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Marishi Ten

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About Marishi Ten

  • Rank
    Citizen
  • Birthday February 21

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  • Gender
    Female
  • Location
    Hydaelyn
  • Interests
    Clothcrafting, smoking, exploring new areas, reading new books or uncovering something unknown
  • Occupation
    Adventurer/Sell Sword

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    Marishi Ten#8297

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  1. Marishi Ten

    The World of Savages [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    The quiet in the ruined hamlet was deafening. The wind had picked up on the coast and blew dust and embers in the air from the small fires still burning from the destroyed homes. Some had been spared. Larger two-story homes, lavishly built and adorned with fine tapestries and rugs. Marishi slowly walked through the empty town. Though it had only been hours since their altercation with the inquisitors, it seemed a lifetime. She entered one of the spare buildings. It was dark and quiet. As the stepped on the floorboards, they quietly squeaked. She entered the hall with polished and varnished hardwood. Upstairs were the bedroom suites. An affluent family had slept there once, there bodies strewn across their back lawn. Riddled with countless wounds from weapons no longer impaled upon them. An adult male and female along with two girls and a boy. All Elezen. The children weren’t yet 12 years old. Dead left to bloat and rot in the Sun. Marishi had spared no one. She hunted every single one down and executed them all. The signs of a meal could be seen and smelt in the home. They were sitting down to eat as the alarm bells tolled warning it’s people that an imminent threat was upon them. A threat none in the Hamlet took seriously. What could two emaciated and small Miquot’e female pose? She found herself in the family’s great room. Lavishly adorned. Woven rugs and plush couches. A stone fireplace. Bookshelves filled to the brim lined the walls. The light from the candelabras still burned and the curtains had been pulled back to let the light of the Sun in. The windows that were to let fresh air in let in wafts of smoke, ash, and the smell of burning bodies. In the corner of the great room sat a large and unused grand piano. An import from the mainland, left to be a decoration and not a musical instrument. It was handmade and the wood molded with carvings of woodland animals stained a dark red, the white and black keys standing out in contrast. She slowly sat down at the piano chair with a painful sigh, her joints creaking and popping. She clenched and unclenched her long and spindly fingers several times to work the pain from them. The affects of her summoning. She hadn’t noticed at first, but every day, she had a harder and harder time standing. Her muscles were tight and her bones ached. Her hands wouldn’t obey her commands and were constantly stiff and sensitive. Clenching and holding objects began to cause her pain. Arthritis was beginning to set in. Though she was well over 90 years old, she had never contracted the affliction. The byproduct of being ageless. The curse given to her by the Primal she found in the depths of the Thaliak River. The conjuring of weapons and turning against her masters unraveled the agelessness she was given. She was growing older and an exponential rate. Streaks of began to show in her red hair. She hid the silver by changing the styling of her hair and opted to braid it and lay it to one side down her left shoulder. She was markedly more tired and would flag behind where she would normally be reaching her peak. She could feel the weight of age press on her chest and push her into the earth until she could no longer draw breath. She had forgotten what it was like to become old, to become infirm, to become weak. Marishi stretched her hands to the polished keys and lightly laid her left and right hands down while moving her right foot to the pedals underneath the great piano. She sat a moment in silence not moving, waiting for the pain in her hands to subside and for the melody to come to her mind. Her thoughts drifted back to her childhood and her boarding school in Ishgard. She was among the Scholastate of the clergy and would stay entire seasons while her father risked his own life to provide for his daughter logging and taking odd jobs. All the children were instructed on the divinity, but were also taught how to behave and perform in polite society. They attended music theory, mathematics, physics, philosophy, etiquette, languages, and hierarchy. All so they would know their place. All so they would feel forever in debt to the church and its benevolence. Marishi had proven adept at the piano. Her analytical thought allowing her to see and hear the keys played. She couldn’t compose or write her own Dirge’s, Waltzes, Valse’s, Foxtrot’s, Ballad’s, Minne’s, Nocturne’s, Minuet’s, Mazurka’s, Requiem’s, Etude’s, or Operetta’s, but she could play what others had written and even commit a few to memory. It had been decades since she had sat down at a piano. She never told Rae she could play. Marishi wasn’t fond of speaking about her past, especially about her time at the Scholastate. Her beatings from the cadre and children for being lowborn and different. For questioning the teachings of a church losing its grasp on its people. The isolation and loneliness she felt for her father leaving her to monsters that abused their power. He couldn’t have known the white city of Ishgard was black from corruption and lies. The glistening spires made the city look like heaven to the man who was never allowed to enter the city. Only through the generosity and pity of others was his daughter given passage and only on the condition that she would never become more than a Nun. He couldn’t fathom the corruption and politics of the church. No one could see it from the outside. Deacons and Priests lavishly treated all to pass a good word to the Arch Bishop. An unceasing war they had stoked out of greed and fear. Their enemy sieging their city for hundreds of years. An enemy they created. The senseless murder of Nidhogg’s sister caused the strongest of the first brood to be driven mad with grief and anger. His ire set upon the eternal torment of Ishgard and her heretical people. Ishgard did not deserve absolution. It did not deserve salvation. Yet, the city was eventually delivered and Nidhogg put to rest. Marishi’s thoughts sad from thinking of her past, the rotting corpses of the family she had butchered outside the home, and her own failing body, she began to play. The blood man, woman, boy, girl, young, old still caked, dry, and cracked on her nails and her hands, her fingers moved slowly, playing the melancholic song she barely remembered. The song was somber and filled with a quiet sadness. The low keys lamenting and blending with the high keys soft weeping. Her fingers moved to the melody, her left playing the rhythm and her right the lead. She never looked at the keys, she didn’t have to. Her body swayed to the music and her head would fall as she hit the keys. She became lost in the sadness of the music, finding some comfort in the deep baritone and steady tempo. As she played, she began to cry. She wept for the family she murdered, the town she destroyed, the men who were slaughtered defending their families. She wept for her own wasted life. Her father, her childhood, The Battle of Carteneau Flats, Her expulsion from The Twin Adders, her foray into Alexander. She lamented her arrangement with the Primal. Her tears fell onto the ivory keys as she continued to play. They came harder when she thought of her first encounter with Rae. In that moment, she was filled with regret and shame for meeting her on that Sun-drenched landing in Ul’Dah. The light so bright it made the sandstone of the masonry shimmer white bleaching out all color, the heatwaves dancing and the mirages glistening. The tempo slowed as the despair began to overwhelm her. The thoughts of the nights Her and Rae spent under the stars, Rae laughing and smiling, Marishi listening. She rarely smiled and she didn’t laugh. Even with Rae. She thought about their wedding. Rae’s family and friends in full attendance. Marishi’s side was empty. She had no friends and her family had been long since dead. Buried under the eternal ice and snow of Coerthas. The tempo picked back up as she was reaching the crescendo while her thoughts drifted to her time under the employ of Rowena. “Odd Jobs” she had described it. A pretty way of saying wet work. Those that didn’t pay or those that were a threat to the House of Splendors had a visit paid by one of Rowena’s associates. To be shaken down, or put in the ground. Her thoughts drifted to the camp of the Ala Mhigan Resistance and her assault at the hands at one of their officers that caused Marishi to lose the ability to see out of her right eye, disfigure her, and never know another peaceful night’s rest. She thought about that man often, even though he was long dead. She could still feel the metal of his mailed hand hit her in the side of the face, cutting open her skin. She could feel the bone begin to cave and her oculus tear. She could feel the pain as he broke her arm and pummeled her to death. She could still remember what it felt like to lay prostrate, senseless, blind, broken, and scared as she was then stripped and had what little left violated and taken from her. Her anger overwhelmed her sadness as the song reached it’s crescendo and her fingers hammered the keys with force. The song called for a falling motif and she reverted back to caressing the piano with sad and soft glides of her fingers. She thought of Rae’s face after what was done to her and the shame she felt. The sadness that something was forever gone and it was taken away from her. She thought of their time attempting to heal the wounds suffered. Physical, mental, and emotional. Just as she was scarred and would never fully heal physically, so to would her psyche. She knew it hurt Rae to know that. She knew it hurt Rae when Marishi would withdraw from the mortal world, instead turning inward and looking for a way out. Her down spiral caused more than one failed attempt to bring about her own end. Something else she never told her wife. As the keys began their final strumming, she thought about The New World. She thought about their voyage on behest of Marishi’s employer. She thought about the feeling of foreboding she felt stepping foot on the shores. She thought about the Mamool Ja. The poor Mamool Ja, now an endangered species. Their thanks for making Marishi their own. She thought about the Wendigo and their sickness. Drawing Marishi into their world to weaken her already wavering spirit. She thought about the pact forged with the Old Gods and their “gift” they bestowed. A power that kills the bearer. She thought about Rae’s illness and decent into madness and fear. Marishi knew those feelings and her heart filled with pity and sadness that her own wife had to endure that level of pain. She thought about the traitor Hime and her peculiar urn. She thought about the strange people that took them in, flushed Rae of the illness, taught Marishi how to control her magic and even lend it to another. She thought of their generosity as they bestowed Marishi and Rae gifts, food, and shelter. She thought about their insistence to war and burn the Mamool Ja, and colonists to the ground. She thought about her altercation with Hime when Marishi began to suspect she wasn’t all that she seemed. The final notes rang out soft and sad, hanging in the air, reverberating through the now empty house. She set her bloodstained hands in her lap and stared at them. Her audience would give her no applause or beg for an encore. They would say nothing ever again. The only sound was the faint popping of wood being carried in by the wind. The smell still of smoke, ash, and charred bodies. The Sun casting a sickly brown orange light as evening wore on. The smoke filtering the light. Marishi sighed sadly and softly. “I learned that song when I was a child. It always gave me comfort when the dark recesses of my mind threatened to overwhelm me. A pity.” Marishi continued. “It gives me nothing but regret now. For the things I’ve done to myself, to you, to others, and the things that I am to do in the coming storm.” Marishi looked up to the silhouette in the doorframe. “The Sharlayn’s have already heard of what happened here. They’ll mobilize Alexander at this act of aggression. Hime can be graciously thanked for that. He will destroy all who oppose. This was doomed to blood and ash from the beginning.” Marishi looked up from her hands. She looked old. Dark smudges under her eyes showing her exhaustion and inner turmoil. Faint lines around the tips of her mouth forming frown lines. Greying hair peeking out of her braid. Her hands bony, knuckles and joints red and inflamed. Her skin a shade of death and dry. “The crown weighs heavy. But it’s not yours to bear. I’m no longer asking you to flee. I’m telling you. Don’t defy me or I’ll phase you all the way to your Mother’s. You’ll never be able to escape her clutches, if you remember the number she did me when we first met. I still have the scars from the beating that old woman gave me.” Marishi smirked slightly. “That was a good fight.” Marishi turned to look at the setting Sun and suddenly smiled. “What they say is true: We either die heroes or we live long enough to become villains. Or, maybe, I was a villain all along.” She paused a moment before finishing. “Who cares if I come back alive? At least I had the strength to fight.” “You know,” Marishi said. “There are closets of clothes here in the master upstairs. I bet you could find a nice slinky dress that you could wear while I put on something formal and we could make this a duet. You sing, I play. Would you do me the honor? What would you fancy on hearing? It’d be nice to not be a monster and forget the things I’ve done. Even if for a short time.” Her tone was almost begging. A reprieve from the memories of death and guilt for snuffing out the candles of the world. Large and small. Indoors, it was impossible to see, but in the dying light of the day light dancing off the ever-shifting waves of the ocean, the Sun reflected light off something that did not sway with the oceans flow. It glistened gold and copper, resembling a crab, but polished metal. It’s legs slowly lurching forward. Surrounded by skiffs, corsairs, frigates, and dreadnoughts all manned and armed to the teeth. Among the Armada could be spotted ships flying the flags of Sharlaya, Limsa Lominsa, Ul’Dah, Gridania, Ishgard, Yanxia, Doma, Sui-No-Sato, Rabanastre, Ala Mhigo, and even the flag of Rowena of The House of Splendors and The Scions of The Seventh Dawn. The entire might of the continents Islabard, The Far East, and Eorzea brought to bear. As the Sun dipped below the horizon and night veiled its cloak over the land, a single brightly glowing red eye came to life on the contraption as the Armada continued its journey. The mainland finally in sight, where their war would be waged on who would be the inheritors and rightful Gods and Rulers. The Captains and the Kings would be making landfall within the week.
  2. Marishi Ten

    The World of Savages [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    “Hmph. If only a few trinkets could pacify an entire society and convince them to just share hunting grounds. Don’t hold too fast to that hope.” Marishi said to Rae upon showing her the jewels she was given. “Have you forgotten how warlike they are? Even on Eorzea they value strength and power over anything else. Don’t you remember the stories of their enslavement of the Tonberries?” Marishi chided Rae. She was trying to prepare her wife for what was to undoubtedly come. Blood, fire, ash, and death. “Forgive me. I am weary. I have found rest to be elusive.” Marishi said slowly. She sat a moment in the dark, trying to find the words to explain her feelings. “I am no longer bound to Alexander. Whatever link I shared is gone, replaced by chains. I suppose I should be thankful that I still do not age, but you do. I don’t know how long we’ve been here. The days bleed together and what feels like days may very well be months or years.” Marishi sighed. She couldn’t explain her anxiety or pensiveness. Something was pushing on her to move and to take action. There was an urgency and feeling of drowning. “Something isn’t right. There are forces moving against us. I can feel it.” Hime strode past the two without speaking, but flashed an innocent and happy smile as she bounced, her step cheery. Marishi frowned as she passed. Her eyes belied cunning and intelligence even if mildly addled. “I know you like her. But there’s something about her that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. She’s too helpful and far too curious. She has a book she scribbles things in when she thinks no one is looking and she has a habit of disappearing from time to time.” Marishi turned to look Rae in eyes. “Make no mistake, she’s not as crazy as she’d like people to think and her loyalty is not to us or to these people.” Marishi retired for the evening feigning exhaustion. She wanted to be alone with her thoughts and sort out what she felt. As she laid on her side buried under animal skins, sleep stole upon her. The sky was a dark grey, heavy and oppressive. The ground was grey and the only sound she could hear was the ripping wind though no breeze could be felt. She was dressed in the garments given to her. The clouds had malevolence and felt like they would press and crush her into the earth. Marishi stood quiet, not looking at anything, but listening. There were voices upon the roaring wind. When they spoke, the clouds would break and lightning would flash. “The time is soon at hand. You are called to fulfill your covenant. Become the weapon for our survival. Our revenge. Enemies are preparing for war. All have sacrificed for you. Now you must sacrifice for all.” The voice boomed and rolled like thunder. Marishi couldn’t discern the voice to any single entity. Many voices in unison called. Male and female. Old and young. There was an urgency to the tone. Though it spoke as the choice was already made, Marishi had free will. “You have the illusion of free will. The path was laid the moment you accepted the gifts you have been given.” The voice was female and snide in tone. Mocking Marishi’s thought. She spun around to face the voice. She didn’t register immediately what she saw. It was like looking into the mirror. If that mirror took the reflection and twisted the image to show the ugliness that’s inside and put it on display for all to see. It was Marishi, but grotesque. Her eyes were hollow and black, the sockets oozing black liquid that streaked down her corpse white cheeks. Her hair was matted and flat in color. Emaciated and gaunt cheeks. Her lips were blood red and mouth a black chasm. Her voice seemed to come from the ground itself. Close and yet far away. Her movement was akin to a contorted puppet. Jerking and haphazard. Her fingers were long and spidery with black grime under the nails. Her clothing was as black as her eyes. Marishi was disgusted and repulsed. The feeling of panic rising within her as the reflection spoke to her. “Don’t be so shocked. After all, we’re one in the same.” The reflection said, mocking Marishi. “Don’t bother asking what I am. You already know. I’m you. You agreed to the arrangement. You took the gifts bestowed upon you and you accepted the consequences of taking. Nothing is free.” Marishi realized that she was looking at what she would become. Eternally bound to the plane between by the Gods that gave her strength. This was her fate. She could never escape. “Feeling sorry for yourself? Regret? Remorse? Won’t change a thing. There is no going back. You can only go forward. Soon, you will be required to fulfill your oath. You will be the sword that cuts down those who would oppress your benefactors. You will be the shield that defends their faithful. Destruction, death, pain. This is all you know how to inflict. This is why you were chosen. Stop denying who you are. I know because I’m you. Your companions can’t save you. If anything, they will betray you. She is working against you and will betray you. You will see.” The voice of her reflection came muffled, but perfectly understood. The reflection moved towards Marishi with alarming speed. She could smell the scent of decay and death. She felt sick and woozy. “Don’t worry, I’ll never leave you. Together, we will have our satisfaction and punish those who would stand against us. The Eorzean’s settlements are expanding and enslaving. They have had their way long enough and must be stopped. Send a message to their leaders in their white towers that the voiceless refuse to succumb and blood can only be repaid in kind. We will not fade away.” Marishi’s psyche could take no more as she began to sway and fall. She could feel the cold and clammy touch of the reflection as its nails dug into her arms as she felt her mind slip away. Marishi awoke with her heart racing. She didn’t call out or scream. As the feeling of sleep wore away, so did the feeling of terror she felt, but she could still remember the words and the voice of herself. There was something else in the voice. Marishi couldn’t place it, but there was a feeling that the reflection was trying to convince Marishi to accept what she was told. Odd, if the future has already been written and fate is cannot be denied. If that were true, there would be no need to remind her of her lot and convince her to do what others would want. Her mind and her decisions were her own. The feeling gave her strength and refused to allow her to be overwhelmed by the darkness inside her. The distrust in Hime lingered. Too much didn’t add up with her. Her conveniently lucid moments, her questioning and knowledge gathering. She couldn’t be trusted. She was a threat. The feeling of danger and suspect forced Marishi to rise from her bed. She rose slowly and quietly as to not disturb Rae who slept next to her. She dressed and silently left the small quarters headed in the direction of Hime’s room. Marishi would wring the truth and motives from her if she had to. The wooden door was closed. Not unusual. Marishi placed her ear to the door and strained to hear. There was no sound. No rustling, no shifting, no breathing. She placed her hand on the knob and attempted to open the door. Hime had locked it. Marishi stood in the dark for a moment then smiled. Locks could stop most, but not her. She took a step to the door and faded away. Marishi phased back on the other side of the door with a soft blue light. She looked around the chamber. Hime wasn’t in the small room. Marishi quickly searched the room for the notebook that she had seen Hime scribble into. She searched in the end table and even in the chipped and odd urn that Hime carried. The urn glowed a soft pink as Marishi tipped it slightly to look inside. Nothing. Hime hadn’t slept in the bed as the sheets were still fresh and the bed made. Outside the door, footsteps could be heard. Soft and light. A shadow cast itself under the door and the sound of a key fitting the lock and sliding back the bolt was heard. Marishi blended into the shadows of the room corner, invisible to all. As the door opened, Hime entered. She sighed and laid her notebook on the table. She began to sit down on the bed, but stopped. She was looking at the urn. She stood all the way up and without turning, she said, “I know you’re here. Don’t make me drag you from the darkness.” Marishi stepped into the small light of the candle that burned on the table. “Impressive that you knew I was here.” She said. “Wilson is a terrible sentry, but excellent watcher.” Hime said as she turned to face Marishi. “What is it you want? Sneaking around places you aren’t invited. You’re lucky I didn’t flush you out and burn the flesh from your body.” Her tone was calm and Hime was collected and fully lucid. “I was concerned over your wellbeing. I’ve been told there have been sightings of someone slipping in and out of the temple grounds, on top of reports of strangers skulking about.” Marishi replied, staring at Hime. “Hmph, Wilson would never let anything happen to me!” Hime chirped, her voice high pitched. “Drop the act. You’re not fooling me anymore. If you’re crazy then I’m a noble lord of Ishgard.” Marishi said with disdain. Hime stood a moment looking at Marishi and shrugged. “You know nothing. I was just taking a stroll, is all.” “A stroll, notebook in hand? A notebook filled with secrets and findings? Shared with your contact for months. You didn’t honestly think that you were that clever, did you? That no one would notice?” “Pretty strong accusations coming from a traitor to her own people.” Marishi retorted, “Me? Traitor? That’s rich coming from you, collaborator. Abandoned by your own, yet you crawl back to them the moment you have something they want, is it? You’re not crazy, but you are stupid. If you don’t think they will bury you the moment they are satisfied with what you’ve given them, you have another thing coming.” “You have no proof of any wrongdoing. You have your paranoid thoughts that are fragmented from your new found magics. Do you even know the difference between reality and your own conjuring anymore? How sad. I wonder what Rae will say? Poor thing, her own consort consumed by her own suspicion.” A flash of light flared and crystal weapons began to spin around Marishi. She had enough. Hime was prepared and countered with magics of her own. A blast of wind threw Marishi off balance in the small room as she willed her armiger to pierce Hime. The weapons shattered inches away from her body as Hime summoned a barrier against the arms. Hime countered the attack by a flash of blinding white light and a blaze of fire to incinerate Marishi. Stunned by the light, Marishi was caught off guard. She could feel the heat and the air sizzle. Marishi instinctively put her hands in front of her creating a frosted crystalline shield to prevent her from burning alive. As the fire began to die down, another blast hit her. A flash of light and a boom of sound that concussed her. Hime had created a bolt of superheated lightning to strike down Marishi. Marishi winced in pain feeling the singed skin and smelling the burnt hair. Hunched down and staring defiantly at Hime, Marishi summoned dozens of weapons materialized in a flash of light spinning in groups of five, aimed at her target as the door splintered and hung wildly on one hinge. A group of Nyctalus stood in the doorway. “Why fight eachother?” Said one quietly. Hime dropped her stance and sunk to her knees weeping and sobbing incoherently. “She’s … trying to … kill me! Please help me! Where is Rae?!”
  3. Marishi Ten

    The World of Savages [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    An eerie quiet was all that could be heard as Marishi was shaken from her internal thoughts. She had found Rae on the well worn and boot trodden commons. The Sun was bright and the smell of the ocean was strong in the breeze. She stood next to her and stared past the death they had brought down to the settlement. Her boot heels ringing lightly on the stone as she strode up to her. They stood there, side by side not speaking, but on the same wavelength. Marishi was the first to speak. “This sortie was less fruitful than I would have liked. They have an idea of the powers of this land, most likely from Hime directly. They don’t understand it and thus they fear it. They knew the truth of the settlement before arriving anyway.” She said. There was a bitter taste in her mouth. The metal taste of iron. She grimaced before she spoke her next thoughts. “They’re not done. They’re going to leverage the settlement against us and push propaganda to mobilize their war machines. They want the land and it’s secrets. They will not stop. They will never stop. When they bring their citadels here, there will be nothing we can do. I can’t conjure an army. I can barely provide you with the fraction that you need to summon.” Marishi swallowed. She had always been pale, but she had taken on a shade lighter than normal. Her eyes dark and smudged. The more she drew upon the strength that she had been given the weaker she became. The rules applied to those who drew from her. The more that was drawn, the more that’s consumed. When the wick of her life ran out, her debt would be called in, services would be rendered in blood. The link the two shared allowed the other to feel what the other was feeling, not thinking. Marishi chose to keep the sapping of her strength from Rae. It wouldn’t do any good for her to hesitate to use it in fear of hurting Marishi. She grimaced again at the taste of blood in her mouth. Her hair had begun to darken to a deep red with strands of black. Beneath the clothing she had been given by the people she was charged to protect black tendrils like veins traced along her skin. She hid this by not being seen without covering herself. “It matters little. They will come and we will make our stand. The cogs have been put into motion and there is no stopping what’s coming now. We signed our death warrants long ago. Grab that traitor and bring her here. Unblindfold her, but keep her gagged and restrained. Make sure she sees what she has caused. They came because of her reports. Hime will decide her own fate. She can join us or she can join her countrymen that lay slaughtered and bloating in the Sun.” Marishi had stayed with Rae during her recovery. Hidden in the shadows of the room a ghost watching over her. She felt guilt for her selfishness and ignoring the plights of her wife. She was so wrapped up in her own struggles that she didn’t see Rae’s suffering. Days passed. Rae slept, her body working to repair the damage caused. Marishi spoke little to Hime opting to keep her thoughts to herself, despite Hime’s attempts to engage her often times providing short and terse responses, or none at all. Marishi was prone to walk alone with nothing but her thoughts as Rae recovered. She would tread the silent and abandoned halls left to crumble and weather. She would explore the expansive temple grounds passing the time. She watched the Nyctalus go about their tasks and their way of life. Nocturnal creatures that could not bear the glare of the Sun. Their leader would at times be present and speak with Marishi. About the Gods they worshipped, the magics they bestowed upon those that forged covenants with them. It instructed Marishi on how to harness the abilities and bend them to her will. It told her about the boons and limitations of summoning armaments. She could lend her strength to others if the bond between the two was intimate enough and the need was strong enough. During one of her excursions, she found herself in a silent and unkept chapel. Pews were splintered and tapestries mildewed and faded. Tomes adorned a decaying bookshelf. As she touched the brittle and disintegrating pages, the Nyctalus leader silently stood behind her. “Many years church stood. Hardships caused people to turn away. Salvation never came. Many years, people forget old ways. Forget more than old ways. Forget old gifts given.” It said. The voice had startled Marishi. She had prided herself on her senses. Knowing what and who was around her. She replied with a harsh voice, attempting to mask the trembling in her voice. “Such is the way of religion. Deities speak their will to mortals who cannot hope to understand it. Instead of accepting the limitation, they twist the message to suit their own desires. They use the power as a means of manipulation and control. People tend to reject the things that oppress them. Don’t put faith in religion. Put faith in yourself.” The Nyctalus considered her words a moment. “Wise words, if not flawed. Gods exist. This is truth you know. You house the power inside you. Do not deny and deceive self. Pain and suffering only follows.” Marishi replied “I decide my own fate. Not ancient mummies pining over halcyon days. We don’t need them. They need us.” The leader emitted a clicking noise that could be considered laughter. “Perhaps. Spirit you contain. Wait here. Have gift for you.” Marishi frowned. She didn’t want to take from these people that already had to very little, but no protestations would have any impact. People’s will be their own. Shortly after the Nyctalus left, it returned with a bundle in its arms. It set the bundle on one of the last standing tables nearby. “Come. Open. Take. Use.” It motioned to Marishi. She set the tome she had in her hands back on the shelf and walked quietly over to the table. She used her tanto to cut the twine that secured the bundle and opened the canvas wrap. Inside the wrapping she found her gift. Garments whose date couldn’t be determined. They were relics from the days of old. Who made them, why, and for who lost to the ebb and flow of time? They were finely made. Much more so than anything presently. The chainmail was lacqured black and gave off a soft sheen. The links made almost no sound when shifting. Over the chainmail was a pure black Osode with golden trim and designed in motifs of the Far East. The Osode was form fitting as if it were custom fitted just for her lithe figure. Inside the wrap were finely made Tekko. Dyed black, the leather was tooled expertly with the same motifs as the Osode. The fingers cut away to allow for movement and dexterity. The Hakama were also lined with fine chainmail, black in color. The Hakama were more akin to tights and fit as such, clinging to the thighs to allow for muffled movement and accent the curves of the body. The leggings tooled the same as the Osode and Tekko with soft silver threading. “It’s beautiful.” Marishi said almost speechless. She had never seen anything like it and it’s craftmanship unapparelled. “Try on. Protect from arrows, swords, magic. Silent as Nyctalus. Please, wear.” It said. Humbled by Marishi’s words. They walked back to her quarters where she changed into her gifted clothing. It snugly fit while allowing for full freedom of movement. She strode silently and only made noise when she wanted to and only then by the soft clicking of the heels of her boots. Marishi was there when Rae awoke. In the shadows she let out a sigh of relief knowing Rae would survive. Her recovery was swift and as her wife was on the mend, Marishi spent time with her. She spoke of what had happened during and after the altercation at Hime’s cabin. She spoke of the things the Nyctalus did for them. They healed them, cared for them, fed them, bathed them, clothed them, taught them. Marishi spoke of the tomes she had read and what the Nyctalus had instructed her. She spoke about harnessing the magics she had been bestowed and how to lend that strength to Rae. The days bled into weeks, the weeks bled into months. Seasons turned into years. The time that passed seemed to speed by in the blink of an eye. Hime was full of questions about Marishi’s gift. How she used it and how one might harness it. Her normal irrational state was replaced with a cold and intense logic. Recording every word said and even attempts with experimentation of channeling through Marishi. “It doesn’t work that way, Hime.” Marishi said. “There needs to be something special between the two. It can’t just be taken as a loan. The link needs to be strong and unbending.” Hime scoffed. “What stupidity. Why would there be such asinine limitations on something so handy? There has to be a way to harness it.” She was insistent to the point of obsession. “Maybe, but drawing upon the well leaves less water for the drought. It taxes and pains me. I’ve allowed these poke and prod exams because you saved our lives and we owe a debt. But I can’t continue while maintaining a semblance of health. You have enough research to fill a bookshelf.” Marishi said. Hime frowned and her eyes narrowed. She muttered beneath her breath and walked away. Clearly unhappy that Marishi was unwilling to continue being her experiment. As the Nyctalus brought Rae to the fire, Marishi and Hime stood apart from one another and not looking at each other. As Rae bowed, Marishi spoke. “The Eastern settlers are committing genocide. They want land. They want resources. They want knowledge. They want power. They won’t just let you live in peace. Your last stand is upon you. Willing or not. The Mamool Ja may be reasoned with, but not the colonists. They will continue to kill and pillage everything.” The Nyctalus spoke sadly. “Yes. Each day, smooth skins drive further and further into forests, into jungles, onto plains. Killing, burning, harvesting, cutting, hunting.” Hime scoffed. “Oh, please. It’s not like there isn’t enough to go around. Just because you’re used to all this wealth doesn’t mean you’re entitled to it. We just want to live, learn, and survive.” Marishi glared at Hime and retorted, “And we’re entitled to it? We’re invaders that spread hate, war, pestilence, and greed. Have you been isolated so long that you’ve forgotten how our people treat anyone and anything different? Have you forgotten what we did to the Garleans? We created their empire for them and when they pushed back, we cried imperialism. You don’t get it both ways. You know what – “Marishi was cut off by the Nyctalus. “Many envoys sent to discuss coexisting. None return. Nyctalus can no longer survive.” Hime muttered into her scarf “I highly doubt that.” “I’m not a savior and I’m not a voice for a people. I don’t know how to change the hearts and minds of men. I don’t think there is a way. I know how to take life, not protect it. Talking and coexisting rarely is successful. Freedom is fought for and paid for in blood and bodies. You have taken us in. Without your aid, we would have frozen and died in the plains. My wife would be dead. You saved her without knowing if we were friend or foe. You may still have your doubts.” Marishi glanced at Hime who stared at her with a blank expression. “You respect life and only want the same returned to you. I don’t know what power I have, if any, but I can’t stand by and let an entire species be struck down because of the greed of others. I’ve done horrible things in the service of those that work against you. Things that there is no redemption for. But I will do anything and everything I can to protect your people from becoming extinct.” Marishi said.
  4. Marishi Ten

    The World of Savages [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    A loud sigh echoed across the room. “Are you afflicted? Do you actually think that I’m going to believe in some mystical power from Gods never uttered and a people never recorded? Please, don’t insult my intelligence. I’m not going to let you waste my time.” There was very clear irritation in the man’s voice. His patience had worn thin listening to this clearly deranged female yammer on about things that aren’t possible and have nothing to do with his inquisition. “Let alone the fact that I’m not here to listen to your life story. I don’t care. I don’t care about you. I don’t care about your consort. I’m here to find out about the settlement that vanished in the span of a night. If you can’t tell me what happened, then you’re of no use to me and the hangman is only a shout away. Let’s see if your ‘magical powers no one has ever heard of’ can help you.” He said shortly. There was quiet in the room as he stared coldly at Marishi. She sat there, staring at the floor, but focused on nothing. The Scholar clicked his tongue to the roof of his mouth and rose to his feet. “What a waste you are. I’ll not sit here while you weave a story. Guards!” He shouted as he moved towards the door. Marishi muttered a small sigh as she looked up at him. “You don’t seem to understand what’s happening. I’m not locked in here with you. You’re locked in here with me.” Two guards entered the room armed with short swords and armored. A bright light flashed that seemed to originate from nowhere as fragments of clear crystal blinked into existence and fell to the floor. From the air, weapons of all types, swords, rapiers, scimitars, daggers, wakizashi’s, katanas, glaives, great swords, and shuriken’s formed consisting of clear refractive glass. As they formed, they took aim at the small group of men and sailed through the air, hammering into the two guards with enough force to impale them through banded mail, leather, cloth, flesh, and bone. The weapons hit them with such force that upon impact, small clouds of red like crimson mist came from the wounds as they were shoved back and pinned to the wall, lifted from their feet and hung like morbid tapestries. Blood spattered and mouth agape, the man turned his head to stare at Marishi who never took her eyes from him. She stared at him calmly with an expression of slight sadness. Not for herself, but for the man that forced her hand. “If I remember correctly, inquisitor, our arrangement was clear in the fact that you were to bring what I asked for. No matter. She will be here shortly. Once she’s done with your companion who was also sent here to interrogate her. Oh, yes. I know all about your mission. You were never going to free us. You were going to pry what secrets we have and then you were going to have us knifed or poisoned on the way back.” Marishi said coldly, her voice beginning to rise in anger. Crystal wakizashi’s formed from the aether and slammed into the investigator shoulders. One on each side, lifting him into the air and slamming him into the wooden table, securing him in place with a scream of pain and anger as Marishi moved towards the slightly ajar door. Outside she could hear faint shouts and screams from the outside. Rae was cleaning up. “This was … your plan … all along?! To be … caught?!” the man said through clenched teeth. Marishi chuckled sarcastically. “Something like that. Come, even you can see the irony in all of this. A contingent of men sent to conquer and subdue by any means. Land, beast, man. Your craving for knowledge is your own undoing. You would wipe from the land anything that you deem not fit. You would eradicate anything that opposes your revision of what the truth is. There is no truth. You have encroached, subjugated, maimed, and killed those native to these lands. And for what? For you and your ilk to hoard that knowledge and snuff out the voices of an entire continent. You all tout yourselves as neutral while burying the knife in the backs that confuse your malice for generosity.” The man’s pale green eyes flared in anger as he struggled a retort. “You know nothing of me. You know nothing of Sharlayn. If you did, you would know that a dozen men mean nothing when so much is at stake. Do you actually think we’d just trust information to a clearly afflicted researcher? You’ll kill me, but I go to my end satisfied knowing that you won’t be far behind me.” She was on her feet staring down at the table clearly unhappy. A scowl marring her forehead as thirteen crystal weapons materialized from the ceiling, poised to mutilate the Scholar. “All who step on these shores are dead. The land will not suffer insolence and insult from trespassers.” Marishi said. “Including you and your heathen Gods. All burns to ashes.” The man sputtered as the weapons slammed into his body, bludgeoning bone, cleaving flesh, battering body, severing limbs. Blood pumping bright red from the lacerations and splashing to the floor. The Scholar choking on the blood flowing from his mouth. “Only dust shall remain.” Marishi finished quietly as the crystal weapons dematerialized dropping the room into shadow as their light faded. She lingered in the room frowning at the words that were spoken. She couldn’t be sure, but she knew that his threats were more than words. Sharlaya could mobilize against the perceived aggression and take it as an act of war. The perfect excuse needed for them to bring armies to these shores. She thought back to the mobile citadel of Alexander. The impervious home that could bring searing judgement against all who would stand against their idea’s and vision. Marishi, Rae, and Hime would be powerless to stop them. Even with the gifts that Marishi and Rae had been given. Unhappy, she spun on the heel of her boot and left the small room, walking up the stairs into the afternoon light. Striding through the small hamlet that was now deathly quiet. Bodies showing wounds that had been made from swords, bows, knives, and clubs. Weapons that were no longer willed into existence by the one that had called them from beyond. Marishi went out in search of Rae listening for any screams of pain as her wife silenced the last of this jailers and executors. Marishi’s mind wandered back to the small chambers she found Rae in, recovering from her illness…
  5. Marishi Ten

    The World of Savages [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    Marishi could see Rae in visible shock and pain, but she kept silent. She walked along the crumbling and disintegrating walkway leading into the forgotten temple able to see the jerking and twisting prisoners of the building. Her mind convulsed as she could recognize them from the world she could blink into at will. Her thoughts turned inwards as she thought of that plane of shadow. The Revelations she was provided. The Covenant she forged. Every time she called upon the ancient Gods of an ancient and forgotten religion, she came closer to them. Their coos and calls promising to keep her. Marishi could hear them whispering in unison. Chanting and praying. She didn’t recognize any of the prayers. A long dead incantation repeating to long forgotten gods waning as man poured their faith into twelve men and women who had replaced them after the great fall of the Allagan Empire. The New World had long forgotten deities holding the last of their faithful in thrall to sustain their own existence. This is where her abilities had originated and where she was now bound. Every time she blinked out of the mortal plane, she would arrive in the world between realities. Time and physics bent, their laws twisted. She would phase in and out in a fraction of second, but in the shadow plane, time would dilate. Without her ability, Rae would be dead. Marishi would be dead. Even the chipped and faded urn would be broken. As she thought about this and as they ventured further into the temple, she could feel the strength of the forgotten flow. The knowledge of what she could muster and conjure fill her mind. She could conjure spectral armaments of any weapon of her choice. She could cover huge stretches of land in the fraction of a second. She could create barriers and shields. She could enhance her allies’ own weapons and augment them with this magic. All at a cost. Her life, her soul, her being. Blood for blood. This was the trade she accepted from the desperate entities who loaned their weakened powers. Marishi felt the links of the chain fall and bind her. This was not the power of the Twelve. This was something as old as the land itself. Older than Garuda, Titan, Ravana, Bismark, Famfrit. Older than Oschon, Nymeia. Her mind snapped back to where she was and was being led as she began her slide down the slick stairs after Rae. As Rae called out asking the intention of their hosts the guardians called out, their disembodied voices lamenting that Rae was sick and feverish. The poison of the pollen working through her blood infecting her mind. As they turned to Marishi, she could feel the threat they posed. She could feel them probing and prodding her soul, feeling the experiences they had faced and the thoughts of her mind. As they demanded answers, Marishi’s instinct was to summon her crystal armiger. Thirteen weapons dancing around her flaring into a crystalline glow throwing prismatic rainbows from a light that originated from Marishi herself. The weapons encircled her spinning around her own orbit on their own intertia. The horrors took a step back from the light and the party, intimidated by the show. “I am the embodiment of those you have forgotten to serve. Those whom which you toil, but cannot remember. You will not harm us. The oath you have sworn that you cannot recall is to be fulfilled. Only then can you know freedom.” Marishi called out slowly. She was pale but her gaze was unflinching, even at these grotesque things. They made no move to move or respond. Waiting for Marishi to expand. Her weapons stopped spinning and held a moment in place before firing up into the black air towards a ceiling they couldn’t see. They multiplied and landed, impaling themselves to form rings around Rae, Hime, and Marishi. A barrier that protected them from the malevolence and ill. “You are being called upon by those you have devoted eternity to. I am their messenger.” The weapons flared in bright light creating pillars illuminating the three in a holy glow. “The return. The return.” The figures said in unison. Reverent and bowing, their deformed bodies hailing Marishi. Their dilated and black eyes upon the ground in pittance and praise. “Powers of Old Gods. New God of Old. Command us, oh Lord.” The thing that spoke to Rae said to Marishi. “No, no. You don’t understand.” Marishi stammered, but it was too late. “We are in need of aid. She’s sick.” Marishi tried not to choke on tears as the reality of the situation set in. It had all been so fast that she didn’t have time to think about how serious the situation was. Her wife was sick and not getting better. She could even be dying in a strange and unforgiving land. Underground in a temple forgotten by even time. Marishi was helpless. Even if she could remember the incantations of White Magic, she knew it would not come to her. “Aid. Yes. Venom is strong. Bring her for purging.” Their leader said. Hime stood to her feet and held an uneasy look. It was clear she didn’t trust anything that was happening. Not with a species she had never encountered and especially with the Miquot’e with the disfigured eye. “It seems there is no choice.” Hime said shortly. “I’ll stay with her. You, savior. Go do messiah things. I like her more than you anyway.” Marishi frowned. Hime was right. Marishi had been distant and aloof with Rae for months. It was easy to see the rift forming between them. Their exchanges had been transactional and brief since the moment they had left the Mamool Ja village. She felt a pang of guilt as she was to blame. Rae would try to tear the wall down and Marishi would raise it higher and higher. She couldn’t see past her own personal tribulations and had been selfish. Circumstance causing her to withdraw. She found it ironic that she would only see how selfish she had been only when Rae began to knock on Death’s Door. Even with her newfound abilities she was powerless to help the only person that tied her to the world. Marishi nodded to Hime and spun on her heel to face the leader of cultists. “She will want for nothing. Neither of them. If she fades, so do, your hopes of reprieve.” The leader shuffled. “Of course. Temple is large. Quarters shown.” It waved it’s hand to summon two others to assist Hime in moving Rae to the infirmary. The leader and Marishi walked slowly as it showed her the grounds. The temple was old. Far older than any other structure on Eorzea or the Far East. The inscriptions faded and unreadable. It spoke as they walked into the twilight hours. The founder kings which Marishi’s power originated, the forming of the church, the oaths they swore. The thousands of years they endured. Marishi couldn’t help but be wondered and moved by the stories. They stood on a small patio as the Sun began to break over snow covered mountains. “Savior will deliver? Release oath?” It spoke suddenly. Marishi, startled at the questions spoke slowly. “I will do everything in my power to release you, yes. That was the bargain.” The being spoke again with intelligence of eons. “Not real God. Chained. Like us. Mortal. Like us. People needed hope. Needed deliverance. Played part.” Marishi sighed. “I am no savior. What I do, I do for my own gain. I don’t know what I can do. But if I can, I will help you. I honestly don’t know what I’m doing or where I’m going anymore.” The leader seemed to regard her with sadness, but said nothing. As the Sun rose, one of their number arrived and whispered to it’s leader. It turned to Marishi and said, “Friend will live. Poison passed. Sleeping. Come.” It’s gangly hands tugged on her own pulling her away.
  6. Marishi Ten

    The World of Savages [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    A change had begun in Marishi. Like and unlike the animalistic transformation she had experienced. Her fingers were always cold with a tinge of blue to them. No matter how much she warmed them or what she did, they never warmed. She felt different inside. Like and unlike herself. Like a part of her instinct had activated and was on alert. She felt more aware of her spatial surroundings like she was keenly aware of all obstructions around her. She was quiet for nearly the entire time as Rae dressed and ate. Staring into the fire with a frown on her face. Lost to her own instinct of feeling the world around her instead of viewing it. “Wilson wants to know about you. He had an eyeful, but he wants to know where your clearly addled and simple mind goes staring into the fire.” Hime said. They had calmed Rae down where Marishi sat next to her and Hime by the door. Her wide and deranged eyes narrowing with razor focus and clarity of someone who was very, very sane. “Who I am is of no consequence. That tale is long and boring. We arrived on the New World some months ago upon orders as cartographers. We were intercepted by the local Mamool Ja which they taught us of the land and sheltered us. They even provided a guide until he departed.” Marishi said not looking away from the fire. “Superstitious people, the Mamool Ja. You were nearly gone when I found you. Wendigo. We’ve never seen anyone fight the sickness off. Not until you. Not cured though.” Hime said thoughtfully. As quickly as her clarity had taken, as quickly as it left and the addled look returned. “I don’t like you. Wilson says you’re important. How lucky you are. I’m not allowed to kill you.” The disturbed sound returned to her voice. Marishi returned the threat, “You’d find that the arms I wear I know how to wield. Astrologians may hold the knowledge of the heavens, but I hold skill with the blade. Besides, your magics are nominally honed. At best.” Marishi could see her aura and the aether swirl in a controlled fashion around her. She could feel an probe the magical shields she wove around herself. It was well built, but easily overpowered. “Strange a Samurai able to manipulate aether.” Hime’s violet eyes narrowed alarmingly again. “There is something you’re not admitting. What happened to you while you slept?” She asked. Marishi began, “That doesn’t concern you. I don’t – “her rebuttal was cut short by the sound of shuffling and knocking. The same sounds Rae had heard. Not hours before. The sound shook her from slumber and gripped Marishi’s icy hand. The knock came again, but this time harder. There was something there. All three had heard it. Marishi backed up a step. “I didn’t hear the first one, but I definitely heard that.” Marishi said slowly. Hime didn’t take her eyes from the door. “Agents of the darkness. They shouldn’t be able to step foot past the sigils, let alone find the cabin. Something drew them here.” She shifted her gaze, frowning, at Marishi. “Looks like the arms you wield will be put to the test. The other one cannot fight. She is too sick. They would overwhelm her.” Hime finished. Marishi knew Rae was in no shape to fight. Let alone to defend herself. She walked over to Rae and helped her stand to her feet while guiding her to the back of the room. Another pounding on the door. The wood could be head splitting under the hammering. Their guest’s patience began to run thin. “Stay here. It’s okay. We’ve faced far worse and made it out far better.” Marishi said to Rae, flashing a rare genuine smile, her eyes softening, her hands ice cold that bit through any outerwear. Marishi sat her down on a small mat on the floor. Hime took her place in front of her. Marishi armed herself and joined Hime next to her. “Open the door.” Marishi said in a low voice. At that moment the door gave way and in moved three large arachnids. Their legs moving unnaturally mechanical, clicking sounding from their bodies and their heads twitching side to side eyes never leaving their meals. The larger of the three hissed “Look what we have here sisters. A full course meal for each of us!” Hime spoke happily. “Wilson can make you more soup! Though beware, he ogles maidens in compromising situations. I’m half tempted to have him arrested.” The large arachnid tried to swipe at Hime to silence her. Its leg slammed into Hime’s barrier recoiling in pain its leg rendered immobile though the barrier had cracked and failed. “Kill them!” the leader screeched in pain. Marishi didn’t draw her weapon though her instinct screamed of the danger. The room was large enough to wield her sword with ease, but something held her back, advising her to wait, to not her weapon. She didn’t need to. One of the three charged Hime as she created a small singularity with a powerful gravity well. Their opponents were prepared for a weak spell from the East and moved away to avoid the spell completely Once the spell weakened, one of the spiders moved at incredible speed to slap Hime’s Astrometer away and knock her back to the back of the room next to Rae. Rae was attempting to rise to her feet to prepare her last stand. The other spiders began to close on Marishi. She could hear her heart pound in her ears, her adrenaline coursing through her body heightening her senses, but still she would not draw her weapons. As one leg came down upon her, Marishi stood there, her eyes wide. As the leg came down, time seemed to slow. Without thinking or forming a defense. Marishi stepped to the side, but something was very different. She felt foreign magic flare within her and bubble over. She surrendered herself to the instinct and without thought moved with the flow of the magic. A blue light flared as the leg came down over her head. She darted to the side with such speed that it couldn’t be tracked with the eye and left a ghost image of her outline that the leg slammed into as the copy tore into shreds and dissipated into smoky tendrils of blue. The spider wasn’t prepared of passing through nothing and her weight shifted causing her to stagger off balance. The arachnid that was near Hime and Rae closed in ignoring Marishi and her sisters. Marishi began to panic. Hime was stunned by the blow and Rae was no match in her weakened state. The spiders arm raised above her head as the stinger and sharp point poised to pierce Rae. Marishi was too far away. She couldn’t make it to stop the attack. Time slowed as the urge to protect her wife became the only thing that mattered. She raised her hand at Rae as the arm came down. As it came down, there was a loud cracking noise as the arm slammed into a frosted pane of glass, causing the glass to crack, but not shatter. The spider recoiled in pain as the glass reformed to near invisible, shimmering slightly in front of Rae acting as her guard. Marishi pulled her wakizashi from its sheathe. Instead of rushing the spider she arced her arm over her head and threw her short sword towards the assailant. The weapon flew through the air in a high-pitched whine until blinking out of existence in a flash of bright blue light and sparks. With the short sword vaporizing, Marishi too also flashed with the same bright blue flash and shower of sparks. Before the eyes could transfer the impossible any of them just saw the flare of blue and sparks flew above the spider’s head warping Marishi back into existence with her sword in hand slamming into the head of the leader. The spider reared back in pain as her sisters stared on, terrified, trying to make sense of what had just happened and the fell magic that had allowed the impossible to become possible. In it’s death throes, the spider staggered back with Marishi yanking her weapon free and flaring brilliant blue and tossing a shower of sparks. The same light and effects blinked into existence next to Rae as Marishi appeared falling to her knees, black smoke tendrils rising from her shoulders and a dozen weapons made of transparent crystal encircling her and protecting her from harm. The leader fell to the floor dead, the other two, scrambling out the door to avoid the same fate, unable to compete with a witch that can teleport instantly around raining death. Marishi fell to her knees and began coughing uncontrollably hacking up black smoke so dense it fell to the floor as the tendrils snaked out of her mouth and nose. The weapons encircling her imploded and disappeared as Marishi on her hands and knees tried to catch her breath. She felt the looks of shock, amazement, and horror on both Rae and Hime’s face. Marishi didn’t look up to face them. A fully sane and articulate voice cut into the air demanding answers. “Who gave that magic to you heathen? Do you have any idea what you’ve done? We’re all dead. You opened the door for them. I must detain you Do not fight.” Hime said with her Astrometer at her side, taking small, careful steps towards Marishi.
  7. Marishi Ten

    The World of Savages [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    There was no light. No feeling, but the ripping of a wind that didn’t blow. The roaring or a tornado that didn’t twist. Disintegrating skin like an invisible sandblaster. The abyss at the event horizon using all forces available to suck the soul forever to hold. This place wasn’t the realm of the living nor the dead. It was the space between in the endless expanse of nothing. Marishi wasn’t dead. Not yet. But weeks of no sleep, little food, despair, constant questioning herself as to why she was even in this alien land that made her paranoid left her severely diminished and on the brink. The visions of real and imaginary blending. The whispers of vengeance and promise of purpose. The instructions to become something greater than oneself at the sacrifice of oneself. Here, in this eternal limbo with nothing but the invisible wind that strips the soul bit by bit she found herself. She had no sense of direction if it even exists. She had no feeling but the pulling and the wind disintegrating her fortitude. A small speck of light in the infinite darkness. “You who have found yourself here. You are not living. Nor are you dead. You journey far from home but know not why you’ve traveled. What do you seek?” A disembodied voice asked. Male or female, it wasn’t discernable. The voice didn’t seem to call from without but resonate within. The voice gravely with bass that vibrated everything around it. “You have no answer. You do not know. If you do not know why you’ve come, do you even know who you are?” Marishi Ten. “That is a name. A label. Not who you are.” I am me. “Yet you have no purpose. Simply following direction without question or motive. You know not who you are. Your soul sick and malnourished.” I don’t know. I don’t remember who I am. I know not why I’ve come. “You obey without question. Accept without retort. Fight without conviction. You have come to find yourself. Your purpose. A cause.” Marishi knew it was true. She thought back on her life and could easily follow the line of it. Taking instructions. Even when she thought they were her own. Blindly following orders by father, teacher, instructor, commander, deity, even god. She was ashamed. For so long she thought of herself as independent and in control. She never was. She was powerless. Just a vessel or instrument of their will. Her own beaten down and suppressed. Never asked or consulted. “What is it you search for?” The voice boomed. Power. “Why?” To become who I am. To be allowed my own will. “Why have you come?” In search of that power. To be allowed to be. “Who are you?” Vengeance. To become more to defend that would be abused and manipulated the same way. “A guardian, then.” The disembodied voice remained silent several moments. “We can offer the power which you seek.” For a price. “There is always a price. Blood for blood. Forever will you be a servant to free others to be the masters at the cost of your own? Be it your life, or death. Not all sacrifices are mortal.” Marishi hesitated. Thinking of the stories the Mamool Ja had of the twisted corpses that had the power to wrap themselves in shadow. At the cost of their humanity, deforming their bodies into grotesque things. Haphazardly sewn together using body parts from animal and man. Marishi had seen them in the corners of her eye. In the long blackness of sleepless nights. She could hear their howls and labored breathing not whispering to her about promises of her death, but an offer. She could see them now in the plane of life and death. White wisps with silhouettes as their form. They surrounded her but not in malice, but in acceptance. Marishi was horrified by their twisted appearance and overwhelming smell, panic eroding what resolve she had. The Wendigo stopped shuffling toward her like a lover to embrace her. They stepped back and forms bent and began melding with each other. Creating larger forms. Countless tortured and angry souls. Vengeance and hate mirroring her own. Her thoughts fell on Rae. Like light piercing clouds to a land that had not known the feeling of warmth. The shades recoiled but still merged. Forming a circle around her. They were no longer phantasms of tortured men, mindlessly seeking the flesh of the living, but of images of fealty of antiquity. Great kings and queens of antiquity. Ages past, these great rulers withstood calamity after calamity to protect their lands and people from invasion, disease, abuse, slavery. They stood against man and nature. They still stood defending their ancient kingdom whose name lost, no longer important. “You begin to understand. Our line has long been broken and dead. Our blood is given to the land in exchange for the power to protect the land. To protect our brothers. The power is given by neither pure or evil. The power to claim oneself and decide their fate and future. For themselves and each other.” Are you offering me a deal? “We are not.” The sound of the voice being housed in the circle of towering souls around her. Like a great wall of blue and white smudging into the infinite black of the abyss. They themselves fighting against the pull. None were exempt. “You are not of the land nor of our blood.” Then why speak to me at all? You hypocrites. Flaunt your strength to the weak and yet deny them the ability to wield it. “What would a foreigner know?” The voice that was flat and hollow with a metallic ring now had an inflection of a female coming from one of the shades Marishi’s back was faced. I know that ‘foreigners’ are invading your lands day by day. You cannot stop them. Not as you are. They wield a power too. Not unlike your own. So be about it, then. Take me and turn me into your twisted guardians. Your power has waned and you will fall. All was quiet. There was no sound. Not even the sound of wind filling her ears. Marishi had a feeling that she was deaf. She had been punished. “The price is high for what your heart desires.” The hollow and metallic voice said as one of the giants in armor to her right began to advance upon her. It was larger than the rest and armor more intricate. “You ask for the power of kings long since passed from the mortal world, to break free of your own chains that others hold you bound to. But know this mortal, the power to break those chains will also bind you to another. The chains of this land. You will never be allowed to leave these shores. Your charge to defend the land and its people until your death. You will not rest after. You will continue to watch over the land and guard it. As we do now.” So you offer me a will that is not my own only to enslave me to another not only in life but in death? “We offer you choice. We offer you direction without deceit. We offer you more than what you are.” Only at the cost of everything I am. “Nothing is free. Not in the mortal world or the next.” The female ringing voice countered. “To become someone. To no longer feel alone. To have a purpose. Free will has always been our greatest weakness and greatest strength.” Marishi stayed quiet. There was a flaw in this logic, but couldn’t think clearly and it was clear she was expected to agree or disagree. She thought of Rae again. Was she not a purpose? A reason? Something to aspire to? Something to protect? Free will. The ability to choose. Even these guardians couldn’t take that away. They came to her because they needed her. They offered her freedom to become again a slave while trying to take away any hope of breaking the ties that bind. That was the flaw. Offering free will while saying free will is unobtainable. Freedom of oppression to join the opposing force to be oppressed. Marishi sarcastically smiled and faced the largest one. I trade being a pawn to being a rook. “Fate will not be denied. To be the arbiter of fate is the noblest of aspirations.” The land will fall and the natives murdered even with me at your call. You know it to be true. You ask me to join the collective to be something greater. I ask that you do the same. “The mortal body could not withstand the consolidation. The mind would surely break.” Not mine. I’ve lived in hells far worse than this for most of my life. It was quiet another moment and with some hesitation, came “Very well. We shall see if you can stand while all else who has tried has failed. The power of kings shall be bestowed to protect this land and its people from the outsiders and invaders. Fitting an outsider would be the ultimate weapon against the outsiders. You, however, won’t survive.” The figures surrounding her began to float and lazily drift back allowing the circle to grow wider. One by one, the towering specters stopped floating back and formed into the shape of weapons pure white in color dispelling the darkness around them. One by one, they formed into single-edged swords, double-edged bastard swords, lances, spears, tridents, bows, crossbows, shuriken, great two-handed claymores, shields, katanas, nagi, glaives, daggers, and dirks. Formed as weapons of pure light, one by one they pointed and leveled directly at her and pierced her form, burying into her flesh, but never exiting. Fusing the power within her. 13 in total. Each searing into her spirit threatening to lose the loose hold she had already on sanity and her soul. The final weapon pointed directly at her and Marishi began to panic as the searing pain of the light ripping through her chest in agony. Marishi drew a deep ragged breath, hyperventilating and staring up. She was no longer in the infinite blackness of the living and the dead, but a stone cavern shadowed overhead. The walls were smooth and cut by artisans in a style familiar to her. On the walls were scones with dimly lit torches flickering and quietly popping. She turned her head left to right. She was in a stiff with sheets decontaminated and hard as wood. She tried to piece her memories together. She could remember snapshots of walking through the frozen forests and plains. The descent into madness from no sleep and whispers from shadows. Marishi had slept. She couldn’t tell how long it had been. She knew she dreamt something important, but the more she tried to remember, the less and less she could actually recall. The feeling remained. Dread and determination. She reached up her hand and lightly touched her face expecting to feel a snout or a long row of sharp teeth. As she ran her hand over her face, it felt normal. Marishi breathed a sigh of relief. Her face was normal. Her body was normal. At least, on the outside. She felt different on the inside. She checked where she was. A small room with a bed, a nightstand, a chair was all in the way of furniture. A wooden door on the other end of the room the only way out. No one but her appeared to be in the room and it was quiet save for the popping of the wood as it expanded in the scones. As she sat herself up, she realized she was wearing no clothes. None at all. Just the sheet stiff with too much starch. She wrapped the sheet around herself expecting to hear it crack, but it did wrap. Her bare feet touched the tiled stone floor. It was cold as she made her way lightly to the door. As she cast a glance to the chair in the room she stopped short. In the chair sat some kind of large urn. Chipped and cracked, glued together or missing pieces altogether it looked like it had seen far better days. Marishi felt uncomfortable like she was being watched or monitored. Her face wore a disgusted look as the feeling or just getting away suddenly began to overpower her. She couldn’t find her clothing in the room and there was still Rae to find and get away. Fragments of another person, someone with sandy blonde hair skipped across her memories. She couldn’t remember who she was, but only that they had met before and something was odd about her. All of this she thought as she stared disgustingly at the pot. Forcibly shaking her head to focus on the task at hand, she silently made her way to the door. Before she was able to place her hand on the knob to unlatch the lock, the door opened, slamming against the wall on silent hinges making a huge boom that echoed through the stone halls and corridors. Face to face with a blonde Miquot’e with hair wild and purple eyes wide in terror. She dropped the clothing she had in her hands as she began shrieking hysterically as Marishi overcome with the startle of the situation, frayed nerves, and weakened state flung her arms up and began shrieking in fright, letting loose the sheet she tucked around her, falling to the floor. Both Miquot’e face to face. Both hands over their heads. One dressed in frayed garments, the other in nothing, screaming in hysteria and fright at each other.
  8. Marishi Ten

    The World of Savages [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    The plains gave way to foothills of massive proportions. Huge mountain peaks towered over the sky and were lost in the clouds. Heavy snow with the occasional patch of green could be seen. The serenity of the area was breathtaking. Koheel having departed their company some days prior. Either though meeting his contractual obligation or becoming frightened of Marishi’s demeanor and grotesque physical changes. Her face began to elongate to that of a wolf or deer. He teeth razor sharp. Soft hair began to manifest itself on her face and chest. She had grown taller, but no less heavy. He legs became elongated and more hoof like. She spoke less and less the human dialect. She would shimmer in and out of this terrible visage. One moment, she would be the Marishi that had boarded the ship to the new world. Others this abomination. An inner struggle for control. One she was losing. She seemed most weak and prone to shifting in the darkness of night. Fever wracked she couldn’t eat the foliage that would sustain her body but could only focus on the flesh of animals and man as a means to qualm the hunger in her stomach. If Rae had noticed, she hadn’t said anything about it. They marched in silence to the base of the mountains. “BitterRoot” is what the Mamool Ja called it. None have returned from attempting to scale it’s ranges to tell what they have seen. The snow was heavy on the ground and the snow kept falling in large crystalline flakes. The sky dark with oppressive clouds threatening to engulf the entire area. Marishi was the first to spot the sigils carved into the snow. Fractal in design with clean lines at the 90-degree angle. The sigils were large. Spanning several feet. She couldn’t help but be reminded of the same tracings she bore witness in Azys Lla. The Allagan Military Research base above the clouds. Torn from the twisted land now known as “The Burn”. Marishi gently grasped Rae’s arm. She jumped at her cold touch and spun in fear. “It’s okay.” Marishi cackled out. She hadn’t used her voice in days. She was raspy. “Look. There are sigils traced everywhere in the snow. The tracing is fresh. Look at how exact they are. I have seen something like these. Long ago on the floating isles. They are wards to prevent evil from entering. Or alarms to tell someone that others are approaching. Be careful. We walk into a trap.” Marishi loosened her blade in her sheathe with hands that felt too large for her body. Her manicured nails had lengthened into long points capable of rending flesh and bone. Their points razor sharp. The further they traveled to the base of the mountains, the heavier the snow fell and the more sigils appeared. Never repeating the same pattern. Reaching the rock face, the sigils were cut deep into the granite. Perfectly spaced apart, neat and orderly. Nature didn’t cut these designs. Hands did. Marishi gently reached out and touched one of the angles that made up a larger sigil. She snapped her hand back as if it pained her. The sigil stood dark a moment, then lit to a crimson red. One by one, the sigils lit in the same menacing color. Marishi fell to her knees. Like a knife was being driven through her skull. She couldn’t think, couldn’t move, couldn’t act. All she could do is lay on her side and writhe in pain screaming with her hands over her ears. Rae was at her side, a pale complexion on her face afraid to touch her. She didn’t want to make matters worse. “HA! I knew I’d catch one of you doppelgängers eventually!” A female voice cackled her joy and triumph. Isn’t that right, Wilson? We caught them red handed. RED! HA” The voice echoed off the rock sheets and came from everywhere. “Silly demon, tricks are for kids. The land will not tolerate you feeding off your kin to sustain your own selfish and evil life. Wilson! Exterminate the demon!” There was a clang and clatter. A fortified ewer fell from the rock face and rolled to where Marishi was laying and stopped. A normal, if not overused and oddly decorated pot. “Wilson! You turncoat! You’ve always had a soft spot for the shapeshifters. You hold the power of Gods. GODS. Yet you do not destroy the Wendigo and its concubine. Fine. I’ll do it myself.” There was movement in between the rocks and the sound of scuffling and swearing as something heavier than a ewer descended. Marishi looked up at the perpetrator with bloodshot eyes. If she hadn’t seen it, she would never have believed it. A Miquo’te. Female. Quite young. Bright blonde hair, lithe body with clothing that were once rich and finely tailored now tattered at the hems and seams. He bright purple eyes staring at Marishi and Rae with distrust and her Ewer with rage. “You know, if you would just listen to me, we wouldn’t find ourselves on top of mountains stalking shades Wilson. Why can’t you just listen to me?” She was yelling at the pot near Marishi. Marishi, feeling like her head was being split into two from the sigils was able to speak with gasps between words. “Are … You … Talking to … That pot?” The blonde shifted her ire to Marishi. “A POT?! That’s Wilson! The greatest sage to ever walk the new world. He shaped this land and you call him a POT?! Where is my spellbook? I’m sure you’ll be croaking a different tune when I transform you to a frog. Get it?!” She patted her shirt and thighs rigorously looking for something. “I must have left my divinity deck at the cave. WILSON! Fetch me my cards! I shall show these interlopers and skinwalkers a TRUE RECKONING!” “An … Astrologian. From Sharlaya. I am … Eorzean. She next … To me … Also, Sharlayn. Please … Help” Marishi had no more strength to speak and her head fell weakly to the ground next to the unmoving ewer. Before Marishi fell into the darkness, she heard the woman say “Eorzea … That’s a name I haven’t heard in a very long time. Perhaps Hime can help you. Perhaps not. What do you say Wilson?” Marishi fell to unconsciousness. Either from the pain, or the absurdity of the conversation, she could never tell which. Her mind faded in and out of existence. One moment she was in a verdant meadow unburdened by the horrors of the world. The next, being pawed at by a clearly disturbed Miquo’te who had been alone for far too long. “Sick, sick, sick. Sick in body, mind, spirit. Very far gone.” She let a worried expression ripple over her face. “You. Red Mage. Yes, I know you. I remember you. You are her lover? Gross. Be with her. It’ll slow the transformation. Wilson and I will try to sooth the spirit with the stars.” Hime then said abruptly. “I Don’t like you. You seek to ruin my peace. But Wilson says you are here to liberate me. He says this place is my prison. I do miss people …” She trailed off. “Food and fire is inside. Make no mistake. One false move from an excommunicated like you and I’ll kill you. I could too.” She said with a smile on her lips as she focused her attention on the writing Marishi.
  9. Marishi Ten

    The World of Savages [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    “All is as it should be. All is as it should be.” Marishi chanted under her breath over and over and over. A mantra. She couldn’t remember the last time she slept. She couldn’t remember the healing effects it had. He eyes were sunken and black smudges on her cheeks showed her condition. She was murmuring to herself. The same thing over and over again. All the while the smell of death and decay intensified every moment. The shadows from the corner of her eye became more brazen. The shrubs swayed when there was no wind. The sound of hooves in the distance. Even the gurgling scream of something that was not of the living nor the dead. It was as if Marishi didn’t hear Rae at all. She rose slowly and pushed Rae off her, turned and said in a flat voice. “All is as it should be. The darkness is real. It is the mother. She will defend her land from ingrates and trespassers. The vengeful souls that have long since passed demand it. Be found worthy and join the ranks. Be found wanting and be consumed by their cadre. They are everywhere.” Marishi’s hair was disheveled and unkempt. She had not bathed not even attempted to change under garments. A wet cough began to rack her body adding more stress to the frame that seemed likely to snap in half at any moment. Koheel kept his distance from Marishi. Distrust and fear written on his scale face. “Smoothskin becoming like them. Embracing lullaby’s, they sing at night. Her sorry profound. Unlike any seen. Heart is broken with no way to soothe pain. Smoothskin prays for death. By her own hand or another. Not seeking new lands and discoveries. Seeking grave.” Koheel said to Rae as they arrived at the massive river bank. The area around it was moist and warm. The humidity sticking to the skin and creating a layer of filth. The swamp lands were brown and stagnant rife with all sorts of reptiles and insects. Snakes slithering around boots, jaws attempting to tear leather to taste blood and bone. Long dead trees bleached bone white and lifting their claws to the heavens that have forsaken them. Bogs that left a film on the water where none could tell how deep the hole went. The smell of decay and rotten fish all around. The swamp was teeming with life. The kind to snuff out another for a meal. They slowly waded through the muck single file until they came upon the actual banks of the river. Though it was classified as a river, the width was massive. Neither Rae nor Marishi had seen a river so wide. But it wasn’t a cool crystalline river from Eorzea. It was brackish and brown. Constantly turning the heavy topsoil of the bed to create a cloud of mud and disease. Marishi snapped out of her morbid day dreams. “We’re not actually going to cross that, are we?” Koheel turn and faced her. “Smoothskin have better idea? Or will she call upon her new friends to help build raft?” He sneered. He was beginning to turn on her. He didn’t trust her. “I have no idea what you mean. You have been with me the entire time. Tell me of these friends I have impressed into my service reptile.” Her tone matched his own. She was no match for him in her shape. No sleep, little food, near delirious. One swipe would be all it would take to silence her and advert any more attention to them. Koheel looked at Rae. Eyes wide and frightened. He couldn’t tell if he was scared of him, or Marishi. “Smoothskin knows not what they speak. Smoothskin needs rest. Rest across river. Will help fight off darkness.” Marishi’s eyes lost focus as she said “All is as it should be.” Koheel ignored the statement and ordered trees be cut to lash together a raft. The time it took to complete the task was unnaturally long. Marishi having to take several breaks due to her weakened state. She sweat feely even though it was cool. The sound of her cough echoed through the area like a carrion call. Growing worse in the humid climate. Fits of coughing would overwhelm her where she would stop and completely bend over with a dingy rag in her hand. Pulling the rag away left bright red wet splotches. She would quickly place the rag in her breast pocket to prevent others from seeing. Once the raft was slung tougher, Marishi suddenly asked “How far have we traveled? A third? Halfway across the land? How far does this stretch.” Koheel looked toward the horizon and slowly said. “Don’t know. Never been further. Stories of endless desert and dunes to south. No water, just Sun and sand. North great lakes with many fishing villages of tribes of man who trap animal for fur. Stories of west talk about large mountain gods that rise into sky. Crowned with clouds in day and stars at night. Snow never gone. Bitter bitter cold. Freeze men to blocks of ice in passes. Only worth pass through gates of west. Further said to be promised land. Warm and green water and light. Aether pour to surface like hot springs. Paradise on edge of shore. Gods live in land. Mortals too weak to pass trials. Only stories from long ago. None believe. None have come back to prove legends.” There was a buzzing in Marishi’s ears at the thought of the legends she was told. A drive to find out. But her pathetic mortal frame would never reach its end. The buzzing told her to shed her mortality and morality. To become the darkness. To let it in. All she had to do was feast on one of her own. Cannibalize her companions. She would know the strength of the ancients that had prowled this land before any other had dared step foot upon it. She slowly looked at Rae through the corner of her eye. A dangerous look. She looked slowly at the Mamool Ja guide staring back at her knowing what she intended. Marishi slowly said “All is as it should be” as she sat down on the raft and crossed her legs. She stared forward trying to fight off the urge to kill her friends and lovers to free herself of the torment that was consuming her.
  10. Marishi Ten

    The World of Savages [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    Marishi ate lightly as she listened to the two speak. She had heard the stories before. The memories of Sharlaya, the practice of mage craft, the origins of black and white schools. Years ago, Marishi even belonged to the prestigious ranks that are bestowed upon select conjurers. A White Mage. She had long since laid down the staff and picked up the sword and her teachings of hearing and healing were all but lost to her. The ability to manipulate Aether forever broken. She glanced up at the Mamool Ja leader as he asked his question of her. Her mouth turned downward as he reminded her of her deficit and vision impairment. “I have no great stories with which to do this mighty hall justice.” She said. “The lands east are as my companion described. A place of wonder and of sorrow. Forever gifted with choice. Forever cursed with choice.” The Chieftain looked at her with an almost puzzled look on his faces. Almost as if he didn’t understand why she did not speak of the wonders she had seen. “Smoothskin not talk about her homeland?” He said finally. “I have no homeland.” Marishi replied shortly. “Pity Smoothskin. No kith, no kin. Not understand what it is to be family. Not understand part of something greater. Something more than what is inside.” He said with pity and sadness, looking at Marishi. “Smoothskin join Mamook family. Be part of tribe. Know happiness. No more dark in heart. Darkness is how Wendigo find. Darkness is how Wendigo control. Wounds on soul Wendigo will exploit.” The blue head said. Marishi was taken aback. To be part of a tribe she did not know or care about. She shrugged and said, “I will be part of your tribe, thank you. Though if possible, to hold off on the ceremony and ritual until another time, that would be welcome to me. The hour is getting late and I’m not used to how long the Sun stays out here. Would it be possible to rest here in Mamook for the evening and depart at first light?” The Chief thought a moment and said, “You part of family now. Always welcome. You have private lodgings in thatched hut at far end.” He waved his hand at the door. “Will give you best tracker to escort to edge of mountains. Cannot go further. Never been further. Forbidden. Do not continue. Folly to find darkness. Only pain. Things worse than death in world.” Marishi looked at him with sadness in her eyes. “I know all too well the repercussions of hell on earth.” She smiled, snapping out of her own thoughts. “Perhaps a tale for another time. I thank you Chieftain. Your generosity is nothing short of life saving.” Marishi bowed and walked out of the hut with her companion with an escort to her lodgings. The hut was simple with the bare comforts. A fire, sleeping mats, and thatched furniture. Marishi, lost in her thoughts laid down for rest without speaking with Rae but sleep would not come. Instead a foreboding feeling and the sensation of choking and isolated wrapped around her as a malicious lover to embrace the mists that chokes the joy of life from souls. Marishi must have dozed off as she was startled from darkness to the sound of light movement. Quiet footsteps outside of the hut. Skilled, light footsteps moving from the back to the front flap. She slowly drew her tanto from it’s sheathes silently and forced out all other thought and emotion. Focusing on the heightened senses and duty at hand. The steps stopped at the flap and the soft sound of an animal sniffing. “Smoothskin not be alarmed. Name is Koheel Ja. Tracker. Will take to border. Take many moons. Come. Time to journey.” The voice and steps faded back. Marishi sighed and took shallow quick breaths trying to calm her nerves and anxiety. Rae slept through it and was curled in her own mat, breathing even and paced. Marishi packed their things and nudged Rae awake. “It’s time to go. The tracker is already anxious to depart. I’m sorry, Sol. I haven’t felt like myself lately. Ever since we’ve arrived, I’ve felt like a stranger in a strange land. I’ve felt like a stranger in my own skin. Like I don’t belong in the body I inhabit. Different from the other spells of melancholy. But I’ll be fine. Worry not. It will pass.” Marishi smiled sadly and rose to her feet and walked outside with her pack. They left as the sky began to lighten. The clouds were dark and grey, weeping frost to fall to the ground. The snow fell lightly to the ground and began to build up in on the needles and branches of the trees as they left the safety of Mamook. Being led by Koheel Ja. Smaller than those of his race, he was still much larger than both Miquo’te put together. He was thin and sinewy. Tan in color, but with sharp intelligent eyes that soaked in all information they fell on, but gave back nothing in return. Marishi couldn’t help but feel a small sadness at the departure. Expecting hostility, they had been sheltered and even adopted by a native people that had every right to mistrust and even exile or exterminate them. It was peaceful in the village. More so than the cities of man in the east. All seemed to understand their place to be apart of something greater. Their community and the care for every single one of their people. Including Marishi. Koheel Ja spoke little. The weather seeming to put a pall on the small party as they made their way through the heavy parts of the forest. The days went by as a blur, blending into one another. Marishi retreated into herself and spoke rarely. In her own thoughts and worlds that she didn’t share with any others. The feeling of not feeling herself grew and the panic attacks continued in the night with no relent. She became used to new groove her mind and the tracker set for her body. It was as if she was a puppet. The same sights, smells, taste, and experiences causing her mind to begin to lose track of time and self. She would be shaken out of the prison she had built herself in her mind by the faint smell of decay. What began as something she thought was in her own mind, became more frequent. Koheel Ja also seemed to pick up on the scent where he would abruptly change path, though he never gave explanation. Slowly the forest began to thin and give way to plains and grass lands. The cold became bitter and the wind began to pick up. Throwing snow into the air in the few hours of daylight they had and encasing everything in ice and frost at night. Marishi began to feel uneasy without knowing why. Lack of sleep causing shadows flitting from the corner of her eyes. Snapping to the bush or boulder, she would scan unable to find anything. Anything, but the faint smell of death and decay. Rotting flesh and smell of iron. “How much further are you to take us before you take your leave Koheel?” Marishi abruptly asked him, sitting on the ground around the small fire as Rae began to cook. “Smoothskin regret companions that guide? So quick to remove those that protect.” Koheel replied sharply. He had noticed Marishi’s withdraw from the outside world. “No, that’s not what I meant.” Marishi countered sharply. “Neither of us wants to remove you. Invaluable your services are. We wouldn’t have made it at all if it you weren’t our guide. I’d like to take it as a waymark per se. A reset point.” Koheel grunted and said slowly, “Soon. Trail sometimes fail and new route taken. Trail sometimes watched.” Marishi’s eyes narrowed. “What do you mean watched? What is watching it? I thought the forest and plains around them belonged to your people.” She asked him. “Smoothskin dense. Spend too much time punishing for the past that eyes cannot be open to see the trail forward. All smoothskin bitter fruit?” Koheel Ja asked. Marishi couldn’t help but smile at his quip. “No, I’m more of an outcast in my thoughts and actions than others as you can see.” Her gaze fell on her wife. “Some are able to come to terms with their sins than others. Our evils it seems do not fade in new lands. They come with us. Some of us.” Koheel Ja looked almost as if he were to give her a pitied looked. His voice softened “Do not allow darkness of the present force mind to the abyss of past. Easiest way to give into darkness. Darkness twist souls into horrors.” “Wendigo.” Marishi followed up. “Do not speak name!” Koheel Ja hissed quietly. “Omens carry on wind. Calls them. Welcomes them. Shadows block way in forest. Shades stalk on plains. Can smell darkness on wind. Can see if not looking. Hunger never satisfied. Evil. Can never stay still. Can never cure.” Marishi lowered her voice to match Koheel’s. “You know about them. What do they want? How do you rid yourself of them?” “Smoothskin not understand folly. Calls darkness to soul. Vengeful spirits. Take over body and feed. Take revenge. No cure. Death.” Koheel Ja said as he stood fully and walked to the edge of their small camp to stand guard, considering their conversation at an end. Marishi laid awake unable to sleep. She couldn’t remember the last time she could. She would sleep, but she wouldn’t. This is when the feeling of not feeling she was herself was most apparent. Like she was watching herself as a wisp outside of herself. Her movements or actions not her own. The feeling would fade when she was called into action or until the lines blurred between sleep and the world. More and more she would feel as if she were watching herself and her actions while those actions were hers, they weren’t. She always felt like her brain was too small for her head and movements robotic. Her thoughts mirroring her past and drawing her in more and more. The shadows in the corner of her eye became more and more prominent. The smells more perverse. Rustling of moving and quick speeds ever eluding her. Slowly driving her crazy.
  11. Marishi Ten

    The World of Savages [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    “What? Don’t look at me. I’m just cold and want to be warm.” Marishi replied with a quip in her tone. She looked at the beastman with a sharp edge, eyeing him for any signs of more aggressiveness. They were outnumbering and the bowmen would almost surely be the end of them both. “We mean you no harm. As you know, we arrived but a short time ago to these shores, not to conquer, but to map and explore. To offer peace to this beautiful lands populations.” Marishi said. She laughed slightly as she looked down at her left hip in which she wore her weapons. “It can seem as though we are here to subjugate, I admit. We arm ourselves so as to protect our own lives and those that cannot do so on their own. Not needlessly take others. Such is the way of honor. Of the Samurai.” “Smoothskin speak in riddles. Understand though. Better than little mage. Smoothskin cannot leave forest. Must bring back to tribe to face elders. Elders judge if smoothskin worthy.” Said their leader as two more Mamool Ja emerged from the brush at their backs. Both armed with well maintained and honed spears. “Take weapons from Smoothskins, we go to Mamook.” At this order Marishi clicked her tongue. They weren’t being asked, they were being detained and divested. They were being escorted to another hostile environment full of potentially aggressive Mamool Ja. “Give up your Rapier, Rae. They aren’t asking.” Marishi said softly pulling her own Odachi and Wakizashi from her sash and handing them over to the nearest guard. They were marched through the forest, single line in the middle of their guard until they picked up an actual trail leading deeper into the lush and dense forest and the foothills of the mountain range. The trees became scraggly as they thinned and gave way to rocky outcroppings. As evening began to fall, torch braziers could be seen on either side of the path and the smell of cedar burning could be detected on the winds. They entered into a small tunnel that led them through a brightly lit corridor into the interior of the mountain range and open bowls that gave way to the dimming sky. Marishi had never seen anything quite like it. The Autumn leaves turning the trees red and yellow, mixed with the evergreens, the pools of water clear and pristine, even in the middle of thatched style huts built into the tree limbs, the sky flaring its pink and purple hues as soft white clouds drifted slowly by. She had the feeling of Coerthas, but not as it stands, as it stood. Lush green and crisp mountain air. It made her think of her own childhood, growing up among the mountains before her education at the Holy See. The smell of her father as he arrived at their small cabin fresh with sawdust from his day logging and squeezing out the frugal living, he was able to provide. The happiest time in Marishi’s unnaturally long life. Before she expierenced the full scope of human depravity and racism at the hands of Ishgard. Seated on its mountain throne among the Sea of Spires. The village of Mamook was not small and a several corridors cut into the stone branched off in all directions leading to other areas of the village and other huts. They took the most well-trodden path until they came to one of the largest bowls that acted as the commons area for the village and place of meeting. Here, other Mamool Ja were seen that Marishi had not encountered. They weren’t rough textured or brown scaled as those she had seen from Eorzea or their own escort. There were blue Mamool Ja, their hides sleek and shining and wore neck charms and bracelets. They carried staves in their hands and the look of keen intellect in their eyes. The leader must have noticed Marishi’s gaze holding upon one of them. “Smoothskin not see Mamool Ja that cast magic before?” He asked with an amused tone in his voce. This was the first he spoke to either her or Rae after the encounter. “No, I didn’t think the ability to manipulate Aether was as widespread to reach even here.” Marishi said, not in an unkind tone. “Smoothskin think small. Aether everywhere. Not just tiny home. Aether gift from Mother. Blessings. Life surge in all things. Mamool Ja know this.” He said with the amused tone still in his voice. Among their ranks stood What and Black Mages. Not the lesser teachings, but actual mages. Marishi was impressed and looked at Rae with an arched eyebrow. They were taken to the central lodge where numerous Mamool Ja had gathered and gawked at the first Miquo’te they had ever seen. So small they were by comparison. More akin to annoying house cats than actual threats. Their frail bones looking like they would snap if grabbed suddenly. They stood on the opposite side of a large and two headed Mamool Ja, one head blue, the other brown. Both possessing their own will and mind. “Smoothskin stand before Radol Ja. Chief of Mamook. Radol Ja judge if worthy of passage and friendship. Fail test and Smoothskin not leave so smooth.” The squad leader warned. Their weapons were given over to the Chief who looked them all over closely, notably the Rapier and Odachi. The two extremely potent primal infused weapons the two carried. He could sense their lingering power even if he didn’t know they were from the two most powerful Eikons to ever exist. After a long silence and examination of the armaments, Radol Ja’s brown head spoke. “Smoothskins carry powerful weapons, dangerous in wrong hands. Very dangerous. Mamool Ja track other Smoothskins from wood house on waves. What Smoothskin want in new land?” The blue piped up “Smoothskins come to build settlements and infect land with taint. Kill forest with axe. Two small smoothskin with tail not interested in home or comfort.” Marishi bowed in her Far East and archaic stiffness. “My name is Marishi Ten, and the other to my left is known as Rae Ten. Together, we have traveled across the great divide not to settle lands or build establishments, but to survey and parley with the denizens. I am honored to meet the Great Chief Radol Ja.” She said humbly, impressing both heads of the Chief as well as the leader of the squad. “Smoothskins found in picking grove. Say looking for guide and maps. Smoothskins give weapons over without problems.” The leader said, acknowledging that they came willingly and of their own accord without use of violence or detainment. “Hm. Maybe. But something Smoothskin not say. What real purpose for voyage?” The blue head looked at them keenly. “Sit by fire. Make warm. Eat soon. Talk now.” The brown chimed in. Rae and Marishi sat on the floor, Marishi on her knees with her hands in her lap neatly. “Thank you for your hospitality, Chieftain. The lands are unknown to us and we never would have found your beautiful village without escort.” Marishi said. “Pretty words not work on Radol Ja.” The blue head said sharply. “We come with message from the East. My companion and I are emissaries with hopes of treating with the New World and its inhabitants to open trade and cooperation negotiations. We also look to traverse the land for the other side of your realm.” Marishi told the truth. There was no point in lying when it would accomplish nothing but an irate, massive, two headed Mamool Ja and likely, their deaths. “Trade? Trade in dangerous weapons? Arm enemies of Mamool Ja? Turn profit off death? Smoothskin want to go to otherside? Mamook small nation. Not know way. No help. Blood on Smoothskin cloths. Can smell stench. Weapons stain red with lifeblood. Smoothskins warriors. Not Ambassadors.” Radol Ja’s head said in unison. “You don’t send scholars to an untamed and unknown land. You send scouts who can not only defend themselves, but also think for themselves. We are of the world and while true, we have seen our share of aggression, we seek to provide you means to defend your lands. Not enslave them. We carry means to survive and have no interest in an arms race with your people or anyone else’s.” Marishi said bluntly. They were authorized to act in semi autonomy on behalf of the House of Splendours, but everything regarding trade organization could only be approved by the Lady of the House. Rowena. “We only ask that the offer be considered and that we are able to depart in peace with no harm to either myself, my partner, or our equipment. Any help that you are able to provide to assist us in the monumental task of charting would be greatly apricated, however small, Chieftain.” Marishi said. “Smoothskin not speak false, though smoothskin not know what is asked. Forest contain many secrets, not all protected by Mamool Ja. Some shadow. Darkness. Have own followers. Won’t show smoothskin mercy. Redol Ja say return to house boat. Safer. Live longer. Smoothskin quest folly. Wendigo stalk other lands. Smoothskins not return if border crossed” There was the word. Wendigo. Marishi only knew the word and it being connected with the supernatural. Their actual purpose. Marishi looked at Rae while all other pairs of eyes fell upon her. Radol Ja expecting her to pick up where Marishi had left off.
  12. Marishi Ten

    The World of Savages [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    The ocean spray licked Marishi’s skin as she stood on deck to take in the bright Sun and cool air. It was stuffy in the hold and after days of being stuck down there due to a sudden squall, it felt like the walls were collapsing around her. Beside her, hand in hand ever was her traveling companion, partner, and wife. Rae Ten. Not in 10 years had they been apart for longer than a week. Their love was a bond that had saved Marishi’s life on more than one occasion when the world seemed too dark to continue to exist in it. Rae had become Marishi’s life-giving and body nourishing Sun. Just as Marishi had become Rae’s blissful, serene, and peaceful nocturne. Polar opposites, in personality and life, but forever locked in their dance around the earth to give life and meaning. Though they had their share of hard times and trouble, they never once questioned their dedication to one another. The day of their eternal bonding Marishi had sworn an oath. Much like the oaths sworn in the days of antiquity in the Far East where a Samurai would declare undying fealty to their master and would strike to protect the Lord's honor and die to restore it. Men went about their duties, rigging the sails, scraping the deck, swapping stories in the mess halls, plotting and navigating. The journey from Eorzea to what has been dubbed as “The New World” was perilous at best. Many ships had set sail and never return to either shore. The ones that did return came back, ships loaded with exotic weaves, spices, lumber, ore, and stone. But more exotic were the stories the sailors told about the New World. A land untouched by industrialized men, small bands of tribes built around a hunter-gatherer society. Tribes of Mamool Ja controlling large swaths of the forested areas. Great storms, unlike Eorzea, has even dreamt of. Other tales of more sinister repute. Shadows that stalked men that could only be seen out of the corner of their eye and were gone. Enough to drive a man crazy. Stories of cannibalism to attain great strength and power. To become immortal. The ability to shapeshift into a wolf or deer. Tales of beasts unlike anything ever dreamt of. Giant Elk that runs on two legs faster than any man could ever run. Gaunt with bones protruding from its skin and caked blood on its jowls. It feasted upon men and their souls and would grow when consuming a person, thus its hunger never slaked. Its eyes pitch black and able to hold its victims in thrall until could rend them apart. Their animalistic screams causing men to fall to their knees screaming in insanity. Some even said that though pacts with the dark spirits of the New World, one could become like these beasts. This, Wendigo. When the shipping lanes opened and the routes were correctly mapped, Ul’Dah and its shipping partners immediately opened up trade lines and secured exclusive contracts for not only provisioning Eorzea but for the immediate colonization efforts to take place to carve out hamlets and cities to support the mercantile efforts. Rowena and her house of splendors would not be outdone of course. But instead of sending miners, botanists, loggers, or craftsmen, she opted to send two veteran and battle-hardened adventurers to scout and survey the land. To greet the locals and work to establish good relations with them. Of course, that is what the official manifest stated. The real goal was to find proof of these ‘Wendigo’ and bring evidence back for research. Preferably living evidence. Marishi and Rae were content to spend their voyage in the embrace of each other. They were social, but they never lingered far. Not out of fear, but due to the rarity of the occasion. It wasn’t often they would have prolonged unbroken time to spend together with nothing to do but simply be with one another. This didn’t stop the crew from making the occasional pass at either of them or the hands accidentally groping due to the rocking of the ship. But the few that were bold enough were the few that spent their voyage in the infirmary nursing broken noses or arms. Rae would protect Marishi and Marishi would protect Rae. It would take an estimated 4-6 months to reach The New World by boat, and those days slid by quickly for them. They never spoke of home like the sailors, though they did own land and a house. Their home was each other. Their home was the road. Marishi and Rae had not been well briefed on the situation of The New World, simply because there weren’t enough reports to make an accurate briefing. They were headed into uncharted territory with a small fleet determined to become the masters of this new land. Eventually, the ocean began to fall away and begin to be replaced by reefs and the sound of loud and squawking seagulls. Ocean life seemed abundant and literally leaped from the water. Tropical islands could be seen in the far distant horizon, though, they were told they wouldn’t be so lucky for that to be their destination. Their moorings would be further north up the coastline. And for 3 days they kept the shore just upon the horizon and sailed at excellent speed to their landing. The climate began to change. The warm Sun was replaced with a bright, but cold air. The Tradewinds were arctic and it was easy to tell they were headed somewhere much colder. The sandy beaches were replaced with imposing and massive rock formations making sailing dangerous and capsizing a vessel a real possibility. The further north they sailed, the colder it became. Finally, the ledges began to even out and the captains of the frigates began to look for suitable inlets for extended mooring. They began to move closer to the shore. Marishi and Rae could see a bit inland from their vantage on the ship. From the rocky beachheads was followed immediately by dense forest. A massive forest with no known end. The trees weren’t unlike the ones found in Coerthas. Pine, Spruce, Conifers. Evergreen trees that did not bloom or drop at the seasons changing. Like Coerthas, it was also cold. Cold enough to see one’s breath. Cold enough to spot snow on the trees and on the massive mountain ranges that begun to show jutting high into the air, unable to see the tips as the clouds cloaked them from view. People were eager to disembark. 6 months on a cramped frigate causing the settlers and tradesmen to become somewhat stir crazy. When the orders were finally given to drop anchor, the captains of the vessels did not allow a full disembark, but rather sent a few skiffs with hearty sailors to slide to shore and ensure that that the area was safe from violence, had adequate fresh water, game, and lumber for shelter. Larger skiffs were loaded with supplies that they brought with them from Eorzea and were sent to shore. Finally, after the land was deemed habitable, the supplies on land, the passengers were able to load the skiffs and make to The New World. To start a new life and carve their own fate with their own hands. Ignoring that fate has always been a fickle and capricious mistress ready to turn the moment the guard is lowered. Marishi and Rae were the last to arrive on shore, their soft leather boots barely making a mark in the white sands of the beach. They would not be joining the settlers in their work to create civilization. Their destination was unknown. Somewhere in the massive dense forests and mountains of lands uncharted and unknowable. “Well,” Began Marishi. “This isn’t the stupidest thing we’ve ever signed up for, but it has to be in the top 5. I’d say we’re walking into a viper’s nest, but it’s worse than that. We’re walking into the unknown. I’m scared. And excited.” She smiled at Rae and took her hand. “We’ll camp with the rabble for the night and at first light, we’ll start off.” The smile faded from her lips. “This is a long and barren shore. I don’t think we’ll have to venture all that far to find the natives of the land. I have a feeling they’ve already found us.” She said looking at the dark tree line in the fading daylight. “If they haven’t by now, they will when the fires go up. See? They’re already hacking down dry wood to build them.” She motioned to a few settlers with axes. Marishi looked at Rae again, with love in her eyes and said, “Well, Sol? Care to join me on yet another adventure fraught with excitement, intrigue, mystery, excitement, suspense, and death-defying acts of courage?” Night fell and soon the bonfires went up. Men were celebrating their freedom from the oppression of the ships at sea, dancing, singing, and drinking. Marishi and Rae lay in their bedrolls close to the fire. They were on a small grassland plain, but still close enough to hear the ocean’s perpetual motion along the beach. Marishi looked at the group with disdain. “Fools. Yelling and dancing, drunk with multiple fires that can be seen, smelt and heard for miles. Conquerors newly arrived at an alien and savage land ready to swallow them up to never be seen again or heard from again. I can’t see them, but we’re all of us being watched. Safety is in numbers. Do not stray away from the firelight and do not stray away from the group. Not until there’s enough light we can make by.” She said. Marishi’s fingers absently touched her right temple next to her disfigurement. “I’m sorry that it can’t be sooner. There was a time where we could move as easily by day as we could be the night. I suppose you still can. I no longer have the ability to see as well as I could. In the day and night.” She said sadly, her mind forcibly recalling horrors she had buried deep down, unable to cope or accept what was done to her that night in the Ala Mhigo provinces. She rolled on her side to face away from Rae and said “No changing the past. Get some sleep. If they were going to kill us, they would have done so by now so they could return to the warmth of their own beds. No point in standing guard against an invisible force or worrying if there is one at all. Best to get as much rest as we can as it may be few and far between from here on out.” Marishi closed her eyes and tried to sleep, though sleep would elude her for the night and the days to come. There was an uneasiness she felt at the shore of a new and uncharted world. It wasn’t excitement or curiosity. It was forebodement. It was perdition. It was the feel of the unseen noose beginning to tighten around her neck as she stood, hands bound at the gallows awaiting execution for the countless crimes and misdeeds she had committed but had never been admonished of. In the grey hours of the morning, Marishi gently nudged Rae with the toe of her boot to wake her. “Wake up. It's time to go. We need to be gone before the others awaken, or they’ll start getting ideas that we’re going to help them settle and build. Which, for our kind, is a pain filled, horrifying, and short-lived experience.” Marishi knew the value of her race and gender. Little more than pincushions for men to beat, ravage, and release into. Miquo’te females could breed with Hyur males, though the exchange was barren and would yield no offspring. To Hyur men, they made the perfect prostitute and there was a very active trafficking and sex trade industry across the ocean to the east. It would be the same here soon enough.
  13. “I want you to tell this man what you just told me. Exactly what you told me. Don’t leave out a single thing, do you understand? Tell him as if your life and the lives of everyone you care about depend on it.” A male shrouded in shadow said motioning to another male on the opposite side of the small room. The room had no windows, the walls painted a drab grey and only one reinforced door that led to the outside. That could only be unlocked from the outside. The faint musical chime of chains could be heard rustling as the person on the opposite end shifted positions. Manacles. An interrogation room. Nothing was said from the prisoner. “We’ve been through this. We have ways to make you talk. You don’t want that again. We don’t want that again. We just want to know what happened. The truth. That’s all we’ve ever searched for.” Said the first man. A snort in derision was heard from the detainee but nothing else was forthcoming. “Very well. We have the other one in custody as well. Perhaps they will turn out to be more pliable seeing as how you refuse to cooperate. They know our methods rather well-being kin and all. It shouldn’t take long, then we’ll be back to lead you both to the chopping block. A shame you could have spared – “The man’s gravelly voice was cut off from the lighter tone of the prisoner. “I tell you what you want to hear, I’m the only one that pays right?” The man’s body tone resembled an irritated state. “We seek only the truth, not what we want to here, nonbeliever.” The prisoner never moving from their spot in the corner replied “Honestly is not synonymous with the truth. Being a scholar, you should understand this concept. If I tell you what you want to hear, the other gets to go free. That’s my condition. Otherwise, enjoy your red tap nightmare securing all the paperwork to authorize executions.” They said wryly. The man shifted slightly. “You have my word. It will be so. Now, tell this man, what you told me. All of it. Leave nothing out.” “I would grab a chair if I were you. I’ll also take a meal and refreshments. A smoke too. We’re going to be here awhile.” The prisoner said. “How long have you been here?” The second man asked. It was his first time speaking. “In this cell? Oh, a week? Two? Hard to keep track when there is nothing to tell time by.” The prisoner stated. “No, how long have you been here. How long have you been on The New World?” The prisoner was quite long moments almost unwilling to answer. “9 years. Give or take a month or two.” The man sounded bewildered. “9 years? You and your companion have been here 9 years? That’s impossible. We have extensive records of you and your mate from across the sea.” The jangle of chains could be heard like a wind chime. “It’s a long story. But one you are specifically hear told. I am famished and could use what I asked. I don’t think I could properly convey such an incredible tale on an empty stomach. Oh. And I want the one I traveled with brought here. To this room.” The prisoner was clear they were not going to begin before their demands had been met. The first man snapped. ‘Very well. Food and tobacco are easy to procure. The individual will take longer. I suggest once eating your meal that you begin your tale and I’ll begin work on their transfer.” “I agree to your terms.” The prisoner said as they sat back against the wall and waiting for food and provisions to arrive. Once the meal was eaten and the tobacco smoke filled the small cell, the scribe that was to be recording all that was said was having a hard time breathing from all the smoke. “Take a breather outside, boy. Where am I going to go?” The jangle of chains could be heard again. “Off the record,” The scribe began. “Did you do what they say you did?” Fear in his voice staring at the prisoner wide-eyed. The prisoned flashed a dangerous smile and said: “To the last man.” The scribe hastened out of the room to clear his head. He had never met someone more dangerous and it was almost as if they were just getting started. The scribe was sweating when one of the guards came up to him and clapped his hand behind his back. “She scare ya, did she boy? She’s a habit of doing that, though I think she does it to see us squirm than anything else. This place though. This ‘new world’ has a habit of changing people. Making them more savage or violent. We’ve had to lock men up over violent rages they would fly into for no reason. And they state they have been here 9 years. You’ve read the files on them both. They’re the both of them extraordinary. Unlike anyone or anything. Bringing them here was like a lit match on dry tinder.” The guard mused. “Is it true then? Their crimes?” The guard sat a moment. “I don’t know, boy. To kill an ENTIRE village and wipe it off the map in the span of a single night? A village with men who could defend themselves? I can tell you this though. That one in there is a liar. A manipulator. A thief, and a murderer. Can see it plain as day in the eyes.” A man wearing official Sharlayn clothing as a scribe and scholar arrived and address both outside. “I am here to document the occurrences of the prisoner being detained within. Are we ready?” He said stiffly. He was no nonsense. He wanted to record the events and get out. He hated the New World. Savages. “The other hasn’t been released per the demands that were agreed to, but all other request has been fulfilled, sir.” The guard said bowing to the Scholar. “That will be good enough then.” He said as he entered. It was smoky and hard to see. The Scholar lit several candles to provide illumination and sat down flipping through his tomes without saying a word. He continued for long minutes, even when the chains rattled slightly. “For the record, state your Sur and Forename, place of birth, age, and occupation.” The Scholar said dryly. “You wouldn’t believe me even if I told you.” The prisoner said with a slight laugh. “It would do well if you wouldn’t waste my time. I hate to waste your own. I could just have an interrogator come and extract that information, but we are doing our utmost to remain civilized.” He snapped. There was a pause of silence. “Have it your way.” The Scholar rose from the chair and closed his tome. “My name is Marishi Ten. Marishi being my surname and Ten being my forename. I was born in the Coerthas Western Lowlands near what is called “Camp Glory”, my current age by Eorzean calendar puts me just shy of 100 summers. I hold multiple occupations. Seamstress, mercenary, wet work, assassin, guard, investigator, and good appraiser to name but a few.” Marishi said. “Please describe and family or blood ties you may have and any anomalies, diseases, or defects you suffer from.” The Scholar sat back down. “All family and blood-related relatives are dead. I am the last of my line. My blood dies with me. I bear permanent damage to my right eye regarding events that don’t concern you. Inquisitor or no. The Primal Alexander that resides in the Dravanian Hinterlands shares an Aetherial bond with me.” She sounded so matter of fact, one would almost believe she was 100 years old and good friends with a metal God that sat quietly in the Thaliak River. “I’ll speak no more until my companion is brought to me. So, the whole story may be told in full telling.” Marishi said with a slight grin. “You don’t scare me with your threats of torture, bookworm. There are things right outside these walls that make your inquisitors look like gentle lovers giving soft caresses.” The scholar stared at her with his hard-grey eyes. “You don’t seem to like authority much, I see. Why did you come here? What were you hoping to find? Who hired you to find it? Don’t insult my intelligence by saying something about adventure. You and your comrade sailed months across the ocean to arrive in these savage lands. We know you spoke with several Mamool Ja concerning the area and its details. You even dined with the head chief of the unified tribes. A rare honor. We know you were present in that hamlet the night it went missing. You and the other are the only two ‘, survivors. I want to know what you know. I want to know what happened. I want you to tell me.” He finished with a hiss. “Are you sure you’re not an interrogator? Ugh, that was unbearable to hear you drone on. Please have mercy on me dark one!” Marishi mocked the scholar. “That wit of yours, while clever, and obviously entertaining to you, will one day be your undoing. Obviously, you’re not going to tell me anything of value and you’ll just lie to spin a web so thick it would take months to decipher and discard. I think we’re done here. I’m canceling the prisoner transfer. Enjoy your new isolated quarters, savage. You don’t even deserve a name, Excommunicated White Mage, failed Shinobi, Mediocre Samurai. You’re more primal than mortal anyway.” The scholar said as he stood. His words stung Marishi, though she tried hard to not show it. Him calling her things of her past brought them to the front of her memory and her painful remembrance of it all. Not that he was lying. It seemed the Sharlayn’s knew more about Marishi and the shadows she kept in her closet than she had thought. “Stop.” Was all she said in a low voice, her head lowered to the ground staring at the dirt. “Can we begin?” The Scholar asked clearly irritated. Marishi sighed. They wouldn’t believe her anyway. But perhaps with her companion’s influence and reaffirmation of her telling they could avoid the gallows. At least, until they were deported to Eorzea and stood formal charges.
  14. Marishi Ten

    Under Boughs Of Blood [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    From the darkness, her eyes slowly opened. She had expected more pain. More undoing of her being and formed back again. But not this time. Her eyes slid open with a grimace on her face. Her sanguine and onyx eyes staring in pain. She drew a ragged breath. And breathes relief. Marishi was her own again. Once again in what seemed like years. “Sol.” She said and weakly smiled. “We are together again. Odin is no more. Neither is the killer of your father. Both a gone. But Zodiark. He remains.” She frowned. “He always remains. He will always remain. He cannot be killed, only banished.” Marishi touched her side. Her hand came back with wet red blood. The damage Zodiark had incurred damaged her body as well. “How do we stop him?” Serreth asked. She looked tired and old. A shell of what she was. She was in pain without the diety’s presense. She missed him. “He’s destroying the armada right now. Gridanian, Limsa, Ul’Dah, and Garlean. He’s bringing their airships down one by one.” Serreth said. “Yes, and when he’s done, he’s going to enter the cavern, kill the old woman, pry the door open, enter the Antitower and drain the mothercrystal dry. With that, he will be returned and the world will be remade. I have seen his plan. Almost all life will be obliterated with his upheaval.” Marishi finished for her. “Help me sit Rae.” Marishi asked Rae. Rae moved to her back and cradled her in her arms Marishi laying against Rae, sitting up. It was obvious Marishi was in a great deal of pain. “He is still in this plane. He must know I still live. For if I didn’t, he wouldn’t be able to manifest at all. There is only one way we can stop him. We purge him. From the land. By undoing what he had done.” Marishi was quiet to let what she had said sink in. Serreth was the first to speak. “Absolutely not. Completely out of the question. We moved heaven and earth to pull you back and I’m not about to let you die in your hopes that it’ll make Zodiark go away. No. There’s another way. Find it.” Marishi smiled at Serreth. “You know, before we started all this, I could have cared less about you. Hell, I wanted to kill you at one point. But I can see why she loves you so fiercely.” Her face grew sad. “There’s no other way. If there was we wouldn’t have time to put it into action. He’s out there killing as we speak. We have to stop the loss of anymore life and him getting any closer to the cave. He’ll break through. Even though he is no longer housed in me, we’re linked. I am his gateway into the world. And by this, I can see a fragment of his mind. He’s going to crush us all. No, Serreth, I’m sorry, but there’s no other way.” Marishi said calmly. “Besides, I’ll be dead before sundown.” She extended her palm to show her the wet red blood drenching her hand from the wound that poured on the polished copper ground. “Rae …” Marishi said. She was getting tired. The lids of her eyes began to droop and her voice became low and husky. She spoke slowly as if drawing breath was taxing. “On my back there’s a small wooden case. Pull it from my sash.” Rae knew what the contents of the wooden case were and tears streaming down her eyes, she wedged her hand between the two and pulled it out. Only then did Serreth realize what it was. “No! I forbid you. No. You can’t I won’t let you.” She began to silently cry. Marishi smiled. “You have your honor again, Mother. Let me die with mine.” Serreth stopped short and bit her lip. She dug her nails into her wrists until blood began to drip from them. “Lean me closer to you and draw it from it’s case.” Marishi said to Rae. She settled Marishi into a more sitting position even as they could hear airships exploding and smashing on the rocks and earth. Rae pulled the small single bladed dagger from its case. It was clean and sharp. “Here.” Marishi said as she weakly grasped the grip of the Tanto. “I’ve not the strength to finish. Will you help me?” She asked Rae. She placed her hand over Marishi’s and placed the tip of the blade on her upper torso aiming upwards. There was a moment of silence where no sound could be heard. As if the world deafened everything. “I’m ready.” Marishi said as she began to push the blade into her chest. She gasped with tears in her eyes, as if finally, able to see the other side of the River. Rae added her strength and pushed the blade all the way home. Marishi let out a small grunt, a gasp with tears falling from her eyes, as she laid back in her wife’s arms, a quiet smile on her face, her eyes shifted to the left not looking at anything. Rae sat there cradling her wife in her arms, rocking her soothingly, weeping. Marishi’s blood pouring out of her body and coating her clothing and skin. Serreth watched with her hand over her mouth to keep from audibly sobbing hot tears falling from her eyes. What was done was undone. Marishi had taken the only the she truly owned to stop the monstrosity that had pervaded the world and threatened to consume it. At the same moment Marishi had dug the tanto into her chest, Zodiark was preparing to end another large airship, but stopped. His wispy form becoming erratic and diffused. Shrinking and inflating grotesque to watch. He attempted to crush the airship, but could not conjure the will to remain in the world as his link to it had been severed. With a screech, he elongated and became a dark menacing cloud, only to be blown away to wisps on the coastal winds that had picked up. Zodiark was no more. His screaming echo’s tore through the heavens as he was drug back to his prison and to his fetters. The world had been forever changed. Odin was awakened and walked the land with much more brazenness. The Churning Mists and Dravanian Forelands were completely decimated, destroying the last of the first brood including the Churning Mists Moogle tribe and Gnath civilization. It would be decades before anyone could make any progress on coaxing the destroyed land into being anything but barren windswept rock again. Alexander had chosen his new host to be Serreth. To ever remain at her side. So close, yet so far. Alexander housed a piece of Marishi inside of him. Her love her daughter was a balm over a fever filed fitful night and could be felt when she was around.
  15. Marishi Ten

    Under Boughs Of Blood [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    “Impudent children running to and fro, thinking themselves masters all the while challenging those who rule the stars.” Marishi said through gritted teeth. Almost to herself. She was in pain and splotches of black fell from the side she gripped as she passed. The splotches killed everything it touched. Grass, animal, earth. For a God to feel pain, was a new feeling. She didn’t particularly enjoy the feeling. She raised her good arm and a dome of transparent black encompassed the debris blocking her way. A moment later, the dome faded into a singularity and with it, the debris Rae had caused to slow her down. She was hampered by her own injury, not some rock and rubble she could will out of existence. “So, you conned the fat garden snake into pushing me out. Good. Good for you. You hold your own will again. A pity you could save yourself but you couldn’t save those in the Churning Mists or the Forelands. You can’t even save your own screaming and tortured wife. Oh yes, she is here. With me. Where I make her relive every moment of agony she has ever had to endure. I found a particular memory of her where you failed to protect her as well. In turn she was nearly killed and violated. All while you sat in the safety of a comfortable room. She says she can’t remember most of it. She lies. She remembers all of it. And we replay the incident over and over. Another testament to your failure.” Zodiark said to Rae. “Did you know that while she was on the floor, covered in her own blood and fluids of her rapist, she cried out for you? Before passing out? As if you would make everything better, you just being at her side. But you didn’t come did you. Not until she was already in that dingy field hospital. You couldn’t even protect her from some drunk Highlander. How do you expect to protect her from me? With those swords of yours? Please, by all means, bury them to the hilt into our chest. By killing me, you kill her. I will never release her and I can never die.” She finished, breathing heavily. She dropped to one knee in sudden pain and let out a painful howl. But the howl was a mixture of God and mortal. Marishi was struggling to fight back Zodiarks influence. There was an internal struggle that was back and forth inside her. The wounded God and the frail mortal. Not as frail as he had anticipated. She struck him in blind spots or where he was weak. Just a hit or two and would fade back into the abyss. Zodiark and Rae stood staring at each other, neither breaking eye contact. The sounds of Alliance and Garlean airships circling overhead. Serreth had no idea what she was doing, where she was going, or what her goal was. Everything was instinct. Enter the colossus. Climb. Climb. As she passed, the lights and the pistons slowly hummed to life and the gears began turning. Each quadrant she moved by was a quadrant that began to power on. Alexander the great mobile bastion, shut down for eternity due to the bleeding dry of the land for the vast amount of Aether it took to power him on, was beginning its activation sequencing again. Serreth kept hearing him in her head. Faster. Keep moving. Don’t slow down. Locked doors and passageways opened automatically at its masters passing. Recognizing Serreth as the lord of the citadel. Alexander, who had dominion over time itself. Urging Serreth with all haste to her destination. She could not see what he could see, but by his incessant tone, he saw a future he did not prefer. Serreth could only think of Rae, charred and shriveled pierced by a thousand black crystal lances in some stone cave while the phantom that was her wife passed her remains. She was being guided up and up. Past the main batteries and power cores. Into the highest points of the structure. She was exhausted from climbing. She wasn’t young by any means and even a spry Miquo’te would have trouble with this many steps and stairs. The spirit of Alexander pushed her on. She was close. So close. She arrived on the main observation deck that served as the bridge of the mobile command center. Here screens flickered to life and began displaying locations all around the hinterlands. One screen zoomed on two Miquo’te staring at one another. One on top of a cliff staring down at one on the bottom, its body obstructed by a black haze making her hard to identify. Serreth knew that was Marishi. As the machine powered on, Alexander fed her instructions on how to control various aspects. Including the ones forbidden to the Sharlayn’s. Serreth gasped at the knowledge and said aloud. “No, we can’t do that. It would kill everything here, including my daughter.” She stood a moment with her ears cocked as if listening to the gears turn. As if there was a voice in them. “It is a great gamble. I don’t … Know. It’s too risky.” Tears filled her eyes and her shoulders slumped. “There’s not other way, is there? If there’s a chance we have to take it, under one condition.” She said to the empty bridge. Once she had laid out her own demands, the noises were quiet for a moment and reluctantly beeped in agreement. “I have your word then. How do we do this.” She said. “I won’t hesitate to kill you, Rae. Just like I’m going into that cave and I’m going to kill that old woman. I’m going to take her key, and I’m going to enter the mothercrystal. I’m going to drain her dry and I’ll replace her empty husk. I will use this body as the ‘word of the father’. I do this out of balance. Can you not see that?” She implored to Rae. She didn’t move, nor speak, nor take her hands of her rapiers. “So. Be. It.” Zodiark hissed as she drew her own Gordian Katana that had fused with Zansetsuken. The weapon pulsated with hate and aether. Creating breaking shockwaves at intervals. To wield it caused Zodiark pain, for it fed off his own aether and threatened to overcome his hold on reality. She floated into the air to be at eye level with Rae and began to advance upon her. Zodiark would cut her down and move on. Only when she tried to move forward, she couldn’t She was stuck. Frozen in place. Effort and strain passed over her face and she attempted to will her body to move. Something was fettering her in place. Marishi. Marishi was holding Zodiark down. A mere mortal hampering the one true god from attaining immortality. Zodiark screeched in frustration as another sound began to ring. Like a capacitor being charged at high frequency. Red laser targeting beams centered around her position and Rae’s. The sound was coming from the Alexander citadel. Serreth hit the fire release mechanism and watched as the eyes of Alexander fired forth long white beams at the two figures. The beams sliced straight through rock and stone and flesh. It erupted the ground it touched and vaporized the large pools of water to leave a dry bed. The entire cave entrance was completely obliterated. The airships seeing Alexander firing upon Zodiark added their own volleys to the light of judgement. The result was the complete vaporization of the area including the two mortal forms that were targeted. Out of the dust and debris cloud that formed trailed a thick smoke that wrapped around an airship and collapsed its hull. Zodiark in his actual form. “Fools! Thou cannot vanquish thee with thy weak and pathetic armaments! For I am Zodiark! Eternal Darkness! No longer do I need corporeal hosts to occupy. O shall crush all thee and drain thy light from thine land!” It hissed as it jumped from ship to ship, destroying wantonly. “There! I did what you said! Now you do your part since we just killed my daughter and her Wife! Save them Alexander!” Serreth screamed. The world we sepia in color and time froze. Slowly beginning to wind backward to the point where the beams of light were striking both Miquo’te. They didn’t even realize their fate. Only Zodiark saw the lights and jumped out of Marishi Ten’s body to escape destruction. That fraction of a moment was all Alexander needed to snap time in place, grab their bodies and teleport them to the observation deck Serreth stood. He brought them to the bridge and time snapped forward. Zodiark none the wiser thinking Rae and Marishi had been caught in the blast. Rae stood with a stupefied look on her face not understanding how one moment she was making her final stand against a God and the next moment inside a steel machine with her mother and … “No! Serreth said. “Don’t go near her yet. It’s not safe.” Marishi lay on her side, her eyes closed and head down. It was impossible to tell if she was breathing or not. The black droplets had been replaced by splotches of red. “Fulfill your oath Alexander! Like you promised me!” Serreth yelled. As if unwilling, but bound by the oath, golden light emanated from Serreth and lazily made its way to Marishi until she was wrapped in the warm golden glow. The glow also circled around her Katana, expelling the Zansetsuken from the blade, making it safe to wield again. The golden light had closed Marishi’s wounds and cleansed her soul of the dark taint. Her breathing became normal and evenly spaced as if sleeping. Serreth fell to one knee and clutched onto her daughter. “Wow, that takes a lot of you. I feel ancient and tired.” She smiled and laughed. “I’ll be fine, I’ll be fine. I didn’t suffer wounds like Marishi did. Go, go. I’ll be okay, I’m not going anywhere. I promise.” It was a promise Serreth intended to keep. She would remain in Rae’s life until ripe old age took her. Rae slowly made her way to Marishi, worried if it was a ruse, or if she was dead. She knelt down to her. The world seemed silent, waiting for her words to her real wife.
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