Jump to content

Marishi Ten

Members
  • Content Count

    110
  • Joined

  • Last visited

1 Follower

About Marishi Ten

  • Rank
    Citizen
  • Birthday February 21

Profile Information

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

Contact Methods

  • Discord
    Marishi Ten#8111

Recent Profile Visitors

311 profile views
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. “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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Marishi Ten

    Under Boughs Of Blood [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    “Who?” Marishi turned with a quizzical expression on her face. She stared down Rae with her black eyes that absorbed everything and gave back nothing. She walked slowly to the broken statue ignoring the pitiful mortal who had drawn steel against her. As her stride touched the ground, the grass wilted and browned, dying by her passing as if sucking the aether right from the soil. Trees would rot instantly water would become brackish and undrinkable. “Such a wonder is it not? A mortal soul to quell the fury of a beast not of this star. Only through bonding of souls was this to occur. Not unlike you.” The words came from Marishi’s mouth and sounded in Marishi’s voice, but they weren’t Marishi’s. “The one you’re referring to is gone. She is part of me now. As soon will everything else be. Lay down your arms. They are useless. I would vaporize the steel before you could land a blow. Forget the spell you’re calling to your mind. I would rend your psyche before you could form it into words.” She said to Rae still staring at the statue back turned toward her. “Why have you come here? To stop me? I’ve smote the last of the great wyrms upon his own pyre and brought his sanctuary down to stamp out the insects that infested the land. I did this with a wave of my hand. I would devour you before you could take a step.” Zodiark said to Rae, turning to face her. “Ah. I see now.” She placed her hand on her hip as her lips turned up in an amused smile. “You’ve come in the hopes to reclaim her spirit from my clutches. To free her body and mind from my will. Why? How odd you mortals are. Were you not the one that called upon me to raise her from the dead? Were you not the one that begged she be given form again? Were you not the one that forced your own selfish ideals upon her? I am here because of you, Rae. She, or what remains of her, is also here because of you. You could even argue that the devastation of all that is around is because of you. I really should be thanking you. Without you, I’d be unable to manifest.” Marishi said to Rae slightly bowing to her in a mocking fashion. The two stood several feet apart staring at one another, not saying anything. Smoke and dust catching in the wind and whipping their garments around them. Marishi had made no move to draw her weapon. She didn’t need to. She could wilt and stamp the life out of any being simply by willing it. Marishi could control the hearts and the minds of men with shadows in them. She could raise the bones of the earth to jut to the sky with a few waves of her hands. She could paralyze and petrify with a glance. She could turn the brightest of days into the darkest of nights in moments. Marishi was a fell Goddess. Unhearing, uncaring. Concerned only for the drive to tip the scales back, to settle the score. Marishi suddenly felt something hit her with a hard thud. She was irritated at first as it caused her to take steps back. She looked down at her chest to see a dagger sunk into it right below her collarbone. Our of the corner of her eye she watched an older Miquo’te come into view. “That’s a dirty trick. Throw a knife at someone while they’re distracted.” She said as she fell to the ground in a sitting position. Rae began to run to Marishi, but Serreth pulled her back. “No! Don’t. That thing isn’t our Marishi anymore and it would seek to undo you.” She said to Rae, holding her tight, having to almost wrestle her to the ground to keep her from going to her. “You should listen to your mother, Rae. She’s not foolish. But this also makes her dangerous and I’ll not suffer insults from a husk of a spirit, who’s been too afraid to actually live her life in fear of facing her own regret filled choices.” Marishi said as she pulled the knife out of her chest and tossed it to the ground. The blade covered in a thick black tar like substance. “Was a pretty good throw though. You caught me flat footed.” She said as she began to rise. “You’re in my way though and as much as I cherish reunions, I have my own that’s been long overdue to get to.” She said as she began to advance upon Rae and Serreth. Tendrils of black began to materialize on the left side of her body as she slowly advanced towards them. 40 paces apart. The sound of a thunder clap could be heard echoing off the tortured landscape. Marishi stopped and looked skyward. She didn’t summon lightning. A flash of white cutting through the sky ripped through air and struck the ground where Marishi was standing causing a massive explosion to envelop the ground she was on. The sound was deafening and the heat from the explosive sizzled the air. Dropping below the clouds, the slow flashing red lights of a massive dreadnaught class Garlean flagship could be seen descending. It was flanked by its own frigates and fights as well as airships armored and armed that flew the flags of Gridania, Limsa Lominsa, and Ul’Dah. The Eorzean Alliance providing escort to a Garlean dreadnaught over Eorzean soil to stop the God of twilight from destroying the planet. An alliance never seen in the history of the world. The explosion had thrown Serreth and her daughter back, but were far enough away to escape the any lasting injury. Serreth picked up Rae who was dazed by the cannon fire and loss of her wife to a small group of trees not broken by earth or scorched by fire. There, they both sat down and tried to catch their breath. On the observation deck of the dreadnaught a Garlean Legatus was probing the blast he had directed for any traces of life. The smoke and dust was still heavy in the air making any kind of visual identification impossible. He had ordered another volley be loaded into the main cannon and circle the crater, barrel pointed at the last known area the God residing in a mortal body was seen. After several long moments there was no movement from the crater or retaliation. The men aboard the ship began to cheer and laugh. The finest ship in the Garlean fleet was able to not only stop a God of pure malice, it was able to completely vaporize it. Removing it from existence altogether. The only one not celebrating was the Legatus who continued to watch the monitor. He dared himself hope that they had smote the ruin of their enemy, but the moment he did so, his heart sunk and fear rippled through the entire ship. There at the crater the dust had cleared and a wall of black crystal jagged and uneven could be seen at the impact point, its own small dome. The crystal dome shattered revealing a wounded, but very much alive and irate deity staring at the Dreadnaught. Marishi had used her tendrils at the last moment to act as a shield to the high impact artillery shell that rained down upon her. The shield worked, but at the cost of her ability to summon them again and wounding her left torso. Men scrambled to prepare the firing solution of the second volley as well as plot the firing trajectory. The Legatus screaming to fire the moment they were able. Another shot rang out aimed directly at Marishi. This time, she was ready. She placed her hand on her katana and waited for the shell to come within striking distance. She drew the blade as the round was to strike and cut the bullet in half send the fragments to the side of her to explode in a blaze. Ripping through the blaze a blue arc soared through the air aimed at the Dreadnaught. Marishi had returned fire with her own. The arc sliced through the ship like a hot knife through butter causing the ship to slowly fall from the sky erupting in flames and explosions. Several smaller arcs trailed after it downing the smaller alliance airships and freighters. Sending wreckage and bodies falling to the ground. An armada in the sky with its wings clipped to fall to the ground helpless. Chaos and destruction was rampant. Marishi had been injured and gripped her side while grimacing in pain. She began to leave towards the Dravanian Hinterlands, limping slightly. She passed by the small grove Serreth and Rae were hiding in without so much as a glance their way. That’s when the thought struck Serreth like a lightning bolt. God wasn’t all powerful and omnipotent. God couldn’t see everything or tell the future. More importantly, God could be wounded. If God could be wounded, God could be killed. Serreth grabbed Rae and helped her to her feet where the two followed after Rae’s dead wife. Her shuffling corpse inhabited by a being of pure evil. Marishi knew the only way to recover and take back what was hers was to take it at the source. She was going to Matoya’s Cave. Where in the back of the cave sat a non-descript and dull looking wooden door that lead to the Sharlayn’s most amazing discoveries. The Antitower. The convergence of Aether where it was said the portal to the planet could be reached.
  10. Marishi Ten

    Under Boughs Of Blood [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    Marishi hummed and walked a brisk pace up the ramp that lead to Zenith. Her stride was long and even. She even had a slight smile upon her face. Marishi was pale. Even for her kind. But now, she was near translucent. Her onyx and sanguine eyes were now pools of black. Infinite in the abyss sucking all light that would dare come near them. Her skin being the shade it was made seeing her veins in her body easy, though they also ran black. Tiny rivers and streams of black as if her blood had been coagulated and left to congeal. As she walked her boots never rang on the stone, but wisps of black smoke trailed faintly behind her. Almost as a cloak or a fell aura enveloped her. Marishi had always been pretty, but to view her now, she held a hideous beauty. One men would kill for. Kill themselves for. Do anything for. She called to the darkest part of the soul promising everlasting pleasure with nothing more than a gaze. Marishi was no longer Marishi. Marishi wasn’t even a thrall. There were much more grand designs at work. Zodiark wasn’t blessing Marishi. He was possessing her. His essence crammed into her frail mortal shell. He couldn’t strip her out of her body so he was forced to share it with her. Zodiark being the dominate personality and Marishi bound and tortured by the darkness that chained her. He let her bear witness and he let her watch through her own eyes what he decided to do with her body and what he decided to say with her mouth. Such an occasion. Really, she should be thankful to be part to the housing and reemerging of the one and only God this world needs. And he was emerging. Every step, every moment, strength gathering, slithering more into the material world through this host. A parasite to infect the world. Marishi being patient zero. She reached the top of Zenith and let her boots ring on the pavement. The skies darkened not from thunderstorms, but from evil. Day turned to night. The smell of decay and death hanging heavily in the air. The beating of mighty wings could be heard soon after Marishi had arrived. Her prey would come to her. She watched as Hraesvelgr soared around Zenith in a circle gauging who it was that summoned him and who it could be that could boast such power as to change day into night. Finally, he landed, his bulk shaking the ground, but no so much as shifting a hair on Marishi’s head. Hraesvelgr stared at her with his penetrating yellow eyes before speaking slowly in dragon speak. “Who is it that doth summon me?” Marishi replied in a charming if not condescending tone “You know who has summoned you, Wyrm. Why are you upon my star? You and your kind do not belong here. Long have you been allowed to remain here unchecked, rude guests that interfere with designs far beyond your mind.” Hraesvelgr’s eyes narrowed. A mortal, frail female insulting him so. One swipe of one of his talons – “Would do nothing you slivering beast. Are you so inept that you cannot see past the veiled curtain of the mortal realm to see who actually addresses you?” Marishi said. “No, thou art bound forever in chains. It is impossible for you to be here. Thou art but a shade of terror. A thrall in the service of darkness and death.” Hraesvelgr’s eyes widened in sudden fear. He saw whom he spoke with and the visage filled him with dread. This was an actual God. Not a Primal. A God of darkness set it opposition of the Goddess of Light whom his brood father made his ancient pacts with. “Why are thou here?” He asked. Marishi smirked. The black of her eyes permeated cracks of black to her temples. Like a porcelain mask that had been dropped. “I’m here for you. A new age is being ushered in. One in which we must rent the land to foster its growth.” Marishi said cryptically. The mask began to slip on her face as she fell to her knee grasping her chest. Hraesvelgr watched and said “Ahh, thou aren’t as powerful as believed. That, or the girl struggles against the chains thou have clapped upon her soul. You wish to soar as one as Shiva soars with mine own spirit, but thou forgets that the choice must be made willingly for free will cannot be denied to anyone. Mortal or God. How foolish thy arrogance.” He chided Marishi. Hraesvelgr began to ascend into the heavens. “It is of little wonder how thou became chained and bound. Thy arrogance and apathy knows no bounds. She will overcome you, Darkness. She will take back which thou hath stolen. For I sense love for another in her spirit. Thou will never defeat that.” Marishi growled quietly as the Wyrm began to fly away. “We’re not done snake.” Tendrils of black smoke snaked out of the left side of her body growing denser as they twisted and entwined together until they were as ropes or barbed wire. Still with one knee on the ground, staring at the ground, the tendrils fired at blinding speed wrapping around Hraesvelgr’s neck, head, torso, right rings, foreleg, and tail. They cinched tight making escape impossible. He attempted to bite and even breathe fire up on them. They only sunk deeper and deeper cutting into his hide as a rope burns through skin. “Your death will mark the new beginning of the world. My world. A world you do not belong.” The voice of Marishi sounded everywhere booming and cracking the foundations of Zenith. Sending tremors through the Churning Mists. Hraesvelgr hovered in midair and knew he made a fatal mistake. Marishi pulled the tendrils taught and with a slight bending of her left side, the tendrils sent the great Wyrm into the side of his majestic Zenith. He was thrown through the ancient and delicate mason work wrought thousands of years ago, collapsing the leaf like dome structures surrounding the middle pillar. He was slammed into the ground and drug in a circle, gouging the earth with his massive body, being shoved through rock, crystal, and aether. Marishi had used his body to ruin his sanctuary. Zenith falling to pieces, Marishi lifted his body high off the ground and slammed him into the jagged pedestal in the middle, impaling the last of the first brood blood skyrocketing into the air and screams of pain. Marishi stood up and stared at the Dragon. “How pitiful you are. Look at you. Laboring for breath impaled upon your own craftsmanship. I have killed you and ended the last of your kind on my world. Your Aether will become my Aether and everything you have ever dreamed, struggled, and built will be reduced to nothing. Because that is what you are. Nothing.” She said with contempt. Hraesvelgr’s breathing was short and raspy. The tendrils had nearly decapitated him. His wings broken and his body pieced with rock and crystal, blood pouring from his flank and mouth. He smiled at Marishi and said “Nothing. We are as all nothing. But not I. For Shiva gives me purpose and existence. Not you, Marishi Ten, for Rae Ten gives you purpose. No darkness how perverse can piece the light they doth shine upon us. Thou will remember serenity again. My Shiva calls …” he laid his head down and closed his eyes. No longer writhing in pain. But at peace in death. Nothing but the wind could be heard in Zenith. Marishi was incredibly unhappy. She had just felled the last of the great dragons, but her victory felt hollow. She was angry at something. She buried it deep. The anger and sliver of fear. “I control her beast. I am God. She is my child. Her petty love for one who betrayed her to me will not last. Just as you have not. Just as this sanctuary will not.” Marishi said to herself than to the corpse in front of her. She was suppressing Marishi, the real Marishi, with hopelessness and betrayal. Zodiark would break her spirit. He would break Rae’s once he could outmaneuver the bloated Primal that protected her. Zodiark could also faintly make out another essence entering the fray. Rays of golden light on the horizon. The sounds of gears turning. It made no difference. He would eradicate them all. Save for that sliver of fear remained in the soul of the God of twilight. Marishi lifted off the ground as the Churning Mists, no longer being sustained by Hraesvelgr’s aether to remain in the air began to crack, crumble, and fall away on top of The Dravanian Forelands below. The damage would be catastrophic. Ruins completely obliterated, mountains ground to plains, Entire waterways changed in an instant causing forest to rot away to desert. Animal and man caught by the falling sky, dying, screaming for help. Marishi buried the Forelands below The Churning Mists, eradicating the fabled Chocobo Forest, the Churning Mists tribe of Moogles, and the Gnath civilization in one sweep. Marishi hovered in the air as she watched it collapse and fall away. Unfulfilled. An old score still to settle. “And now, I come for you, wife.” Zodiark called out to Hydealean as Marishi called out begging for succor from her own wife praying her voice would reach her screaming a name she knew Rae would know. “Matoya”. “Find Matoya. Protect the cave.” Marishi formed a portal of darkness and floated into it passing through for it to close where the ancient land called The Churning Mists once hovered high above the ground. Now, nothing more than thin air and firmament. The clouds left and the Sun began to shine, though no Sun would pierce the heavy dust clouds on the land below as mountains fell into themselves.
  11. Marishi Ten

    Under Boughs Of Blood [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    “It seems your mate did not find her situation all that amenable, Marishi. The Dreadwyrm Bahamut shields her from Zodiark’s influence.” The Ascian whispered in Marishi’s ears. He wasn’t on this plane of existence, but he could commune with her. Marishi was laying flat and eyes closed. She felt the manacles that bound her feet and hands. She didn’t need to open her eyes to see what was happening around her. The Aether was like a reverberation creating distortions and ripples in her mind. Enough to see. “We shall hold off on having you meet with your new lord until you are more stable and comfortable with yourself. It is a shame about Rae, though.” He said sounding almost wistful. “What do you mean?” Marishi asked back though in her mind, not through her tongue. “This puts her at odds with us Marishi. You are now part of our rank and file. She has chosen light. You have chosen darkness.” The Ascian said. “I don’t understand.” Marishi replied trying to contain her panic, fear, anger, regret. “Yes, you do. You understand perfectly. If only she had gone through what she agreed to. But no. Our lord does not take rebuffs kindly. Serve with fealty and trembling. That you might know your eternal reward, Marishi.” The Ascian said. He continued. “War is coming Marishi. No more hiding in the shadows and licking our wounds. We will bar our teeth and show them the true strength of our God soon. War. A war like no other. It will dwarf the pitiful Allagans battle with the Dragons. War against light and dark.” Marishi’s eyes began to fill with tears. “Why are you telling me this?” The Ascian laughed. “Because, my dear! Your wife has chosen light! You have chosen dark! It is your destiny to meet on the field and cut each other down. From this moment on, you are no longer lovers, or friends. You are enemies. Foes. You bond has been eradicated in the wind. Not that the Twelve actually did anything to stop it. It is time for you to awaken and leave. Before the Elder SeedSeer arrives. You are not quite as strong as to face her. Yet.” The Ascian said. “How am I supposed to leave when I’m locked in a bed.” Marishi said irritably. “Haha. Mortal. Think like a mortal. You are no longer just a mere mortal. You have been blessed. Bend the iron with your mind. Melt away the shackles. Disintegrate the wood. Yours is a power to command and a reckoning to behold.” The Ascians voice faded away. Marishi opened her eyes to the stark reality. She could no longer be with Rae anymore. For her own safety, Marishi had to leave. The emptiness she felt could not be filled. Not by a man, nor god. There was no lighter. No more Sunshine. Just fields of dark without the moon or stars to guide her path. Serreth. Rae and Serreth’s relationship could now heal. Rae would find comfort in her mother. The thought gave Marishi some comfort. On her right, there was a white privacy screen. She could hear labored breathing and rustling of chains. Rae. Marishi turned to stare back at the ceiling and steel her heart. This would be the closest they would become ever again. Marishi prayed whatever light she still had left in her find itself in Rae and protect her. Help her in her times of loneliness and if need be, forget her. “Forget me Solar, for I am no longer your Lune. The night doth darken ere no pale moonlight or stars. Forgive me.” Marishi said allowed and called upon the blessing of the darkness. All of the lights went out, one by one. The candles flickered and faded. There were storm clouds so dark and heavy they turned the midday into night. It sent the building into a clamor. Marishi willed the iron to dissolve into sand as she sat up, watching the panic ensue. She left the table she was strapped to and walked over to a barrel near the stairs a guard was standing sentry at. He didn’t see her coming it was so dark. She grabbed his face with her hands and with one smooth motion spun his head so hard it broke his neck and turned to face his backside. He fell to the floor with a thud, dead before he hit the ground. Marishi was surprised at how little effort it took to break a man’s neck like that. Normally that would have cost her considerable strength. It was like breaking a twig. In the barrel she found her arms. Her Gordian Katana fused with Zansetsuken. A gift from the One True God. The weapon pulsed with ungodly power. As if the wielder could barely contain it and if guards were dropped, the sword would turn on its master. She tucked the weapon into her black sash and began to leave. She stopped short seeing Rae’s Rapiers in the barrel. She stared at them for a moment, not thinking anything. Suddenly, she grabbed them both, quietly walked to where Rae was still shackled and tossed them next to her with a loud clang. Not saying a word. Marishi turned on her heel and left the building. She walked to the forbidden aetheryte in the middle of the hamlet and stared at it a moment. She then conjured in her mind where she wanted to be and touched the crystal. It resonated and lit bright blue disintegrating her form into Aether and taking her upon the waves where she rematerialized exactly where she wanted to be. The skies cleared almost immedatly and the residents of the building could see again. Noticing the dead soldier on the floor, weapons gone, and a missing prisoner. She stood at the abandoned and ravaged land of the skylords and landlords. The Churning Mists. Zenith. She was meant to be there. Her benefactor promising more information would follow. Marishi guessed what it wanted. It wanted the death of one of the last great Wyrms on Eorzea. She slowly made her way up the massive circular pillar to convene with the last of its kind, pity, guilt, loneliness wracking her heart for the loss of Rae and the evils she was about to commit. But Marishi had no Bahamut to protect her. No demi god to intervene. This was her existence.
  12. Marishi Ten

    Under Boughs Of Blood [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    “My poor misguided child, I’m afraid it doesn’t work like that. That power in which you ask will never be yours to command.” The Ascian said. Your wife was chosen for her brutality and savagery to see things done to the end. Marishi has darkness within her. Surely, you’ve seen it. And surely it’s frightened you.” “To hells with it! Kill them both now!” The leader of the Scions said as he ordered his men for fire upon Rae and the Ascian. “Ever a bother.” He flicked his fingers up as the shafts turned from wood to grains of sand that fell helplessly to the ground. With his other arm he pointed to the ground where black and purple pitch circles formed around the combatants holding them in place. “You will be witness. All of you. Especially YOU.” He said to Serreth. “I wouldn’t move if I were you. She will kill you.” The Ascian said with a hint of humor in his voice. “As I said. You cannot be made one of us. You never will be. Neither can Marishi. But, I can imbue within you both some essence of not only myself, but what strength my God gives me.” He grabbed Rae by her neck and lifted her off the ground. Squeezing the life from her, a sneer on his face. “It has already begun. You have accepted. She has accepted. Now embrace me. Embrace me as you would a lover. When our dance is over, you will have what Marishi has been given. A second chance.” The Ascian drew Rae closer to his face, all the while smiling. She squirmed and fidgeted until her face could no longer be seen by cover of his hood. She then when stiff. Every muscle and in every extremity tight. The dance had begun. The dance had begun in the pale at the same time. In the pale between life and death there is nothing but darkness below and gray above. With an everlasting horizon in the middle. Nothing moves, nothing changes, nothing exists. If there were others, Marishi couldn’t find or see them. When she woke from her death, she was not alone. There was a figure in a white robe, with a red mask staring down at her. “It’s about time your awoken. Save your voice. It grates upon my ears. You find yourself in a place called “Divergence”. You are neither here, nor are you there. We contain life that we do not want to return to the planet here. Whole and undamaged.” He said flatly. “As per why, I’d imagine you’ll find out, soon enough. Frankly I’m not about to reason with a mere mortal about a game that’s played with Gods. Just know that you’re being offered a … third chance at your life. Who can say that? Though the choice isn’t completely your own. Your pretty young wife has to agree.” The Ascian sighed. “If only she had died and you had lived. What power we could have had.” Marishi said nothing as she stared at the robed man. She knew who he was. An Ascian. An agent of Chaos. Their motives unclear, they attempt to create and sow chaos and drain the planet of Aether to weaken the mother crystal. They show up on the bloodiest of battlefields. The overcrowded field hospitals. Where mass death is found, so are they. “We are but in the service of the one true God. Your false idols like Alexander are based on the conjuring of your imagination and concentrated Aether. That’s it. That’s all they are. Why do you think Alexander loves your wife? The one true God has been locked away since time immortal. For reasons unjust. Since then, the mothercrystal has had her way with the place. Stigmafying and blighting the land with light.” He went on to explain. “How rude of me. I give you a lecture and I don’t even tell you my name. Well, I have many names. But you can call me Eledibus.” The white robed man bowed. “Where was I? Ah, you of all people should know, Marishi, that without darkness there can be no light. Without light, there is no Darkness. How can people tell the difference if there is no contrast? For too long, has there been no darkness. For too long there has it been banished away. For too long have we toiled and struggled, fought and died over balance. No more. Direct intervention is required, else all life will fail.” Eledibus. “I don’t care if all life fails, Ascian. They don’t concern me. Your wars with the Scions are your own. I’ve always been content to let each other wipe each other out. Both a religious zealot that cause more harm than good. You want to bring back your dusty deity. To what? Usurp what is already there? Don’t you see? You undermine yourself with your own plots. There is wisdom in balance however. Though I sense your idea of balance is not quite what I would consider. Are you offering me something? If so let’s cut to the chase.” Marishi said. Two could play at this game. And it seemed to have caught the Ascian off guard for a moment. “Resourceful. This is one of the reasons you’ve been chosen. I offer you nothing. The one true God offers you your life back. To protect the ones, you love. He even offers you the youth the machine gave you. He also offers you a spark of his own divinity. You have heard of the “Echo” I am sure. He offers you a version of that. He offers you the strength to protect which you love and hold dear in the trials to come. And they are coming, Marishi. Soon. The world is breaking. And only we can stop it. Those you consider your allies, seek to fracture it. Good intentions or not. Help us heal the land. To stop the eradication of all life. Only say the word. And the one true God shall heal you.” Eledibus finished. It was quiet. What would Rae say? What would she do in this situation? What would her father do? What would Serreth do? She was no Warrior of Light or Warrior of Darkness. She wasn’t protected or emboldened by legendary crystals of old. “You tell me half truths and honey your words Elidibus. I’m to act as this God’s agent without ever knowing him. I’m to side with the twisted perversion of darkness to do unspeakable and heinous acts against others.” Elidibus replied “Nothing you haven’t already done thrice over I might add. The blood on your hands is enough to fill a lagoon. Accept who you are. You are deceit. You’ve lied, cajoled, seduced, cheated, and forged for your own selfish ends. You’ve lashed out, maimed, wounded, hurt, and damaged to extract information from terrified noncombatants. You’ve killed in cold blood, you’ve murdered, you’ve hacked, severed, impaled, slashed, burned, poisoned, bludgeoned, and beat to death hundreds of men, women, children, and infants. You leave chaos and blood wherever you go. No place is untouched or safe from your force. The only stipulation we have is to keep it up. Keep doing what you are doing. We will ensure you are given the tools to defend those you love and keep them safe. What is your answer?” “I will never be yours to command. Neither you, not your God I know nothing about, though I will take your gift if you’re willing to give it. Know that I walk my own path and no God or man directs my feet. Now, how do we do this?” Marishi finally said. “Of course, your path is your own puppet. We’d have it no other way.” Elidibus said under his breath. “Stand and face me. I’m told the transition from limbo to the world can be … uncomfortable. Prepare for some pain.” Elidibus said as he gently touched the middle of her forehead. Immediately the point where he touched her turned black, almost as if the flesh had turned necrosis. It spread quickly throughout her body to her panic. She felt herself rotting away. He limbs falling away. Legs and arms. He last thoughts before the sickness took her cognition was that the Ascian lied to her. Long minutes had passed since Rae agreed to the Ascians offer. Both offers Long minutes staring into her half open and black eyes devoid of fire and life. Her skin a sickly ash color. Her body long since cold. Serreth knelt down next to her daughter and stared at her. Rae was not staring at Serreth. “Oh, my child, what have you done? She was free from the torments of this world. You were free to walk your own path. I love you Rae. I can only hope that this path you have chosen for yourself and her is the right one. But it isn’t a patch I can walk with you. I’m sorry” Serreth wept. Her tears caught in her throat when Marishi’s body began to stiffen then to convulse. It twisted and turned in unnatural and contorted shapes and would lock in place for several seconds. Everyone viewing was horrified at watching her writhe and slam on the ground. The only one unaffected seemed to be Elidibus. “It shall pass.” He said quietly. Her body fell limp on the grass as it was as she began to hack and cough uncontrollably. Over and over. Like a motor reflex. One final draw of breath and hack expelled the black blood from inside her lungs and stomach, clearing her airway and allowing her to breath again. She breathed heavily for several seconds and while still laying on the grass, opened her eyes. Her normal Onyx and Sanguine eyes had been replaced with the absence of all pigment in both of them. Both eyes were now black. Back as a starless and moonless night. Black as the abyss that when staring into them promised to take the pitiful soul to. Before falling into a deep and dreamless sleep, she reached out her hand one more time to grasp her Katana. This time, she felt the hilt. It was the Gordian Katana. Though it no longer pulsed with a bright white light of holiness, it pulsed with the darkness of the Ascians, fused with Zansetsuken. She closed her eyes and her breathing became even. Warmth returned to her skin, though the color did not. Elidibus was gone. No where to be seen. Serreth was the first to act. She took a rock and struck Rae in the back of the head as hard as she could. It pained her to do so, but she would not come willingly. “Get them to Quarrymill. Get a Padjal, get Kan-E-Senna if you have to. We need to know what he did to them.” She snapped the orders to the Twin Adder, who were quick to respond given orders. Serreth kneeled by her daughter and spoke to her unconscious form “She may hold the face of our beloved Marishi, but she may not be Marishi. Ascians are known to take over living and dead bodies for their own ends. We also don’t know what he did to her. Once we find out, it may be a mercy to cut short her life. And perhaps your own.” They arrived in Quarrymill to find it a buzz and teeming with life. Soldiers and residents alike all running around in all directions. “You, take Marishi and my daughter to the warmest Inn you can find and make sure she’s comfortable. If I find you’ve cut corners, I’ll beat you till the brains come out of your ears, understand?” The threat was enough to spawn then into action. Serreth caught one of the higher-ranking soldiers by the arm to force him to stop and asked “You, what is all this commotion? I’ve never seen this place so a bustle.” The office snatched his arm back angrily but told her the latest information. “Reports of an Elder Primal surfaced and it appears it and the local mafia, The RedBellies engaged in one another. It appears they vanquished Odin, but were completely annihilated themselves.” Serreth slightly smiled over this. That’s not how it played out, but it didn’t matter. The soldier continued. “Immediately after, there was a large fire that caused the South Shroud to blaze. Luckily the Elementals were able to summon rain assisted by the Padjal, including the current supreme commander Kan-E-Senna.” Serreth’s eyes widened. “She is here? In Quarrymill? Kan-E-Senna?” The office replied, “Yes. She is among those here assisting with disaster relief and Elemental soothing.” Serreth was speechless. “Where is she? I must speak with her. It’s a matter of life and death.” The office frowned and barred her way. “None speak with her without pre-authorization. Regardless, there had been reports of Ascian activity which she was specifically called away to observe.” The office stated. “If there is anyone in the world that can help my daughter and her wife who have fallen ill to an Ascians poisons it’s Kan-E-Senna!” Serreth yelled to the soldier. “Please, take me to her. Let me at least plead my case. I bet you!” The officer hesitated, but looking at the resolve on the old woman’s face, gruffly said “Come with me” and began heading to the main commons of the town. In the back of Serreth’s mind grew a dark thought as she ran to hope. When a mortal is turned into a thrall, they do not treat them, nor do they attempt to alleviate their symptoms in any way. They dig a large mass grave, slit the throats of all afflicted, throw their bodies in the ditch, burn them, and recover them with earth. No matter the cost, Serreth would save Rae from this fate. She owed her that much. Marishi would have to be an afterthought from now on.
  13. Marishi Ten

    Under Boughs Of Blood [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    Marishi relinquished Alexander unto Serreth. Or Alexander left Marishi for her. The spark of divinity that had kept her alive, young, and healthy for 30 years now gone. It would take everything Alexander and Serreth had to stand their own against Odin, let alone overcome him. Marishi heard Serreth ask Alexander to keep her well. She heard Alexander lie. She painfully readjusted herself and laid flat on her back on one of the grassy patches that sat higher than the shallow water until she was comfortable, looking up at the trees in their garish light. Without looking down, she reached for her Katana. Not because she feared an attack, but she had become one with it. It’s presence itself being a comfort to her. She could not find nor feel it. She had lost it when the land caved in. She felt the pulse of Aether as Alexander began to exploit Odins own Aether. Clever. Marishi thought to herself. She wouldn’t have thought of something as crafty as that. Serreth was truly a force to be reckoned with. Not only able to house a God, but to bend him to her will. Something Marishi would never be able to do. Her breathing became labored and with each breath she was drawing less and less air as her lungs filled with fluid that would ultimately suffocate her. Her wet coughs began to hack up her own blood on the green grass. A garish contrast to the tranquility of the foliage and her own life seeping out of her. She was beginning to hurt all over as the years started to weigh down upon her body. She felt a small jolt of life surge through her. Alexander was attempting to keep his word. The pain subsided, though her breathing became shallower and erratic. She was beginning to die. She knew it. Marishi was almost irritated. Why, of all times did it have to be right now? She should have been dead so many times before. She least of all expected this particular outing to have any kind of bloodshed or even loss of life. The sounds of battle began to fade from her ears as she stared at the canopy. Tears beginning to well up and fall past her temples. She wouldn’t even be slain in battle. She’d die of suffocation on this fields while others fought her fight for her. Anger came bursting forth from her. Anger at her own weak and broken body. Anger that she could have stopped this all when she and Alexander had the chance. Anger that she could have said no to coming here at all. But now, she would die, alone, in a remote field, for nothing. The anger subsided and panic began to rise. She tried to remember what Rae looked like. She couldn’t remember. Her last thoughts and she couldn’t remember what her own wife of 10 years looked like. Alexander had abandoned her for another. What had she done for him to leave? In her dimming vision she became confused. No longer able to turn her head to retch out the blood in her lungs, she had a fit of coughing that left crimson on the side of her face and cheek. Her body began to calm itself from the convulsions and she was left feeling tired and scared. This is what terrified her. Dying alone. With no one by her side to help usher her in the great beyond. So many times, she had wished it, but now that it was upon her doorstep, waiting to take her away she was scared. She was snapped back to semi reality at a loud metallic boom, and shortly after the smell of smoke. The forest. It was ablaze. Marishi could hear the trees scream and shrivel from the heat, begging someone to save them from their fate. The entire forest acted as a choir in unison, screaming its death wails. Marishi could see the embers burning of the leaves falling like superheated snow, scorching everything it touched. The smoke began to encroach and Marishi knew her lungs could not withstand fluid, blood, and smoke. She feebly reached for her weapon with her right hand. To her surprise, she found. The Gordian Katana. But no longer pulsing while. It didn’t banish darkness. It absorbed it. The blade was black. As if hammer forged in an oven of death flames stoked by sacrifice of thousands. If the Masamune was the holy sword, the Murasame would be the demon sword. Marishi held the later in her hand. Her left eye dilated to match her right eye and he short ragged breaths came in shorter and weaker. As the rain began to fall, Marishi stopped breathing, tears mixing with the rain, a look of pain and loneliness on her face. She had died the way she had lived. She had died the way she had feared. Alone and forgotten. At least Serreth was safe. At least the wife whose face she couldn’t remember was safe. Marishi cared nothing for the rest. She stared at the weeping sky for the last time. Serreth and Alexander completed their goal. The Shroud was safe, the RedBellies broken and no more. A mother and daughter reunited. To a child, Mother is God. Marishi hacked blood her last time coating the side of her face with splotches of dark red. She tilted her head toward the sky and even though she heard boots and screams in her direction, she chose to let go. Her nails instinctively dug into the grass mound in one last motor reflex to save itself, then released, along with her last breath. And hour of grueling suffering alone and finally, Marishi had passed on. Both eyes black with no hint of color. Her body was found shortly after, cooling from the fever that coursed through her body. The rain fell harder, though it had a gentle touch to the area around Urth’s Gift. As if the Elementals themselves weeped for the passing of one of their exiles. Serreth with the help of a few woodwailers was brought to her body where Rae was already crouched down on her knees, absent mindedly picking away dust and debris from her jacket and chainmail. “You lied to me Alexander. You said you’d keep her safe.” Serreth said in her mind. She could feel him still there, in the back recesses. “Answer me you double speak traitor. Only though my help did you vanquish a foe that will just rise again. This is how you repay me?! To go against our agreement?” Serreth was angry. Only a few days before she would have killed Marishi herself with a smile on her face, but now, to look at her own daughters, the emerald light gone from her eyes picking away things that didn’t exists and smoothing blood matted locks of hair, she couldn’t help but be reminded of her herself when her own husband died. How alone she felt. How devastated and ruined. For the first time in years, Serreth began to cry. She cried for herself and the loss of her husband. She cried for the time spent scorning a child she loved. She cried watching her weep over the only person she would ever love. She cried over the body that laid on the grass who sacrificed herself to protect a woman who detested her and a woman who loved her. Serreth’s world was so neat and orderly. Now, with these two, they reminded her what it was like to live and to love. To struggle and to lose. Such beauty in tragedy. All bowed their heads, for none had the words. “She’s some strength yet in her. I’ll give her that. Do you think she is usable?” A shadowed man asked a small council surrounding each other. They weren’t in a meeting hall or any formal chamber, but each stood on a pedestal, supported by nothing, the infinite void right below them. There was a garish purple light all around them. Crystals that had been coaxed and fitted to hold dark energy. In the middle of the congregation sat a statue. Huge and imposing. One could only look at it for a moment before turning their heads. They felt it was staring back. Bound in chains with most of its body hidden it sat frozen in an unnatural state as if before being sealed, it fought against its own fate. “She might be. She may rebel.” Remarked another. “No, I don’t think she will. I’ve watched her for some time.” Replied one in a robe of white. All others wore black. All faces hidden by masks. “Why would you watch some mortal wretch with not even the gift of the Echo. Look at her. She’s just a pathetic mortal. Destined to be a mortal and die a mortal. She’s nearly there anyway. You spend too much time among humanity. Makes you soft.” Scoffed one. “And you do not spend enough time.” The one in white retorted. “There is strength in humanity. One doesn’t need to be out of a fable or commune with a parasite to be deemed worthy of attention.” One of the elders in black spoke a warning. “If you go down there to save that girl, that is your choice and, in all choices, the one true God wills it. But the mortals will see you. The Scions will see you.” The robed man in white let out a small laugh. “Let them. They will find their enemy healing someone of no consequence. Benevolence for the sake of it.” The elder replied, “But it’s not for benevolence you help that girl. You plan to use her. To what end I do not know. If you think this is wise, then go to her. Make your deal. If she rejects, burn her to ash. If she accepts, imbue her with what she has lost and more.” “Thank you.” The white robed man said as a portal of black and purple tendrils formed and enveloped him then closed. Leaving an empty spot on the pedestal he was standing. Marishi’s eyes were both black with no pigment staring unfocused at the sky. Alexander was too late. Marishi’s savior was too late, though Alexander cared more for Rae than he ever did Marishi. The rain fell putting out the last of the small embers that engulfed the forest, the Elementals letting it last a while longer for the world to weep for Marishi’s passing. Rae hadn’t spoken a word since she found her laying on the grass covered in her own blood she had hacked from her lungs. She hadn’t cried. She hadn’t addressed or noticed anyone but Marishi. All Serreth could do was look at her daughter and know her absolute devastation and pain. The very thought of it caused Serreth to catch her breath in a panic. She wouldn’t wish that kind of pain on her worst enemy, but now watching her daughter having to walk to the same past as the mother was almost too much to bear. The Scions had finally arrived and began to survey the area. Zansetsuken was no where to be found. They explained that Odin himself wasn’t the Primal. It was his sword that was. That’s how it had been able to slip by so many times. Though Serreth didn’t care, and Rae surely didn’t either. There was a change in air pressure, almost like a shockwave that made all of Urth’s found vibrate. Then a second. Then a much more focused third and from that third formed a portal of black and purple tendrils. The energy was enough to shock even Rae out of her focus on her dead wife. The Scions looked at one another with fear on their faces as they backed up while the rest stood in confusion. The portal was right above Marishi’s dead body. A form materialized from the portal. A white robed man with iron claws for nails, a white robe for clothing and red mask to hide his features. “ASCIAN!! GET AWAY!” Yelled a Scion as he prepared a spell to attack him with. The hammering of ice boulders disintegrated at the wave of his hand and he slowly glided down to the ground. His focus upon Rae and Marishi. “Don’t touch them you devils!” Serreth screamed. “Devils? Is that what you call us now. It wasn’t so long ago that you heralded us as saviors. How sad to see your minds have been poisoned against our kind. We are peacekeepers tasked with balance. Devils we are not mistress.” The white robed Ascian said. He knew who she was. The mother of Rae. The wife of Marishi. It would not do to vaporize her. “Kill it!” Said another Scion. “If you slay me, imposter, you take away any chance of this girl ever living again.” The Ascian said. The field was silent. “He’s lying.” Said a Scion. “They don’t have the power to bring back the dead. Merely use them as hosts to meddle in the affairs of men.” The Ascian smiled. “How little you know of our power and the one true God. He is the one that commands me here. He is the one that has chosen Marishi Ten to walk among the land of the living once more. The REAL Marishi Ten. Not an ‘impostor’ and not with the influence of a petulant and impotent God.” He kneeled down to Rae. Her face was stained with tears and her Emerald eyes muted and pastel. Her face was a mask of pain and grief. He lifted his hand under her chin and asked, “What say you little one? There is no trickery or additional terms. I can promise your wife, your life, the reason you exist back from the parasite that is even now trying to eat her up. There is very little time, Rae Ten. Do you believe these loathsome Scions, or do you take a leap of faith? The choice is yours. It’s always been yours.” The Ascian said. Words meant for Rae only.
  14. Marishi Ten

    Under Boughs Of Blood [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    “…. Thine foe is defeated by thine own foe, Harbinger.” The lofty voice of Alexander could be heard somewhere above her. The fall had been traumatic for her and was almost immediately knocked unconscious by the water and the rocks. She could vaguely sense two mortals struggling. One of them defending her downed body. It was Serreth. She had been wounded. Mortally. She wouldn’t leave the pool alive. A sudden overflowing sense of loss overcame Marishi. Serreth wasn’t her mother. But, in a way, she was the only mother she had ever known. She had died protecting her. The sorrow she felt for Serreth dying on that tree was only overshadowed by having to tell Rae, her real daughter that her mother died defending a woman that was not her blood. “The Rider Descends”. Alexander whispered and his holy spark faded. Marishi had one eye half open and watched Odin grab the woman by her mane and cleave her in two. Throwing her carcass in the water as it mingled in the blood that flowed past Marishi. He glanced at Serreth, then turned to stare at Marishi. He had seen her as the Harbinger. He slowly walked to his steed and mounted it. Riding slowly to Quarrymill. Odin would raise that hamlet to the ground looking for a woman who died 5,200 years ago. As the sounds of trotting became faint, Marishi scraped her right arm, moving it into a position to sit up, coughing water out of her lungs. She was sore everywhere and her instinct was to lay back down and sleep. Serreth. She needed help. She was dying. Marishi limped to Serreth and yanked the rest of the spear from the opal crystal as she slid to the ground leaving a streak of blood across its serene image. Marishi sat down next to her and let her lean against her. Both pulling ragged breaths and faces the color of ash. It was hard to tell who was going to expire first. “Well, we certainly made a mess of things, didn’t we?” Marishi asked. “Here we were looking to spend a couple of days in the cool forest air, take a break from the hustle and bustle and be annoying tourists. I guess we didn’t account on Rae’s mother being a master Thief and double agent.” Marishi laughed, though it hurt. Serreth smiled. “And here I was expecting some 30 something twit without a thought in her head bumbling around with no sense of honor or vision.” Marishi was quiet. “Looks like we were both wrong about each other than huh? It’s a shame that it comes at a such a price.” Marishi leaned back against the rock and closed her eyes. “Another life perhaps.” She was startled to be slapped by Serreth. “No, you’re not dying here. I’m not dying here. We’re not dying today. Tomorrow? Maybe. But not today.” She tone was mixed with compassion and anger. “Look you woman, you can’t even stand and my own body is broken. You will bleed to death within the hour and I’ll be dead by Sundown. Our struggles are over.” Marishi said. “But Rae’s are not. Odin thinks Rae is Wyieu, whoever that is. Remember? He’s going to take her and he’s going to kill her. Even at 100% she’d be scattered to dust by him. Are you going to let your wife, my daughter be taken by that thing?” Serreth asked angerly. Marishi had forgotten about Odin. “I have not the strength to contain Alexander again. And even then, he would stop at nothing to kill Odin. Including leveling the Hamlet and killing Rae.” Serreth and Marishi sat there a quiet moment. Marishi praying death would hurry along and Serreth trying to formulize a plan to save her daughter. “Stay awake. Jobs not done yet.” Serreth nudged Marishi. “Help me think. There has to be a way.” Marishi shook her head. “None. The entire barracks of Quarrymill is about to be cut down. The village will be razed and burned. They’ll buy a few hours at most. Against an enemy that never needs to sleep, eat, or grows weary. The Scions will answer, especially with Rae’s name on the missive and the seal of Rowena, but they will arrive too late. They will find Odin gone and the buildings full of dead bodies. You yourself are dying from blood loss. I am dying from internal bleeding. What do you expect us to accomplish? It’s not like some God will come … down … to help …” Marishi trailed off then made a frown. “I don’t like this family thing already Serreth. Make things too complicated.” Serreth stared at Marishi with a quizzical look. “I’m going to close my eyes. Don’t interrupt me. I won’t fall asleep and I won’t die.” Marishi said as she slowly closed her eyes and probed the Aether. “Thine body is too frail and weak to accept me unto it as a vessel, Harbinger. Thou would be ash upon the wind. It is a request that is not granted.” Alexander said silently to Marishi. “What about the other next to me?” Marishi said aloud clearly alarming Serreth. “Perhaps. Her body is damaged but is whole as is her mind. Thine meld would only be fleeting as we are bound together. For all time Harbinger. Escape is not an option. The choice is her’s willingly.” His voice faded. “… There may be a way.” Marishi reluctantly said to Marishi. “I have the semi controllable ability to speak with a Primal, for he is fused to me. Similar to Rae and Bahamut, though much more benevolent. My body is too weak for him to inhabit. I suffer too many injuries. He would vaporize me at the attempt. But you, Serreth. There is a chance you could contain him. You would become his judgement. His jury. If only for a short time. It is something of an … unpleasant process to go through and your mind will not be your own, though I am assured that it is temporary. I don’t know if that means the link is severed when the job is done, or you’re killed upon the stress on your body and mind. But the process isn’t forced. It’s something you have to agree to. And no one can agree to that but you. I warn you Serreth. It is not an easy thing to bear. The will of a God and the actions you allow him to perform. They are not mortal. They have no compunction for life. They will burn all away without a care as long as their goals are accomplished. You are pressed for time. I need to hear you accept or decline.” Marishi said. “And what of you?” Serreth replied. “What about me?” Marishi asked back. “What will it do to you when you do not have the spark of the divine within you?” She sounded worried. “I don’t know. It might kill me. It might be the only thing that keeps me alive right now. But let me tell you something, Serreth. Your daughter. Your REAL daughter, she needs you right now. Don’t worry about what will become of some stranger that’s destroyed your life in less than 48 hours.” Marishi stated flatly. There was another moment of silence as they looked at one another. Marishi raised out her hand to Serreth. “Do you accept?”
  15. Marishi Ten

    Under Boughs Of Blood [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    As Serreth finished the bowman trained on her, the second, trained upon Marishi swung to his left to fire a shaft that would hit her close range. Marishi couldn’t stop him at the distance she was at. Marishi reversed her hold on her Katana and threw it like a spear at the bowman. The blade struck him right below his throat and killed him before her hit the ground with a surprised look on his face. As if what just happened didn’t actually happen. With Serreth grabbing the bow of the man she had killed, she let the arrow fly. Marishi watched alarmed as she hastily nocked the arrow back and without the proper pull or equipment fired nearly hitting her own kin. “Stop! Serreth no!” Marishi shouted at her. Serreth was gripped in the heat of battle and had tunnel vison on her target. It must have been some time since she felt threatened and the battle high take over, Marishi thought quickly. She saw Avila lunge at Rae. Panic overtook Marishi. Everything moved in slow motion. She watched as the fatal blow to her head was deflected poorly still wounding Rae and putting her to the ground. Marishi felt like she was moving in slow motion. Far too slow to get to her in time. She pulled her Wakizashi from her sash with her right hand and her tanto on her back with her left, slashing down the two that were moving to Rae, running one through the back with her short sword and the other stabbing below his armpit where his armor was weak to score a hit on an organ. Avila had knocked down Rae and dazed her. Already wounded she wouldn’t put up much of a fight this time. As she raised her spear to drive it into her, a blur moved into her eye vision forcing her offensive stroke into a defensive guard with the shaft of the spear. Between Avila and Rae was Marishi with her Wakizashi shoving down on the shaft of the spear, hate in Marishi’s eyes. “Oh, you got that murderous rage in you, girl! Not like the other two! You want to kill!” Avila screeched gleefully at Marishi as she attempted to shove Avila back. She feinted and skipped back breaking the lock between the two. Avila flicked her hand signaling to her remaining bowmen to hold. For now. She was far too interested in how this situation was going to turn out. Marishi cast a worried glance back at Rae. Her mother was at her side, Marishi in front of the two, facing Avila. Prepared to defend to the death the both of them. “Come on, killer! Don’t stop now, you were doing so well! Or are you like those weaklings behind you, cowering like mewling’s deemed too sickly to live? Be honest. About who you REALLY are.” Avila called to Marishi. Avila had a lopsided smile on her face breathing heavy from exertion and enjoyment. Marishi was quiet a moment. Several moments, her gaze abstracted, not looking at anything. She raised her eyes to Avila. “I am those things you speak. And more. I am a killer, a murderer, an assassin. I’ve killed men in combat hearing their dying screams for mercy. I’ve killed women shielding their men from the killing blow begging mercy with tears in their eyes. I’ve killed children and infants as they slept in their tiny beds and cribs. I’ve killed without compunction, reason, logic, or remorse. I have been formally convicted of war crimes against the nation of Gridania and the Eorzean Alliance to which my punishment is death. But, I am a master over Death and I am one of his arbiters. You. Who are you? A whelp with a few notches on her shaft.” Marishi said coldly and slowly. Beginning to walk slowly towards Avila. The amusement was gone from her lips as she stared at Marishi with a sneer and the hint of fear in her eyes. “Do you think that makes us the same? I have been bathed in blood and mummified in ash to create a cocoon in which the perversion in front of you now stands. Or perhaps you think yourself clever? You find enjoyment in torturing. You do not know fear, you do not know pain. Do you know how old I am, girl?” Marishi stopped and asked Avila. She said nothing, but continued to stare at her. “I asked you a question. Do you know my age?” Marishi said in a sneer. Marishi’s tone, glare, the dead look behind her eyes, the indifference fused with disgust was enough to shake Avila. “N-n-no.” Marishi gave her an ugly smile. “I am over 90 years old. Putting your old codger, you could just not leave alone as a child to me. In over 90 years, I have taken countless thousands of lives. None have been able to take my own. You and I alike? Noooo, I don’t think so. Here,” she motioned to herself with her left hand. “Here, there be real monsters. Not the ones that go bump in the night. The ones that wear the face of people but are Godless bloodthirsted animals ready to rend your body apart for sport. So, come, monster. Come show me violence. Come show me reckoning. Let’s find out who the real evil is between us.” Marishi finished. Her words lingering not only in Avila’s ears, but Serreth and Rae’s as well. Never had Marishi spoken like that and never without any hint of remorse or regret. Her tone sounded pleasant. She enjoyed describing the horrors she had wrought upon the race of man. Avila made no move to engage, but stood there, almost dumbstruck, trying to understand what was said and the full weight of the situation. “You won’t ever leave your little fortress alive. You signed your own death warrant the moment you touched my wife. So, come on then.” Marishi went into a defensive stance her Wakizashi in her right hand and tanto in her left. Her katana was still buried into the bowman a distance away. It would not be able to help her. Marishi was bluffing. She wasn’t as cold hearted and hateful as she made herself out to be. She was trying to shake the resolve of the gang leader into not having to engage her in hand to hand combat. She carried a lance, a finely crafted weapon looking like it was forged in antiquity. The shaft was long so she could easily keep close quarter combat at bay. Plus, the bowman behind her. Waiting to fire the moment his shot was clean on Rae. In every outcome Marishi played out in her head of the battle. They would lose and at least one would be killed. Aliva came out of her shock and smiled. “A pretty good show! I almost bought all of it. Oh, I have no doubt you told the truth. You ARE a murdered. Cold blooded too. You’ve killed for far less than your precious ‘honor’. But you don’t scare me witch. You’re just a mummy encased in the coffin of a young body. Don’t worry, I’ll help you. But I’m not going to kill you or our wayward ward, though. Not right away. We’ll kill the redheaded bitch in front of you. Looks like she’s about ready to keel over any moment anyway!” She began to stalk the group in a lazy circle, testing weak points in Marishi. The ground was loose from Rae creating the rockslide and freshly pouring, and loud water could be head nearby. Churning somewhere under the earth. Marishi took a careful step forward. The rock itself was spongy and depressed. It wouldn’t take much to create sinkholes. She formed her flawed plan that likely wouldn’t work and immediately put it into motion like the fool she had always been. “Serreth, you have what’s most important to you back now. Don’t ever let her go. Live in peace, be proud of her and everything she has done. Love her as she has loved you. As I have loved …” Marishi trailed off. “Use each other to be whole again. To find happiness. Mother is God in the eyes of a child. Never forget that, Serreth.” Marishi said. She spun her tanto in her right hand and threw it full force at Avila causing her to leap back and hit the tanto away mid air as not to hit her. The dagger blew into a thousand shards upon impact of her lance. It was the time Marishi needed to make it to her Katana, which was also away from Rae and Serreth. She snatched it out of the corpse and kept running not stopping to turn back to be greeted with a spear in the chest. She darted though the tree line until it became dense enough that she could spin around without fear of being driven though. Avila was right on top of her. “Run, run, run! Stand and fight!” She made a large sweeping motion with her spear and in the arc created a clearing for them to have their engagement. The ground was wet and the mud was loose. A short way to Marishi’s left was the cliff face looking North and East. “All that talk and no action. I had you wrong. You’re not a killer. Just a pathetic mewling like the others.” Avila smirked as she began to move in. Marishi grinned. “Not quite. But unlike you, I can sacrifice myself for those I care about. You care about no one. You care about nothing. Enjoy the swim, you harpy whore.” Marishi said slamming her Gordian Katana into the wet earth. The glows from the blade intensified and threw a shockwave under their feet which caused the earth they were standing on to give way and fall into a river under their feet. The current was strong and cold. The last Marishi could recall was hitting the water and then being hit in the head by something hard. Then, nothing. The myriad of tributaries that ran under the Shroud all led to one choke point area. It was an area unlike any in the Black Shroud. It was surrounded by opalescent crystals and deposits. Even the plant life itself had crystalized. It was never dark as the crystals emitted energy nonstop, for thousands and thousands of years. The locals called this pool “Urth’s Gift”. Said to be the home of Odin and the crystal fetters that had bound him.
×