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Marishi Ten

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About Marishi Ten

  • Rank
    Journeyman
  • 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

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  • Discord
    Marishi Ten#8111

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  1. Marishi Ten

    Mistakes Unlearned Bear Repeating [Final Fantasy XIV]

    “Jakoh.” Marishi said. She said quietly. “Ugh. I’m not in the mood for this game, girl. Are you going to come out, or am I going to snatch you out of the shadow you’re hiding in?” Marishi waited a moment. Jakoh reluctantly moved into sight. She was behind a stone pillar. “How do you always know? I was quiet this time. There is no way you heard me.” Jakoh said with a defeated sigh. “There are other senses besides your eyes and ears. Smell, body heat, taste. Don’t forget. Your perfume smells good by the way.” Marishi said. She wasn’t so harsh as she was instructing. She even complimented her. “You like it?! I picked it up Jeuno!” Jakoh started. “Hssst!” Marishi silenced her. “We aren’t supposed to be here. I didn’t even ask you to come. If you or I are caught, there’s going to be a lot of questions we don’t want to answer. Are you armed?” Jakoh half smiled and pulled a double-bladed leaf shape dagger out in her right hand and she took out a single bladed black kukri in the other. “Carrying weapons this close to the head of state is forbidden. They can and will arrest us as usurpers. Sigh. Well, now that you’re here you can’t go back. I want to know who in the Regency is plotting against us. I would know my enemy. Come with me. I’ll show you how to blend with the dark.” Marishi and Jakoh moved from shadow to shadow building to building completely unseen, unheard, and undetected. Even when 2 knights mounted on chocobos walked right past them they did not notice. The castle was in view when Marishi stopped short. Jakoh running into the back of her. Marishi tossed her an irritated glance and kneeled down. “That’s a lot of open ground to cover undetected.” She said looking at the castle. Between them was a large and open courtyard. No trees, no shrubs, no flora of any kind. Just smooth inlaid brick and short soft grass. They would be inside, but not for much longer. Their sessions were set to end soon. Marishi felt a hand slip into hers. “I can cover that ground with no one seeing me. I can get in there and find who you want. I can do that for you. I’m happy to do that … for you.” Jakoh whispered. Marishi looked at her a moment took her hand out of her own and placed her tanto in it. “I want this back, understand? It’ll do a better job at defending you than that little beestinger you have there. Both of us hope you don’t have to use it. Don’t stay long in there and don’t risk your own life. It’s not worth it. Go. Meet me back here.” Jakoh gripped the tanto close to her chest like it was a relic of old. She nodded and incanted a shinobi scroll. Purple lengths of silk encircled her for a moment and the silk was blown away by the wind. Leaving nothing where Jakoh was standing. Darkness was falling and the lamps that dotted the walkways were lighting up. No one was near the courtyard of the fountain. Marishi did see anyone. She sat down on the grass and put one foot against a pillar and her back to a wall and closed her eyes. She felt tired and stretched. Worn and frayed. She had felt like that since returning and she couldn’t understand why. There was a hate growing within her, but she didn’t know why. Her mind, thoughts, and mood had all been very dark the past two days. She could normally fight it off, or it would pass in a day or so, but this was different. This was a hurricane that had been gathering strength for some time. It was now moving to swallow her up. Vivid images of a black sky constant flashes of thunder painted in her mind. She was in the ocean. Alone. When the eye of the storm comes for her, she will be drawn into the abyss. Never to return. She wasn’t fully asleep, nor was she fully awake. The sounds of a bubbling brook soothing her to rest. She heard faint voices in the distance. He eyes slowly opened. She couldn’t see them, but she could hear their voices. They were getting closer. One was a male. The other, a female. Laughter could be heard from them both. As they came close, Marishi recognized the voices. She looked at the sky and quietly asked, “It would be them, wouldn’t it? You would fate me to be here. Of course, you would. You who have ground me under your heel my entire life and sees fit to lay waste to all around me. God, Gods, Deities, Primals, whatever it is you deem call yourself, know that I. Hate. You. With every fiber of me. But you will make me dance. You will never let me be free. Well? Are we ready for the curtain to open?” The two came within eyesight of Marishi. She didn’t have to look to know who it was. Francmage and Rae. He was wearing a much more formal and elaborate frock that still resembled his normal. Rae wore a ballgown dress studded with pearls and silken blue gloves that went to her upper arms. She had her arm looped through his as they walked slowly until they reached the little stream on the opposite estate. His touch on her was soft and delicate. Bending to her own movements like a willow. He wore the smile of one who was fanatical in his admiration for his companion. She helped her dip her feet into the water and held close Marishi looked away with bitter tears in her eyes. As if the sight caused her physical pain. Covering her mouth and nose to stifle and sob, she didn’t make a sound. She could hear them speak, but her mind couldn’t make sense of words. The tone of their voices were like knives through her brain. There was splashing of water followed by laughter. Marishi stood up and withdrew her hand. In control of herself once more. She slowly opened her eyes and looked in their direction. They stood close together as Rae clutched him for support, her feet in the clear brook. It quieted down and there were low words exchanged between them. Time slowed down and it felt like her heart had been ripped out of her chest, or swallowed by the abyss or both. Marishi still in the shadows peering around the corner, while they weren’t 50 feet apart. She watched them grip each other closely, Rae look up and Francmage move in and kiss her, he caressed her cheek with his hand. Marishi saw Rae’s ears go flat, eyes close and give in. One moment was all she could withstand. She felt physically ill and began to choke. She couldn’t suppress the noise. She put her hand over her face, eyes shut and streaming tears. The world rocked beneath her feet and Marishi felt overheated and light headed. She couldn’t be there anymore else she would black out. She immediately left not caring if she was caught or not. Her mind was a haze. Unable to put the fragments together. The tips of her fingers were cold and her hands wouldn’t stop shaking. She focused on putting one foot in front of the other. She could muster that. As she made it to the Inn she walked in and shoved a standing guest against the rail so he would get out of her way. She made it to their room. She opened the door, walked in, closed, and locked it. She walked into the bedroom where she stood staring out the window a moment. Her hands were shaking violently, her mind trying to remove that image seared into her head. On the verge of a mental collapse, she began to hyperventilate. She placed both her palms on the dresser to keep her from falling down and breathed heavily for several moments. Then, her breathing regained control and she lifted her hands off the dresser. She opened up one of the drawers and pulled out a hand cloth. She wiped away the tears and blew her nose. She walked calmly into the bathroom and stared at herself in the mirror. She didn’t recognize the face staring back. No expression on her face. Eyes half closed and dull. She stared at this person in the mirror. It wasn’t her. But at the same time, it was. This is Marishi now. A voice inside called to her. It called from the image of her in the mirror. It was a soft and compassion filled voice. It said no words, but she knew what it said. It offered her oblivion. To retreat into the darkness. The voice would take over and make everything better. It would shield her from the destruction of her life. It would let her sleep and forget. All she had to do was let go. The voice promised to take over. The temptation was overpowering. She knew who the voice was and hesitated. It was her. It was buried anger and pain she stuffed down. It was shame and humiliation. It was hatred and malice. It was the creator and controller of the storm clouds in her mind. She would lose herself if she were to submit. The voice promised that. She couldn’t let it control her. Not all of her. But the damage had been done and the toxic seed was planted and started growing. The voice could reach her and she could hear the voice. Only say the word and she could retreat. The voice would right all of the wrongs she couldn’t. The voice was capable of nothing but hatred, anger, and violence. It was a beast. A monster. And it had woken. It promised vengeance and revenge. Blood for blood. She stared into the mirror with her image staring back. Something was dying in her. Writhing and wailing. She could stop focusing on staring at her eyes in the mirror. black and vibrant red. She had a vision of her red eye darkening and fading to an ugly shade of rust. Like old dried blood. She turned and left their room. Rae’s room. She stood on the landing unable to form coherent thoughts. She has nowhere to stay for the night. There was nowhere to go. She couldn’t be in that room. She couldn’t share that room. Not anymore. She looked to her left. Jakoh’s room. She would not deny Marishi. She would do anything for her. Because she had love. At that moment, she hated Jakoh with such intensity that it felt like she was to burst into flames. Love is a lie. Love is dead. It doesn’t deserve to exist. No one is happy. No one should be. No one will be. Marishi would help Jakoh by purging her of the sickness. She will take from Jakoh what Rae took from Marishi. Blood for blood. She walked to Jakoh’s door. She left it unlocked. Marishi walked in, drug a chair to the same wall the door was on and sat down. She waited. She listened to the slightest creaks of floorboards for movement. She wasn’t listening for Jakoh. She didn’t care if she came back at all. She was listening for a couple to enter into a room a few doors down. An hour went by. Marishi hadn’t moved from her position. Nothing moved. Not her fingers or her neck. Her ears shot up at the sound of someone climbing the stairs. The footsteps were light. Female. Soft sniffling could be heard as a key was inserted into a door, opened, and closed. Only one. How disappointing. She didn’t slide the lockbolt into position. Perhaps a late-night tryst. That was fine. Marishi had all night. Shortly after, Marishi heard faint scuffing from outside. She looked out the window. She was on the second floor. A bat? The window silently moved open. She took her hand off her short sword. And small figure hopped silently in and closed the window. “Hello, Jakho.” Marishi’s was gravely and low pitched. The figure spun around. “Light a lantern” Marishi commanded. Jakoh moved slowly towards the counter and lit a lantern. “Marishi! You about killed me from fright!” Jakoh said breathing hard with her hand over her chest. Marishi sat, unmoving. Expression never changing. Eyes dull and half open. “You said you would wait for me outside the courtyard. When I got back I couldn’t find you. I thought the guards got you! What happened?” Marishi stared at her for long moments for slowly saying “There was an altercation that called me away. What have you learned?” Jakoh looked at Marishi. “Are you okay, Marishi? You look pale. Well, paler than you usually do. Are you hurt?!” Jakoh said with concern in her voice. “Hurt? What? Yes – no, no, it will pass. I am … fine.” Marishi hissed the last word. “Your report girl, now.” Marishi snapped. “I was able to get in the castle through a window on the right side. I had to distract one of the – “Marishi’s tone changed. It was filled with vitriol and contempt. “I did not ask you to detail your pathetic escapades. I asked you a simple question. Are you not able to answer simple questions or follow simple directions?” Jakoh reacted to Marishi’s words like she had hit her. They cut deep. “I-I-Yes, I can follow directions and answer questions. I’m sorry …” Marishi loudly sighed making it clear that she didn’t care about her apologies, she wanted her information. Jakoh straightened herself up and said. “Yes, I was able to ascertain the information you requested from the court session that was currently in a conference when I made my entrance.” Marishi replied, “Hmph. Continue.” Jakoh felt more at ease. “There’s two that are outspoken against you and Rae. They are of the older houses and command the most seasoned knights. They whispered that by you being here puts them all in danger. The beast that ate your world could find the same way to get here as you did. The other one said that you may very well be false and that it’s possible that you ran away due to wrongdoing and that people might be looking for you now.” Marishi stared at her with her dead eyes. They were almost hypnotizing. How unmoving they were. “They both complained about the charges you have wracked up with excessive spending. They cited private airships, schooling, those kinds of things.” Marishi absorbed the information and asked, “What are their names?” Jakoh responded “Arsha and Faurie.” Marishi stood up from the chair and walked towards Jakoh. She moved closer to her and stroked her cheek with her hand. “Good Jakoh. That’s good. You’ve done well. I will stay with you tonight. It’ll be just like Norg.” Jakoh’s breathing grew slightly heavier and her eyes dilated. She completely folded to Marishi as if a spell were cast over her. Jakoh would do anything for her. Spy, steal, kill. Whatever Marishi wanted. “Fetch me a blanket and bedroll. I shall sleep in the common area. You will sleep in your bed.” Marishi said as she suddenly broke contact with her and walked back to her chair. She started tugging on her boots. Within moments Jakoh returned with what Marishi requested with a smile on her face. “Leave me.” Marishi commanded. Somewhat confused, Jakoh began to leave but suddenly stopped. “Marishi?” Jakoh asked delicately. “What” Was her response. “I-I think I saw something else. I don’t know. It was dark and it was loud. It could have been my eyes …” Jakoh stammered. Whatever it was she didn’t want to say. “Either you saw something, or you didn’t. Foolish, impertinent child. Out with it. Now.” Marishi’s tone was a whip snapping at Jakoh’s back. “I-I think … I think I saw your Red Mage friend …” She stammered. Marishi sat up and stared straight at her. Her gaze was unflinching and uncomfortable. “He-he was with a woman, dining with everyone else.” Jakoh was nervous. Marishi already knew the rest. She turned to look out the window and with a husky voice said “Stop talking. I don’t want to hear any more. Go away.” Jakoh quietly left, leaving Marishi to herself. Marishi laid upon the bedroll staring at the ceiling. Replaying over and over again in her mind what she had seen. There was a hint of shame thinking back to how she treated Jakoh. She was trying to please Marishi. Jealousy and hate overshadowed her shame. The voice promised that she’d remake Jakoh in her own image. She would take away what Marishi had with Rae. The voice promised that Rae would be made to know. That she would be made to witness. All she had to do was give in. She tried to make the tears come, but there were no more to shed. She waited for the detested Sun to rise.
  2. Marishi Ten

    Mistakes Unlearned Bear Repeating [Final Fantasy XIV]

    Francmage paused for a moment trying best how to word the situation. “You were told to head out to La Thine. That area is expansive and it sounds like the glade you need will be hidden quite well. It’d take weeks or months for us 4 to search even half of the grounds.” He was hesitant to deliver the next part. “To complicate matters, there have been a handful of nobles at court causing unrest and unwarranted aggression.” Marishi interrupted him “Over what? They cannot be so powerful as to avoid the butcher’s block.” Jakoh piped up “Yeah! Dusty old codgers anyway, who’d care if they’re gone?” Marishi cast a scathing look at Jakoh while Francmage stepped in. “My dear girl, your enthusiasm, and vibrancy is a breath of fresh air to us antiques,” He smiled and winked at Rae again. “but it’s best that you don’t meddle in the affairs of which you know nothing. Those ‘codgers’ each have standing men at arms and battle-hardened knights sworn to their houses. If they were to meet a demise, we’d have another civil war. No, we cannot just be rid of them.” He rebuked Jakoh and from the look, Marishi gave her she was cowed into silence staring at her feet swinging from the chair. “As for their grievances, I’m sorry to report is you two.” Rae gasped. Marishi lifted her hand from the table. “You cannot be serious. We have spent a handful of nights in this kingdom. We hardly warrant any threat or malcontent.” She said flatly. “I know you don’t, old girl, but they argue that we harbor possible evil demons and whatever is hunting them could find its way here. They also complain of the use of kingdom credit for expenses you both incur. They bicker that neither of you brings anything worthy to our table. Yet you demand shelter to be given. Interlopers dictating the goings on of our proud kingdom.” Francmage was quick to follow up to avoid anymore animosity. “I and my Father hold some standing in the court and have promised your expenses from our coffers. So they are silent for now. Some members have ties to the church and the church steps in, you could be branded as heretics or enemies of Altana. Don’t worry though, my friends,” He smiled wide as if the troubles he just described were but ash carried on the wind. “We will ensure that the King knows of your quality and kindness.” Marishi looked at him expressionless. “Is that before or after they send their Paladins and Knights to tie us pyres and burn us alive? A rhetorical question. I’m just tired. Thank you for your time and information Francmage. As always, it is invaluable.” Marishi closed the conversation with the expectation that he was to leave. He stood up, grabbed his hat, and stared down at Marishi and said, “Think nothing of it. We consider you friends. Some even consider you closer than some blood ties! Haha!” He turned towards Rae and said, “I will return in the early evening to fetch you, Lady Rae. You have been able to strong-arm me into a guided tour of the city!” He bowed and left. Marishi immediately turned to Jakoh. “There is a clothcrafting stall in the market near the center the city. I have commissioned them to alter my Osode. They should be done now. Fetch it for me.” Her eyes lit up. “Of course! Though I don’t know the way. I may need a guide.” She said with large eyes. Her limit of subterfuge and double-speak had reached its quota for the day. “I’m sure you’ll manage. If I catch you with anything other than my jacket, I’ll take you to the Obulette myself. The day does not grow younger, off with you.” Jakoh furrowed her eyebrows at Marishi for a moment then her face changed into a smile. “You don’t change, do you? That’s what made everyone in Norg so endeared to you.” She glanced back at Rae and then began to walk to the door. Before she left, she placed her right hand on Marishi’s left arm and squeezed it gently. A display of their closeness. The door shut. Marishi stared at the door a moment. She could feel Rae’s on her. She knew the subject of what their next conversation was going to be about. Marishi sighed and said, “Has the whole world gone mad?” Marishi saw the impassive face of her wife. She didn’t have to say anything. They both knew the questions she wanted answers to. Marishi sat down at the table opposite of Rae. “I mentioned her in passing because I didn’t think it would matter and I wanted to put the whole thing behind me. She’s poor at controlling her emotions. The difficulties of youth, I suppose. She had taken a liking to me in Norg. One that was not reciprocated.” Marishi emphasized this. “I suppose I took pity on her. I remember being her age and full of life and promise and love. She ended up staying in Norg and sharing a room with me. I would tell her stories to make her go to sleep, or at least be quiet. I’d tell her of our homeland and our adventures.” Marishi stopped a moment thinking how best to word it. “I was told early on that she was smitten with me. Me. Almost 4 times her age! I figured it was a crush on the new and mysterious stranger showing up in town situation. She never attempted to make an advanced towards me. Not once. And she is a good girl with a good heart. As long as she didn’t attempt to make it manifest, I let her have her crush, figuring it would wear off once the excitement of me quieted down.” Marishi had the look of frustration, pity on her face. “Come to find, it didn’t. She had confessed to Kagero and Gilgamesh her unrequited love she had for me. So, Kagero and Gilgamesh asked me to leave before dawn. So as to spare her as much pain as possible, I left her without a goodbye. I did not expect to return or see her again. And that is where we find ourselves.” Marishi followed up. “She is impressively skilled for her age. She has been taught in the ways of Shinobi but is a master thief. It’s hard to not be impressed with her ability to not only plunder but to fight. She’ll cut a man down before he has a chance to naked his blade. She compensates for her small build by blending with the shadows and creating mirror images of herself from smoke as subterfuge. It’s quite the site to see someone so young be so skilled. It takes years to learn ninjutsu. She mastered it in a fraction of the time. She is also the chieftainess and ruler of the Khazam tribes of Mithra on the islands.” Marishi spoke of her deeds with clear respect for her, though she treated Jakoh somewhat poorly overall. She leaned back in her chair and said “There you have it. That is the story of Jakoh. Master Assassin, Master Thief, ruler, and starstruck fool all inside a Mithra that hasn’t even seen 19 summers yet.” Before Rae could follow up with questions she undoubtedly had, Marishi quipped, “Though it seems you’ve found your own admirer. He is much more subtle than the girl, but it’s there. He’s taking a liking to you. A married noble knight of upmost standing doting upon an interloper. An anomaly. Quite ironic really. It’s not lost upon me. Surely, you’ve noticed. You can’t have not. Men. I wonder if his desire is carnal or emotional. Probably the first.” Jakoh returned with Marishi’s Osode proudly. Before she could get her foot in the doorway, Marishi thanked her for retrieving it recommended she return to her own room. When she is needed she will be called upon. And proceeded to shut and lock the door in her face. Marishi tossed the Osode over the back of her chair, sat down, and didn’t let up. “The difference between your conundrum and my paradox is I’m aware of it, and the lines are not blurred. He is quite charming and much different than me. I can see the appeal. Just a word of advice though, Rae. It’s best to draw your lines now lest they venture to the point of no return. Or not and continue anon. The choice is yours.” There was bitterness and disdain in her voice at the end. She had done well to hide her animosity for the most part. To her, it was good enough. A moment of silence passed between the two before Marishi said “Ah, look at the time. I believe your tour guide will call upon you for the grand tour of the capital.” Her pleasantness was feigned. She made no attempt to hide it. “I shall take my leave lest I poison the mood. I have my own plans this night.” She donned her reformed Osode. Near pitch black red with embroidered silver thread hemmed in with the gold trim. It was form fitting, but not overly tight and accented her features well. She could feel no patching or stitching of repair in the lining or the Osode itself. It was perfect. She walked towards the door, fully armed, unlocked it, and said “A good evening to you, Miss Rae. May it be blessed.” She walked out the door. Marishi called her ‘Miss Rae’. She never called her that or was that formal. Almost as if they weren’t married to one another. She left the Inn as the Sun was setting. She was able to grab a plate of food and fresh water on her way out. She didn’t take the main street. She didn’t want to have to bump into someone. She ate and drank in a grassy and well-kept courtyard sitting on a stone bench. She left the plate and took the water skin. She entered into the noble district of the city making her way to the seat of office. The Chateau. From the noble district on, it was forbidden to carry weapons of any kind save only if you held a position in the Royal Knights wing. She kept walking. The feeling of herself, but not herself intensifying. There was a rage and anger within her fighting to break free. She did what she has always done, push it down an bury it. Some fires cannot be doused with water, nor earth. The fire turns into a volcano under the ground. When enough fuel and embers are there, a volcano will erupt to the danger of all.
  3. Marishi Ten

    Mistakes Unlearned Bear Repeating [Final Fantasy XIV]

    Marishi watched as Rae threw her arms around Francmage. Her eyes narrowed. Upon hearing Rae state they were home caused her to snort with disapproval. She held her tongue though. She recounted the experiences she had been apart of in Norg. “Allies, perhaps. The Tenshodo owes loyalty to no one. The Far East have their own problems. So, I wouldn’t be overexcited.” She was tired. So tired. It felt like a week since she had last slept. She heard Rae call her to bed. “I will join you anon. Sleep.” Marishi said softly. She waited until her breath became slow and even proving her truly asleep and quietly left the small bedroom and moved to a table with two chairs. She sat back in one and leaned herself back against the window sill. She could see outside while her body could be somewhat comfortable. She was exhausted, but something wasn’t right. She couldn’t name it. It was like the smell of rain before a storm, or the fleeing of animals when impending destruction is near. It was a feeling. She fell asleep in that chair with a bad taste in her mouth. Marishi awoke as the Sun crested into the window. No dreams. She must have truly been worn out. She tipped the chair into its correct position and moved to the bedroom. Good. Rae was still asleep. Marishi didn’t want to answer questions as to why she was absent. She walked into the washroom, drew water into a tub. The water was hot. The piping tapped into geothermal springs around the city. She undressed and slid into the tub. She sighed in relaxation. She was filthy and the feeling of clean water washing away unpleasant memories from the past few days was soothing. She emptied the tub and drew more water. Marishi rubbed her shoulder with her hand. She must not have realized how tense she had been. But she could relax. She cleaned with a bar of tallow, a linen cloth and a piece of pumice. She washed her hair and face. She let the water drain out of the tub as she stood up. Her ribs were slightly sore and there was slight discomfort, but nothing she couldn’t brush off. Her long legs stepped out of the tub and dried herself off with a towel. She took another and wrapped her hair up into it so it would dry. She took a third and used it as a midriff robe. She opened the door silently. Rae was still asleep. Marishi slid the dresser open and went to grab her whit kimono and brown tights. She stopped. She didn’t feel like wearing white today. She pulled out her dark green kimono, dyed so deep it looked black with a hint of deep green tones when the sunlight touched it. She grabbed her spare black Velveteen Tights and underwear and went back into the bathroom. She dressed and picked up her soiled clothing from the floor. She looked at her Osode. White trimmed with gold. Stitched and mended from the all those that wanted to harm her. She frowned at it. Ugly. White stains so easily. I’ll talk with the local seamstress and have her repair it and dye it. She took the towel off her head and smoothed her hair to her normal style. She set her chainmail she wore under the Osode on a small stool and walked out of the room. She glanced at Rae. She smiled. How peaceful and beautiful she looked. She slid on her boots and left the hostel and started her way to the weaver’s stalls. She felt off. Off balance, or sluggish. The feeling couldn’t be described. She was just, not herself. Irritated by the feeling she headed to the stalls and spoke with their head tailor who agreed to remend the jacket and to dye it. “Red. Almost black.” She said. He grunted and started about his work. It would be awhile before her Osode was restored. She walked back towards the Inn and opened the door to her room. In the chair she slept in the night before sat Francmage. In the other chair sat Rae, happily eating breakfast. “I’m sorry Marishi, you just missed breakfast. I called at your door, but there was no answer. I was able to grab the last plate and bang hard enough to arouse Rae!” He said. Marishi closed the door and moved slowly in, not saying anything. Not looking at either Francmage or Rae. She leaned against a pillar and finally said, “That’s alright. I’ll make sure to grab lunch. So … “She said to Francmage. “Ah! I was just catching up with Rae regarding my mundane exploits.” He looked up at Marishi expecting her to ask the goings on he had over the past few months. Marishi’s face remained unmoving. “So, you said you have information? I don’t presume you have any information on the child. I doubt you’ll find any.” She spoked slowly. “We can still reach out. There has to be someone who knows something about him. I’ll track it down.” He said cheerfully. “Your report, Francmage. Please.” She snapped at him. Francmages and Rae’s smile left their lips. “Right. Not a lot on interdimensional travel save for some information from Windurst. Never have I met such an insufferable, egotistical, and rhyming Taru in my life. She won’t be of help to us. She said something cries and my demise and warped away.” He said. “Is that it? Four months and a rhyming mage from Windurst?” She was near scoffing at what little he had done. “Information doesn’t come readily, nor does it come cheap. I did receive a report this morning that an Envoy from Khazam is set to arrive officially offering her aid. Her ship should have landed actually. You must have made quite the impression during your visit. They’re sending the best information gatherer they have. Girl named Jakoh.” Marishi’s already fair complexion paled. She looked at Rae who was looking at her quizzically. “I take it you’ve met the girl? She seems quite the lively type from the report. She’ll be checked in here. Easier that way.” Francmage said in high spirits. “No-Yes, yes she is known to me. If she is the best they have, we’re better off without her. She’s too young. Send her back.” Marishi said with a constriction in her voice and throat. The last thing she needed was this. Still, she’s persistent, I’ll give her that. She thought. “That won’t be possible, I’m afraid. To send her back would cause diplomatic strain between our nation and the Mitthran tribes. She is here to stay. I’ll take all the help we can get! Four is better than three.” He winked at Rae. There came a soft tap on the door. She stared at Francmage a moment with no expression. Inside she was livid. She turned around and opened the door. “MARISHI!!!” screeched a small and lithe girl as she wrapped her hands around Marishi’s neck. “Yes, yes it’s good to see you too – stop it, how are you so small and still so strong? Let go.” Marishi was staggered back by the sudden lunge. She had to unclamp her hands around her neck. Marishi turned her to face the two seated at the table. “Introductions are in order, I suppose. Francmage, Rae, this is Jakoh – Jakoh the man is Francmage. A noble of the highest regard in the city,” She would talk him up to ensure that her light fingers didn’t find a way into his pocket. “The woman’s name is Rae. My companion. I’ve spoken of her before to you.” Jakoh was excited and wide eyed at this new adventure she got to go on. “It’s nice to meet you Fronkmage! It’s nice to finally meet you, Rae! Marishi spoke about you back on the island.” Jakoh bowed. There was an uncomfortable silence that settled over the room. Each awkwardly waiting for someone else to speak.
  4. Marishi Ten

    Mistakes Unlearned Bear Repeating [Final Fantasy XIV]

    She was only gone a few moments. The shock of their travel caused her mind to reel. To protect itself and her body, it shut off. Marishi was not smiling. She stood to her feet and noticed that she walked on the water. She didn’t swim or submerge. The feeling was nauseating. Being 12 feet above the ground walking on clear water you could see to the bottom of. She took view of her surroundings. The canopy of the sky was crystalline green and pink. It never moved position. It never rotated. There was no Sun, yet there was light. It seemed as though there were some things native to this place. Dancing and diving under the water floor at will. Wisps of memories long forgotten repeating their last thoughts over and over. There was nowhere to go. Save one direction. The ramp leading up to a massive building. Marishi answered Rae’s question. “I don’t know. I don’t know where we are. I saw a vision of it from Bahamut. This place and what looked like a child that would rent open the reality he was in and traverse to another. Bahamut saw him here. Wherever ‘here’ is.” She said. She began to assimilate to her surroundings better and she was clear headed again. “I don’t know what time it is. I don’t know which way is north. Maybe we’re not on the same planet anymore. This place seems vast, but there is only one focal point. In there.” Marishi and Rae began walking toward the long ramp Rae teasing Marishi. “I’m sorry. It all happened so fast, it was the only thing I could think of. I wonder … I wonder if faith is why we still live. I’ve always believed the Gods to be fairy tales made up by man to explain what they couldn’t. Halone never came to my aid when I begged her. Perhaps Vanadiel is blessed to have a God watch over them. To guide them. Hmph. Or maybe it’s all double speak.” Marishi tore her mind off existential arguments as they reached a crystalline gate dark purple, but transparent. “Well, how quaint. Another locked door.” Marishi said sarcastically. “It’s not natural, it’s manmade. I’ve never seen anything like this before.” She reached out her fingertips and touched the gate. She jumped back when the gate reacted by flashing a bright pink, then fading. Marishi caught her breath and looked at Rae in alarm. “I don’t know anything about this place or what its purpose is, or was. I have no idea what to expect. We may be the first visitors to this place in a very long time.” She was talking almost to herself. She was scared. She wasn’t as scared when she first arrived on Vanadiel as she was right now. The whole place was completely alien to her. She felt the urge to turn around and run the other way. She closed her eyes and stilled her mind. It had been in overload since she saw fragments of Bahamuts memories. She needed a moment to still her shaken soul. She breathed deeply and exhaled. It was cold in their surrounds and could see their breath, though it wasn’t so cold as intolerable. She breathed in again slowly and slowly released. She was still, unmoving. He eyes flashed open with a clear mind, retaking it from the jostle. “Let’s go. The ramp leads to that structure. If I were to live here, odds of me being in there would be high.” Marishi began to walk steadily and straight. Immediate path clear. There was no second gate. A large arch led them inside the building. Plants of all shapes, colors, and species lined the upper portion of the walls. Everything gave off a pearlescent glow causing the already harsh bright lights to be amplified. There were doors, but they were sealed with the same rock the building was. They began to move forward. Arches lined the ceilings in bending and intricate patterns. Everything perfectly symmetrical. A small translucent console jutted out of the right wall. Marishi moved to it. Responding to her movement, the console flickered to life and began talking “Welcome to the lush and bountiful land of Al’Taieu. We hope your stay is comfortable and accommodating.” Marishi softly snorted. “Advanced races and their terminals. Even when we’re on a different planet, we find these things. The more things change, the more they stay the same.” She said to Rae. “I wonder if this thing has a map, or directions or something.” Marishi began to inspect the translucent interface panel but was greeted by the console answering her question. “You are currently in The Garden of Re’Hmet where most of our residential and market districts are located. Located to your left on the far wall is a transportation unit that guides visitors to The Grand Palace of Hu’Xzoi. Access is restricted in states of lockdowns.” The screen showed a map of the area along with the palace as the central spire. Enclosed around it was The Garden. “I wonder who locked the area down and why?” Marishi mused to herself. “I did.” A human voice from behind them said. Marishi and Rae flipped around in surprise with Marishi placing her hand on her Katana and began to brandish it. “As for why, well, an army of Dragons invaded our capital.” It was the boy she saw in Bahamut’s memory. He was pale, nearly white with black eyes and short silver hair. He didn’t seem concerned that he was facing two grown battle-hardened veterans. “Of course, that was … 1,000 years ago? 1,500? I lose track. Welcome to Al’Tieau. The celestial capital of the Zilart nation. My name is Selh’teus. How did you get here? Put your weapons away. I have no malcontent for either of you.” Marishi sheathed her sword but kept her hand on the grip. “Faith.” Said Marishi. The child half smiled, amused by the answer. “Yours is a kind I’ve not met before. You are not of Vanadiel. You hail from somewhere else.” He almost was talking to himself. “Where is this place? What is this place?” Marishi asked. “I told you, this is the ‘beloved’ Celestial Capital of a long extinct people. Brought to heel by their own avarice and arrogance. Contacting the Twilight God was their own undoing. As for its citizens, you’ve already seen them outside. ‘Ascended’ versions of their idea of perfection. I assume you to mean if you are still on Vanadiel. You are. Physically you are located at the bottom of a crater inside its manufactured mothercrystal that sits in the basement of this very tower. He answered. “What? That … makes no sense. We are inside a crystal that houses a city whose very crystal is in the basement? That’s not possible.” Marishi said. “A paradox, no? You may choose to believe what you may. The Palace is sealed off and will not be opened. The sins in that tower must never be unsealed. Surely you weren’t sightseeing, so why are you here, interlopers?” The boy asked. Marishi attempted to put feelings into words. To make sense of something she herself didn’t understand. “For you. I think. I saw you, in a vision from the Wyrmking. You were able to slip between worlds with ease. You’re right. We are not from this star. Through chance were we pulled from our homes and arrived here. We are looking for a way back.” The boy made a slight scowl. “You’re not lying. At least what you say you believe to be true. For the sake of time and effort, I would know your mind.” Marishi looked at Rae hesitantly. “I will verify what you have said. We will then discuss your return. Not before.” The boy added. “Hah. The Devil’s Choice. We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. I agree.” Marishi said. She thought back to Bahamut and his essence nearly rendering her catatonic. The boy closed his eyes. Marishi could feel his presence in her mind, but it wasn’t forceful like the Wyrm. He took care to only view the incidents at Eureka and Vanadiel. He was gone almost as fast as he was entering. “Incredible. To endure all of that and still be alive at all is nothing short of incredible. The pathetic man is of no consequence, the witch though, he’s is a power I’ve never seen. Yours is a fool’s errand though. If you went back, she would turn you to cinders.” Marishi stared at him. “We would die as one of our people to defend our home then. It’s a burden I accept gladly.” She was resolute and her voice steady. It rang like a clarion call in the empty halls. “Yes, you would. You would die for honor and valor. Though, I cannot help you. I have never been to your ‘Hydelean’ in my travels. I do not know the way, nor would you survive the transition.” Tears welled in Marishi’s eyes at his reply. Anger and despair spilled over like a sickness. She yelled at him “Then it’s all been for naught?! Fire and brimstone, light and dark, life and death! It means nothing?! The offenses we have had to endure! Wasted! It’s all for nothing!” She sunk to her knees and began sobbing. This was their best chance and like sand on the beach, washed away. The boy watched her, without pity, without disdain, without compassion. He watched her silently. When there were no more tears left in her, he quietly said, “I cannot help you, no. I am sorry. Were it within my power, I would.” He spoke the next words slowly, hesitantly. “But there is one that can. Your hope is not lost, even if your crusade is.” Marishi looked at him “What hope could there possibly be? The worlds conspire against us.” She said through a swollen stuffy nose. He moved closer to Marishi and Rae. The first time they had seen him move at all. He knelt down to be even with Marishi’s eyes. “You hold much sorrow in your heart Marishi Ten. But you are not done. You still have work that needs doing. No, you are not done yet. Your hope lies close to where you started. In the La Thine Plateau, there is a small path that leads to a bowl in the mountains. There are pillars arranged in a circle in this meadow. You will have need of this,” He took her limp hand and placed a small blood red gem in it and closed her fingers around it “There you passage may be allowed. Though, you go back to your own graves. You cannot hope to stand against the beast and its master. Now rise. Take heart. Your path is before you.” He stood with Marishi and looked at Rae. “Rae Ten. Though you remain quiet, I have noticed you and the strength you wield. You haven’t realized your true potential. You don’t even know it’s there to tap. I cannot see a way for you to overcome your enemy, but if anyone had the potential to stand against her, it would be you.” He stepped back several paces and said “I would wish you luck, but I don’t think that will be enough. Perhaps your ‘faith’ will see you through. I will have to make a trip one day to your Star. May the Goddess watch over you and usher in the dawn.” Pillars of light formed around Rae and Marishi. Their bodies teleported away from the once great capital. Selh’teus stared at where they were standing for a moment, lost in thought before saying to himself, “Hmph. You both may yet defy fate. My thoughts and essence be with you both in the coming days.” He summoned a tear in the fabric of reality and stepped through it. The portal closed leaving the beautiful garden to be never seen again by mortal eyes. Darkness enveloped the Elvaan city of Sand’Oria. Francmage received the report that both Marishi and Rae jumped from the airship into the sea. He refused to believe they were dead. “They will return, they will come back to us.” He spoke quietly his mantra over and over. The hour was late and he sat at his desk. He stood up, placed his jacket and hat on and quietly closed the door as not to wake his wife. He stared up at the stars and thought of his friends. Wondering where they were. Wishing for their good health. He tore his gaze from the sky by a small particle of light. “I must be tired. Staring at the stars isn’t likely to help.” He reasoned to himself. More particles began to materialize, one by one dancing in unison at two points on the ground. Francmage stood back alarmed, ready to summon the guard. The particles formed in full, the visage of Rae Ten and her wife, Marishi Ten began to take shape. For a moment he thought they had died and were coming to haunt him for his actions. The particles massed in full and the light faded leaving two females standing in front of a prostrated and repentant Elvaan.
  5. Marishi Ten

    Mistakes Unlearned Bear Repeating [Final Fantasy XIV]

    “it’s not finished. He’s not finished. We’re not finished. He knows. He knows how to do it. We must stop him!” Marishi said looking up at the sky. She was but a spectator to the events that unfolded, but him burrowing into Rae’s mind gave Marishi insight into his. She couldn’t fathom or understand most of the emotions that he could range. She couldn’t see his past, present, or future, save a moment in time. He had laid siege to a city. There, in their arrogance, mortals contacted something Marishi couldn’t understand. It was not a man. Almost a mockery of one. The city itself was beautiful, the trees perfectly groomed, the city center perfectly maintained. A grand castle sitting on its north end. They had done something there. Something reprehensible. Something horrifying. Bahamut was of Vanadiel. Born of the earth, owing an allegiance not to a god, but to the planet itself. He was the planets custodian. Its shield and spear. Anything that threated Vanadiel would be burnt to cinders. As Bahamut kept worming inside Rae’s head, Marishi was met with a myriad of images, thoughts, memories, emotions. The emotions and thoughts were too far beyond her to understand, but she watched the memories. Through subterfuge, Bahamut had gained access to this city. The Celestial Capital of Al’Taieu. Their sins were beyond redemption. They had reached out to a God. One that even the Lord of The Skies feared. The memory shifted to a meeting with a child of all things. A child of man. A pact had been struck. Bahamut watched from the outside of the city as the land in the northern seas was smote down to the bottom of the sea, only to have its defense mechanisms activate and withdraw into an inaccessible paradox. Marishi tried to control the wave of memories emanating from the Wyrm. She didn’t have much more time left. She focused on the child. He was unlike any of the races on the planet she had seen or heard about. Even the so-called ‘ancients’. He was within the city when it sank. He was also the one who opened back up access to it. This boy was special. Incredibly so. He was a traverser of worlds and universes. He could pass through the physical plane and at his choosing, emerge in the infinite paths and streams that were created. Marishi began developing a plan when the memories stopped and she lurched forward breathing heavily. She watched Bahamut ascend to the skies and became desperate. This was hers and Rae’s only chance to go back home. Marishi yelled to the withdrawing Bahamut “What of Al’Tiaeu?! What of the crystal within a city and the city within the crystal?!” Bahamut stopped and the whole world stood motionless. “Hmph. So, you realized that the mental link works both ways. I applaud you. What of that cursed place? Either way, it’s inaccessible to mortals such as yourselves.” Marishi was losing his interest she quickly searched her mind for something, anything, that would strike a chord with him. “Selh’teus can though, can he not?” This stopped Bahamut and turned his full attention on Marishi. “You say that name as if you know who he really is. Yes, he can traverse multiple planes of existence. But he is unlike you mortals.” Bahamut stated. “I want the chance to measure that quality for myself. I refuse to accept our fate and be stuck here while our own world burns. Even if we go back just to be added to the pyre! If our world falls, how long would it take for them to find their way here? Your own planet is threatened by proxy! So, help us, I beg you! Open the way to Al’Tiaeu so that we might find a way to return!” Marishi defiantly said. He stared at her for long moments. His eyes boring holes into her. Measuring her will and resolution. They were different, and the Samurai had escaped his clutches even with victory assured. The mage houses great latent power yet untapped. Bahamut suddenly spoke. “It is done. Your path is open. Take your ship to the northern sea. There will be a beacon. It will be something of a shock for you to shift planes. Or so I was told by a mortal once. Enough. I have tarried in the affairs of man overlong.” He slowly spun and set for his aery in the ravine. “Are you alight Solar? I’m sorry, I saw a fragment that I didn’t fully understand. I know you don’t understand. I still don’t. But you have to trust me. This is going to be our only way back. Back to what? Nothing, most like. Our world has likely already fallen. But I will find that man and I will kill him. I should have killed him when I had the chance. The woman … She was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I fear her far more than I fear that Primal. Somehow, I know that she could bring it to heel quite easily. So what do you say? We toil to forge our way back to a world that hates us and our kind? That has victimized and brutalized both you and me? Do we fight to save something that is hardly worth our pity or compassion to save?” Marishi asked Rae holding her hand out to her. “Good girl. Come, our pilot needs new instruction.” Marishi smiled at Rae. She took her hand and ran over to the airship. It was in an idle state, but the engines still fully powered. Marishi and Rae boarded. On the flight deck, Marishi called out to the Captain “Change of destination Captain! We head for the Northern Seas near Quifm Island! How fast can you get us there?!” The Captain replied “Within the hour! It’s your money! I’ll take you where ever you want to go!” The airship lifted from the ground and slowly spun in the northern direction. They passed over the ruined city of Tavnazia. Once a bastion of religion and hope now gutted and empty save the dead that will find no rest. They were quickly over the sea and, true to his word, a Red light shot up from the seabed. The weather was choppy and several gusts of wind hit the ship in multiple directions. “There’s nothing there where I can land! I won’t be able to keep her stationary with this wind! You’ll be able to get a pretty view of it though!” Called out the Captain. Marishi turned to Rae. “I’m so happy to have you back, Rae and I am so proud of what you have become.” Tears were in her eyes being carried away by the wind. “Your strength is palpable and I dare say you have more skill with the blade than even I. Next, to you, I am weak and frail. You have become what you were meant to be. Gods, I love you. If anything should happen … I … “Her words began to fail her as the thought of defeat was too much to bear and she could feel the bitter tears trying to reach up to sap her of her courage. “I will find you in the next life.” She finished. She kissed her wife and hand in hand stood on the deck waiting for the airship to reach the beacon. “This is as close as I can get her! Look at your red glowy thing as I have to pull her about!” The pilot shouted. “Trust in me, my Sun. You must have belief. Faith. Trust in this Altana that watches over this world. Pray, and follow me.” Marishi said to Rae. “Thank you, Captain, for your services! They will no longer be needed! Return to Sand’Oria with all haste and inform Lord Francmage of all that has transpired here! Tell him that we will meet again!” Marishi yelled. She let go of Rae’s hand, backed up 3 paces and sprinted to the opposite side of the deck. “What are you doing girl?!” The pilot screeched. Marishi vaulted over the wooden railing, clearing the airship and began her free fall. Wind whipping at her garb the rush in her ears. She could barely keep her eyes open even a slit. She fell for what felt like an eternity. The sea was below to greet her. “Please work. Please.” She whispered as she met with the water. Marishi hit what felt like liquid, but if she had struck the sea, she’d be dead. She was descending in nothing but black. Suddenly, the world shifted. What was down now was up and she felt herself ascending to a luminescent light. The last thought before her mind shut down from the shock was of Rae. Praying that she was safe. Marishi touched down on what looked and felt like water. The water she could walk upon. Her boots touched lightly on the water and stopped an inch deep. Marishi passed out. The sky was a crystalline hue of pink and green. There was light, even if there was no Sun. The landscape was familiar, yet foreign. White dirt contrasting with blue iridescent rock and all-around water. The red beacon pulsed softly and before that beacon lay the fabled Garden of Ru’Hmet that surrounds the Celestial Palace. The Grand Palace of Hu’Xzoi. Untouched and undisturbed for eons. Marishi had reached the forbidden land of Al’Tiaeu.
  6. Marishi Ten

    Mistakes Unlearned Bear Repeating [Final Fantasy XIV]

    There was a taste of rust on Marishi’s tongue. Old blood. The last thing she could remember was her body being shattered and thrown from a shattered airship. Slowly she opened her eyes to the sight of a ceiling supported by wooden joists. There was a smell of moisture and old books. Her breathing was easy and not haggard as she had thought it would have been. She twitched her left arm to make sure she could still feel it as well as her toes. She hadn’t broken her back or neck rendering her paralyzed. She looked over the rest of her body. She wore no top. In its place bandage wrappings around her left arm and breast. The wrappings continued over her right breast to offer some modicum of modesty. She was under a blanket. She wore no boots or bottoms. Nothing but her underwear which did little to leave the rest of her up to the imagination. She blushed slightly. Someone must have taken her clothes off. All of them. To treat her. She was in an infirmary of some kind judging by the scalpels and forceps on the table close to her along with a tray of blood-stained gauze. There was no one occupying the bed to her left. She turned to the right. There was someone in that one. Marishi’s face had gone grey when she realized Rae was also being treated in the infirmary. She had color to her cheeks, more so than Marishi and her breathing was even and sound. She was sleeping. Her leg was wrapped in a plaster cast. A small Taru sat at her bedside the definition of worry and anxiety over Rae. She watched her closely and did not take her eyes from her. It appeared Rae had made friends. Hopefully, it wasn’t the same kind of friendship that rooted with Jakoh. The Taru didn’t notice Marishi was awake and so she kept quiet staring at the ceiling. The trample of feet could be heard approaching in the distance. It became louder and clear there were three distinct footfalls. Marishi closed her eyes and feigned sleep to hear what they might say. “You’ve done well Peri. But you extend your strength past its limits. Please, rest in your quarters. I will keep Rae company.” The voice was soft-spoken, with authority, but not unkind. “But if she wakes up and she needs something, I should be there.” The tiny voice of Peri spoke. “When she awakes, I will send for you right away. Do not worry. She is in good hands.” The male said. Headmaster. Marishi deduced. “Yes sir, I will rest a while. Please, inform me right away when she wakes.” Peri pleaded. Her footsteps could be heard leaving the room. “I want you to look at these two. I want you to look hard. This is what happens when comrades on the battlefield do not support each other. Your negligence and malice have caused your classmate to be hospitalized and her wife in critical condition.” The headmaster spoke harshly. “Sir, I highly doubt that even if we did participate, the outcome would be different. I do not think – “The was young. Full of arrogance and defiance. His accent was different than Peri and the Headmaster. The boy must be highborn. “That’s right. You didn’t think. You acted out in hatred against a girl that doesn’t deserve it. Your action of inaction almost cost these two their lives. Do you understand what I’m trying to tell you?” The headmaster was stern. He wasn’t scolding them, he was defining the art of warfare. “Why should we be forced to help them? They aren’t even from our world Headmaster! It’s bad enough to suffer one under our esteemed roof, but now we have two. The other one seems quick to anger and action. Look at the callouses on her hands. She has wielded her sword against who knows how many! Headmaster, I vote for the immediate expulsion and eviction of both Rae and her ‘lover’.” A female voice. Young and much the same as the male. Whining and demanding. “There are no sessions being held, you have no grounds to make that request. Besides that, you would need the approval of two thirds the class body. Why war here when you can have all you want just outside the gates?” The Headmaster sounded as if he were at a loss. “Because she and her devil concubine spread lies and weaken our schools and houses from within. Would that I could duel her again.” The male voice said coldly. Marishi had heard enough of these two slander Rae. She opened her eyes and immediately sat up, staring at the make Elvaan. Her voice was low but her tone was sharp. “You’d do well to keep your forked tongue behind your head, whelp. Lest you wish to be parted with it. I have heard you slander Rae three times since you’ve been here. Believe me when I say, boy. There won’t be a fourth.” All three turned in Marishi’s direction. Her face was pale and unmoving. Her eyes unflinching. “And you would do well to not trouble yourself with the affairs of your betters, whore. Look at you. Weak as a mewling. Even that dolt Peri could best you in combat. I know! Why don’t you take yourself and that sad excuse for a mage and go back to whence you came? You don’t belong here. You infect us with your mere presence. I wonder if your disfigurement was genetic? Too much breeding in the family tree?” The girl said with hate in her voice. Marishi silently chuckled. “You’re going to have to do better than that if your aim is to upset me. Where I come from, my kind are used to service carnal desires and little else. We are cajoled, mocked, insulted, stoned, and beaten. Who are you? A little elf girl coming to the defense of her over-entitled spoiled brother. I respect you standing behind kin, but this isn’t the fight you want to have.” Marishi said flatly. “That’s enough. All of you.” Said the Headmaster sternly. “I will tolerate no more outbursts. From anyone. That includes you, Miss. I’m well aware I hold no authority over you. But if you continue to fan these flames, I’ll have Rae expelled. Understand?” Marishi looked at him a moment and said, “I’ll comply. If the rules are broken outside of my own control, however, I will react accordingly.” The two Elvaan looked at each other with alarmed glances. They expected Marishi to fall in line with the code of conduct, without thinking that their code meant nothing to her. “You tread thin ice Miss. You seem to be recovering apace and my course properly taught. I request to convene with Rae at her earliest convenience. Alone.” The Headmaster said. The siblings turned on their heel and quickly exited. The Headmaster behind. “A moment, Headmaster,” Marishi said. “You’ve not had your fill of vitriolic words yet? You would lash out at me as well?” He asked. Marishi thought for a moment. This one wasn’t a fool. He could read the writing in between the words. “No, I have no quarrel with you. Or any of you for that matter. I’d speak to you about the siblings that dog your frock like slavering animals.” The Headmaster was silent. A moment passed between the two. “You stated you were to speak. Have you changed your mind, or do you enjoy wasting my time?” He said. “I don’t know what hold they have on you, but it’s clear you favor them heavily. It’s not from the fondness you have fostered I imagine. You are a storied professor and me pointing out to you is likely redundant, but there will come a day where you will have to take a stand. Will you stand for what you believe in, or will you meekly dance to the puppets strings? Something to think on at the least. Thank you for your time Headmaster. Oh, one more thing, if I may. My clothing seems to have gone amiss. I’d like greatly to be able to wear something again.” Marishi said. The faint traces of a smile could be seen on the Headmasters lips. “Your garb was rather frayed and soiled from your foray. Our seamstress is finishing her sewing and cleaning now. You should be able to dress within the bell.” He turned on his heel and left. True to his word, Marishi had her clothing back. She was still stiff on her left side, but she was on the mend. As she was putting on her boot, she tasted old blood again. She began to cough slightly to clear her throat. She spit out blood. She finished dressing and walked over to Rae, gently stroking her cheek with the back of her hand. “The sky calls out its Sun again. It’s time to bless the land with radiance.” She cooed as Rae’s eyes opened.
  7. Marishi Ten

    Mistakes Unlearned Bear Repeating [Final Fantasy XIV]

    The airship gently rocked back and forth on its way to their destination. Marishi had spoken with the Captain who indicated that it would be at least a full day’s travel to reach Tavnazia, and that’s on good weather. She was antsy and ready to touch down. She kept reminding herself to be patient, that it will come when it comes. But being away from Rae for so long had made her anxious. The good and the bad thoughts flowed through her mind. What if she didn’t recognize her? What if she had found another? What if something happened? Marishi had to keep pushing those thoughts out of her head. They were doing no good but serving to drive her crazy. The airship made good time in the afternoon and by evening they were a bit over halfway to their destination. The Captain had retired to his cabin for the night, not being one to share company, so Marishi was left alone on the open deck to look at the stars. She went down into the hold and grabbed a sleeping roll and blanket. She took them up to the deck and lay there staring up at the stars. Willing time to go faster. It was a fine night she thought before sleep took her. She woke in the early hours of the morning. The promise of a day of Sun quickly shattered. There was a crosswind that she immediately noticed. It was cold. Marishi looked up. She could no longer see the heavens. Heavy clouds pushed down upon the sky threatening rain and more. Lightning. Rumbles could be heard in the distance letting her know that the squall the Captain spoke of was closing in on them. She rose to her feet and looked over the railing. It was too dark to see if they were over land or over the sea. “Hey! Get away from the railing or you’re liable to fall right off!” The Captain said irritably. “It seems there’s a storm gathering. Where are we location wise? Are we close enough we can touch down?” Marishi asked. “No.” Was all the Captain said. He took control of the steering column and began to try to get above the storm, but the clouds made for such turbulence that it would shake the airship apart before they could ever clear it. The first of the raindrops landed on the deck and soon a torrent of water hammered at the hull. Marishi was able to make it into the steering room in time to not be drenched. “We’re going to have to skip along the storm. Stay in the weaker areas. There’s no way that we can outrun it and there’s no way we can land. This will add time onto our arrival, but I’d prefer to make it there in one piece. Including my ship.” The Captain said to Marishi. She nodded in agreement. Rain pounded the hull and streaks of white and blue lit the sky up as if it were day. The smell of sulfur and brimstone heavy in the air. It almost seemed that the storm had a mind of its own and was pushing the airship in a specific direction. Any attempt to deviate caused the storm to suddenly intensify and risk damaging the ship. It was no longer their ride. They rode where the storm allowed them to go. The hours of the morning gave enough grey light to see that they were over mostly land, but were near a shoreline. The rocky bluffs holding evergreen trees and bluebells. In the distance, Marishi could make out the remains of once a large city. “That’s the city of Tavnazia! What’s left of it! During the Crystal War, this was the site of the Alliances last stand! They were obliterated by the Beastmen hoard, but not before the Cardinal at the time brandished LightBringer! It destroyed the city, but it also destroyed the invading army! No one came looking after that as everyone thought that none had survived!” The Captain explained over the loud booming of thunder and hammering of rain. “The survivors mostly hid in the old catacombs that connected it to the Sacarium! They were able to find a way out to more hospitable lands to carve out what existence they could for themselves!” Marishi was scanning the horizon. She saw the ruined city and broken buildings. She also saw other oddities. “What’s that on the horizon? Is that a chain of islands?” Marishi asked. “No! That’s called Ravine Site A01 and B01! Not much is known about it, but it sits in suspended animation and the earth floats! They say that the elder dragons make those places their home!” The Captain said. Before Marishi could push the issue further, a bolt of lightning streaked right across the hull. It was so close the sound of the bolt superheating the air and vaporizing the water could be heard. “Damn! That was a close one!” Exclaimed the Captain. “At least we’re getting close! I’ll prepare for an emergency touch down. It’ll be rough so hold onto something, lass!” The airship began to descend pushing into the direction of the choppy seas. Though it should have been light out, it was completely dark. Marishi could make out small figures in one of the small meadows they were passing over “Well, it looks like you get a welcome committee!” The Captain said grunting to maintain control of the airship. The world fell away and all the sounds around here became deaf. She was only aware of one of the figures in the meadow. She breathed the word “Rae” and she knew that was her. The Captain snapped her back to the task at hand. “What in the hell is that thing?!” He exclaimed. Before Marishi could chime in a sarcastic response the object held her in thrall. “It’s not a cloud. It’s moving far too fast. And against the wind.” The hairs on her arms stood up and adrenaline pumped into her body without her fully knowing why. Being born next to the Holy See of Ishgard meant you were aligned against the dragons in their war against the city. Drills happened almost every day and she had seen her share of dragons fall from the sky. Even at an early age. She would always get nervous or anxious whenever she could sense a Dragon with ill intent. This was a dragon with ill intent. And it was a large one. One of the largest she had ever seen and it bore a stark resemblance to one she had seen on her own star. One who tore the world apart with its malice. It was Bahamut. Descending upon the unarmed airship already struggling with the weather. The Captain barely able to hold his wits about him seeing the lord of the skies descend upon him. Marishi cast one last glance to the meadow. She couldn’t make anyone out there anymore. She breathed deep, steadied her hands and said “I suppose he’s going to want some questions to be answered. I don’t suppose you’ve ever parleyed with an Elder Dragon before have you?” The Captain stared at her unblinkingly as if she spoke another language. “I didn’t think so. Lucky for you, I’ve a talent for just these things.” She said as she opened the door to the bleating rain. She called out “If he isn’t amicable to what I’ll be saying, slow down the airship as much as you can, bring it into a low glide, and jump off. It’ll be your only chance to live. You crash on the rocks, you’ll die. You let it spiral out of control, you’ll die. You come in too fast or sharp, you’ll die.” The Captain final found his words. “What about you?!” he asked. “Me? Hah. I doubt I’ll have to worry much about you putting down the ship. I’ll most likely long be dead” She laughed. She closed the door behind her. The weather was miserable. The rain stung and the lightning crackled all around deafening her. She was drenched before walking out to the main deck. She reached the deck as the dragon came within sight and range of the airship. Marishi brandished her Gordian Katana it’s brilliant white light a beacon in the dark sky that could be seen for malms. It wasn’t a challenge, it was an offering. Marishi yelled to the Captain “Hold it steady! Make no sudden movements! You move, we die!” He must have heard her as the airship began to hold a static position in the sky waiting for the Elder Dragon to come within range. The beating of its wings was what she heard first. They were so loud. They fanned the rain to throw daggers at her. She saw his eyes. They weren’t the red she was accustomed to, they were yellow and though they held disdain, they did not hold malice. His aura was terrifying and would send men into a panic at the sheer presence of him, but this mortal was different. This mortal held her ground. How curious. He inspected her a moment. She was a Mithra, but of slender build and not as feline in appearance. No, no that’s not right. This female wasn’t a Mithra. She was something completely different. A race Bahamut had not seen before. She was not Zilart, Kuluu, Hume, Emptiness, Fomor, Mithra. Finally, after long seconds, his voice boomed like the thunder all around them. “What you, mortal? You are not a child of Altana, nor are you a shade perverted by the emptiness of Promathia.” The sound of Bahamut asking her a direct question made her flinch but she did not back away. “Myself and others like me are called Miquot’e. We are like your Mithra, but not so. I hail from a star called Hydalean. I came here escaping the wrath of an entity I have never seen before. They called it ‘Pandemonium’.” “What is it you call yourself mortal?” Bahamut asked. He made no indication if he believed her story or not, though it was clear he heard her. “My name is Marishi Ten. I am a Keeper of The Sun. Born in Coerthas during the Dragonsong War. I was witness to the battle or Carteneau where a beast of pure malice and hate rent the world asunder.” Marishi called out. “If I may be so bold that I ask what you are called great lord of the skies?” His head tilted slightly to the left and was quiet a moment, considering if he should tell her. “I am the lord of all the skies and king of the dragons of Vanadiel. I am one of the first Terrestrial Avatars to awaken and defend the land. I am called Bahamut.” She mouthed the word ‘Bahamut’. “You have heard of me then, mortal? I am at a disadvantage. You know me, but I know not of your star or where it may be.” He sounded almost amused. Marishi chose her next words carefully and said them slowly. “I know of the name of which you hail. That name strikes fear into every mortal man, woman, and child. For eons, all have known your name. And for eons, you were forced to sleep. A perverted shade of what you once were. When you broke free of your fetters, your rage was unquenchable. Your hatred its own destructive force. You changed the face of the planet in a single night.” She spoke of his deeds with fear, mixed with awe. “I would do no such thing mortal. Your petty wars mean nothing to me.” Bahamut replied. Marishi lowered her weapon and said “Search my heart and search my memories my lord. You will find that what I have witness and bore to you to be true.” Bahamut considered. There was nothing to lose, except breaking her frail mortal mind, though she did request him to share her soul. “Very well. Though I am not to blame if your mind is lost to oblivion from the strain.” He reached out from the Aether and joined with her being. Marishi dropped to her knees fighting to breathe. The Captain was about to rush out but stopped when Marishi lifted her hand up in caution. She was fighting to keep her soul together with the immense wyrm slithering through it threatening to break it apart. Marishi fought back tears, but they came anyway. Though they weren’t tears of sorrow, they were tears of blood. Red clouded her vision as her eyes shed crimson, large droplets falling at an increased pace. It was then her emotions began to overwhelm her. Bahamut had found her memories and was forcefully recalling them. Memories of her father on the soft fields teaching her how to use a bow, the first boy she had ever had feelings for. Years later, Marishi found out that boy had joined one of the high houses of Ishgard and was slain by Nidhogg himself. The loneliness she had felt as a child. He father’s sickness claiming his life. He had done nothing to deserve the fate which the world placed on him. He was the last of good men in the world. He did what was right and what was just. He always put others before his own needs. How did the world repay him? By killing him slowly and painfully. Marishi found out how the world really worked. She laid his wasted and twisted frame in the cabin he had built for himself and his beautiful wife. He laid him in his bed. She said no goodbyes. Anger and sorrow fueling her motives. She burnt that cabin to the ground with the body of her father in it and left, never to return. Not even after the snows came. Bahamut was pulling her memories from her and as he pulled them, she was forced to remember them. The painful. The wrenching. Thoughts of her time in the military surfaced and her pride in being chosen as a White Mage. Her pride soured at the battle of Carteneau when the Garlean Legions met with the Alliance on the field with the red moon falling. Marishi began choking and hacking up dark splotches that stained the deck. Bahamut had found something of immense interest and nearly ripped it from her mind. It was the memory of the Calamity. Marishi’s memories of it were fragmented and disjointed, much to the irritation of Bahamut. Only slight glimpses. Death with wings. Destruction manifest. “This visage is me and yet, it is not me. I do no sense life in this beast. Only malice giving it form. What kind of baleful magic is this that yours have at your command on your star? You bring great danger here mortal. The knowledge to reanimate those long dead and give them exponential strength to wreak havoc upon the land. Yours is a danger you know not.” Bahamut said in her mind. She couldn’t retort or react. He kept digging. Memories of her time in the Gordias machine flooded her mind and her acquiring the Gordian Katana. Memories also fragmented and distorted. “So, you have been touched by the Gods of your star. They offer you little protection here as you are far outside of their reach. How capricious a lot they are. Trading blood for blood. You don’t even know what you agreed to, do you, ‘Harbinger’? Foolish girl. You are your own undoing forging pacts with renegade Avatars who owe alliance to no one.” Marishi was weakening and couldn’t hold on much longer the blood keep falling from her eyes and flowed freely from her mouth. He strength failing. Memories of Rae. Her hair, her smell, her smile. The chime of her voice. He graceful movements and how the muscles moved on her upper thigh when in motion. Snapshots of her laughing or pouting or both of them in the midst of combat. Something caught the attention of Bahamut in these memories as his focus was like a razor peeling apart her mind. The memories he was pulling all had to deal with Rae, but it wasn’t Rae he was interested in. It was her Rapier. Her sword. “This weapon. You know how it was fashioned and what from, don’t you mortal?” Bahamut asked her. “Y-Yes … I … Know … What it … Portends …” Marishi sputtered out. Suddenly the feeling of shattering into a thousand pieces faded and caused Marishi to nearly pass out. Breathing heavily, Bahamut let her regain her breath and composure before continuing. “You have some strength in you. To endure that level of trauma. Nevertheless, you are an anomaly. You and yours should not be here. Though it wasn’t by your direct control you came to be. Your partner carries with her something I desire.” Bahamut said. Marishi was confused. “Something you desire? We have nothing of value to a being of stature as yourself.” Bahamut’s tone did not change “She has something I desire and I will have it. Where is the girl? Your memories did not show me her whereabouts.” Marishi looked up at Bahamut defiantly. “I do not know the answer to that question Lord of the Skies and even if I did, you would be disappointed to know that I would not tell you. You cannot have Rae.” Bahamut screeched in only what Marishi could tell as laughter. “She is close. I can feel it. We are much the same. I will flay the skin from your bones and burrow into your mind so deep as to break it. Never to recover. This is the fate you face now, mortal. Do not throw your petty life away on such as this.” Marishi knew she wouldn’t stand a chance against the might of Bahamut. Neither her nor Rae could ever hope to lay him low. Marishi thought a moment, smiled and said “Even if I told you, my life is forfeit. I am an anomaly. One you cannot suffer. So is she. You would kill us both just for being what we are. The ‘choice’ you offer isn’t really a choice, is it? So, here is what I choose. I choose not to tell you. I choose to fight. I choose to protect those I love against the tyranny of others. You claim that you are not the same as the twisted shade of Bahamut of my world. I say you hide behind technicalities. You are much the same. You would destroy that which was created by entities greater than yourself. Out of spite? Jealousy? Or simply because you are nothing but a beast and that is all you know how to do? Regardless. My choice is made. The next move is yours.” Marishi found her strength again. Defiant she stood there with her Katana held high in the air waiting for the Wyrms answer. The rain had stopped but the oppressive cloud cover and lightning continued unabated. A small figure could be seen along on the deck of the airship with a beam of white pointing up next to a hideous and terrifying dragon of immense power. All was still a moment. Almost as if there was to be actual peace. Then, Bahamut launched his offensive. His aim wasn’t to kill Marishi. He needed her alive, so he couldn’t just flare the airship into cinders. But he could rip the airship apart, plank by plank until there was nowhere to run. His talons hooked the side of the ship and ripped a gaping hole on the side that sent the airship reeling. Marishi kneeled down and positioned her body low as to not be thrown off. “What in the hell are we supposed to do now?! Some negotiator you are! He’s gonna destroy my ship and me along with it!” The Captain said near hysterical. “Keep it as stable as you can! You won’t be able to save your boat, but if you do as I say, you’ll walk away with your life!” Marishi called back. The airship stopped its spin and slowly righted itself. The engines weren’t damaged, but the airship did lean listlessly due to the weight displacement. Bahamut lazily flipped to the other side of the ship and came within striking distance of Marishi. She slashed at him and her blade hit home on his right arm. The blade bit deep and caused Bahamut to rear in pain. Not a mortal wound by any account, but enough to cause him pain and reevaluate the frail Samurai on the deck with newfound respect. “Ha! A true bite. There is some fight in you after all anomaly.” Bahamut said. He then tore the hull out of the other side damaging the engines keeping the ship afloat. The ship started to sway and begin to fall. Marishi looked around quickly at the landscape. There was no immediate treeline in which to let the ship fall and if they landed on the shoals of the sea, they would be crushed. Another hard rock as Bahamut tore away the front portion of the airship and screech from the Captain. Marishi spotted a rocky outcropping slightly to the west. The rocks seemed to be piled high, but there was a cavity in the middle. How deep, she couldn’t tell. It was their only chance. “Push hard to the west! Look for the outcropping! Put it down there! Put it down hard!” Marishi yelled to the Captain. She couldn’t tell if he heard her or not, his face ash grey and knuckles white with no expression on his face. Bahamut began to rip apart the top deck sending wood and splinters everywhere, the debris causing small cuts and wounds to her arms and face. Bahamut wouldn’t risk getting in close again. He was going for attrition. The airship began to flip to its side causing Marishi to hit the railing of the other end. “Captain! We have to climb in altitude! We won’t make it like this! You have to right the ship! This is your hour now! You and I are dead without you!” Marishi yelled. The words were like an electric shock to him that woke him out of his stupor. He pushed all power to the failing engines pushing them well past their rated limits to begin to climb. Bahamut sat back, confused by what they were trying to accomplish. He let the airship be as he watched with amusement the impotence of mankind. “Straight up, then down on that outcropping! Slam the ship into it. You see it’s hollow in the middle right?!” Marishi yelled. The Captain nodded, understanding what her strategy was. They were going to wreck the ship on the rocks. When the airship split into two, the Captain and Marishi would get into the cavity of the rock face and burrow into the earth escaping the Wyrm. It was a foolish plan hardly fit to work, let alone be safe. But it was the only chance they had. The Captain had balanced the damaged airship out and was able to climb high enough and maintain altitude long enough to position itself over the bowl. The airship, huge chunks of it torn asunder, sputtering along, barely had enough rudder control to spin it around. “Cut the engines now!” Marishi cried. The labored chug of the engines suddenly stopped and all was quiet. They hovered there a moment, quiet with the breeze a sort of peace surrounding them until gravity took hold of the boat and began to pull it down. That’s when Bahamut realized their intent. They never intended to fight him. Just to buy time to find a place to escape, or commit suicide. The airship fell like lead from the sky reaching terminal velocity in a matter of seconds. Black plumes of smoke pouring out of the overheated engines. Bahamut raced to reach the Airship to snatch the creature from another world from it so he would be free to unravel her person at his leisure. The ship falling, Marishi had ordered the captain into the cargo hold of the ship where it would, in theory, be the safest for crash landings. Marishi stayed on the deck to keep the wyrms concentration. She saw him approach at speed and she brandished her Katana in challenge. It’s light flaring in the morning mists. He was closing in on her, when a blinding white flash emerged from the destroyed city in the valley. The light blanketed everything in white and caused Bahamut to stop his assault and shield his eyes. Marishi was also partially blinded to the flash, but it didn’t matter now. The airship was about to hit the rock line shattering it into a million pieces. Her vision returned to her just before the ship crashed. She braced for the impact and was thrown as the ship slammed, caved, splintered, and tore in two on the mountain. The last thing Marishi could remember was a sharp pain in her left chest and the feeling of falling. She couldn’t catch her breath. The angry sound of Bahamuts screech filling her ears.
  8. Marishi Ten

    Mistakes Unlearned Bear Repeating [Final Fantasy XIV]

    The days slid by, one blending into another. Conversations about her home with Gilgamesh and Kagero, sparring bouts with Tenzen. She tried to avoid Jakoh as best as she could without being harsh with her. Every day Marishi tried to reach out to Rae with her link pearl. Only to receive silence. Marishi had become accustomed to the hideout and would take to walking by herself. Though she knew she was never alone. “You are a very poor stalker Jakoh.” Marishi said without stopping stride. “I did well this time though! You barely knew I was there.” She said proudly. “Barely is enough to get you killed. Remember that.” Marishi said gravely. “Marishi? How come you don’t talk to me like you do Gilgamesh or even Kagero? How come you don’t talk to me about yourself?” Jakoh asked. This caught Marishi off guard. She wasn’t expecting questions like these. “You would be bored by my mundane life. You seek adventure and danger where I’m only slightly more interesting than a common housewife.” Marishi said. “You and I both know you’re lying. I just want to know about you.” Jakoh said. “Okay, fine. What would you like to know? Ask me a question, I’ll answer it. What do you want to know about myself?” Marishi was aggressive in her tone which intimidated Jakoh and caused her to stare at the ground. Marishi felt guilt for it immediately. She’s just a girl. She doesn’t know better. “Wh-where were you born?” Jakoh final asked. “In a mountain range called Coerthas. It’s western lowlands. In a cabin at the base of one of the peaks.” Marishi answered. “That sounds beautiful. Is it pretty up there?” Jakoh asked. “It was. Once. The land was torn asunder and raised into the sky by a madman named Nael Van Darnus. Upon his demise the earth fell and crashed into the mountains. Changing its serene views to one of craters. That was before the eternal ice.” Marishi said. “E-eternal ice?” Jakoh responded. “My world was torn asunder once by what we call an elder primal. The Dreadwyrm Bahamut. Trapped for Eons his hatred and anger festered. When he burst forth, he rent the world asunder. Such was his anger and malice. He turned Coerthas, my once home, into an eternal snow drift. Never lifting the freezing grip, it has on the land. Many died during those days. I don’t know how or why I was spared. Does that answer your question?” Marishi demanded. “What about your family?” Jakoh pushed the subject. “I have none,” Marishi responded flatly. “Everyone has a family. What about your mother and father?” She asked. “My mother died in childbirth. I never knew her. She never knew me. My father died of a wasting sickness when I was about your age. I left the cabin they had built and burned it down. A funeral pyre in his honor.” Marishi said all of this with no emotion. No sadness or pain. But as a matter of factual events. “O-o-oh. I’m sorry that your family died. They say sometimes if you and your friends are really close, it can almost feel like a family.” Jakoh said with pity in her voice. “I have no friends. I have no family. The closest thing I have to either is – “Jakoh cut Marishi off. “Rae? Am I right? Perhaps if you gave a fraction of your attention to the task at hand instead of pining over someone halfway around the world, you’d actually accomplish something, Marishi.” Jakoh turned on her heel and left. Clearly done with the conversation. Marishi was upset. Irritated. Who was she to lecture her about what her priorities should be? How dare she even suggest that she wasn’t giving it her all. Marishi had a dark scowl line forming and was on the verge of turning and finding Jakoh and really letting her have it. From the shadows emerged a familiar figure. “Kagero. Ever the surprise, what may I do for you this night?” Marishi said tersely. She was clearly not open to conversation. Kagero, if she had picked up Marishi’s tone, ignored it. “She chides you because she wants you to look outside of your own circle. She grows frustrated that you do not notice her.” Kagero explained. “Nonsense. Of course, I take notice of the girl. How can I not? She dogs my steps every waking moment.” Marishi retorted. Kagero thought a moment and spoke slowly, choosing her words carefully. “You are older than you let on Marishi Ten. I don’t know how or why. It’s not my story to tell. But you seem to forget that you, too, were once a young woman full of life and vigor. Full of love to give and to share. It can blind you to reason.” Marishi turned to face Kagero. “So, what are you saying that Jakoh has fallen madly in love with an interloper of her world whose fate is to leave this star and not return? You’re right. I am old. Older than anyone here. I’m an alien on an alien world. Not to mention that I’m already bound to another. Of which is the only reason we are alive today.” She finished with anger clearly in her tone. Kagero bowed “I did not mean to upset you, Lady Marishi.” Marishi shook her hand “You did not. It’s the situation I find myself. It is vexing. We train and we train, we talk and we talk, but something is lost in translation that stops both parties from progressing. Let alone the linkshell distresses I’ve had.” Kagero looked at Marishi thoughtfully. “How long has it been since you’ve spoken with Lady Rae?” She said with a soft and soothing voice. “The day we parted. How long ago that was, I don’t know. Time seems to flow differently here. The days and weeks blend with another. I honestly have no idea how long I’ve actually been here.” Marishi said with a short laugh of derision. Kagero bowed. “The masters would like to speak with you in private chambers. It’s been 4 months, by the way.” Kagero said. Marishi looked at her quizzically. “4 months?” Kagero nodded. “4 months since you have arrived in Norg. As for your skill with the blade, there is no doubt that you have improved upon your technique and there is no doubt that Lord Tenzen and the other instructors are working on filling their new knowledge into training regimes. Your stay here has been, by every measure a success. I’ll not keep you waiting. Please, join with Lord Tenzen and Gilgamesh anon.” Kagero bowed and left. Marishi walked into the quarters. It was the same as it was all the days before. Tenzen and Gilgamesh were speaking on something that Marishi couldn’t catch or didn’t care about. Tenzen was the first to speak. “Ah, Lady Marishi! How good it is to see you and in such good health! Is there anything we may do to assist you?” Marishi smiled and bowed. “No, my lord. My needs are being served adequately, thank you.” There was a change in the air. Their body language was vastly different. This was going to be more than just speaking of technique. “We might as well get to it,” Gilgamesh said. “Tenzen and I have decided that we no longer need ya services. We’ve accomplished what we set out to accomplish. Which means yer free to go as the wind blows lass. Yer nor longer fettered ta Norg.” He was short. Not unkind but it was clear he was issuing an order. “Thank you, my lord. And I am humbled that you would release me. However, I few it wouldn’t feel right if we didn’t have a live demonstration of these newfound skills.” Gilgamesh was intrigued. “What kind of proving ground did ya have in mind?” Marishi replied. “Outside of Norg lies the Sea Serpent Grotto. Home to undead, serpent, and Sahagin. Each causes you some consternation from time to time and they need to be clipped of their numbers in order to pass safely by.” Gilgamesh understood the concept. “Alright, a bit of sport hunting could do to prove the differences. Just you and Tenzen. Myself, Kagero, and Jakoh will be watching close by.” Tenzen and Marishi were ushered to the entrance to Norg fully armed and equipped. The heavy wooden doors swung open and the two stepped out. The doors closed and there was little to no sound save for the occasional drip of water into a stagnant pool. Tenzen hesitated to move forward. Marishi eyed him then stepped into the dimly lit caverns. She walked as light as she could and never strayed away from a wall or ledge. They walked into the Grotto for what seemed like hours until they came upon bioluminescent lighting. Marishi motioned to Tenzen and knelt down. “I assume these are your ‘Sahagin’, correct?” She asked. Tenzen nodded. “Hmph. Smaller than the ones that are on Eorzea, though they look much more aggressive. We must be near their spawning dens. I’m not keen on taking life for the sake of verification and data. Have these wavekin done anything to merit death?” Marishi whispered. “I do not have the answer to that question Lady Marishi. They do not seem to be provoked and if so, will only be provoked as we are so close to their young. They don’t seem an ill sort.” Tenzen was attempting to rationalize the killing in his head. “There is no need for all that noblest Samurai. They are not the targets we seek.” Marishi said. “When I first arrived here I was guided through these catacombs. Near the end, I ran into something I did not expect. Undead. Not only shambling corpses but spirits and wisps of malice. Instead of attacking those that would be left alone, why not we actually do Norg a service and clean up the undead from these caverns?” Tenzen thought a moment. “I agree. It is better to release the tortured souls of this place than to strip ones still bound. Lead the way Lady Marishi.” He said. They backtracked to where Marishi could remember the shambling and the frigidness of the spirits. The temperature began to drop and Marishi knew they were close. They spotted them near the exact place she had originally found them. In no better shape. Marishi drew her Gordian Katana and asked for the blessing of Alexander, the lord of time. The blade started to glow a soft muted white pulsating. Tenzen drew the Phoenix blade and begged forgiveness for the lives he was about to take. There was a momentary pause, then the flash of steel. Marishi covered the distance to her target with blinding quickness, slashing at it in an upwards, then downwards trajectory, rendering the first of the group completely immobile. Tenzen used the same tactic on one of the outliers and cleaved the corpse in two. The other two corpses and the apparition lunged at them both. Desperate to feed off the warmth they will ever be denied of. Marishi jumped back slightly and spun in a half circle raising her weapon high. The momentum of the upwards cleave created a visual effect of the crescent moon as she jumped. The corpse went down without a sound. Tenzen was locked in battle with the last corpse until he shoved it away, placed his weapon back in its sheath, held it, and as the corpse attempted to attack him again, he slashed horizontally then vertical, destroying what was left of its frame. That left the apparition. The most dangerous of the group. A touch from them could render a man paralyzed. They were also deft as the casting of black magic. It targeted Marishi for its spell and began casting. The only way to stop it from casting was to sever the link it had between the world of the living and of the dead. Suddenly, Tenzen pitched into the fray and hit the apparition with the flat of his blade. This stunned the ghost enough to interrupt its spellcasting where both Marishi and Tenzen slashed the ghost down using Gekko, Kasha, and Yukikaze techniques. The link severed, the apparition faded into nothing, Marishi hoping it could finally find rest. Breathing heavy, Marishi and Tenzen looked at each other, smiled, and nodded. As soon as they caught their breath, they made their way back to Norg their mission a success. Upon arriving, they found a none too happy Gilgamesh, an impassive Kagero, and Jakoh, barely able to control her excitement and awe. “Orders stated that you were to kill fish, not ghosts,” Gilgamesh said irritably. “The Sahagin posed no threat and weren’t aggressive. To slay them for the sake of testing would have been inhumane. I would rather dispatch those who wish for release than those whose time has not yet come, my lord.” Marishi said to Gilgamesh. He looked at her sternly for several long seconds before bursting out into laughter. “Good enough then! Good enough! Marishi, if you would be so kind, please come with me. I’ve words for ya. And only you.” Gilgamesh said. She followed him to his cabin where he sat down at his desk, looking at Marishi standing before him. “Ya certainly exceeded all of my expectations. Even in my best days, I couldn’t have bested you. Tomorrow morning, an hour before dawn, an airship will arrive. It will unload its cargo and depart roughly 20 minutes after docking. Be on it. You have served yer purpose and you have my blessings and gratitude.” Gilgamesh said. Marishi was relieved. She could finally leave this rock. She could finally meet up with her wife and hold her again. She was already anxious and giddy for the airship to arrive. “Thank you, my lord. I have learned much from yourself and lord Tenzen. I fear I have taught you a fraction of what I have taught you.” She said gratefully. “You’ve given us much to think upon, that much is clear. Marishi. One more thing. The girl. What will you do with her?” He asked her cautiously. It took Marishi a moment to understand who he was referring to. “Jakoh? Nothing, I suppose. She is free to walk her own path.” Gilgamesh smiled sadly. “You still don’t see it, do you? That girl idolizes you. She dotes on you. It’s clear as day to everyone, save you, that she is in love with you.” Marishi was taken aback. “No, my lord, perhaps smitten, but I wouldn’t say in love. I’ve done nothing to spur that feeling on.” Gilgamesh held the same sad smile. “You don’t get it do ya girlie? You don’t have to do anything. Its been building up in her head. More and more. She wants to run away with you, did ya know that? When you return home, she wants ta go with you. She’s a good kid. I don’t want to see anything hurt her. Get my meanin’?” Marishi was no longer smiling or jestful. “I will leave before she awakes. By the time she realizes it, I’ll be gone already with no one here knowing my destination.” Gilgamesh let out a sigh. “That’ll do it. Thank you again Marishi. I know it’s not been easy and you’ve already a heap of troubles as it is. But I thank you for what you have done here. Hopefully, what you’ve learned here will assist you in taking back your world from the evil that pervades it. Would that I could send soldiers. Marishi Ten. You are dismissed from the Samurai Academy.” Marishi bowed. “Thank you, Sensei.” It was early evening when she left Gilgameshes quarters. She went into the mess hall and at ate her meal for the evening. Afterward, she walked up and down the length of the water line. Waiting for it to be dawn. Curiously, Jakoh was nowhere to be found. Marishi would have liked to say something to her before she left. Perhaps it was better this way. The night drug on. Out of instinct, she went to the barracks to make sure Jakoh was there. She found her in her cot next to Marishi’s. She had in her arms a doll. Amazingly well stitched and made. It was made to resemble Marishi. Jakoh truly did love Marishi. She was touched by this and at the same time saddened. Her heart belonged to another. “Perhaps in another life my sweet Jakoh.” She whispered to the sleeping Mithra. Marishi kissed her cheek softly and stood up. She pulled her Tanto out and she cut a length of her own red-brown hair, tied it off with twine, and exchanged the doll with her hair. She quietly left the barracks never to see Jakoh again. But she always kept the doll made to resemble her. Wherever she went. The hour before dawn proved true and an airship quietly docked in port. “Yer my passenger?” Asked the captain. “I am.” Answered Marishi. “hop on board then, we don’t have all day.” He turned and walked in the airship. Marishi followed. The captain was running through his pre-flight checks and preparing for takeoff. Marishi asked, “Where are we headed captain?” The man still flipping through his checklist said “The Tavnazian Archipelago. It’s where you wanna go isn’t it?” Marishi tried to contain her excitement. “Yes, Captain. That is my requested destination.” The man scoffed. “Good, cause that’s where we’re going. It’ll take us a bit to get there and from the skywatchers, there’s to be a squall soon. Hopefully, we have you landed and me gone before that storm hits. Now, leave me to my checklist and I’ll have us off.” Marishi thought about Rae. How long had it been since she had last seen her? It felt like a lifetime ago. How long had it been since she had heard her voice? How long had she been in Norg? Months. She hadn’t seen her wife in months. Hadn’t spoken with her in months. Hadn’t held her or touched in outside of her dreams. The only thought she had in her head was to go faster. Get there faster. - Before long the airship pulled from the dock and began to sail out the cove to gain speed and take off from the water. As the Sun broke the horizon, the airship lifted into the skies. In the barracks of Norg, a young Mithra silently cried while clutching a Locke of hair.
  9. Marishi Ten

    Mistakes Unlearned Bear Repeating [Final Fantasy XIV]

    Marishi awoke in a small cot in a dark room that smelled of alcohol. It was still early. It had only been yesterday that she arrived in Norg and already plans were being drawn out. But that’s not what bothered Marishi. She hadn’t heard from Rae. Not one peep since they parted. She tried to contact her via linkshell, but there would never be an answer back. Next to her on another cot lay Jakoh. The girl wouldn’t go home even when threatened by Gilgamesh. Marishi had never trained someone or had anyone serve under her. Today was the day the real task begins. She thought. It was still quiet when she rose silently as to not wake the Mithra in the bunk next to her. She left without a sound. There was no one about. The entire day and night the place was teeming with people going about whatever business they had. Marishi wasn’t fully battle dressed as she had taken off her lord’s coat and padding. She was still robed in a white silk kimono. She wore lace pantalettes that stopped at her upper thigh and simple open-toed clogs. She stood at the top of the stairs, staring down at the beauty of the sea and it’s never-ending ebb and flow. “The sea is most beautiful when the Sun and Moon are meetin’ right before Dawn. I come out here often to ease me mind and lift me spirits. Listen to the tide and let it be yer guide.” Gilgamesh said quietly as he moved to stand next to Marishi. “With all the commotion, we didn’t get a proper chance ta speak, did we? Lotta decisions got made on yer behalf, but ya didn’t have much say in them. Poor girl, thrown into chaos right after being thrown into chaos.” Marishi smiled as he called her ‘girl’. “I didn’t say anythin’ outta line of funny, did I?” He asked almost apologetically. “No, my lord, no. It’s just. I haven’t been called ‘girl’ in a very long time. A very long time.” She said. “Ha! Look at ya! You’ve seen what? 30 Summers? Maybe?” Gilgamesh retorted. “I’ve seen double that, so yer all girlies to me.” Marishi was quite a moment smiling to herself. “Of course, my lord.” They spent a moment in quiet staring at the sea roll in and out. “Hasn’t been easy for ya has it?” He asked. “No, my lord, it has not. I am prone to what they call spells of melancholy. My mind goes to dark places and I become lost. The future is dark for us. My wife and I.” She replied. Gilgamesh put his arm around Marishi and drew her close. As a father would draw his daughter. She stiffened up for a moment, then gave in laying her head on his arm. They watched the Sunrise together like that, not speaking a word for some time. Finally, Marishi broke the silence. “If I may ask a question?” Marishi asked. “Of course!” Gilgamesh said. “Though I reckon I already know what the question is. You want to know about Tenzen.” Marishi was impressed that he was able to pick up on her curiosity of him. “Yes, about this, Tenzen. I don’t remember much about the story, it was more of one told to children and I wasn’t born in the Far East. But there is a story on my star about a man with that name. With that build. With that armor. With that Katana. He was a hero. Him and his four lords. Traveling Doma and Yanxia helping people and averting disaster.” Marishi said. “Aye, sounds right up Tenzen’s alley,” Gilgamesh said with a short laugh. “This perplexes me, my lord. Why would the two look exactly alike but be different?” She asked. Gilgamesh said it bluntly. “I don’t know. And we’re like to never know. Some things don’t have an answer. Some things can’t be explained. Instead of goin crazy tryin ta figure out the inexorable, sometimes its best to just … accept things for the way they are.” He looked at her and smiled. “Off with ya. Go get washed and dressed. We’ll get some food in our bellies and we’ll figure out what to do with ya, and yer number one admirer in there.” Marishi did as she was told and washed in a basin of cold water. The hideout didn’t have much in the way of amenities. She cleaned her jackets as best she could and dressed. She equipped her Gordian Katana, Wakizashi, and Tanto. All in the traditional wearings of a Hydealean Samurai of the Far East. Jakoh was awake and bursting full of questions. “Wash and dress,” Marishi said before she could get a word in. As Jakoh entered the bathroom, Marishi left the cabin and went down the corridor to the mess hall. As she walked in, the dull roar of the room trickled down. She felt self-conscious. Gilgamesh came to her aid. “Back to yer meals! It’s like you’ve never seen a girl before! I catch anyone of you so much as eye her the wrong way, that eye will belong to me. And I always collect!” The men turn back to their food and conversation while Gilgamesh led her to his table where also sat Tenzen and Kagero. “Good morning, Marishi. Did the night find you well?” Kagero asked. “As well as to be expected. Thank you.” She replied courteously to Kagero. “You carry multiple weapons I see. If I’m not overextending my place, may I ask why?” She cut right down to the point. Marishi liked Kagero right off the bat. “The long sword is my Katana. The Gordian Katana. It is my main weapon. In more restricted places or in the event the Gordian weapon is not available, I can be armed with my Wakizashi. A short sword. I also carry a Tanto, per tradition. It is used as a method of last resort, for defense and … other practices.” She explained. Gilgamesh, Tenzen and Kagero were all raptly listening. “Where I come from, if you bear a disgrace that cannot be amended, it is required that honor be restored. With the taking of your own life. By disembowelment. Though typically there is another Samurai with you that takes your life as you are performing the ritual.” Marishi said. “And this happens often?” Tenzen asked. “No, my lord. Not often. In fact, I’ve not heard of it being used in centuries. But we are to carry it at all times. It serves as a reminder that we must carry ourselves with discipline and honor. Integrity and justice. Or so the doctrine says. Like I said, very rarely are these kinds of rules actually followed.” They finished up breakfast with small talk and a little banter. Jakoh had made it just in time for breakfast and was listening to everything being discussed. Recording it to study it further. Gilgamesh bade them follow him where he entered the main corridor and on the left side a small door. He unlocked it with a key he retrieved from his jacket. “After all of you, please,” he said. They entered a brightly lit room. It was small, but on the floor lay tatami mats and banners hung from the walls. Marishi knew exactly what this place was. “You wish for a sparring match, my lord?” Marishi asked. “Aye. Just ta see the differences in technique.” He said. Marishi was plain. “My lord, with all due respect, I am Samurai, but I am hardly the best example of form and technique.” She said. Gilgamesh ignored her. “If you would indulge me. Tenzen will be your opponent.” Marishi laughed. “Tenzen? No, my lord, I cannot. His skill far surpasses my own. I can see that by the way, he carries his blade.” Gilgamesh handed her and Tenzen a Bokken and said, “It’ll be alright, girl. No one’s judgin’. I get the feelin’ that your way can fill in the gaps that our way has. Please.” Marishi grasped the Bokken, slid it in her sash, wood blade up, sighed and took her place in the sparring ring. “I am honored that you would engage me in combat, Lady Marishi. Your skill is much greater than you let on, I feel.” Tenzen said. “You feel it? As in you sense it?” Marishi asked. “Something like that,” Tenzen said. Marishi crouched down slightly and placed her right hand close to the grip so as to brandish it. She closed her eyes and stilled her mind. She could feel her heart pumping, her lungs breathing, the air brushing her skin. Nothing else but the feeling and sensation. She opened her eyes and Tenzen began his offensive. He drew his Bokken and with both hands arced the sword in a crescent movement. Marishi drew her weapon and with the flat of the wood, broke the stroke halfway through by deflecting and spinning around with a downward slash. She looked more like she was dancing than fighting. Her movements were exact and graceful. Tenzen was able to dodge the slash and staggered back. Marishi held her Bokken with both hands above her head, blade facing up. She came down on her left which Tenzen was able to parry, but in the same motion switched the stroke to the right to cleave his neck. He brought his weapon up to guard. Marishi spun around behind him and with the same stroke reversed onto his unprotected left side of his neck and stopped as the wood was about to strike his neck. Marishi had outmaneuvered him using speed and feints making the match hers. Tenzen was startled, then began laughing. “Your movement is unlike anything I’ve ever seen Lady Marishi! The match is yours.” He bowed to Marishi. She mirrored the motion. Jakoh could be heard in the distance cheering and attempting to be stifled by Kagero. Gilgamesh brought Marishi and Tenzen back into his quarters and spoke at length to her technique and how she chose the pattern of attack she did. Tenzen then asked a sudden question. “Lady Marishi, if I may request, may I inspect your Katana?” Marishi looked at her Gordian Katana propped against a bookshelf near where she sat. She reached for it and handed it to Tenzen. The scabbard is exquisite. Unlike anything, I’ve ever seen! It’s pearl inlay, but it’s not. It’s not a material that I’ve ever seen.” Tenzen said with wonder in his voice. The intricacies of the guard are incredible. Tooled by hand with lines as the motif?” Marishi corrected him. “Not lines. Circles. Patterns. The loop never breaks. It is fate. In a sense.” He slowly drew the sword from the sheath and inspected the blade. Looking at it closely, he asked: “The blade, has it ever been reworked?” Marishi answered “No. It’s never needed to be. It’s never chipped, notched, folded, or lost its edge. That weapon holds a fragment of the divine in it.” He placed the katana back into its sheath and said: “Thank you for letting me view such a masterwork or artisanship.” There wasn’t a hint of sarcasm. “May I see your Wakizashi?” Marishi took her short sword from her belt and handed it to Tenzen. “Ahhh, this is much more akin to what I have seen. This weapon was made by human hands!” She smiled. “It was a gift bestowed to me by the school in which I was taught. Perhaps gift isn’t the right word. Reparations is a better one. It is a long and mundane story that deserves its place in the past where it should sit.” Tenzen eyed the short sword closely. The hammering is near perfect. The honing must have taken days alone. This is a masterful sword, Lady Marishi. Thank you.” He handed it back to her. “Well? What say you? Will you teach us your dance in exchange for our overwhelming might?” Gilgamesh asked. The day had long since passed and the stars had taken their place in the sky. “I will tell you what I know. I’m afraid I won’t be able to teach you much. I am no mentor. My form is different from my peers, as I come from Eorzea and not the Far East. I also cannot teach all of you. I can teach Sir Tenzen who can adapt and integrate it into his own form that he may pass on to others.” She replied. Gilgamesh and Tenzen agreed and their sparring would start again tomorrow and they would work through teaching one another their ways. Tenzen and Gilgamesh rose to leave. “My lord. A moment of your time.” Marishi said in a quiet voice. Tenzen bowed, bid good night and left. “My lord. I cannot remain here overlong. We are searching for a way to get back to our star. To prevent a calamity from taking place. As soon as we have discovered a lead, I will have to depart.” She said. Gilgamesh remained quiet as if waiting for her to tell him what she really meant to say. Marishi sighed. “Am I truly so open a book for everyone to read front to back? Though my mind and spirit are here in Norg, my heart lies with another and every day that we are a part is a day without sunshine for me. My desire is to return and unite both my heart and body.” Gilgamesh looked at her closely. “Yer lover is on Tavnazia as we speak. She is bearing her own trials. Have faith! And you will get what you truly want. While we’re on the subject, I’d like to take a moment of yer time.” Marishi was slightly taken aback. “Of course, my lord,” Marishi said. “Ya may not have noticed and I’d not blame ye if ya didn’t, but the girl, Jakoh. She’s taken a liking to you.” Gilgamesh said. “She is young and curious. I am different. I do not think – “Gilgamesh cut her off. “That girl has been nothing but a nuisance to me ever since I met her in Khazam. But I watched her grow to the woman she is. She’s done right by herself and by all of us. If you think it or not, Jakoh has an infatuation with you. And it grows by the day. Merely a word of caution from an old man overthinkin things. Good night Marishi.” He turned around ending the conversation. Marishi bowed and left. She walked back to her room that she shared with Jakoh to find her already asleep. She had cleaned her blanket for her and even placed a second one nearby in the event Marishi got cold. She frowned. This was the last thing she needed. For someone else from another star to attach herself to Marishi. Still, it was flattering and a little endearing. Marishi changed into her smallclothes, making sure to have the door closed in the washroom and laid on her cot. “Everything go alright?” A sleep filled Jakoh asked. “Yes … Yes, it did.” Marishi said shortly. “Fine, keep your secrets then. I found an extra blanket for you … No way … He’ll find out … “Jakoh fell back asleep. It was then that Marishi knew that she was far over her head. She stared at the ceiling and thought of Rae.
  10. Marishi Ten

    Mistakes Unlearned Bear Repeating [Final Fantasy XIV]

    “With all my heart, no,” Marishi said sadly. She was not playful. A pall a settled over her and the storm clouds of her own despair began to rumble as to thunder. “But it is what’s decided. Though your destination sounds much better than mine.” Marishi managed a weak smile. They had nothing when they came to Vanadiel, but through Francmage and other donations, they were able to rearm, reforge, and resupply. Even more so than they would have on Hydalean. Marishi dressed in her normal battle attire. She couldn’t help but look at Rae in that Red outfit. “The hat suits you. It really does! I love the feather. Are they really going to make you wear that? Is it really supposed to amplify your spell casting? Well, at least it’s tailored to you.” Marishi looked at Rae up and down. Her tights hugging her thighs, calf high pointed boots, detailed and elaborately adorned frock. “I suppose it could be worse.” Marishi sighed, it was time. They were to head down to the port below the city. There, two airships waited in the mooring for their lone passengers. Francmage had spared no expense. The cost alone must be astronomical. Marishi felt heavier and heavier the closer she got to the port. As they came in sight, they saw Francmage, ready to see them off. “My friends! It is good that we are to see each other again! It won’t be for the last time, though time waits for no man, they say. I have a final gift for you two. Rae had mentioned that you haven’t been apart in some years. This separation must be very difficult and I am sorry.” He had a look of genuine remorse as if he were the one that split the land up. “I know this is paltry in comparison, but take these. They’re link pearls. This pair will allow you to communicate with me if need be, and this other pair is for you two alone. That way you will at least be able to hear each other’s voice. Marishi, I fear your journey will be a bit more involved than Rae’s. The cove that the Samurai and Ninja choose as their headquarters is somewhat out of the way. But worry not, I have procured a guide for when you arrive in the village. I’m told she’s the best guide and tracker that side of the continent.” Francmage said. “Ser Francmage. I have lived a long life and I have been in many houses, but never have I found one so honorable and giving as yours. You don’t even know us, yet you vouch for us and are ready to defend us. You are a breed long since perished on my home. You are a true knight. A man of honor and integrity. I am grateful to know you.” Marishi said to the knight. She meant every word. She had heard tales of chivalrous knights defending maidens from terrible dragons as a child. She had seen the houses of Ishgard. They attempted to emulate being a knight. This man before her lived it. “Thank you. I don’t know how to repay your infinite kindness.” Francmage found his words again. His voice was soft and comforting. He took his hand under Marishi’s chin and lifted her head up to look at him. She had tears in her blotched and undamaged eyes. “Not all partings are woeful my dearest Marishi. We stand on the verge of a new chapter. We will forge our peoples and we will get you home. That I swear to you.” Marishi smiled. “Yes, yes. If there’s a home to even go back to.” She said wearily. “Rae.” Marishi turned towards her wife, holding her close. “I don’t have the words to tell you how much I love you. They don’t exist. I don’t have the heart to say goodbye. So, I won’t.” She said congested from crying. “I’ll let you know when I’ve safely landed in Khazam. Until we meet again, my brother, and my Solar.” She turned sharply on her heel and moved quickly to the awaiting airship. If she lingered, she would lose heart. She boarded the airship to be greeted by the Captain of the ship. He had thick white hair with a cap pulled over his head. He wasn’t elderly, though he wasn’t a boy anymore. “Welcome aboard the Reliant, Mistress Ten. I’ve been appraised of what I needed to be and where your destination is. Shall we be off?” His gravely voice was brisk and to the point. All Marishi could do is nod. She was content to sit in the cargo bay the entire flight, but walking up the stairs to the deck the Captain called out “Vanadiel isn’t much, but she does have some sights to see. Come out on deck. Clear your head. Let the wind and open skies lift your heart, girl.” Marishi thought about it a moment. She stood up and headed to the deck. “We’re shoving off now. Looks like the other is as well.” The airships pulled anchor at the same time and began their lurch to full speed. Marishi looked at the other airship. She could almost see Rae, staring at her from the deck. Both ships pulled away from the dock and in open sea, they went full power. Their propellers spun and their crystal engines caused the ships to glide on the water, their reflections like glass. Both Captains ascended at the same time and began to gain altitude. Then, the two crossed each other on the starboard side. Marishi headed south and east. Rae headed north and west. Marishi stared at the shrinking airship until she couldn’t see it anymore. As sadness was creeping to overwhelm her, the Captain called. “Look to your right! Do you see that? That’s called the Crag of Mea! It’s said to house a fragment of the Mothercrystal! They say it was built by the ancients long ago! Even this high up, it’s still massive and can be seen for malms!” Marishi walked over to her right. The Captain was right. The structure was huge. From that structure, there was an enclosed walkway or tube that reminded her of a spine. “It’s a conduit. An amplifier. They built their own lifestream.” Marishi said. To low for the Captain to hear. She looked at it with newfound awe. The amount of dedication that would have taken was staggering to Marishi. Soon the craggy desert gave way to green plains and small rivers. “We’re now entering the Sarutabaruta quadrant! Ruled by the Star Sybl and her Federation! See the huge tree there in the distance?! That’s the Star Tree! Home to the sitting government of Windurst!” The Captain called out. They started banking south towards the city where Marishi gave the Captain an alarmed look. “It’s the shipping lanes! There has to be order so we don’t wipe each other out in midair! We’re not docking!” He called from the pilot’s room. She watched as they closed in on the city. She could see the buildings and brightly colored tents of the merchants. Dusk was beginning to approach. Marishi could see the little lights in the little windows illuminate. Husbands returning to their Wives and Children to share a meal and talk about what transpired in their day. Marishi wanted, more than anything, a life like that. But that was not her path. Her’s lie elsewhere. Lost in thought, Marishi came to by the Captain yelling and motioning to the cabin. As she walked into the small cabin, the captain said “Ya daft girl? I was callin ya for 15 minutes. Thought maybe you went catatonic. Anyway, I don’t suppose you prepared any food before you boarded my ship, did you?” The Captain asked. Marishi felt her cheeks flush in embarrassment. “N-No … I’m not the one who typically handles that part.” The Captain’s eyes lit up. “Ah the pretty one! Only caught a glimpse of her, but she’s something else.” Marishi smiled. “Yes, she is.” The Captain backtracked a bit “Not that I’m not sayin you aren’t pretty, you are, just the other is prettier? I’m digging myself my own grave here.” Marishi looked up at him and smiled. “I know what you mean. She has a different light about her. I am disfigured on the outside. Twisted on the inside. He’s is a pure light that shines that no one can dim.” She said to the Captain. He mumbled something while digging through his wicker basket. “What was that?” Marishi asked. “I says you ain’t disfigured, girl. You could hold a man in your eyes and drain him dry if he wasn’t careful.” Said that Captain. “The missus figured you wouldn’t have prepared a meal and made me carry double dinner. Good thing she was right.” He handed her a plate of a homecooked meal. When was it last she had a real homecooked meal? She hadn’t realized how hungry she was. She ate quickly and handed the plate back to the captain. “Thank you. And please thank your wife for me. I don’t think I’ve tasted anything better on TWO worlds let along one!” The Captain beamed with pride. “I’ll do that for ya lass. I’m turnin the light down. We fly through the night. Over the sea, she practically flies herself. I think I’ll have me a nap. You’d do well to rest while you can. They say the land over this is as wild as it’s beasts. We’ll be enterin’ port about an hour after dawn. Get some sleep girl. Nothin’ gonna harm you here.” He leaned his chair back on two legs and butted his back to the wall and pulled his cap over his eyes. Marishi took out a small bedroll and covered it. Trying not to think about Rae.” She must have slept as the next thing she remembered was the Captain moving around groggily checking the dials and instruments and staring out the cabin windows. It was dawn with the light cresting over the sea. There was a large land mass in front of them. Huge by all accounts and dense with foliage. An actual jungle. “We dock in 5. Get your things ready.” The Captain said. They touched down and docked at the first mooring port. The gangplank was slid open for the only passenger disembarking. “Hey. Don’t be a stranger. I kind of like our talks!” The Captain called out and winked. Marishi couldn’t help but smile. She walked up to the arrivals counter where she was asked where she came from, where she was going, and when she would leave. Marishi provided the details to the obviously bored Mithra who didn’t bother to look up at Marishi. She allowed passage into the Mithran village of Khazam. Francmage had mentioned something about a guide that would lead her through the Jungle. The problem is that this whole village is nothing but female. She wasn’t sure who she was even looking for. Before she began her search, she messaged Rae on her link pearl. She didn’t pick up. She must have been busy. “Hey, it’s me. I’ve made it to Khazam. It’s nothing like they said it was going to be, but don’t worry, it’s nothing I haven’t been able to handle anyway. I love you. Hope to talk to you soon.” She spoke into the linkpearl. “Sorry miss, I couldn’t help but overhear but is your name … Marishi? Marishi Ten?” A small and slender Mithra asked almost as if blending out of the shadows. Marishi, with her hand on her sword, said “Yes, that is my name, though none should know it here. How did you come to learn of my name?” The Mithra knocked the ashes from her pipe and let out a light melodious laugh. “The one who informed me was the one who sent you. Francmage. I’m your guide. Jakoh. It’s an honor to meet your Mistress Ten.” Marishi’s eyes narrowed. “Odd that that guide finds the guider. Usually, it’s the other way around.” She said cautiously. Jakoh shrugged her shoulders and said “We can sit here all day and argue the merits of how one properly introduces the other, or, we can get you to where you need to be. If you choose the latter, the chocobo stables are right over there by the gates.” Jakoh began walking away and called out “Besides, you still out like a sore thumb with your exotic dress and defined features. I could have spotted you from a crowd.” The girl did make sense and she knew more about the situation than your average run of the mill Stanger. Why not let someone she doesn’t know to haul her off into a labyrinth of a jungle. What’s the worst that can happen? She thought as she caught up with Jakoh at the stables. “Right so that solves that. They’re fetching to of their best birds to ferry us across the Yhuntungah Jungle. There are ancient ruins on this island. Buildings that predates anything we’ve seen. We can’t get close though due to the little green men with brown coats and kitchen knives.” Jakoh making conversation. “I believe they’re called ‘Tonberry’.” Marishi corrected her. “I don’t know, I don’t know if I like that word. Anyway, here are our birds finally. I do hope you know how to ride one of these things?” Jakoh said with a worried look on her face. Marishi climbed in the saddle and took the reigns bringing the bird under her control in seconds. “I may have ridden something similar, long ago.” The gates opened for the two and immediately shut. The gates were large and heavy. “See a lot of critters try to take over your homestead looks like huh?” Marishi said referencing the gate. Jakoh laughed “Yeah. Critters. Something like that. Stay close and always stay in sight. This place has a habit of snatching people.” Marishi looked around, it didn’t seem like an overly threatening jungle. It was humid and hot, both of which she detested, but it seemed safe enough. “Lead the way Jakoh.” Marishi said. Through the winding trails and drops to the caverns below, Marishi quickly began to understand how this jungle could claim lives. Trails that lead on for days only to arrive at a dead end. Holes in the ground that would send you and your mount down with likely broken bones. Some of the local insects had grown and bloated to huge sizes. Enough to challenge a man in combat. The sounds of life teeming all around, this truly was a wildland and man held no sway here. The came upon a large waterfall that poured into a large pool below. Jakoh indicated to slow down. Marishi could barely hear her from the sound of the crashing of the water. “Stay to your right! Hug the right wall! Whatever you do, hug the right wall!” Jakoh yelled. Marishi nodded in compliance. They began their trek behind the waterfall and it soon became clear why they were hugging the right wall. The rest of the rock was at a decline and slick from moss and water. There was nothing to grab on to if your mount slipped. You would go down into that pool with it. Never to surface. The moved slowly clinging onto the right-hand rock face until they stumbled upon a split in the mountain. It was small, but enough that people could come and go. At the end of the tiny ravine, the trail went down into the darkness. Jakoh had dismounted and she helped Marishi dismount. “That is The Sea Serpent Grotto. It carries a pretty grisly history. Or so I’ve been told. Let’s stop here and eat. Once we go in, we don’t stop till we get to Norg.” Jakoh said pulling out dried and salted fish from her pack. She had offered some to Marishi where she politely declined. “No, thank you. This may sound like the strangest thing, but I actually don’t eat fish. I don’t like it.” She blushed in embarrassment and Jakohs jaw dropped open. “A Mithra … cat … Miquo … doesn’t like fish …” She was stunned. Jakoh didn’t actually know what to say. “Miquot’e. Keeper of The Sun. That is what they call my race where I come from.” Marishi explained. “Tell me about your race. Are they all great warriors like you?” Jakoh was highly interested and her ears were perked in focus and excitement. “No, not all are sellswords like I am. They are very tribal. Nomadic if you will. There is usually a male the presides over the good of the clan, though there are more females than there are males. Most leave their tribes to make it in the bit ‘cities’. They’re usually scooped up and forced to work at the nearest whore house until they are killed, or they’re killed on the streets. Eorzea doesn’t have much compunction for our kind. We are seen as little more than instruments as sex and they will use us like that.” Marishi’s hand went to her right eye. “I can attest to that. As you’ve noticed, I am maimed. I was given this for fighting back a man who thought to use me like a sexual castoff.” Jakoh sat for a moment. “Oh my God. I am so sorry for you. What an awful and lonely life. It sets my blood on fire that a man would have the compunction to lay his hands on a woman without her consent. Especially one like you.” She was becoming angry from the hurts Marishi had to endure over her long life. “That man has long since paid for his sins and isn’t in the position to harm another female again. Such is our stature in Eorzea. Little better in Hingashi. They have very few dealings with the Miquot’e so they don’t know how to treat us just yet. But we are not slaves. And I refuse to collared and leashed. I am the arbiter of my own fate. No one decides for me, but me.” Marishi said. Jakoh looked at her quietly as she put her things back in her pack. She followed Marishi with her eyes. It was only after she turned around did she look down and start packing her own things. They entered the cavern where Jakoh whispered “Welcome to The Sea Serpent Grotto. There is much more to be wary of than a few bats and slimes. There is real evil here. Let us hope we can don’t have to run into it. Follow close to me. Tread lightly. Stay on the right wall at all times. Don’t deviate.” Jakoh instructed. They began their descent into the caves. The slope wasn’t steep and soon leveled out. Marishi noticed that there were braziers and scones on the walls. They were lit. “Norg.” Jakoh said answering the question in her mind. They passed by the occasional bloated bat or slime oozing across the floor, but they seemed uninterested in them. They kept to the right until they hit a dead end. A wall of solid rock. “I’m beginning to grow concerned over your tracking ability, Jakoh.” Marishi half teased the Mithra. She looked at Marishi and smiled. “All in good time my mistress. All in good time.” She was feeling around the rock, running her palm over it as if trying to find something. Her hand stopped she turned to Marishi depressed a hidden button on the wall and smiled. “The way is open for the mistress.” Jakoh teased. They moved passed the façade door and kept to their right. Shortly in, Jakoh stopped Marishi and said. “There are things worse than death here. This place … It’s a natural flotsam and jetsam. Ships that smash on the rocks, well, the wood and debris from that ship ended up here. Including the men. But they don’t stay dead. This place has a was of … reanimating the bodies. Turning them into shuffling mindless things that have no release and no thought. Others … Well, they aren’t so lucky. Be very careful. Stay away from them. Whatever you do, don’t look at them and don’t listen to their lies. If we’re spotted, we drop all cover and sprint to Norg and hope we make it. Got it?” Jakoh ordered. “Got it.” Said Marishi. She soon found out what Jakoh was referring to. At first, she could hear the shuffling. Rusted blades scraping off the ground, feet never actually leaving the earth to walk. Snapping and gnashing of their jaws. Then she saw a group of them near a lit brazier. Awful to look at. All three were in various forms of decomposition. One was nearly nothing but bone. Some scattered rags hung to its ankle. Another was falling apart. It’s face half rotted with insects burrowing inside what nutrients the flesh and eyes had left. Eating away at the skin. They could be seen crawling in and out of an empty eye socket to emerge on the other side of a half-eaten eye. The last must have been new. He hadn’t begun to decompose, but his cheeks were gaunt, his eyes dark, with no life behind them. They all shuffled around aimlessly, carrying around crumbling swords worn down by the moisture and time. “We have to move on,” Jakoh whispered in her ear. Marishi nodded and followed. Marishi caught something else out of the corner of her eye and started to look its way. Jakoh grabbed her jaw and yanked it toward her face. “Don’t look at them. They are deceivers. They will lie to you. They will steal your memories to bring you in. They are the evil of this place.” They kept moving with no sense of time passing except the constant drip of water from the ceiling. The scones and braziers were becoming more frequent. In front of them lay a small host of the shambling dead and at least two of the ‘great evil’. Right in the middle of the room. Jakoh motioned to move slowly and hug the right wall. To no make any sudden movements or noises. The crept past the host of the undead inch by agonizing inch. When they finally cleared the small room, Jakoh breathed a sigh of relief. Marishi put her hand on the wall to rest. “Ow! That’s a sharp stone.” Marishi said as she brought up her bleeding hand suck on the blood until she could get it properly dressed. “Oh no. No no no. Those things are attracted to blood and will swarm us for malms. We have to run. Now!” Jakoh yelled. The time for stealth was over. Marishi followed closely behind Jakoh darting from rock to rock all the while the sound of scraping became louder and louder. In the distance came a small hallway surrounded by torches with a heavy door in the middle. Two men were standing guard. At the site of two women running full speed to them, they could guess what they were running from. Jakoh ran full speed into one of the guards while Marishi slowed down and risked a glance. There she saw Rae, she looked wounded. She was calling out of help. “Rae…?” Marishi said walking towards the darkness. The other guard caught her by her collar. “They are deceivers. They will show you what you long for and turn it into something horrid to lure you in. Do not go to them. Whatever it is you are seeing isn’t real.” The man said in a guttural voice. Marishi looked down and to Jakoh. She seemed to be having an argument with the other guard. “Jakoh, I’ve been over this a hundred times, ya can’t come in. Bosses orders. Yours is a pot of chaos and destruction that leave none spared in its wake.” Jakoh responded like she couldn’t hear him “but you have to let me in, see? I carry with me someone of import that has been summoned to Norg. I led her here through fire and brimstone. She is very special!” The guard looked Marishi’s way. She was half hidden by the light of the torches. “Looks like any regular Mithra I’ve ever seen. Now shoo. Off you go.” He began waving his arms like a farmer would bring in his gaggle of geese. Marishi spoke in a low voice. “My name is Marishi. Marishi Ten. I was summoned here to instruct and be instructed on the way of the Samurai. I am not from Vanadiel.” Both of the guards turned their attention to her. “This name is familiar to me. Boss said that if anyone by the name of Marishi came by to admit her and her friends.” One said. Marishi replied “Jakoh here is one of my dearests and trusted friends. I would not be able to sleep at night if my head weren’t laid on her bosom.” Marishi was making them uncomfortable on purpose. “Fine, fine. But you assume responsibility for the sneak thief.” The guard took out a ring of keys, found the one he wanted, slid it into the door and unlocked it. He twisted the handle and pushed the door in. “Mistress Ten, I bid you a warm welcome to the alcove of Norg.” A rush of cool sea air hit her as the door was opened. Marishi stepped through first while Jakoh brought up the rear. “Now this isn’t something you see every day is it?” Marishi said in awe. Norg was settled into a large alcove in a hollow part on the inside of the mountain. The sea rushed right up against their docks with men hauling and loading cargo. Nothing was gilded in gold or inlaid with silver. Simple materials were used to construct the small port, but it didn’t take away from its grandeur, it enhanced it. In the middle was a grand staircase made of wood that took a guest to the barracks and to the bosses’ office in the back. Marishi and Jakoh moved to the seaside as to be out of the way of the main traffic flow. “Jakoh,” Marishi began. “I believe there’s something you may not be telling me about your history with this place. What do you think.” She was looking directly at the Mithra. She writhed under Marishi’s glare. “It wasn’t my fault! Not all my fault. Okay, it was my fault! Are we all pirates here right? Is everything fair game right? So, I helped myself to some jewelry. I didn’t know that jewelry belonged to the Bosses daughter. I gave it all back!” She said indignantly. Jakoh was young. Perhaps in her early 20’s. Her hair was brown as an acorn and she wore it in in a bob with a simple headband. She was slender and tall. Taller than Marishi. She wore the red attire of the Mithra clan including the loincloth and separates. Her eyes were the color of a dark smoky purple. Her pupils were vertical like Marishi’s, but she also had long canines like a Keeper of The Moon. She was quick to smile and laugh. Her youth still unmolested by the outside world. Marishi couldn’t help but smile at her youthfulness and exuberance. She had so much life. Like it was spilling over in its cup. She began to take a liking to the girl. While they were off to the side deciding how best to handle the situation of meeting the boss, a man walked by. Marishi glanced at him turned away, and snapped back to stare. He was from the far east and he wore the traditional Samurai battle armor. His head was shaved of either side and a top knot in the middle. He had flashing brown eyes that seemed to scan the entire area and asses the room. On his hip, he wore an ornate Katana with emblems and reliefs of a pinion bird on fire. “Ah – That there is –“ Jakoh began before being cut off. “Tenzen. His name is Tenzen. And his phoenix blade. That is just a fairy tale. A legend. He was never real …” Marishi said unable to believe what she was looking at. “Oh, he is quite real, I assure you Mistress Ten. Welcome to Norg.” A young woman dressed all in black emerged from the shadows as if she were never there. “My name is Kagero. I am the retainer for Sir Tenzen. You are correct that he does wield the Phoenix Blade. Tell me, how do you know this?” Kagero asked. “You wouldn’t believe me even if I did,” Marishi responded. “Oh, you’ll find me amenable to your situation. I already know most of it. How peculiar you would be transported here of all places.” Kagero replied. Marishi let out an irritable sigh. “The story of Tenzen and the 4 lords stretches back thousands of years in Hingashi. He was the savior of the land averting many disasters that may have leveled Shirogane, or Doma to the ground. But he wasn’t trusted. They say that he could talk to everything. Birds, beasts, men, the planet itself. He befriended 4 Kami on his travels. Genbu, Byakko, Suzaku, and Seriyu. The 4 lords of the 4 seasons and directions. There was a great struggle with a demon or something to that effect, where Tenzen and his 4 were able to seal the demon away, but at the cost of his life. Or, that’s how the story goes. Your Tenzen is a mirror image of the renditions of the Tenzen I’ve seen in the tomes and books. Right down to his Katana.” Marishi said. Kagero was silent a moment. “How interesting.” She finally said. “No, not really. It’s nothing more than a fairy tale. A story you tell your children at night so they sleep and dream of noble and chivalrous acts. There has never been any proof that ‘Tenzen’ ever existed.” Marishi replied. Tenzen began to walk down the grand staircase with a man behind him. Dressed in fine white artisan spun clothing he walked to the beginning of the staircase. He had an eye patch over one eye. “Arrgh! Welcome ‘ta Norg travelers! Some of ya have traveled long indeed to reach this cove.” He walked down the stairs and went to stand by Marishi, whereas Tenzen by Kagero. “I believe introductions are in order! My name be Gilgamesh. I suppose you can call me leader of Norg though no one is the leader here. You must be Marishi Ten,” Tenzen and Kagero both turned to stare right at her. “they talk of your beauty, but their words don’t give it justice.” He gently took her hand and kissed it. He completely skipped over Jakoh. “Marishi, I’d like ya to meet some dear friends of mine! The woman in black, her name’s Kagero. She hails from the far east and is a master in the arts of Ninjutsu.” Kagero bowed. “And this young man is known as Tenzen! Also, from the Far East here to seek counsel. Never a man truer and more honest I’ve met!” Tenzen moved slightly closer to Marishi “It is an honor to finally meet you Lady Ten. I had heard of your ‘relocation’ and prowess in battle. If I can be of assistance in any way, I am at your command.” He bowed low. Marishi was too awestruck to bow. “Looks as though you’ve seen a ghost girl!” Gilgamesh said. “N-no. No. Thank you Sir Tenzen. Your deeds and honor reach far beyond places you can imagine.” Marishi bowed low to Tenzen. “Let’s all head up to me offices where we can talk and get more acquainted with each other – NOT you Jakoh. Last time you were in there, I had to hunt you for 3 days.” Jakoh pouted and stayed where she was. Gilgamesh, Tenzen, Kagero, and Marishi ascended the staircase in Norg for discussion and hopefully rest. Marishi put her hand to her breast where her Linkpearl with Rae lie. “I’ll talk to you as soon as I am able Sunlight.” She whispered. Kagero turned around and said “Excuse me? Did you say something?” Marishi, flustered and embarrassed answered, “No, just a small prayer to the everlasting and life-giving Sun.”
  11. Marishi Ten

    Mistakes Unlearned Bear Repeating [Final Fantasy XIV]

    Marishi awoke to find Rae already up and out of bed. A rare occurrence. Marishi was typically the one to rise before her wife. She dressed in her garb she had on when pulled into this world, placed her Tanto on the small of her back, her Wakizashi blade up on her hip and finally her Gordian Katana above the Wakizashi as was customary for a Samurai to wear their weapons. Marishi was quiet walking down the stairs and she slipped out the front unnoticed. She could hear in the distance the sound of magic and cheers. Rae. Must have the entire city enraptured. She took this time to walk the streets of the city to attempt to get to know it a bit better. She walked out into a clearing where several people stood at wooden kiosks yelling and slamming Gil down. An Auction House. Marishi passed the courtyard and continued on until she found herself in front of a fountain. The water was clear and bright falling like a cool rain to its basin below. To her left was a Tavern, but also a large stage was set in it. As if there were plays held there. Looking at the building, Marishi didn’t notice the woman in black approach her until she was upon her. Marishi placed her hand on her Katana and crouched down in a defensive position. The woman raised her hands and said “I’m not your enemy Mistress Ten. I’m simply here to provide you with a message.” The Woman bowed in a Far Eastern fashion. Confused, Marishi bowed in acknowledgment. “So, you do know something of our ways and customs. You wear you Katana in a most peculiar way and that you have two of them. Most interesting. I’d be interested in looking at your weapon if you would grant me the honor.” The woman went on. Marishi was still startled from being snuck up on. Not many could perform a feat. “You said you had a message for me, miss? ...” Marishi said. “How rude of me! My name is Kagero. I am a Ninja from the Far East and escort to Sir Tenzen.” Kagero said. Marishi looked at her alarmed. “Did you say Tenzen? The name Tenzen?” Kagero was taken aback by Marishi’s sudden aggressiveness. “Yes, that is his name. I am his escort and retainer. It is from him and another that has reached out to you.” Kagero didn’t seem like she was lying. “Who is this ‘other’?” Kagero bowed and said, “Mistress Ten, I’m not allowed to divulge that information at this time.” Marishi, sighing, asked, “What’s the message?” Kagero smiled and eagerly divulged the information she was told. “You have been invited to cove city of Norg, wherein those caverns do the greatest of Samurai often go for training and guidance. Frankly, they want to what you can do and if you can help their own teachings. Maybe walk away with some new skills of your own.” Kagero said slowly. “The way is far as Norg is known as a Pirate’s hideout. You would need to board an airship to Khazam, enter the Yuhtunga Jungle, navigate it to the Sea Serpent Grotto, to reach Norg.” Marishi scoffed. “In ten minutes, I’ll have forgotten about all you’ve told me. None of that helps me girl.” Kagero bowed in apology “My apologies Mistress Ten. Of course, arriving in Khazam you will be furnished with a local guide that will escort you to the cove. My masters have also seen fit to book a private airship for your use to getting on the island plus expenditures.” She held out a sack that was heavy with coins. “I’ve not agreed to this yet. I am a refugee to your world coming from mine that is slowly being consumed. Forgive me if I’m wary of random courtesy and kindness, Miss Kagero. I will take your offer into consideration.” Marishi said. Kagero replied, “Oh of course! Take all the time needed. When you have made your decision, come to this fountain and I will be here.” She turned to leave. “Kagero.” Marishi called. “Yes, mistress?” Kagero answered. “The man you mentioned. ‘Tenzen’. He doesn’t wear full Samurai battle regalia lacquered in the red, does he? His hair isn’t black, shaved at the sides, and worn in a top knot is it? He doesn’t have a Katana that’s called the Phoenix Blade, does he?” Marishi said warily. There was silence for a moment, Kagero trying to interpret the words. Finally, she said, “… Yes, you have described my master down to his weapon. Have you met him before? Do you know who he is? How have you come to have such information?” Marishi thought about lying, but to lie to this girl would be a waste of time. She knew lies and truths. “Yes – No. Not in person. I thought him nothing more than a fairy tale. In my world, there is a story about a man named ‘Tenzen’. Dressed in how I described. He would save the Far East from calamity time and again with his Four Lords. The Kami’s Byakko, Seriyu, Suzaku, and Genbu. It’s a children’s story mothers say to their children to instill honor and justice in them. Odd that the Tenzen on my world would look like the Tenzen on your world. Thank you for your time Kagero. You won’t wait long for your answer.” Kagero bowed and disappeared into the shadows. Marishi’s head was clouded by the conversation that was just had as she walked back to the Inn. She opened the door to see Rae already at the table eating. Marishi smiled and sat next to her. “Yes, I’ll have what she has just about devoured, thank you,” Marishi said to the waitress. Marishi turned towards Rae. “Your bouts of magical mayhem come out in a satisfactory conclusion? I could hear you halfway across the city!” Marishi teased her wife. Marishi noticed that there was something on Rae’s mind. Something she was struggling with. She could guess what it was. Marishi went first. “I had an interesting conversation just now. I have received an invitation to a place called Norg that is to be the training center for all Samurai on the mainland. All expenses paid for of course, through an unknown benefactor and a man who calls himself ‘Tenzen’. I’m to believe that this Tenzen appears exactly how he did on Hydalean. Maybe he wasn’t just a fairy tale. Anyway, this place, Norg, is quite some ways east across the sea in the jungle. But it gets better. In order to get to Norg, one has to pass through a village called ‘Khazam’. A village consisting of none other but Mithra.” Marishi held an ironic smile. She looked at Rae and could see her soul torn. “They offered you something the same I presume Sunlight. They want you to go to their schools to help teach them your techniques. And your destination isn’t exactly nearby mine.” Marishi said to Rae. “Sadly, it is not.” Francmage arrived and sat down across from them. “Truth be told, I was the one who sent word to Norg about you, and Tavnazia about you. They are about as opposite as one can get, actually. Tavnazia is off the coast of the Sand’Orian mainland, while the Elishimo Lowlands are far past the Federation of Windurst. Al Zhabi is closer to Norg than Windurst is.” Francmage managed a weak smile. He knew he was overstepping his boundaries. “You did this without our consent? Why? Weren’t we supposed to stay in the city as hidden as we could and find a way to back to our world?” Marishi asked with venom in her voice. “I wasn’t trying to deceive you, Mistress. The information in which we seek isn’t readily available here and is going to require extensive reading and journaling to find anything even related to it. I’m sorry my friends, I wish I had better news.” He seemed genuinely distraught and frustrated at himself for failing his two new friends. “It’s alright. Nothing for it now. Your words speak wisdom in reaching out to the guild masters of our trade. But Rae cannot attend the Academy while I attend the Samurai guild. We would have to pick one or the other.” Marishi said. The thought of them splitting up never entering her mind. “If I may, Mistress Ten. I would suggest that due to time constraints, you split up, perform your duties, and meet back at, let’s say Jeuno when training is complete.” Francmage cautiously advised. It was the most logical of the steps to take. Marishi knew that. But her heart denied the possibility at all. But her mind reviewing the situation could only see them splitting as the only viable option. Marishi turned suddenly towards Rae “I don’t want to leave you. Only say the word and I’ll be at your side. But if you think this is the best course of action, I will defer to your good judgment my beautiful Sun.” She turned towards Francmage and asked “How quickly can the airships be readied if we choose this route? Supplies, equipment, medical provisions?” Francmage waved the words “All taken care of Mistress Ten. My talent is in logistics. Your Airships will be fueled and ready to sail Tomorrow!” Marishi looked at Francmage and said “Thank you. We are tenuously agreeing to this plan. Prepare what needs to be prepared. Thank you, Francmage. You have yet again given us a path with we could not see one. But if you would excuse us, I’d like to be alone with my wife for a few moments.” Francmage stood up silently, bowed to them both, and left the area. Marishi looked at Rae with tears in her eyes and said “Rae …”
  12. Marishi Ten

    Mistakes Unlearned Bear Repeating [Final Fantasy XIV]

    “My heart yearns for this place though I have never been here. I don’t know why. It’s foreign and obviously has its own share of troubles, but I can’t help but look at these residents and be comforted. They aren’t plotting or scheming. They’re not holding flashing knives behind their backs ready to strike. They’re not trying to use our bodies and throw us away like trash.” Marishi absentmindedly touched the corner of a damaged right eye. The Captain had called it ‘disfigured’. He wasn’t wrong. Oddly, it gave her no pain here nor did the Sun give her blind spots. “We aren’t just cast of whores in the spoils of war to be used up and sold into slavery. I don’t know if I even want to go back. You only read about chivalry and kindness of knights in gleaming armor in books of antiquity.” Marishi said. She was serious. A large part of her wanted to abandon Hydalean to her fate. Why was she forced to fight for others who abuse them and cast them out after using their bodies and breaking their minds? At least here, on Vanadiel, they could be treated as an equal. To blend in with these ‘Mithra’. The Captain was right in that they had attracted a bit of attention to themselves. People wanted to see the exotic race that has never appeared in the books of history for themselves. Most kept their head lowered in respect, others stared, one especially young Elvaan – Elezen – approached Marishi and shyly asked for her to dance with him. He couldn’t have seen more than 16 summers. Marishi looked at Rae and laughed. Neither had been treated so gently. “Yes, my young and enrapturing Knight, I will dance with you. Though, I hope you do not mind if I took the lead?” Marishi asked him. He was too young to know how to actually dance. His long legs still wobbly like a doe’s. Marishi stood up and gently took the boys hand in her own. She placed his right hand on her hip which caused his friends to cheer him on and a blush to rush to his face. She took his other hand in hers and said “In my land, we call this the box step. Follow my footing and you will attune to the flow. Feel the music and feel the trance of the movement.” Even though the boy was but a child, he towered over Marishi. She looked very frail and in a way, regal showing this child how to dance. They swayed to the music being played, awkwardly at first as Marishi had to bend his movements to her will, but he picked it up quickly. She looked to his friends who were smiling and talking to themselves then turned to the boy. “They put you up to this I see. To see how brave you are. To approach me and ask for my hand. Boys. You never change.” Marishi quietly said to him laughing. She was actually enjoying herself. She couldn’t remember the last time she had enjoyed herself. With no weight of the outside world bearing down on her. “You can hold me closer, brave and valiant knight. Yours are the arms that shield the defenseless and pierce the darkness.” She said. Loudly enough for the boy's friends to hear. “You will be the talk of your class tomorrow I’d suspect. You who have made a maiden enraptured under your spell of gallantry and valor.” He stared at Marishi who was obviously enamored. “Thank you my lady, you speak kindly of me though I am the weakest of my squad.” He said plainly. Marishi had him under her spell. He could hide nothing. “You know it’s funny, brave knight,” she said as she rested her head against his chest. “I was also the weakest of the litter where I came from. I was beaten every day by mean who would want nothing more to see me fail or at the bottom of the river.” She saw his widen at the shock and disgust someone would show a woman so fair. “But I did not let them. Every day they would beat me. They would laugh at me. They would mock me. I was but a woman. Worse, I was a Miquot’e woman who are little more than slaves their pleasure districts trying to join their illustrious peacekeeping coalition of Samurai. Every time they beat me and I thought I would die, I knew I was stronger than them.” The boy was shocked “How terrible! A woman so fair to be treated so poorly! Our country may not be perfect, but our creed is to protect those who cannot help themselves! And we would gladly die for the opportunity to see honor and goodness rise above tyranny and evil.” Marishi smiled. The confidence of youth. I thought the same way. Maybe it was different here, but war is war, and there is no honor or gallantry in war. She thought. After a moment she continued with her story. “They would beat me, but day by day, I would get slightly better and better. Until one day, I cut the highest ranking student down, shoving him into the ground, this time his blood spattering on the pure white rocks under our feet. Of course, he challenged me again, where I triumphed over him time and again. I beat them all to become the head of my class, even forcing draws with the Sensei. Learn from your failures, my brave knight. Do not let them consume you, let them temper you as a blacksmith hammers metal into one of the finest weapons the realm has known. Learn from your mistakes, and you will triumph over all and be the beacon you aspire to be.” The music had ended. The boy was hesitant to let Marishi go. “Goodbye’s are hard my gallant knight. So we won’t say goodbye. Until next we meet again.” Marishi said with a smile as she arched up on her tiptoes and kissed the boy on his cheek and whispered, “You will be the talk of your class. The boy that caused a woman from another world and time to fall for him in a single night.” She laughed, bowed to the knight thanking him for the dance and returned to her table. Marishi had a smile on her face and she looked at Rae. “Oh do not stare at me so! I remember what it was like at his age. Being the smallest. And the picked on. This should award him the respect of his peers he deserves. Plus, for an Elezen, he was somewhat handsome.” Marishi joked. “Shall we retire?” She lifted her hand up to Rae, where she took it and hand in hand walked to the bartender and requested that they retire for the evening. The bartender smiled at them and motioned them to follow him to the top of the stairs. At the top, the hallway was dim and difficult to see. By instinct, Marishi let go of Rae’s hand and loosened her Gordian Katana in its sheath, to the alarm of the bartender. “My apologies. Where we come from there have been hallways just like this one and just as dark where knives were bared to snatch the lifeblood from our backs,” Marishi said, slightly embarrassed. The Bartender responded by grabbing a handful of candles placing them in dark spots on the floor and lighting them, revealing the hall in full light. “Thank you. I know, it’s an odd concern and I apologize for your inconvenience. Marishi said blushing. The bartender waved it off as it were nothing and showed them to their room. It was well decorated. Had its own fireplace, tasteful portraits hung from the wall, a couch, a breakfast nook by the eastern windows, A writing desk, rugs of cloth and hides, and even a large and full-scale bathroom. Fully equipped with a tub and a shower with drains cut into the stone tile. The sleeping area looked clean and orderly. Fresh sheets with light blankets. It was still in the hot months and heavy blankets weren’t needed. Marishi was impressed. “This rivals Mor Dhona in amenities. It may even overtake it. They have their own plumbing system as well as drainage and aqueduct systems that feed every building. They all seem to work.” Marishi said clearly impressed. A thought occurred to her. “You know, we haven’t been able to properly bathe in I don’t know how long and our garments and weapons could use retooling. What say you bathe while I shower. Don’t worry, there is a privacy partition between the two if you’re concerned.” Marishi laughed. “The moon has risen and she is in full wax this evening. For the first time in what could be years, a cloud doesn’t pass over the sky. The moon is able to shine her light down in full brilliance.” Marishi said looking out the window. “My guess would be that the Sun will rise and be bright and life-giving. Her’s will be a gentle embrace encouraging life to bloom and not wither on the morrow.” Marishi went to the bathroom and looked into the mirror. She was a bit worse for the wear. Little sleep and the stress of their flight had caused her body strain and was at its tipping point. She turned the shower on to the hottest setting, disrobed, and stood underneath the falling water, watching all the caked on mud, blood, dirt, fear, and pain wash away with the water. Clean, she got out of the shower, dried her hair somewhat, and placed a towel above her bosom that stopped at her upper thigh. She dried off and replaced the towel with a clean white cotton robe. A soft knock came on the door. It was the bartender's wife. Asking if Marishi and Rae wanted their clothing and armor refitted and mended. Marishi folded her Osode, lords coat, chainmail, kote, tights, and boots to her. Rae did the same. She promised to have them back first thing in the morning. “I have to say, I’m impressed and a little overwhelmed by these people’s generosity. Normally, I would be trying to figure out what angle they were playing, but I don’t sense one.” Marishi said, amazed. “So, we know some of the histories of this world. What I don’t know is the topography. I found a map that should help us understand where we are in relation to everything else. She unrolled the map on the dining table and placed two candle holders on each end and began to study it. “Okay, so we are in the Kingdom of Sand’Oria. On the Quon continent to the north in the “Norvallen” region. It looks like to the south is the Republic of Bastok. Home of the Humes and Galka. Gustaberg being their region. To the north of us is harder to make out. It’s covered in snow and even has a glacier there. It’s a good thing there are symbols on this map, otherwise, we’d wouldn’t be able to read this!” Marishi laughed. On the right is another continent, the “Midartia” continent? Where to the far south is the Federation of Windurst and school of magic? The TaruTaru and Mitra reside there. Smack in the middle of the three nations on a small island with what looks like bridges connecting the mainland is another city-state. “Jeuno”. The Captain said something about them being an economic powerhouse and convergence point for all the people on the continents at one point for another.” Marishi focused on the map, her brow furrowed. “There are islands to the south and east of Windurst, but I can’t read what they’re called and there are no symbols there besides tonberries and pirates. The south and west also has a large body of land, but I can’t tell what it’s called. Most of it looks like a desert with what looks like ants drawn on it.” Marishi flipped the map over. “Oh great, there’s MORE. Because it wasn’t complicated enough as it is. To the east of even Windurst is another city-state across the sea. Twin Snakes is its banner. ‘Aht Urghan’ possibly. I can’t make any of these symbols out. I have no idea what they mean. On the far west, across the sea next to Bastok, there is another continent. Strange. Nearly no symbols are drawn on this one. But it consists of a fledgling city-state … ‘Adolouin’. I think. There’s another work ‘Naakual’. I have no idea what it means. We will have to interrogate the captain about these place in the morning.” Marishi said drowsily. “I think it’s time we retire for the night, my love. Look. We get to sleep in a real bed, next to a real fire, where we are clean, fed, protected, and safe.” Marishi said happily with a smile on her lips. “Two days ago I would have balked at the notion. Yet here we are. A gift I will take it as. A gift from this ‘Altana’. Come to bed with me.” Marishi beckoned Rae to the bed. They settled in and with Marishi in her side, legs tucked slightly up, Rae held her wife from the back sleeping in the same posture. They both slept soundly through the night with no ominous dreams to haunt them or nightmares to frightening them.
  13. Marishi Ten

    Mistakes Unlearned Bear Repeating [Final Fantasy XIV]

    Realities fad in and out, in and out. They’re once on the Island and the next moment, they’re nowhere. They faded back to the Island and faded out to what appeared to be a forest before Marishi passed out. She slowly opened her eyes. She could see the green foliage and the leaves that fell from the trees. She was almost amused. She must have been back in the Black Shroud. She moved her body slightly to see if anything had broken or twisted. She didn’t feel any pain. She moved her head to the left where she saw Rae, curled up into a ball fast asleep. Marishi looked back up at the trees. It must have all been a bad dream. The more she stared at the tree and the leaves falling from it, the more foreign the seemed. It was a tree, but it wasn’t a tree from the Black Shroud. It wasn’t a tree she had ever seen before at all. He sense relief gone, she peered up at the Sun filtering through the trees. There was no doubt, it was a Sun. But this Sun was not one she knew. Like an imposter had taken its place. The thoughts came back to her. Mati proclaiming Godhood, his burns healed and whole as a man once more. Him proposing to Rae. To get rid of Marishi so they can be together. Rae buying enough time for the two of them to escape. Running them to the caves. A dead end. They couldn’t run anymore. Then something she couldn’t explain. A portal being rent open in the very fabric of time and space. Rae near the verge of death. What choice was there? Marishi began to attune to the portal. She heard angry screaming and frustration. Mati. He couldn’t stop the portal. He couldn’t stop Rae and Marishi. They faded in and out until they faded away. She remembers falling into the pure blackness. Nothing to hold onto, nothing but Rae next to her. He grabbed her hand. At least they’d die together. Then, nothing. She sat up and looked around. Everything seemed normal and peaceful. Birds chirping their songs in the trees, animals jumping branch to branch. A bubbling creek heard in the distance. Nothing angry was charging them or trying to kill them. Marishi looked over and found that they would up to be what looked like a well-trodden road. The road had a sign in the distance. She turned her attention to Rae. “It’s time to rise my Sun, it is a new day and the world clamors for your grace.” She teased Rae as she awoke from slumber. “Before you ask; no, I don’t know where we are. I don’t know where on Hydalean that portal decided to send us. But this is a place I’ve not been before.” Rae sat all the way up. Marishi watched her face as she put the pieces together albeit a much faster rate than Marishi. “There’s a road a small ways east of here. It looks pretty well trodden. It looks like there’s a sign up there, but its too far to see.” “Can you stand? Can you walk?” Marishi asked Rae. In response, Rae lifted herself up on her own two feet and though swaying a, was able to perform the task. They began walking east on the road headed toward the sign. Marishi stared at it with a quizzical expression. “I cannot read it. Further, it’s scrawled in a text that is nothing like anything I’ve ever seen. What is going on?” Almost as if on call, a contingent of men on Chocobo’s broke the horizon, their armor gleaming in the sun. They were headed in their direction. “We need to hide. I’d rather not be cut down waving down who I think is a friend.” Marishi pulled Rae into the bushes, knelt down, and waited. The men were obviously Knights by their armor and regalia. All Elezen. The crest of who their lord was completely foreign to Marishi. Not a single Hyur or Miquot’e. There was one knight who had slightly more intricate tooling on his armor bring up the rear guard. The squad's Captain. Marishi let them pass then jumped out of the bushes and yelled “Hail, most honorable and distinguished Knights! I bid you greetings and a chance to inquire about this area!” The entire squad stopped and before Marishi could even think of the next thing to say she was encircled by Knights, spears pointed at her neck. She raised her hands in surrender and peace. “I have no quarrel with you or any of your kin – I simply seek directions to the nearest settlement where they may provide Succor.” The squad looked at each other, confused. They started speaking and answering back to Marishi, but in a tongue, she could not understand. The Captain had been watching the exchange with interest. He suddenly got off his Chocobo, walked over to the bushes, lifted Rae by her collar and brought her to the middle next to Marishi. He dug inside one of his packs until he withdrew a small green orb it’s light muted. “My men say you two are spies and we should festoon your entrails amongst the branches.” The Captain spoke. He spoke the same language she couldn’t understand, but she somehow translated it for her to understand. “A curious lot you are. So much like the Mithra, but at the same time, not. Did you come from Aoudlin? Rhazowa? Speak true and just. Speak as though your life depended on it.” The Captain said gravely. “Thank you, my lord. It is hard for us to understand ourselves how we found ourselves in these lands. We were engaged with an Eikon. We stood no chance of living as neither of us is blessed with the Echo. Rae with all her strength, summoned a portal I attuned to so we may escape its clutches. We’ve only recently woken from that journey.” Marishi said. She told the truth. She had a feeling if she lied to this Captain he would know, and he would follow through with his threat. “Your story makes no sense. An Eikon? The Echo? Blessings? Are you sure you weren’t just hit over the head and had a fantastical lucid dream? I sense no deception in your story. It’s certain that YOU believe it. “The Papsque will want to know about this, Sir.” Said one knight leaning down. “Yes, I imagine he will.” The Captain said to himself. “What am I to call you two. You have names I assume?” The Captain asked. “My name is Marishi Ten. Her’s is Rae Ten.” Marishi said. “Odd names to boot. My name is Francmage. I’m afraid you will have to come with us to the capital. The way isn’t far.” He said. “So are we your captives then?” Marishi said, hand slowing reaching for her weapon. “No, you are my esteemed guests for the time being and you will be awarded every benefit that title comes with. That includes these shells. They will allow you to converse without knowing the language, though you will not read the language. Now then, you will both ride with one of my men. It will cut down on travel time. We are headed north and east to the great capital of San D’oria.” They began their trot to the city. Marishi asked the rider she was with “I have never heard of this capital in which we’re headed. In what part of Hydalean are we? We’re not in Eorzea. Perhaps Iislabard? The Old World? The New World?” The knight looked back at her with a confused look that borderline with disgust. “I don’t know what or where the Hell those places are, lady. It’s bad enough we have to allow Mitha into cities. Now they ride in as if on parade.” Marishi was taken aback. He wasn’t prepared for his hostility when the Captain had been so kind and accommodating. They rode the rest of the way in silence. They dismounted their Chocobo’s in a stable outside of the gates and the Captain called out, “Welcome to the great city of San D’oria. Long has she protected our home, our country, and king. It is impressive is it not?” Marishi and Rae walked up next to him and said “It is impressive there is no doubt. The stone carving is artisan. Captain, may I ask you a question?” Francmage lowered his head and stared down at Marishi. “You may.” He said. “What is this star called. That we are on? What is the name of the planet?” Marishi asked slowly. She knew he would be taken aback by such a simple question she should know. He decided to humor her. “This star? This stars name is the same name when you were born and will be the same name when you die. Vanadiel, it is called. All know this.” “Thank you, Captain” Marishi whispered as she looked at Rae in quiet shock. Both were reeling from that information. They were not on Hydalean anymore, but instead a different planet on a different plane of existence. This wasn’t their home, it wasn’t even their planet. The Captain watched the two exchange startled glances and said, “There is something familiar about both of you. You appear akin to Mithra. One of the spoken races of Vanadiel. But at the same time, you are completely foreign. Having traits I have never seen in any living thing. I do not know if it's for weal or woe and my knowledge is limited. But the Clergymen and Papsque of the Goddess of Altana may know more. That’s where we’re escorting you. Come.” They entered into the city gates behind Captain Francmage. The castle city was impressive. Huge minarets scraped the sky that ran flags of their nation. Men were stationed behind arrow slits keeping vigilance. The commoners in their hustle and bustle of the marketplace or share the latest gossip. Francmage stopped and addressed his men. “That will be all for today. You are free to do as you please.” A ripple of joy spread amongst his men as they all went their separate ways. “I’m afraid that I’ll have to keep you both for the time being. Follow me.” They walked on the stone city streets with the occasional Elezen gawking at them like they were oversized mountain cats. “Ah, the Arc De Triumph! Never has an enemy been able to cross this arc for it is protected by the Dragonking, King Ranperre on the right, and on the left is King Ronfaure, the founder of this kingdom! Just seeing it stirs the blood!” He exclaimed. They crossed under the Arc and came out to a beautiful fountain with children playing and mothers talking. The Captain was ever prodful. “This way to your north and easy. You should see the church, that’s our destination.” They walked to the church and waited for Francmage to enter first. “You stand before the Church of the Dawn Goddess, Altana.” The Captain said reverently. “Huh,” said Marishi, “just one deity? That’s it?” The Captain turned around and said. “Yes, just one, the Goddess Altana. It’d be best if you do not talk about how you practice your faith here. Some are more zealous to brand others heretics here.” Marishi lowered her head. “Of course, my apologies Captain. Of course, I will adhere to any customs or ways of a country I am but a guest in.” She bowed. Francmage smiled and entered. The church was quiet and peaceful with a relief of the Dawn Goddess carved from stone in the back. Francmage walked up to the man that was quietly reading at the dais. “Good Afternoon Cardinal,” Francmage said. “Ah! Captain! A pleasant surprise, my friend! We don’t see enough of each other!” Sad the Cardinal shaking the Captains hand. “A pleasure it is to see you again my old friend, but I did not come here on personal request. This is in an official capacity.” Francmage said. “Of course, completely understandable. What is it that a lowly scholar may do for you?” Asked the Cardinal. Francmage turned to Marishi and Rae and motioned them to join him. Marishi stood on his left and Rae on his right. “You bring two Mithra before me? I’m sorry, Captain, but I don’t see – “ Francmage interrupted him. “They’re NOT Mitha, Cardinal. Look at the one with disfigured eye closely.” The Cardinal looked Marishi up and down. She felt she was being dissected and was clearly uncomfortable. “You’re right. They share some characteristics of them, but they are not. They’re not of the same race, breed, or species. They are something completely new.” The Cardinal said in awe. He quickly looked around to see if anyway had noticed the conversation for far. “Come with me. We will talk more in my office.” He prodded the group along like someone prods geese. The office was simple with a few chairs, a desk, and two bookshelves. “So you’re not Mithra. What are you? What are your names?” Marishi spoke up, My name is Marishi Ten and I’m of the Seeker of the Sun race of the Miquot’e. This is Rae Ten. Also a Seeker of the Sun race of the Miquot’e.” The Cardinal was taking it all in. “So, you’re sisters? You don’t look alike.” He asked. With a slight chuckle Marishi said “No, we are not sisters. Rae and I are bonded. She is my companion and I am hers.” The Cardinal slightly frowned. “That custom is not known to us. For two of the same gender to bond.” Marishi shrugged one shoulder in response. “Tell me everything.” The Cardinal said. Marishi and Rae took turns telling their story of their time on the island, to the Anti Crystals, to the weather, to the Sharlayn city, to Mati, to Pandemonium, and finally to their escape in New Void. The Cardinal said nothing for long minutes. Soaking all the information he had just been bomb barded with. Finally, he spoke. “Amazing. Simply amazing. I’d have thought the two of you insane but for the lucidity in which you recall it. ‘Hydalean’ … is the name of your Star? Correct? It is completely unknown to us I’m afraid, though there have been travelers, from time to time, to not be of Vanadiel. You may be one of those travelers. By all rights, you shouldn’t exist!” “But how and why would we end up here of all places?” Marishi asked. “You say this great beast … Pandemonium? Is able to Traverse realities and dimensions? Perhaps you arriving here was a byproduct of its influence. You also say it was collecting ‘Aether’ in large amounts? Now that term, I HAVE heard before. As we have what you call ‘Aether’ here as well. It is only known to the cloth and the high arcane, but perhaps that is your ticket home. For you Rae Ten, you should have little trouble learning of Aether as your discipline is also practiced here. You may even learn a thing or two from our Red Mages, or they may learn from you!” Marishi was about to speak, but the Cardinal raised his hand. “As for you Marishi Ten. The Samurai of this land are difficult to find but it is said they frequent the Elshimo cove called Norg. Either way, we will provide what aide we can. Food, drink, clothing, armor.” He looked at Marishi and Rae’s disdainful taste in fashion. “I shall escort them to suitable lodgings.” Said the Captain. “Very well,” replied the Cardinal “Farewell Marishi Ten! Farewell Rae Ten! May our paths cross once more! Good Luck!” At a local eatery sat Rae, Marishi, and Francmage sharing a meal together. Eating and sitting quietly, enjoying the food, atmosphere, and each other. Marishi was the first to break the silence. “We might be stuck here an extended amount of time, and while I want nothing but to go home and fight for my world, I am stuck. It’s best to learn as much as we can about this Vanadiel and her history, no?” She asked. Francmage laughed, “My dear girl the history of our star couldn’t be covered in the span of three lifetimes! But I must admit, I’m a bit of a history nut and I can share some information I know, just for the sake of time. It all began with a stone, Or so the legend says. In ages past, a sentient jewel, enormous and beautiful banished the darkness. Its many-colored light filled the world with life and brought forth mighty Gods. Bathed in that light, the world entered an age of bliss. Until, after a time, the Gods fell into slumber. That world was called: Vana'diel. The gods, however, left descendants behind. Long had they wished to join the others beyond the gates of paradise. But to do so is forbidden. One such descendant attempted to open the gates but was punished. His entire people were sent to the bottom of the ocean to drown for their arrogance. Altana saw this and wept 5 tears. 1 for the TaruTaru, 1 for the Humes, 1 for the Galka, 1 for the Mithra, 1 for the Elvaan. Thus the spoken races were born unto the earth. The Age of Man had begun “You say on your world that there are races similar to our own? How curious! And that all are united in a great alliance! Were we only so lucky” Along with the creation of Man came the creation of ‘Beastmen’ Orc, Yagudo, Quadav, Gigas, Imps, but to name a few. Each having their own reasons for war and their own offenses being taken. The first of the spoken races to prosper was the TaruTaru. They built their city to the south and called it ‘Windurst’. In that area, the Taru had also found something else. The ability to manipulate and wield magic. The Age of Magic Began Unified under the ‘Federation of Windurst’ did they go to war. They sought the lands held by the Yagudo. The Taru nearly wiped their species off the planet in that war they wreaked so much devastation. During this time, Mithra began to arrive from their homes in the south, though to leave the land was to be exiled, never allowed to return. Homeless, the Mithra found refuge in Windurst. The Taru were quick to see the Mithra dexterity and deftness. In exchange for a home, the Mithra would fight for Windurst as mercenaries. The Federation became an ever-expanding empire encompassing nearly all the great three continents due to the sheer destruction of the not before seen magic. The Taru were able to subjugate the Elvaan people for a time. That is until a Taru sympathizer taught the Elvaan how to use magic. The Elvaan took back their home from the Taru in a glorious battle that is still called upon this day. This marks the beginning of The Age of Might “I hope I’m not boring you to death yet!” Francmage laughed at Marishi and Rae. A nonaggression pact is signed between the Taru and Elvaan races. It was also during this time that a universal calendar that is in use today was created. Humes, hearing of Gold in the mountains of San’Doria have a rush to mine it. All Humes were banished from Elvaan occupied lands. During this time, the Orcs had arrived from their home continent of Rhazowa. Having destroyed and consumed their land, they arrived in Norvallen. This was also the time that San’Doria attempted a conquest of its own. To subjugate and claim the Hume lands and its city Bastok. A great battle is fought between the Elvaan and Humes. This is the first use of firearms in warfare. They were extremely effective and annihilated the entire Elvaan army, banishing them from the Gustaberg region. The Age of Might ends. “Many died that day on the fields of Gustaberg.” Francmage said sadly. “Are you sure I’m not boring you Mistress Ten?” He asked the enraptured Marishi and Rae. He continued. The Age of Technology Begins The great black dragon Vrtra is first seen and wreaks havoc over the whole of Ronfaure. King Rappere seals the dragon in the catacombs of long-dead Elvaan earning him the title Dragonking. A Multinational Expedition Team, the Hydra Corps is created and sent to the northern lands of Xarcabard to survey and quell rumors of a great evil living there. Rumors of a “Shadowlord” are first heard in San’Doria The Shadowlord begins amassing all beastmen of the three great continents under his banner and proclaim the destruction of the entire human race “Ah, finally, we get to the good stuff!” Francmage said. The Crystal War and Age of Adventure Begins An Orcish army lays siege to the castle of San’Doria beginning the Crystal War Newly formed city-state – Jeuno – is recognized as neutral in all conflicts A council is held in Jeuno and all three city-states: San’Doria, Bastok, and Windurst, agree to an alliance with one another. This is the first time in history this has happened. Beastmen besiege Jeuno All main and able-bodied units are diverted to march and organize in Xarcabard. The Shadowlords realm Castle Zvahl is circled by the “Alliance of Altana” and is besieged. The Hydra Corps vanish without a trace Castle Zvahl falls and the Shadowlord is sealed away All separate currency is abandoned by Jeuno’s newly established economic power, Gil The Crystal War ends “And thus we find ourselves in the ‘Age of Adventurers’ and as much as I would love to tell you all about recent events, I really must be getting home, or my wife will think I’ve swooned and run off with the two most beautiful women in the city. Oh yes, you have been noticed. Particularly for how beautiful you both are.” Francmage teased. “You lodgings are in this tavern so whenever you are ready, speak with the bartender and he will show you to your room. I shall fetch you in the morning. Perhaps something will come to us on how to send you both back to your own star because you are accosted by your fan group or Windurst pokes and prods at you. Do not lose hope! Fare thee well!” Francmage left the tavern and headed to his Irate and particularly jealous wife. As he was walking home, he couldn’t help but imagine a bright and life-giving Sun followed by the soft and protecting silvery light of the moon.
  14. Marishi Ten

    Mistakes Unlearned Bear Repeating [Final Fantasy XIV]

    Marishi pulled Rae slowly back through the hallway. They needed to reach somewhere with room to move. As it stood there was nowhere to go. “You should have let me kill him,” Marishi said to Rae. “That Aether he just snatched from that poor bastard. It’s not feeding a wall. It’s feeding HIM.” Marishi felt panic rise in her throat. All he had to do was touch them and it would be over. “So what will you do when you’ve taken Alexander and Bahamut? Replace a barrier that you don’t know how to? You’re not an idiot, oh no. Not by a sight. Anyone can see that. But you are a fool. Don’t do this. It doesn’t have to be this way. No one has to die.” She tried to talk reason to him. She saw it in his eyes. He acted out of desperation, but now he acted to feed. To become stronger. Perhaps heal his wounds and become whole again. Become something more than man, or beast, or primal. Marishi had no options. She hadn’t considered this as a turn of events. It was to tight in the hall to properly wield a weapon. His shuffle had quickened, trying to close the gap. The hallway opened into the circular room. The containment room. Marishi pulled Rae by her collar behind her and shoved her back into the open room. “I’m sorry, Rae. But it has to be this way.” Marishi said, her tone normal. “You take one more step and I’ll make sure you’ll never get what you need.” Marishi reversed her sword blade and moved the base on the left side of her neck. “Not another step. You can’t take what’s no longer there.” The blade was sharp and even having the edge of the Katana close cut into the skin. A small trail of blood began to flow down her neck and stain her collar crimson. “I have no fear of taking my life. You should know this. I am a Samurai. There is no greater honor. Don’t test me.” A bluff. Marishi knew the doctrine of the Samurai but never believed in it or followed it. Matiseau stopped. He hadn’t considered this move. It was completely random and chaotic. He wasn’t sure how to proceed. A stalemate. “You will listen, Matiseau. To what I have to say. If in the end, you are still bound and determined, I won’t fight.” Marishi said. Blade still to her throat. Marishi moved into the room and caught a glimpse of a frightened Rae. Matiseau moved into the room last. It was dark, but with his helmet, he could clearly make them out from their Aether signature. Rae’s purple, smoldering, like smoke trapped in a wine glass. It was heavy and slowly moved. Marishi’s was white with wisps of gold. Moving in unison, like gears operating at full efficiency. Her’s was pulsed ever so slightly that it would almost slow down time for a fraction of a second. The two things Matiseau desired. Bahamut and Alexander. Marishi stalled and looked at Rae. She began talking about an instance in their past that had nothing to do with their situation. Inwards she was calling out “Feel free to step in at any time. He doesn’t want just me, he wants you to. Am I so out of favor with you that you would abandon me? Will you not hear my plea? I beseech you, My Lord Alexander. I call upon you to aid your pathetic mortal husk.” She prayed. She could no longer stall and her there was no answer from on high. Alexander had truly left her to her fate. “I know what you’re thinking right now is the best way to right a wrong, but it’s not. You cannot just pull a primal out of a corporeal body. You have to be chosen. Their Aether would consume you into nothing, nothing to show but three dead bodies on the ground.” Another bluff. If Matiseau knew about the Heart of Sabik he would know she was lying. From his laughter, it seemed he had. Even though his arms where at his side, his fingers would coil and uncoil. Coil and uncoil. He had the strands of Marishi and Rae. He could see them and he gently plucked at them like a musician would strum a harp. “There has to be another way. A way where no one else has to die. We should be fighting that thing out there, not each other. Your friends are still out there, alive. We can evacuate them. Get them to safety. You could sever the connection that thing has with the material world. It doesn’t have to be this way. Come, let’s all of us sit down and work together.” Marishi pleaded to Matiseau. His facial features didn’t move at all. He was going to take them. He lunged toward Marishi and Marishi screeched to her wife, “RAE RUN” as she closed her eyes and began to run the Gordian Katana along her throat. Time began to slow down, movements sluggish, the moment freezing in time. They were as statues, expertly carved to perfectly resemble the three. It seemed as though Marishi was the only one to who was aware of the freeze in time. Hers was the only conscious that was lifted out of the lock-in time. “Thou hast called me, Harbinger. Your words garbled upon The Great River. Only a fraction of mine aide am I able to embolden thee. The land you stand upon is foreign to thee and difficult to perceive. Receive unto thine succor.” Time slowly began to move, but the gift from Alexander was what Marishi needed. As time was slowed she was able to move slightly faster than everything around her. She reversed her suicide stroke and pointed the tip of her blade towards Matiseau’s left shoulder and pushed. Time restarted as if nothing had happened. Matiseau was impaled through his shoulder as Marishi pushed with all her strength to knock him back. She knocked him back to the wall with such force that her Katana pierced the tiles and pinned him there. “I have spared your life, even though you attempted to take mine and Rae’s. Divest him of his equipment Rae. Destroy it.” Marishi called over her shoulder. “What to do with you, Matiseau?” Marishi asked the pinned man.
  15. Marishi Ten

    Mistakes Unlearned Bear Repeating [Final Fantasy XIV]

    Marishi watched slightly alarmed at the spectacle before her. “Does he know how insane he sounds?” Marishi whispered to Rae. To Marishi it appeared he had fallen off the deep end. Gleefully shuffling from point to point. Intent on an unknown purpose. Marishi would have sworn it was Aether sickness, save for there was none in the corridor. His helmet was metal and bound tightly to his head. He wore aetherochemical goggles that fed into the helmet, augmenting them. He could see the Aether as Marishi could at times see the Aether. Though her’s was uncontrollable. “So, you can read Aether signatures with that thing. What reason would that be, if I may ask?” Marishi wasn’t sure if she heard him or not as the bookshelf came tumbling down and Rae rushed to his aid. “Why bar entry into the building? The entire Island is in turmoil and chaos. What was once gales, we now have a cold snap that leaves everything in a rime of frost.” She asked as he cackled to himself and snatching at the air. He found what he was aiming for and he hobbled over to one of the consoles and placed whatever was in his hand into a slot and turned. The mechanism turned as well. It was clear he wasn’t listening to Marishi or outright ignoring her. “So, you weakened the barrier around the city.” She stopped and looked around. The displays looked somewhat familiar. The consoles were completely foreign. This seemed to be some sort of master control room as several of the screens displayed pictures of remote areas of the city and Island. Even for the Sharlayn’s this was advanced. Too advanced. There was the noise of a bolt being pulled back from its position and soft light from a room at the top of a wooden staircase. “How is it you know how to manipulate these machines if you’ve never been here? Do not go up there. You bear me no love and have no reason to take my words credible. But do not go into that room. We can turn around and go back together. You’ve more than a lifetime worth of data to sort through. You’ve accomplished your mission and we can head back now.” He was clearly not listening. Like she wasn’t even there. He hobbled up the stairs with speed that surprised Marishi and she and Rae followed a short distance behind. He shoved open the door and gasped. Marishi couldn’t tell if it was surprise or glee. He immediately walked in. “Rae, no. I’ll go first. This isn’t right. We are trespassing and I don’t think the master will appreciate our transgressions. If we run into trouble, try to create a distraction so we can get away.” Marishi said as they reached the door. Marishi slowly entered the room. Matiseau was in the middle looking all around. He looked more like an insect that a man with all of his equipment on. His mouth was agape with wonder and she looked over the ceiling and rested on a darkened spot on the other side of the room and walked, not hobbled to be enveloped by the darkness. Marishi did not chase after him. The room was large and circular. It may have once been a testing or proving ground, but the screens that once lined the walls now scatter the floor. No light emitting from their displays. Near the middle of the room was a stand with a small console and several buttons on it. Marishi cautiously moved inside the room to get a better look. She grimaced when the loud crunch of boots crushing glass could be heard. She tried to walk as light as she could, but the sound seemed to reverberate and announce their presence to anything in the area. Marishi neared the middle. It was too dark to clearly make anything out in the room. “Rae,” Marishi called out. She knew she was right behind her. “The ceiling seems high. Grace us with some Sun, if you’d be so kind.” Marishi smiled at Rae. A large white orb was conjured from Rae and sent to the top of the ceiling to illuminate the room. Marishi stared in shock. “Oh my God, save us.” Panels once lined the walls and various lab and alchemy equipment once sat on carts. All obliterated and destroyed. Nothing was spared. Right in front of her was what looked like a large glass enclosure, long since broken and it’s shattered remains thrown everywhere. Marishi didn’t know what to say. Why would Matiseau be so interested in this? Marishi felt the urge to turn and run. Run as fast and as far as they could go. Anything to get away from this place. Marishi knew enough about Allagan technology to spot stasis chambers and growing vats. These were the former, though, clearly not made by the Allagans. The construction and equipment wasn’t antiquated and written in words unknown. This was Sharlayn homegrown technology. Researched and developed by their Scholars and Scientists. Marishi looked in the direction that Matiseau had walked off to. There was the remains of a sealing door bent back and twisted apart could be seen and the floor mosaic of Sharlayn style. The roof and sides of the hallway were rough and unnatural. A forced opening from whatever was once contained here. Marishi grabbed Rae’s hand and squeezed it. Not for Rae, but for herself. To her strength. Marishi was frightened and she did not know why. But she knew that the chances of them leaving in one piece was diminishing at a rapid rate. “For being touted for their superior knowledge and study, they certainly don’t learn from the same mistakes made by those long since past, do they?” Marishi said. She was referring to the Allgan Empire and its dominance of almost the entire world. They had discovered a multitude of horrors thought up by their best and brightest. They could bend a Dragons will to their own using neuro-link control collars. They could grow animals spliced together at the genetic level to create untold horrors. They could harness the power of Eikons and bend them to their will. They even discovered how to bind and imprison an elder primal and place him into orbit around the planet. Their hubris was their downfall and through a series of events generated by their actions, did they not only annihilate themselves, they brought the sentient life to near extinction. Actions like what was before them aided in causing the destruction of the known world. Marishi was horrified. Whatever they kept down here under lock and key had decided it no longer enjoyed the company of its hosts. It left a trail of destruction in its wake. It left via that hallway. The force it would take for something to cut its own path through solid rock as if it were nothing but paper. Hand still gripping Rae’s, Marishi silently moved forward towards the hall. The ball of light fading and leaving the room in darkness and mystery. The hall was gouged heavily on the sides and ceilings. Rubble and broken tiles littering the floor. Braziers long since dark could be seen twisted or ripped completely off the walls. There was a faint blue light at the end of the makeshift tunnel that had been created. There they could see Matiseau waving his hands in the air clutching at things they could not see. He didn’t even notice them until they were upon him. “Matiseau … “ Marishi said. She had never addressed him by his name before. “That barrier wasn’t made to keep people out. It was made to shut something in. Dropping the last of the barrier will allow whatever that thing they were prodding and poking in the other room is roaming free beyond those doors. If you lower the wall, we are all at great risk. Including your friends at the port. Rae will be at great risk.” Marishi tried to talk sense to him. But just as before, he either didn’t hear or didn’t care. Marishi let go of Rae’s hand and turned to her. “Maybe your words can reach him. He cannot be allowed to pull the wall down. We do what we must to protect ourselves and this God forsaken Island.” Marishi loosened her Katana in its sheath. Making ready to cleave.
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