilot and engineer was certainly a good choice of allies at this juncture.


He had provided good insight into her missing Storm Lieutenant, Grin. Shortly before his disappearance, Grin had flagged a shipment bound for House Valeneaux. But with the Lieutenant in the wind, there was no guarantee the shipments still remained at Melvaan's Gate. Shiv'to had provided her a fresh lead that would soon grow cold. She returned her attention to the mess of documents littering her desk. She attempted to manage her thoughts on the subject while also managing the tangle of papers strewn about her. She carefully accounted for all pages and locked them away within her desk drawer. As if her mind was still attached to those documents, she felt suddenly claustrophobic inside the Coral Tower's offices and made all haste for the door.


From the upper decks, the rolling waves entering the Galadion Bay below looked tiny and gentle. Perspective, she thought. Perspective was what she needed for this case. A dead or rogue Storm Lieutenant missing in action, a Garlean host in the heart of Eorzea, and at the center of all things - a mysterious noble House with its fingers in too many pies. She decided she needed to know what was in that crate. Otherwise she had nothing.


A bell later found Sounsyy pushing through the tide streaming from Melvaan's Gate into West Hawker's Alley. The late afternoon sun beat down on the back of her neck as she negotiated a path through the merchants and peddlers. She had forgotten how active the city could become on clear days like today. She would have been eager herself to enjoy the weather had her work not been of paramount importance.


At long last the captain found her way into Melvaan's Gate. A sergeant on duty saluted her as she passed. She returned one before directing the sergeant to take her to an Arcanist in charge of records. The Arcanist, a young Hyur woman hardly any larger than Sounsyy, regarded her inquiries with a strange look.


"I know of the crate in which you speak, Captain."

"Take me to it, if you will," Sounsyy replied quickly.

"My apologies Captain," the Arcanist stammered, "But I'm under strict orders that the shipment not be tampered with until the recipients retrieve it. And they are expected anon."

"My orders come from the Admiral," Sounsyy said, a partially true bluff, "Show me the shipment Lieutenant Grin flagged. If you have records of its contents, bring those as well and the shipment mustn't needs be tampered with."


"Y-yes, of course!" The Arcanist fumbled once more then rushed off into a back room. The Storm sergeant gave Sounsyy a side-long glance before the Arcanist returned, this time with three other Arcanists accompanying her.


"Follow me, the manifest will have been kept with the crate," she said, and the contingent was lead to a warehouse-like structure on the docks. Once inside the stone structure, Sounsyy was lead through a maze of crates and containers bearing various markings from around the world. Eventually they stopped before a small room, barred by an iron gate. One of the Arcanists bid his Carbuncle slide through the gate, and once inside, it unlocked the door from within. The gate swung open and the six entered.


"Why was the shipment flagged? What's inside these crates?" Sounsyy asked. The Arcanist shook her head as she rifled through the manifest in her hands, her expression souring.

"They are listed as medical supplies, but there are pages missing. I- I don't understand."


An uneasiness settled about the room. Without hesitation Sounsyy crossed the room and grabbed a crowbar on the far wall and made for the nearest crate. Suddenly a rise in protest.


"Captain! Stop! Stop immediately! We are under strict orders not to open these crates until the Brass Blades retrieve them!"

"The Brass Blades?!" Sounsyy expression became livid. The Arcanist who had spoken out closed her mouth and retreated a step. The Storm Sergeant looked from Captain to Arcanist and back again in stunned silence.


"A fellow Storm officer who is now either dead or worse, turned traitor, flagged these crates to prevent them reaching Valeneaux hands!" Sounsyy shouted with little reserve, "This goes beyond diplomacy! Do yer duty and inspect these crates!"

"Our duty is to follow orders, Captain! And our orders say to-"


A sudden calm determination filled Sounsyy as the Arcanist pleaded with her. Commander Gavronchette's words resounded in her ears, drowning out the Arcanist's words. I need captains what can look beyond orders to do what must needs be done to ensure the safety of this nation from all threats. Most importantly ones which may not be yet apparent.


"...And it is my duty to go beyond orders, lass. To ensure the safety of our nation."


Sounsyy forced the crowbar between the crate and its lid and leveraged the nails loose. The Arcanists looked on in exasperated silence. With one last heave, one side of the lid came loose, enough to glimpse within. Sounsyy held the lid ajar with a hand as she eyed the forbidden contents of the crate. All that escaped her mouth was a short, "Hm."


"This is outrageous! Are you appeased now?"

"If yer concerned with what they might think, Arcanist, go stand watch fer their arrival."


"Who's arrival?" A new voice said from the doorway. Sounsyy's back straightened and the lid of the crate fell shut in front of her with a loud snap. The captain looked over her shoulder to see the tell-tale rust colored haubergeons of the Brass Blades. A small contingent stood in the doorway, looking on with half-open grins spread across their tanned faces.


"I was under the impression the goods were to remain untouched," the vocal Brass Blade sergeant said with an amused expression.

"Afraid you've got the wrong shipment," Sounsyy retorted coyly, "Ye see, this shipment here's bound fer Valeneaux, not Ul'dah."

"Oh, I'm very much aware o' that. And we're here under orders to seize that shipment. So... iffin you don't mind..."


Sounsyy scoffed. All eyes were on her. The Hyuran Arcanist breathed out, "Captain... We've no grounds to hold the shipment."


Sounsyy looked at the Arcanist and back to the Brass Blade sergeant. The silence lengthening as each stared the other down. Finally, Sounsyy shook her head and pushed her way past the Brass Blade. Their eyes shooting daggers at each other as she passed.


"Take yer bloody crate," she spit, "We got what we came fer."

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More than a week had passed since the Brass Blades had fled with her only evidence connecting her wayward Lieutenant to House Valeneaux and the greater plot beneath it all. Her report to Commander Gavronchette was short and to the point. The contents of the Valeneaux shipment appeared to be nothing more than medical supplies. But Sounsyy knew there had to be more to those crates, otherwise why would they have been flagged?


All the same, Sounsyy penned a missive to Shiv'to Vodha in Thanalan warning him of Brass Blade involvement. The Brass Blades likely knew more than they let on and the Sergeant must needs know just who was looking over his shoulder. Until his reply, she had nothing to go on. Sounsyy only prayed that his investigation would uncover some lead.


Sounsyy swallowed down several sleepless nights, pouring over old documents and shipping records. There were sketchy interactions aplenty there, but nothing that stood out as linked to Valeneaux. These files she added to her already overflowing pile of documents within her desk drawer. Biting back the frustration that gnawed at her senses, she finally bid herself retire.


Fourteen hours passed before she stirred from her deep, dreamless, sleep. She groaned, trying to fight off the exhaustion that still plagued her. Rubbing sleep from her eyes, she noted an envelope upon the floor under her door. Struggling out of her chair, she made her way across the small room and retrieved the letter. The missive was from Shiv'to. Sounsyy's heart sank when she read he hadn't any answers, just more questions. There was nothing for it. She would have to travel north to Coerthas in search of Grin. A sudden terror gripped Sounsyy's chest. It meant taking that long road north from Ul'dah into Bluefog and Mor Dhona. She would be forced to pass near Carteneau.



A few suns passed seemingly in a blur. Commander Gavronchette had recalled the 3rd Squadron's 8th Levy to Limsa Lominsa so that they might accompany their new captain to Coerthas. The 8th Levy Tactical Unit was a skeleton crew at best. Twenty men and women of mixed and colorful backgrounds who could be trusted to deal with sensitive assignments. Some, Sounsyy learned, had been 'Cudas before the Calamity, others Privateers, while two had even fought on Carteneau. She saluted each of them in turn as they introduced themselves.


When she got to the end of the line, she stood to the side at attention as Sabine Gavronchette made her way across the ship's deck to the crew. She gave Sounsyy a quick salute then said, "Captain, I trust these men are to your liking?"

"Aye, Commander!"


"Good, then, 8th Levy, allow me to introdu-" Sabine began, but a voice from the line cut her off. A Seeker woman with dirty blond hair and a hard face stepped forwards. "No offense 'Mander," she said, "but we know who she is an' what she's done."

"Mirke's military record is none of your concern, Lieutenant," Sabine retorted calmly as if she was ready for the backlash for her decision to readmit Captain Mirke. But the Seeker woman only shook her head, "The 7th made a hole fer me n' mine on Carteneau. I were 4th Squadron then. But I remember thinkin' that's a cap'n worth followin' what can give 'er men the courage to meet the Garleans 'ead on. They opened that line like it were the most important thin' to get done."


Sounsyy swallowed hard. In her mind she was no one to be admired. She had only done what needed to be done. She had pushed her Levy hard because that was all they had left. She had thought they would all die there.


"Your unexpected admiration is noted P'welro," Sabine chided. The Seeker woman, P'welro, stepped back into line. She looked neither embarrassed nor put down by the Commander. Gavronchette cleared her throat and continued, "Captain Mirke, meet your First Mate, P'welro. Everyone else, listen up! Captain Mirke, formerly of 3rd Squadron's 7th Levy, will be taking the helm on this Levy's operations. You will give her your full respect despite her reputation. But knowing her reputation, I expect should you think it wise to test her, she will break you. Understood?"


"Aye, Commander!" They chimed together.


Gavronchette flicked a pleased expression in Sounsyy's direction. Sounsyy met her gaze but kept her countenance unchanged. Was Sabine testing her? Or was her commander truly seeing if she was as terrible a Captain as the rumors suggested. She snorted to herself. Let the rumors fly, the ones who repeated them knew nothing of leading in wartime. They knew nothing of her.



The following day saw the 8th Levy into the Straight of Merlthor. There were clouds to the north, but no sign of a storm. Her 1st Helmsman, a man named Fhruhsunn, informed her that they would reach the coast of Thanalan in a few days time with their present course up the coast of Bloodshore. She had decided she would meet with Shiv'to in Thanalan before pressing north in pursuit of Grin. Let him freeze up there, she thought.


Sounsyy nodded to Fhruhsunn and paced the deck, overseeing her new crew at work. She did not have to push them. They were already hard working, pushing themselves to run the frigate with just a skeleton crew. Her new first mate, P'welro, could be seen near the main mast tying off the sails, her muscles gleaming with sweat and seaspray. Sounsyy shed her captain's bliaud and went to help the woman.


P'welro cast her captain an odd look but accepted the help. When the job was done, P'welro leaned upon the gunwale with an amused expression. She said, "Ye don't 'ave to earn me respect cap'n. I told ye ye already has it."


Sounsyy shook her head, "Yesterday, you said my men were courageous to charge that line."


"Weren't courage. We were scared shiteless. My men charged that line, because they knew I would never ask somethin' of them that I wouldn't do myself. I never asked them to follow me. I lead, they followed. That's how I captain. That coat," Sounsyy said, pointing at the bliaud crumpled on the deck, "is just a coat."

"Aye, cap'n," P'welro said in a slow, almost dazed voice, "So Gavronchette was 'avin' a go at us then? Ye ain't gon' break us?"


Sounsyy burst into a mirthful laugh as she walked away from P'welro across the main deck to retrieve her fallen bliaud. "I never said that," she called over her shoulder. She turned and tossed her bosun's call to P'welro, who caught it in both hands.


"Assemble the crew, P'welro," Sounsyy said, "We've got drills."

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Sounsyy rolled and thrashed in her sleep like the sea beneath her. Artillery shells boomed in her eardrums and her whole body shook from their blasts as they hit home all around her. She turned away from the flames to face a small Miqo'te girl, her sister - her face white with fear and her eyes blackened by soot. Sounsyy grabbed her hand and made to flee, but a Reaper rose out of the smoke and flames, it's mechanical maw wide and dripping with flame.


<Captain Mirke! Mirke can you hear me?> Sabine Gavronchette's voice crackled from somewhere in the dreamscape of Carteneau.


Sounsyy snapped awake with a yelp, the back of her head crashing into her chair. She winced and cradled herself in her chair while her breathing slowed to a normal pace. The linkpearl on her desk crackled again, Gavronchette's voice drifting up to her ears. She held her knees to her chest for a few more seconds, fighting back tears, before uncoiling and inserting the small pearl into her ear.


"Sorry, Commander, I'm here," Sounsyy's voice was almost a whisper.

<Apologies for rousing you at this late hour, Captain, but the matter is most urgent!>

"Go ahead."

<We've been attacked.>



The cabin door swung open as if to escape the Captain's path as she stormed out onto the deck, dressed for battle. Clouds hung low about the Lominsan frigate as it rocked against the Merlthor's waters. The night sky was deep and dark and silent , that is, until the bosun's call split the shroud with its shrill cry.


"All hands on deck!" she cried in between blasts of her whistle, "All! Hands! On! Deck!"


Soon all twenty heads were present, eyeing their captain expectantly. Some wondered if she was calling them for more drills. Others were still rubbing sleep from their eyes. A groggy P'welro approached the Captain asking, "Cap'n, what's goin' on?" But Sounsyy moved past her and motioned to Fhruhsunn.


"Helmsman, bring us about! New bearings - South by Southwest! We make for the Vesper Trade Lines! 8th Levy - Beat to Quarters! We are battle ready in a quarter-bell! P'welro with me!"

"Aye, Cap'n!" P'welro turned to her crew, "Ye heard the lass! Move!"


As if a bolt of lightning had struck the ship, the crew scattered. P'welro hurried after Sounsyy as the Captain went to the task of unfurling the sails to full. "What in the Seven Hells happened?" She asked again.


"A trade ship en route to Limsa came upon the remains of a Lominsan vessel. They're still trying to pull survivors out of the water," Sounsyy answered, relaying what small amount of information Gavronchette had given her as she dressed.

"Ye don't think pirates would be tha' thick?"

"I don't know," she said over her shoulder as she moved on to the next task, "But I want everyone battle ready just the same!"

"Aye!" P'welro shouted as she raced below deck to armor herself.


An hour passed, every minute agonizingly slow, until at last lights from another ship appeared on the horizon. Then, like revenants looming from the fog, the wreckage materialized all about the anchored vessel.


"Navigator be good," One of her crew said aloud. Sounsyy turned to Fhruhsunn saying, "Circle the wreckage and bring us alongside that other ship. I will board and see if there is aught that can be learned."


Fhruhsunn nodded and navigated a path around the wreckage of the massive trade galleon. The crew lined the starboard gunwale, eyeing the destruction below. Among the flotsam were bits of charred hull, a body here or there, crates and containers. Sounsyy silently wondered if her lost Valeneaux shipment might have been in one of those crates. But she pushed the thought aside and called out into the night, "This vessel is of the Thalassocratic Navy! If you can hear the sound of my voice, please respond! We are here to help!"


But there was no reply. Sounsyy repeated the call several more times until they came alongside the other vessel. A plank was thrown across and Sounsyy made her way onto the other ship. Its captain and crew greeted her on the other side and directed her below deck.


"We only dragged a dozen or so out of the waters lass," the trade captain, a Roegadyn said to Sounsyy as they headed below, "And not sure 'ow many of those will last til we reach Limsa."

"Take me to them," she replied, "Do we know what did this? Was there a mayday?"


The Roegadyn only shook his head. They rounded a corner and made their way down a long hallway towards the trade vessel's medical bay. The captain continued to speak as he walked on ahead, "Weren't no mayday. Was me who put in the alert to the Maelstrom after me ship nearly ran these bastards over. I don't know what happened but I can tell ye it weren't no pirates."


"Why do you say that?"

"Cuz it were two trade ships what went down."

"Two? We only saw the hull of one."

"Right, cuz there ain't no hull left of the first vessel. But one of me men noticed it. Said 'aye cap'n, there be two too many masts bobbin' in the water' he says. So I look an' sure 'nough. Weren't no pirate I ever see cull so bad weren't nothin' left ta plunder."


They arrived at a door and the trade captain motioned for Sounsyy to go inside. She did and was met with the sight of a dozen medical cots hastily strewn about the room. Twelve half-drowned men and women lay broken, burned, and battered, attended to by a single healer who looked not much better than his patients.


Sounsyy approached the nearest cot, occupied by a Hyuran woman with fierce burns. Her eyes were wide and her teeth chewed upon her gag. Sounsyy moved to another bed, this one occupied by a Seeker male. This one looked at Sounsyy as she approached.


"Can you tell me what happened?" she said to him.

"...ship..." Was the only sound that escaped his lips, the sound seemingly costing the Miqo'te all his strength to utter.

"Did a ship attack you? What kind of ship?"


"A ship attacked you. What kind? Think hard, what colors did it fly."


But the Miqo'te only shook his head weakly. With the last of his strength he lifted his arm and pointed towards the ceiling. Sounsyy fumbled over her words trying to decipher his meaning.


"A ship, a-airship? An airship attacked you?"

The Miqo'te nodded once before trying to speak again, "B...b...bl...c...cuh..." But he could not summon the words and eventually fell silent, unwilling to rouse again. Sounsyy cursed silently to herself as she took her leave of the wounded Miqo'te. She met the trade captain standing as he was outside the door. She regarded him a moment then shook her head.


"It were not pirates," she said solemnly, "I must needs speak with my commander. As fer you and yer crew, please make all haste fer Limsa. My Levy will remain with the wreckage just in case. You will be compensated upon arrival fer time lost in yer service to the Thalassocracy."


The captain bowed and lead Sounsyy back to the deck. One returned to her vessel she made for her cabin with P'welro hot on her heels. Once they were both inside, Sounsyy closed the doors behind them and tapped upon the linkpearl in her ear. There was a faint crackle as it linked to its correspondence.


"Commander, this is Captain Mirke with a report."

<Go ahead, Captain.>

"It appears the attack was carried out via airship on a pair of Lominsan trade galleons bound fer Vesper. Massive casualties. One galleon has been decimated entirely, the other torn asunder. Commander, we're looking at heavy artillery or a bombing. At this juncture I can only suspect a Garlean attack."

<Damn it all! Right, Mirke, I will make my report to the Admiral. Keep me apprised.>

"Commander," Sounsyy interjected, "Can word be sent to Melvaan's Gate? I must needs know what these ships were carrying that made them a target fer terrorism."

<It will be done, Mirke.>


Sounsyy withdrew the pearl from her ear and set it upon her desk. She looked up at P'welro who stood silently opposite her, awaiting orders. Sounsyy gave her a look that said everything the Seeker needed to hear. With a nod and a grin, Sounsyy's first mate withdrew from the room.


"Don't worry Cap'n," P'welro said as she opened the door, "We'll have them crates all outta the water by sun-up!"


With that, Sounsyy was left alone with her thoughts. She sat in silence, turning the facts over and over again in her head. Her eyes bored holes in the wall, yet were unseeing to the world around her. As if on an impulse, she reached for her pile of documents waiting within her desk drawer.

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  • 1 month later...

"Weapons," P'welro announced, "Er, we think may used to 'ave been weapons."


Sounsyy paced the deck, observing her crew dissecting a little over half a dozen crates that had survived the explosion. She bared her teeth in frustration. She could not be sure if any of these containers were her Valeneaux shipment, but even so, how long had Lominsan smugglers been exporting Maelstrom arms to Ul'dah?


"Disguised as rations to my people," Sounsyy growled, her expression dark. P'welro hesitated before asking her query, "You think this is connected to yer missin' Lieutenant?"


Sounsyy shook her head and made for her cabin. With her hand upon the knob she turned back to her crew, barking one last order before retiring, "Store that cargo below deck, we make fer Limsa full speed. P'welro you have the helm."

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  • 2 months later...

OOC Note: NSFW | Graphic Content in this post, in case you missed it in the header.



Sounsyy had scarcely slept a wink that night, the anticipation for the next day consuming her entirely. She tossed and turned until finally she withdrew herself from her bundle, exposing her bare shoulders to the winter air. Goosebumps erected down her arms and across her stomach as she pulled herself entirely from the protective covers. She slid her tunic over her head and pulled it down by the fringe so that it concealed everything above mid-thigh. Her bare feet slipped quietly into her boots, a pair she had gotten in Gridania. They had all but lost their warmth after just a few hours of disuse.


She looked up at the open sky above, dark still, overcast. It must still be late in the evening. She knew Nathaniel would still be on watch at this hour, so she went in search of him. Her pace was slow and uneven, her thin legs wobbly from cold and fatigue. A twig snapped underfoot and Sounsyy bit her lip hard as if that would make a difference. No one stirred, the other men and women fast asleep in their bundles. She stood in silence for a few moments more, before pressing on through the thicket.


Up ahead lay a small clearing, bathed in the flickering light of a dying fire. When she pressed her face into the light, the Highlander sitting watch looked up at her in surprise.


"I began to think you weren't going to come!" Nathaniel said quietly, his breath obscuring his face like cold smoke. She shook her head, teeth chattering. "C-c-cold," she breathed. Nathaniel went and embraced her, wrapping his own blanket over her shoulders.


"This was a bad idea," he said. Sounsyy shook her head and rested her hands upon his warm chest, easing him back down to his seated position against the tree. Her knees pressed into the frozen dirt and she swayed gently in his lap, her forehead resting against his. Nathaniel said nothing more. He was tight lipped by nature, a quality which had initially annoyed Sounsyy. But as they had spent more time together over the years, she began to consider it one of his many pleasurable qualities. She talked more than enough for the both of them anyroad.


She kissed him and he combed her long, brown hair with his fingers. For a moon this had become their routine. Sounsyy would sneak out on Nathaniel's watch, they would make love, Sounsyy would return unnoticed, and in the morning say nothing to anyone. He made her feel warm and alive. Even in the dead of winter as her bare legs turned blue. Sounsyy's moaning could scarcely be heard over the last crackles of the night watch fire.


Sounsyy tried to focus on this moment, but it was soon over.


She awoke the next morning in her bundle of blankets as if she'd never left the night before. Her friend, Cambre, offered her a warm bowl of crushed wheat when she'd noticed Sounsyy had awakened. Sounsyy thanked her and accepted the bowl, which she tipped into her mouth. It wasn't much, but there was little point wasting rations on the day's fodder. At least that's what she assumed the reasoning was.


She turned her head at the sound of raised voices coming from the Resistance Leaders' pavilion several yalms away. It wasn't much of a pavilion really, just a tarp strung between a few trees at an angle to lessen the sleeper's exposure to the elements. The rest of the soldiers had just found a bushy enough tree and wrapped their blankets close. Sounsyy rubbed her toes with her fingers to warm them as she tried to make out the voices.


"We could just go around!" One of them said.

"It's a deathtrap!" Answered another.

"We march around, we'll be seen, and we'll be caught between a Garlean legion and that outpost," said a third voice, this one Sounsyy recognized as Romheld's, one of the Resistance's most veteran tacticians and generals. "That hill is heavily fortified, but if we push we can take it and secure a favorable position against Garlean reinforcements. If we are caught surrounding the valley, their reinforcements will hit us from all sides and we will go from the besiegers to the besieged."


The voices fell silent, or at least lowered their volume so that Sounsyy could no longer make out what they said. Cambre was watching them as well, along with many of the nearby soldiers. "What're they saying now?" Sounsyy asked Cambre.


"They're measuring those in favor," she said quietly, her keen Duskwight ears honed in on the conversation, "Three- four in favor."

"Good, let's get them bastards," Sounsyy said through a mouthful of wheat.


Cambre nodded and set down her bowl and began dressing herself in her armor. Sounsyy pulled on warmer clothes, tunic, leggings, boots and began braiding her long hair so it stayed out of her face. Cambre admired her when she had finished and begun strapping herself into her breastplate. "You look beautiful, Souns, I think Nathaniel will approve," she teased.


Sounsyy stopped dead and turned around at her friend, her face stricken in horror. "What did you say?"

"You are taken with him! It's plain as day."

"N-no it isn't! Because we're not! Ew! Listen he's my friend, nothing more than that!"

"Souns, I hope you don't expect me to start sleeping with you just because we're friends," Cambre retorted, a broad smirk plastered across her face, "You love him!"

Sounsyy nearly screeched with embarrassment, her face flushing pinker than the cold could ever make it. "I-I do not love him! I- I- just," Sounsyy gave up in a huff of exasperation.


Cambre smirked at her and looked down to finish buckling her breastplate. When she looked back up, her smirk faded quickly. Sounsyy, already flabbergasted took note and whipped around to see who all had heard Cambre's accusation. To her dismay, Nathaniel stood behind her a few fulms, his face clearly betraying his wounded feelings. Sounsyy opened her mouth, but Nathaniel just held out a hand and stalked off into the trees.


"Now you've done it," Cambre jeered at her friend. Sounsyy looked at her with wild panic.

"I-I didn't mean that! He... he knows I didn't mean that right? H-How did you even know?!"

"You're not the only one that can't sleep at night, you know. Now go on, you've got some explaining to do."


Sounsyy didn't completely understand Cambre but she didn't have time to question it. The Resistance leaders fell out of the pavilion and began barking orders to fall into columns. So Sounsyy grabbed her spear and raced after her lover through the trees, calling for him to wait.


He had already fallen in line when she reached him and she fell into line next to him. She tried to explain herself, but Nathaniel didn't seem ready to accept her apology. So Sounsyy lowered her head and they marched in silence.


Sounsyy wanted to wake up. Things had gone so wrong.


The Ala Mhigans stood in wide columns on the edge of the tree line. From here Eastward, it was an uphill battle across the Gyr Abanian Highlands to Ala Mhigo. Ahead of them, across the field sat a lone watch tower on a hill. The Garleans had taken the position and fortified it, making their approach to Ala Mhigo impossible undetected. Their General, Romheld had insisted the position must fall if there was to be any hope of victory. Sounsyy looked up in awe at the structure, Ala Mhigan architecture, warped by Garlean steel. She wanted to grab for Nathaniel's hand, but she thought it wouldn't be appropriate now with him still mad at her.


"Ala Mhigans! The tower must fall! The climb will be dangerous, but we must prevail today to have any chance at victory tomorrow! Today, make your nation and your people proud! FORWARD!"


Sounsyy looked at Nathaniel. His deep brown eyes were locked forwards, his jaw set and skin taught. She could tell he was afraid, so much more afraid than she was. She wished she could comfort him, but he began marching forwards and ended any chance of that. Sounsyy turned and set her gaze on that distant watchtower.


No sooner had the Resistance broken the treeline did the watchtower come to life. A cannon broke the silence and a tree behind them crackled and fell. "Full charge!" was Romheld's answer, and the columns broke into a flat run across the barren field. Then the barrage began, Garlean bullets whistling overhead and the thundering boom of cannons shaking the earth on which they ran. The screams began after, as bullets ripped through their lines. Still upwards they ran as the field sloped higher.


"Push! Push forwards!"

"Heads down, pikes up! Heads down, pikes up!"


Sounsyy ran full tilt, with her spear aimed ahead of her. The Ala Mhigan in front of her fell face forward into the hard dirt, and Sounsyy dug her boot into his back as she ran over him. She had to keep up with Nathaniel, whose stride was so much longer than hers. She watched as he pulled ahead. She wanted to shout for him, but a cannon exploded nearby and she felt herself lifted from the ground and thrown sideways. She hit the dirt hard, smearing it painfully across her face. She tucked herself into a ball and held her hands over her head as the rain of dirt and debris descended.


"Nathaniel!" She screeched, "Nathaniel!"

"Get up!" Came a familiar voice in her ear. A strong hand grabbed her by her underarm and lifted her to her feet. Sounsyy looked elated at seeing Nathaniel safe. "We have to keep-" Nathaniel began, but a sharp whistling noise stopped him short. A puff of red mist speckled Sounsyy's face and she felt Nathaniel's arm go limp and fall away from her underarm. Her eyes widened in horror and her lips parted, mouth suddenly dry. Nathaniel fell backwards limply, but Sounsyy's eyes did not track his descent. Her eyes locked forward where Nathaniel had been standing not a moment before. A small sound, like a mouse being crushed underfoot might make, escaped Sounsyy's throat.


The red mist of Nathaniel's lifeblood hovered in the air before her, like some revenant haunting her. Bullets cracked overhead and cannon shell struck her brethren down, but all the noise blended into nothingness, into silence. Before Sounsyy's eyes, she saw some imaginary apparition of Nathaniel, outlined in that slow falling mist. He turned to her, and smiled sweetly. Sounsyy could feel her heart shattering as if that bullet had struck her chest, not his head.


"Nathaniel?" she whispered to the silence, hoping to hear his voice one last time.


The sound of her own voice woke Sounsyy from her troubled sleep. She lifted her head an ilm from the arm of her chair and looked around her room. Her cabin was empty. A dim light filtered in through the back window. The tip of her desk-lantern's wick still glowed orange, the fire must have only just recently gone out. Outside she could hear her crew wrestling with the heavy, waterlogged crates they were working to retrieve from Llymlaen's grasp.


All she wanted was to return to her memory-dream to see his face so vividly once more. Even now, she could barely recall his features to memory. He had truly become a revenant haunting Sounsyy's mind, hazy and imperceptible. Her slender hand reached into her leggings as she tried to recall the first part of the dream. She touched herself to the memory of how he'd felt that last night, but all she could remember was the cold and the dirt. She let out a long sigh, one of sorrow not of pleasure, and hoped for sleep to take her again.

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