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Outsane

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Outsane last won the day on June 24 2018

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  1. Outsane

    The World of Savages [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    Rae seemed almost apathetic. For some time she had been battling the emotions she felt. The bipolar swinging back and forth was nearly overwhelming, so to combat it... she simply chose to ignore it. Guilt gnawed at the corners of her mind, threatening to shed tears, but Rae ignored the impulse. She ignored the call of her heart to feel. It was just easier this way. There were few emotions she felt trust towards, those being her love and devotion towards Marishi, and her disdain of anyone else. She could put on a good show of emotion if she needed, but she never let them overpower her level-headedness. Time and time again, the world had proven that she could trust no one but herself and Marishi, for she was the only person in the world who looked out for her best interest. Rae listened to the melody her wife played, surprised that she could play the piano. Her wife, in all their years married, made no inclination that she played. Rae had a piano in the house for herself, but never did she hear Marishi play it. The connection she and Marishi shared pulled at her heart. Tugging it along for the emotional ride that Marishi conveyed through the piece. As the other Miqo'te called out to her, Rae approached closer, leaning against the piano. "That was beautiful, my Starlight," she murmured softly, glancing out the ash-covered window. As Marishi lamented the death of the family within the home, Rae grappled with her emotions and subdued them. As Marishi invited her to request a song, Rae thought a moment, then answered. "Twilight Over Thanalan." As Marishi began the song, Rae closed her eyes and felt the melody flow through her spirit and began to sing along. With Marishi's emotional rendition of the song, Rae was able to mimic her style. Their connection making it possible for her to predict when to crescendo and when to hold a note, or when to soften her voice or to harmonize with the piano. The song was not of her home nation, as she was born in The Black Shroud and raised in Sharlaya. Thanalan was where her life truly began, however, when she met Marishi. Rae recalled the time, the moment their eyes met and their hearts beat as one. Their first touch and the electric shock she felt through her soul from it. Their first kiss, their first hug, their first night... Her eyebrows knit together as she struggled to control her emotions, but the flow of tears could not be stopped. A stream of them fell from her cheeks as she sang and her voice shook, but continued the song despite that. Once the song ended, Rae relaxed and opened her eyes, tears still filling them. Something in her heart knew this would be their last moment together without the hungry wolves of Death circling them. They drew ever nearer, snapping their teeth, nipping at heels. Would the next moment she gazed upon her wife be the last she saw her alive? Would the moment after next bring a vision of her wife's death to her eyes? "This life was cruel, yet blessed," Rae murmured, turning to Marishi. "I'll be out of harm's way, so do not send me home, but I ask that you stay off the beach. We cannot hope to kill the fleet that comes for us, but I'll be damned if the last 9 years here are wasted. This land will ravage their ranks when you and I are long gone." Rae informed Marishi, then walked over to her, holding out her hand and cupping Marishi's cheek, then leaning in to kiss her lips with a lingering touch. As Rae pulled away, she whispered to Marishi, "I shall see you on the other side." before briskly walking out of the ruined home. The thick smog that blanketed the town did not bother her. She walked through it, eyes forward, determination on her face. A week. A week was all they had. A week was all she needed. She stopped by the corpse of a fallen Summoner and snatched up their grimoire, then made her way to the beach. Flipping through the pages, Rae uttered the incantations to summon the Egis to her. Titan, Garuda, and Ifrit. They were weak shades of their past glory when Bahamut favoured her. She didn't need them for fighting, however. "You, dig. You, fill the pits with spires of crystal to impale our foes. You, veil the pits with nets and sand." She ordered, pointing to each Egi and giving them a direct order, to which they obeyed without question. Titan was able to up-end the earth easily while Ifrit used its intense flames to turn the sand into something of sandstone and crystal to create jagged pitfalls at the bottom of the pits while Garuda was able to conceal the pits. Heaving a sigh, Rae turned and made her way towards the jungle, but stopped. Countless eyes were upon her. The Wendigo all watched, ravenous, blood-thirsty creatures. Her time with the Nyctalus revealed to her that they were once human. All of them but their leader, but no one could tell the difference now. "Stay here a while," she spoke to them, dipping her head in respect and kneeling, showing her reverence towards them as the Nyctalus had learned to show them. "Men shall come ashore and you will have plenty of game in a week's time. Those that do not fall to the pits of death will come to your jungle. They will be yours to tear apart and feast upon, or convert to your people." There was a silence that greeted her, but their answer came with action. One by one, the Wendigo withdrew from sight, leaving Rae to do what she wanted. The Wendigo would be enough to fend for the jungle, but should the humans somehow reach to the sacred hunting ground... Rae made her way through the jungle with a swiftness of some one who memorized every inch of the land, knew every knot of root and every clearing the dense jungle afforded. Approaching a large cave behind a waterfall, Rae slipped inside and made her way through the vine-covered lair until she came to a large opening. The sound of vines moving and the hissing of voices could be heard as dozens of large, arachnid-like women descended from the roof of the cave and crawled from the holes and walls. Rae stood there, eyes on the largest one as she cautiously approached. All were still a moment until the largest spoke in an irate hiss. "Mother Killer!" Suddenly, the cave was filled with angry screams and they began to descend upon her. A flash of blue light illuminated the cave and Rae threw her dagger into the shoulder of the largest Vilekin, causing her to screech in agony and hold at her arm. Rae then vanished from visibility, then reappeared behind the monster, ripping the dagger from her shoulder and holding it to the arachnid's throat, this caused them all to stop. "Turn. I would address your kin." Rae commanded, to which the Vilekin leader obliged, holding onto her shoulder to stop the flow of blood. As the two faced the small army of Vilekin, Rae spoke up. "I do not seek to kill you, but to tell you this land will be flooded by more like me if you do nothing this day. I have done what I can to defend the beaches and the forepart of the forest, but the sacred grounds, the place that holds the lake that all water runs through, will become defiled by man if you leave it unguarded. I tell you this for you are the strongest of the creatures on this land. You can stop the men from entering the sacred grounds and prevent their taint upon this pure land." One spoke up. "And why should we do what you say?" She spat. Suddenly, more light burst forth and the weapons flew from her body and darted to the throats of the others. All held still. "If not, I will kill you all now and find another group who value life more than their pettiness." "Stop, we will do as you request," the largest said, wincing at the dagger to her throat. Rae never took her eyes off the others, but addressed the one she held captive. "I will leave this cave, then. Tomorrow at dawn, you will make your way to the lake and fortify it by whatever means you desire. If even one man gets through, the island will be tainted." She instructed carefully. "What of the Nyctalus?" Rae paused a moment. "They will not be able to defend this island. They have left that in the hands of their Old Gods' blessings." She informed them after thinking carefully of her words. The Nyctalus would die out, as only a few remained. The Mamool Ja were dead. Once the Nyctalus were gone, the kin would all rule the land. This was the fate of the New World, and Rae was alright with this. The Vilekin sneered, but said nothing. She could read enough into Rae's words to understand what she meant. "Very well, Mother Killer. Go. Finish your preparation for the battle. Should I see you next, however. I will not hesitate to kill you." "I may take you up on that promise later, Spider." Rae retorted, sliding off the creature's back and walking away from the cave. Once she was at the mouth of the cave, the crystal weapons vanished, freeing the Vilekin to do as they pleased, and so they prepared for their journey. Rae stood on the bank of the shore and stared out towards the jungle. More traps could be made within the jungle. If they believed the jungle was too treacherous to live in, perhaps they would leave. With that, Rae set about creating invisible traps for the invaders that would come. Nests of poisonous creatures were moved, more pitfalls made, fallen trees would act as battering rams for any who brushed passed a low-hanging limb of a tree. Vines would whip about the legs of any who tripped the line. Her Egi assisted Rae throughout the week-long preparation to stopping the progression of the men from her old home. They would turn around fleeing from the land when she was done with them. Rae would ensure each trap was set off before they reached the sacred grounds. The pathway would be littered with them. If they walked outside the path, the Wendigo would get them. Once they got too close, the Vilekin would devour them. No one will survive. This will be their legacy. After the week had passed, Rae made her way back to the settlement. Fires had been burned out and no life resonated throughout the ruined buildings. It wouldn't be long before nature reclaimed what man stole from her. Despite the quiet peace, Rae felt anxious. She felt fear, she felt dread. Nothing appealed to her other than throwing herself into one of the pits created by her faithful Egi, or running back into the jungle to the murderous embrace of the Vilekin. She wanted this feeling to end, but she would wait and hope. Hope against fate that her wife would not die. Deep down, however, Rae knew that would never happen. Not in this timeline. "To the other side, my beloved." Rae murmured, looking to the beach as the shouts of those who were aboard the ships could be heard as they docked at the ruined docks. The battle will soon begin.
  2. Outsane

    The World of Savages [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    After her recovery, Rae was back up and bouncing. She seemed to have more energy than what she had before she initially fell ill. Practising with Marishi to channel the magic through her, to summon the arminger, was a time she revelled in. Rae hadn't been able to spend much time with Marishi before when they landed. Both of them had grown distant, Rae out of fear of the monstrosities she witnessed and Marishi because the jungle's wild has imbued into her a sense of feral distance. Finally, the two were able to be close once more. They had to practice alone, which she was grateful for. Being the playful one that she was, she took opportunities here and there to casually flirt with her wife, to tease her. Sometimes earning herself a stern look, other times a swat on the behind. Not all day was spent practising, however, as Marishi would grow tired and they would need to stop. Rae could not only see the affects of training on her wife, but she could feel it as well. It was like channelling the magic through her wife linked them in an even more intimate way. Rae was used to being able to sense her wife's emotions, but now she could feel them. She could feel Marishi's burning desire to stop the Sharlayans as if they were her own emotions. Or perhaps they were? She could feel the instinct to attack first and ask questions later. She could feel the silent contempt she held for all others but her own wife. Now and then, she'd have to catch herself from glowering at people as she sat on the floor. It was as if Marishi's personality was dominating her own. Rae struggled to keep her own person. At times, she'd catch Marishi smiling and laughing at things that Rae would find amusing, but Marishi would not. This link created was more than just something magic-based. It was emotion-based. The two were practically becoming the same person. It wasn't long until Rae had easily mastered tapping into the power to summon the arminger set through Marishi, though she saw how exhausted it made Marishi, so she vowed to only use it sparingly. She had other weapons she could use and magic. If the battle called for drastic measures that she couldn't use her magic to fight through, then she would borrow Marishi's. That night as they sat around the fire, Rae relaxed while eating some of the food. With Marishi, Hime, and herself, they were able to gather more food for the Nyctalus since they could hunt during the daytime. The nocturnal creatures had come to learn that they were not safe at night, but now they were not safe during the day, either. This made them easy prey. "The Mamool Ja won't be too much of a problem," Rae stated after eating a chunk of poultry leg. "They respect magic-wielders, and I am one. Well, I suppose we both are now. I wonder how they'd react seeing you wielding an entire armoury of weapons?" With that, she smiled broadly. She seemed more herself again. Without the imaginary horrors haunting her, Rae no longer felt on edge, she no longer felt as though she were constantly being watched, she could look at things head on and not watch them deteriorate into a repugnant monster. It was like her sunshine was returning. The Nyctalus closest to Rae snorted. "Mamool Ja worship magic because it is power. Overpower Mamool Ja. Is only way." Rae could only frown. It seemed unnecessary to strong-arm the Mamool Ja into listening to them, although, maybe they wouldn't listen to her and Marishi now that they were with the Nyctalus. She was lost in thought a brief moment before a Nyctalus--the one who tended to her while she was ill--came to her side. "Come," she bade her, and Rae followed her into the darkness. Rae came to know this Nyctalus, her having been one of the few who came to visit her--albeit mandatory--while she was recovering. Her name was Csi'ha. She was the only healer of the tribe, and she was very proficient with it. Any manner of ailments she could treat. Whether it be a cut or sickness. She also tended to the young of the group, ensuring they grew healthy and strong. Rae had only seen two or three adolescent Nyctalus while there were about 12 babies. Csi'ha had told her about the babies when Rae asked. As Rae had laid upon her recovery bed, the female Nyctalus added. "Only few will live. Such is our ways. Without lands to hunt and glide, we are trapped coeurl in cages. Soon, we wither and die. The jungle has no breeze. Cannot glide. Cannot live healthy. I do much, but not enough... sometime not enough..." Rae's heart broke as she saw the female's expression drop. The sadness was palpable. "Are any of them your own?" Rae had asked. "No," Csi'ha answered. The reply came sharp, as if to end the discussion. A pause came between them before the healer added. "Prevents preference. Healers forbidden to have children. Birthing taken away as child, as virgin. Always virgin. Forever." The creature lifted her gown, but Rae knew what had been done to her already. She needn't look. But that was many moons ago. Now, the Nyctalus hopped across the jungle floor. She was excited to show Rae something, whatever it was. Rae came to a stop as the Nyctalus dug through a pile of leaves, then produced a box for Rae. Holding it out to her, Rae accepted it, then opened the lid. Inside was jewellery. Gold with precious stones set into them. Each piece had an individual indent in which it was held fast against a velvet-covered bottom layer. Within the stones swirled different colours. Some sparked when held at a different angle. Awe-struck, Rae examined them. "Gifts," Csi'ha told Rae. Gasping, Rae put back the bracelet she held. "Oh, no. I couldn't possibly. This is stunning, you should keep-" "No good, no good," Csi'ha explained dismissively, waving her long-fingered palm. "It is only decoration to Nyctalus. To Mamool Ja, it is treasure. Greatest gift was given to ancestors before driven from land. Peace offering. My mothers all kept them. We give to you. Mamool Ja may like. Do you sense it? Do you feel magic?" Rae glanced down at the bracelet for a moment, then recognition flashed across her face. "Yes, I do! This... these must all augment magic-use. I wonder why the Mamool Ja gave it to your people?" Rae looked to Csi'ha, who merely shrugged in response. Whatever the case, perhaps this would bring about a temporary peace to the Nyctalus and the Mamool Ja. "Thank you. I will use it to get the Mamool Ja to be at ease with your people. Perhaps we can yet convince them to-" "Rae," Hime called out, wandering down the path. "Oooooohhhhh Raaaaaaaaaaaaeeeeeeeeeee!" She sang. The Nyctalus scowled, then quickly closed the box for Rae, giving her a look that told her not to mention the contents of the box to Hime. Rae nodded silently, understanding the importance of secrecy in this regard. Hime burst through the bushes and beamed happily at Rae and Csi'ha. "There you are! I thought you both got lost- Ooo! What is that in there?" Without thinking, Rae answered with a lie. "A shrivelled head of one of their kin." "EW." Hime exclaimed, looking absolutely mortified. It was all Rae could do to not burst out laughing, but she managed to maintain her composure. "It's good luck, Csi'ha says. Y'know. For when we try to bargain with the Mamool Ja." Tucking it neatly under her arm, Rae walked over to Hime. "Do you want to see?" "No, no, no. Absolutely not. That is disgusting and you should be ashamed to even suggest such a thing!" Hime snapped, her nose crinkled with repugnant disdain. "Here I thought you two were going to go practice some healing. I suppose you can keep your dirty head to yourself. I don't think Wilson would much like knowing you people lopping off heads and storing them in boxes for good luck." Csi'ha snorted behind them, but Rae only smiled a nervous smile. "Yeah. But, I mean, we cut off rabbits' feet and consider them good luck charms. That's in the same vein, is it not?" "Not really," Hime countered as they walked up the steps back to the temple. "Rabbits are our pets. The Nyctalus are not." Rae paused a moment, but didn't say anything. She couldn't tell if Hime was being racist against the Nyctalus, or if her cognitive moments were having a lapse into insanity again. While she did not tell Hime the contents of the box, Rae did tell her wife. She ensured Hime was off studying something else or reading somewhere before telling Marishi and showing her, the hope that avoiding bloodshed could be met. "I think we can convince the Mamool Ja to join our side. With their added strength against the Sharlayans, we might be able to pull some semblance of a victory. Surely they will want to defend the lands against them?" Despite saying she wanted to avoid bloodshed, deep down, Rae felt it was necessary. The Mamool Ja had wronged the Nyctalus, and they should have to pay... but she couldn't tell if that was her own feeling or if that was Marishi's.
  3. Outsane

    The World of Savages [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    "Quiet one, ain'tcha?" Murmured the guard posted to keep watch on her. He expected her to be screaming and thrashing still based off the story that was told. Rae was not one who went in quietly. Marishi was cooperative, but Rae had clawed the neck and chest of one of her captors, then bit the fingers of another who laid his hand on her, nearly snapping them in half. She had a wild look about her. Her braid was much longer by then, looking about ready for another plait. Her hair was down, having been undone by one of her captors grabbing her hair and dragging her to the guard who had shackles for her. Once chained, Rae began to calm down a bit. She felt Marishi's calm push at her, urging her tumultuous emotions to become serene. She had a mission--they both did. She couldn't let the Nyctalus down. Once brought back to the new settlement, Rae and Marishi were separated. Fully-armoured guards came to take Rae away at the bidding of the Scholars, and much to everyone's surprise, she went without a fight. They were in a different building altogether. Neither close to one another, but she could sense Marishi still, could feel her, could know she was safe and sound. The same for Marishi about Rae. Both were connected thanks to the power they both drew upon. Marishi was able to tap into it directly, but Rae had to use it through Marishi. Like a conduit, she was able to draw upon the magic that her wife housed within herself. She couldn't quite explain the reason behind that, but she believed it was because of their already strong ethereal connection that she is able to. It's why Hime couldn't do the same, despite knowing the magic. There was no connection between the two, so it was impossible. One guard was always to be in the room with Rae and now a Scholar. He entered the room briskly and seemed to float to the chair adjacent from Rae. His robes flowed like clouds in a breeze and his hair shone like sunlight despite the somewhat dark room they were in. She was to be always bound and her mouth covered, unless answering questions. She sat in the chair with her hands shackled behind her back, a cloth shoved between her lips, and her hair hanging all around her face., creating a crimson veil that blocked her face from the sight of the soldier and Scholar. "Remove her gag," the Scholar commanded, and the guard obeyed. He wore a gauntlet and had no fear of her nipping off his digits. Once freed, Rae lifted her head and worked her jaw, running her tongue along her lips to wet them and massage them as well. The cloth was not bound gently. "Now, start talking. Tell us how that village disappeared." "No torture tactics," Rae commented, flicking her head so the hair whipped out of her face, though it moved right back despite that. "No poisoning me to near death, then cleansing me? No cutting me and sealing my wounds? You think I'm so ready and willing to talk?" The Scholar seemed patient with Rae, which she found strange. "No, no brutal tactics will be employed to get information from you. We're giving you a chance to see the hospitality of the Sharlayans. The true hospitality. We are a patient people, truly. Despite what you've seen while growing up." That struck a visible nerve with Rae. Her lips twitched into a smile, but vanished. She then jerked her head, shaking the hair from her face once more, but it fell into her eyes again. "Ohhhh, I see how it is. You are the good guy, and he is the bad guy, right? He's going to start roughing me up if I don't play nice and give you what you want? Ha!" Rae rocked back in her chair and crossed her legs, leaning back and shaking her head again, her hair finally falling out of her face and staying there, but only because gravity worked in her favour. "Y'know. It doesn't make much sense to leave my legs unbound. I could just..." With that, she hopped up onto her feet, the chair knocking over. Immediately, the guard jumped to alert, moving from the wall and reaching for his weapon, although the Scholar waved him back, keeping his eyes on Rae. She shrugged a bit at the Scholar's lack of reaction, then crouched, bringing her arms down low and hopping into the air briefly, then swung her hands around from under her feet so they were no longer behind her back. She then combed her fingers through her hair and sighed with relief while scratching her nose. She then sat back down and looked to the Scholar. "What were we talking about?" Rae asked politely, smiling at him with a blissfully unaware grin. The soldier grunted in frustration, but was sent back to his post. "You were going to tell us what happened to the village." The Scholar reminded her. A flash of realization sparked across Rae's face and she smiled. "Ah, yes! That's right. Now, listen. Come close, I can't have the whole world knowing this," the Scholar did not move, but Rae crouched forward in her seat, glancing to the soldier, then back to the Scholar and whispered, "It was magic." There was a heavy silence in the room. Despite whispering it, the soldier had heard, and he was ready to take his sword and cut her down, but the Scholar only smiled back to Rae. "I figured as such, but what kind of magic. A settlement full of people doesn't just disappear in one night with no evidence of what happened, now, tell us exactly what happened." She could tell Marishi was winding down, preparing the finale they both discussed. Rae leaned back in her chair, smiling cooly at the Scholar. "Magic from the ancient Gods we all forgot. Marishi is the chosen one to be their disciple and rain their holy hell upon this world that forsake them and the children that remained true to their worship. Only those who are unworthy of setting foot upon this land will face that judgement. Marishi is their disciple and I am her follower. Weapons that can be spirited into existence is their gift to us. They cannot do their work on their own, so we shall do it for them." Rae smiled, having given the honest truth, but knowing no one would believe her. "I've had just about enough of listening to this harlot's shite," the soldier growled, drawing his sword and approaching Rae. She watched him nonchalantly as he grabbed her by the collar and lifted her up off the ground, her toes unable to reach even the chair where she had sat. "Start telling the truth, bitch, or I'll cut it out of you." "Oooo, good bad guy routine! Although you're coming off a little too forceful. Maybe try working up to it?" Rae teased, smirking down at the man. Before she was skewered, the Scholar firmly commanded the soldier to stand down, to which he obeyed by throwing Rae into the chair, causing her to fall over. No one made an effort to help her up as she got to her feet, fixing the chair, then sat back down. "How's about you tell me what answer you want me to give, hm? Since the truth doesn't seem to interest you." The Scholar sighed, rubbing the bridge of his nose, then leaning forward, propping his elbows up on his knees. "Tell us about the creatures you are helping." Rae stopped, her face paled and eyes widened. "You know about the Nyctalus?" She asked quietly, her voice trembling. Both the soldier and the Scholar stared at Rae intently. Realizing he had to lay all his cards out on the table to get information, he began working to pry out what she knew. "Yes, we do. We know they exist, we know they don't worship Primals per se. We know they are the cause of the Wendigo. We know they hide deep in the jungles, but we don't know where, what their civilization is, how long they've been here, or what they look like. We want to know these things." The Scholar explained, watching Rae carefully to see how she'd react. Slumping into the chair, Rae stared at the floor. "You know too much, then. I suppose that's Hime's fault, though," she murmured. The Scholar only shook his head. "More scouts were sent besides Hime. She just happened to be the only one who lived. We had thought the Nyctalus, as you call them, to be a rumour, a hallucination conjured by the others. This confirms they are real. Now we just need to collect them." Silence filled the air then. Rae's head snapped up and she glared at the Scholar before her. In a second, she began chanting, casting a spell. Before she could get much further into it, the Scholar jumped to his feet, darted to her and slapped her across the face, causing her to stop mid-sentence. The soldier was upon her then, gagging her mouth roughly, causing her head to jerk back and she kicked and wiggled to stop him from gagging her, but it was no use. "We need to go tell the others. We'll have volunteers combing the jungle within a month. We'll find those beasts." The Scholar ordered, both he and the soldier walking to the door. As the soldier reached for the knob, they were stopped by a voice behind them. "Oh boys," Rae called. She was standing, holding a dagger in her hand, the cloth falling to the ground. "You should know. This new magic doesn't require words to summon." With that, a burst of blue light came from her chest. All manner of blades and spears appeared in a blue, crystaline appearance. The soldier drew his sword and the Scholar reached for his book, but Rae was faster. She silently ordered three weapons to plunge themselves into the Scholar's chest while she threw the dagger at the soldier's exposed neck. As the weapons flew, Rae disappeared from sight, then reappeared on top of the soldier as the dagger buried itself into his neck and the three weapons pinned the scholar to the door. With a spray of blood, Rae sliced the neck of the soldier, coating her clothes with his blood and the ground around them. The Scholar gripped one of the weapons and tried to free himself, but was unable to. Rae jumped off the dead soldier's corpse and moved to the Scholar. "Too bad you didn't believe me when I warned you." She murmured before wiling the weapons to dislodge from his body, allowing his dying body to slump to the floor. She kicked him aside unceremoniously, then yanked open the door. Guards. Many guards. All geared and armed. They turned to look at her as she yanked the door open. It took a split second before they all drew their swords and she smiled, her eyes glowing purple. Screams of the maimed could be heard from within the house. Rae delved into the malicious side of Marishi, choosing not to hinder herself by reasoning that these are people, too. They have no qualms with capturing and treating the Nyctalus as mindless beasts. So she will slaughter them as such. The door leading outside burst open and Rae stepped out from the bloodbath she created in the home. A few Scholars and soldiers had come running, but stopped when they saw Rae. She raised her hand to them and several of her armaments flew at them, stabbing a few, missing a couple. A soldier and Scholar charged at her, but she threw the dagger passed them and teleported to where it landed, causing them to skid to a halt and turn to look at her. Rae then sent the weapons flying at them. Only one managed to land, plunging itself into the Scholar's abdomen, but not quite killing him. A scream of pain echoed into the air as he clutched at the weapon, soon made into a gaping wound in his chest. Rae charged after them, causing the soldier to run into the jungle. She let him flee as there were others coming to the aid of the dying man. "No one leaves this place!" She roared, grabbing a sword and lunging at the closest person to her, slicing at him. This was what it felt like to Marishi. To kill those who deserved it, to blood-let so freely. It was glorious. She would do this and more to save the Nyctalus, to spare them from the perversion and abuse they will endure at the hands of the Scholars. and then marishi and rae totally banged -------------------------------------------------------------------- "We are Nyctalus," said the one who sat upon the chair in front of the fire. It was night time. It was the only time these creatures with large eyes were able to go outside without their sensitive eyes hurting due to the sunlight. Rae didn't mind. This was the first time in weeks she was able to go out from the dark room. Light couldn't hit her eyes, so Hime and the other Nyctalus had to work in the dark in order to cure her of her affliction. Even the light from the fire was painful for her, but she had to allow her eyes to grow accustomed to light again. "We were the first. When the gods made the land, they took mist and wrapped it with fur. They plucked stars from sky and put it in our eyes. They took howl of wind and filled our lungs, then breathed life into our bodies. We were born at night, and so we thrive. "Many years we lived on this land. We shared with the wild life and jungle. The gods smiled down upon us. We prospered and built cities. The land we cultivated and the skies we made our own. We owned this land and lived in peace. Then, creatures on ships came. From lands east. They offered trade and friendship, and we accepted. They were kind for a time, until they wanted more land. Our ancestors refused, for they wanted sacred hunting lands where our people were forbidden to hunt. Angry, they came at us with their magic. We knew not this magic, and could not stop it. In desperation, we prayed to the gods to save us. In turn, they ignored our pleas. Our people were driven back from the sacred lands, but these monsters wanted more. More and more and more. "So they came at us again, knowing we could not stop them. They pushed us into the deepest part of the jungle. Our people fled to this temple, where we prayed once more. We prayed for deliverance. It was not our gods who responded, but another god. He blessed us with knowledge of a spell to stop our adversaries. Our Shaman cast the spell upon their general and instantly he turned into a Wendigo. The Wendigo became ours to command, and so we ordered it to attack and kill. More spells were thrown, more Wendigo made. Soon, the army that gathered at our door withdrew. With their retreat, we mourned our loss. Many of our Nyctalus kin were slain. They spared none who were in their path. Children and elderly who could not raise a weapon were slaughtered. The grief struck our females deeply. Some that were bearing young in their bellies miscarried, some shrivelled and died. The men could do nothing, as we, too, hurt. Generations died at the hands of the Mamool Ja. Our people were driven into a land we did not wish to encroach upon, and so we called to gods that were not our own to save us." The elder explained. His tone sounded remorseful. The other Nyctalus hung their heads in solemn silence as they remembered their history and reverently prayed for those that had died. Rae was beside Marishi, Hime on her other side. She listened to the story intently, having never heard of it before. These creatures were new to her. No book on Sharlaya held information about these beings, which was both understandable, yet surprising. "This god your ancestors prayed to, what is his name?" Rae asked. "He does not give us a name," answered the elder. "He only gives us deliverance. As of late, we have been unable to survive. Our food supply is dwindling, and any attempt we make to expand our hunting grounds, the Mamool Ja intercept. Now, you naked ones appear. They all attack. No words, only attack. They killed one of our females, and so we killed him and offered his blood and body to our god. At this, the old gods became angry. A voice boomed in the heavens and through the earth, shaking us. It roared and scolded us like children. It reminded us who our true gods are and promised to send those who would save us, who would keep our people alive. They would come bearing the arms of our gods and would free us from the grip of the Mamool Ja and the furless ones." "Other came before? Probably prospectors sending their scouts to see if this land is worth inhabiting." Rae murmured. Hime, however, squirmed slightly, uneasily. Rae glanced to her, piquing a brow, but said nothing to her. "I can't thank you enough for saving me. I'm sure all you wanted to do was to kill me as you did the other furless ones." Rae said, turning to the elder. The elder nodded in response, then added, "We were wary, but I could sense something of you. Something powerful. When I saw your weapons, the arms of our gods, I knew then that you were they which they were sending." Rae dipped her head in respect to him. She would have long since gone insane from the hallucinations had it not been for these creatures, and Hime as well. She owed them her sanity and life.
  4. Outsane

    The World of Savages [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    "Come, come," said one of the creatures, holding its gangly, webbed hand out to Rae. She held still, however, staring at it with wide eyes. To her, with the poison clouding her eyes, the being was a writhing mass of maggots with two eyes that blinked and spiders crawled from them and began feasting on the maggots around its face. As the maggots were pulled from the flesh, a pus-filled hole appeared and it oozed a putrid, yellow-green substance that the maggots wriggled towards and ate away. The appearance caused her to turn and vomit, her shoulders shaking violently. Hime gasped and jumped back, not wanting to get sprayed with the vomit, but the creature moved in, picking her up and slinging her over its shoulder. Rae could do nothing, however. Glancing back, Hime noted the large amount of blood in the pool on the floor, then chased after the Nyctalus, hoisting Wilson into her arms. They went to a room with a number of cots on it. The bedding was of large, flat leaves formed into a mattress and covered with a woolen blanket and a log with soft wood as the pillow. Rae was rested upon the bed while the bat-like creature skipped quickly over to the alchemist table not far from where her bed was. Glancing to Rae, Hime ensured she was alright to lay on her back and not about to vomit again before she glided over to the Nyctalus' side, watching it work. "Herbs cure, heal, fix. Burn poison from veins. Potent, very potent. Girl very sick. Maybe too sick..." "Don't say such nonsense," Hime said, reaching over for a dried leaf she recognized and handed it to the creature, who paused, considering the leaf and Hime, then took the leaf and mashed it into its pestle. "Honestly, what kind of doctor are you? You don't know if she's too sick until you try. Make the serum and we'll see if she's too sick." Casting a glance over her shoulder, Hime watched as Rae took a shaky hand and rubbed her eye, then pulled away and looked at her hand, then gasp and frantically, but weakly rub her hand on her pant leg. Hime frowned. She had no idea what sort of hell Rae must have been living through. She didn't say anything to anyone about what happened. She was so quiet. It took some freak bat-creatures to realize she had been poisoned. Hime had a feeling, but never asked. If she had only asked... The creature turned around, cradling the bowl that held the liquid, then carefully waddled towards Rae. "Open mouth and eyes, do not blink. Will sting, burn, ache. But will help." The Nyctalus explained to her. Rae, looking up at the creature with a delirious gaze, could only barely open her mouth and her eyes were half-lidded. The creature didn't wait much longer before pouring the substance over her face. Some of it went into her mouth, more went into her eyes. She winced and jerked her head away once the flow stopped and swallowed the substance, then quickly turned to the side and vomited again over the side of the bed, away from the creature. Her whole body trembled now. Blotches of redness formed across her body. She began scratching herself where the redness showed and her skin flaked. As she blinked, a few flecks of blood appeared in her eyes, but was gone immediately. The two watched Rae react to the medicine for a moment before the Nyctalus turned back to the table. "Needs more potent." It muttered before reaching for more of the ingredients, but Hime stopped it before it began. "Here, use Wilson. He has amplifying powers. You won't need to use as much to make it twice as potent." She said while grabbing the ingredients and pouring them into the opening in Wilson's top. She worked faster than the creature, plucking out the ingredients and crushing them. All the while, she hummed. As she began to add the filtered water, she sat on the ground, crossing her legs and slowly added it, the leaves and flakes of sand turned into a paste, then a soup, then a liquid. As she hummed and mixed, Wilson's exterior began to glow a faint, whiteish-blue light. Once it was ready, the light faded. She then got to her feet and walked to Rae and climbed onto the bed, straddling her chest, pinning her down. "Hold her head please, my dear assistant. Make sure she doesn't look away or move." As the creature obeyed, Rae closed her eyes and mouth tightly, cringing. Hime paused, waiting for Rae to open her eyes again. When she didn't, Hime looked to the creature. Without a word, the creature used its thumb and index finger to pry open Rae's eyes, causing her to gasp as she stared up at Hime and Wilson above her, though what she truly saw, Hime could only imagine. "Don't drown," Hime ordered, before slowly pouring the liquid onto Rae's face. Much went into her mount, which she choked and swallowed, more went into her eyes, which caused a burn that Rae had never felt before. She felt her eyes being eaten away by this acidic fluid, but it only burned her eyes, nose, and mouth. As it flowed on her skin, it felt like a cool liquid. It would almost feel refreshing in this stifling place if she didn't feel like her organs were being burned away. She let out a gargled cry, sputtering out some of the medicine. Once Hime was done, she quickly climbed off Rae, who threw her hands up to her face and wiped frantically at the medicine, drying her face and eyes, trying to rub away the pain, but it still hurt. "Swallow it, Rae. Don't throw it up!" Hime yelled at her, which Rae had to force herself to do. Once done, Rae cried out in agony as she felt tears form in her eyes and spilling down the side of her face and cresting over her nose as she rolled onto her side. The Nyctalus pulled away, watching as Rae writhed in pain. She continued it for a moment, sobbing, rolling back and forth,, holding her face, coughing and sputtering as she thought her body was being burned from the inside-out. Hime quickly walked to the table amidst Rae's agonized wailing and fetched some water. Just as she was about to return, the Nyctalus stopped her. "Do not. Any quarter you give her, you feed the poison. She must suffer, agonize, excruciate. Only then can the healing work." Hime frowned, watching as Rae stopped flailing about and curled into a ball onto the cot, clutching her face and weeping softly into her hands as the pain subsided, or she got used to it. Rae couldn't tell the difference, her whole world was pain now. Darkness and pain. She heard sounds, but not over her own screams. For a while, she laid there, tail curled around her, legs tucked up against her chest and her whole body shaking. She tried her best to stop the tremble, but it could not be ceased. Soon, she felt the pain ebb. Her breaths came jagged and deep, a few hiccups ripped out of her throat, but eventually she calmed down, only to drift off into slumber. Once asleep, Hime re-positioned Rae to her back. Blood covered her face and trailed into her hair. Trails leaving from her eyes and nose and mouth. Gulping hard, Hime checked Rae's pulse and found it low, but that could be because she was sleeping. She seemed peaceful now. Using the water, Hime wiped off her face and soaked Rae's hair, cleaning it out. She had to untie her long plait in order to thoroughly wash it all. Once done, she handed the bowl to the Nyctalus, who hobbled away with it, out of the room to dump it out. "Oh, you poor thing," Hime cooed, petting Rae's wet hair as she slept deeply. "I sure hope your wife didn't hear all that. I fear she might kill me if she did. Or maybe Wilson. We'll just blame him. This was your fault anyways, you glorified spittoon. If you had just told me about the poison instead of being all stoic about it..." Hime's voice trailed off. She paused a moment and carefully pulled upon Rae's eye. Flecks of the poison were still coating her eyes, she could see. Opening Rae's mouth, she noted the poison had vanished from the back of her throat, which was a promising sign. With a sigh, Hime created more of the serum and moved back to Rae, propping her onto her side, then forcing one eye to open and she slowly poured the medicine into her eye. Rae flinched, but did nothing more. it was then that the Nyctalus returned with the bowl and watched Hime work. "Excellent work, my splendid assistant. You know, if you keep this up, you just might get a promotion," Hime murmured while resting Rae back onto her back. "Help me with this other side. Just keep her on her side so I can pour more medicine. Might have to keep an eye on this all night. HA! ... No pun intended. This is a very serious matter, Assistant! No time for jokes. You should be more like Wilson. Wait, no. Don't be like him. He's a pervert. Did you know that he lures women into my house and strips them naked and stares at them? Revolting, isn't it?" The Nyctalus paid Hime little mind as she went on, but did as it was asked by holding Rae onto her left side and allowing the medicine to be poured into the other eye. As Hime flushed out the poison, more blood came with the rinsing, as well as the medicine changing colours from a light green to a sickly yellow-green as it cleaned out her eyes. "She sleep through this. Amazing, astounding, admirable. She must be very tired." The Nyctalus pointed out, examining Rae's blood-covered face. "Probably the most sleep she's got since coming here," Hime pointed out. They were well into the night by that point. She was creating more of the mixture, this time in a regular bowl. Wilson's potency was no longer needed and would be damaging if she continued with it. You can sleep now, dear Assistant. You've done well. I shall talk to the superiors about promoting you for your hard work." Hime stated while moving back to Rae and pouring a bit more of the medicine into her eye. The creature eyed Hime a moment, then spoke up. "How long you been lost?" It asked. Hime did not look at it nor pause. She answered flatly. "Long, but not long enough." Her tone held a certain intelligence to it. The creature snorted, noticing the change in her tone, but said nothing and simply walked away. Throughout the night, every hour, Hime ensured Rae was treated. She fetched for her assistant to bring in fresh water, which Hime used to wash Rae up with. She had began to sweat through the night as well as her skin peal. Hime scrubbed away at her skin, washing it down, exfoliating away the flaking skin, then cleaned off her face and her hair again. Once Rae was cleaned, she threw a blanket over top of her and placed her clothes off to the chair by the door, letting Rae rest. It was then that the Nyctalus fetched Marishi. Glancing to her as she walked in, Hime stepped aside, allowing her to see Rae. "She's like a brand new coach. Scrubbed, cleaned, and ready for... huh. Maybe I shouldn't have likened her to a coach... anyways. She's sleeping, so don't wake her up, or Wilson will show you the door." "It's too late for that," came a groggy, raspy voice from the cot. Rae's eyes were opened, bloodshot and slightly swollen, but she stared at the door, looking to Marishi. A hand slid out from beneath the covers and reached for her wife as a small, weak smile crossed her features. "Marishi..." she whimpered, her lips trembled as tears formed in her eyes. She could see her wife. There was no horrors, there was no fear, just her wife. It was like looking at her for the first time, like all her life she had been truly blind and could now see the magnificence of the woman she married and loved with all her heart.
  5. Outsane

    The World of Savages [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    “What is this place?” Rae asked, glancing around, eyes wide and heart still pounding. She was acutely aware of everything happening around them. The sounds, the smells, the darting figures between the trees and behind dilapidated stone walls. Hime only shrugged, unable to give an answer as she walked in, clutching onto Wilson, Marishi in tow. There were walls that guided them into the monolith. Large steps that lead up to the opening of the triangular-shaped figure looked unsteady, even the walkway towards the steps had uneven stones, pushed up by nature reclaiming its throne. And yet… there wasn’t as much plant life growing up between the crevices as one might typically see. The walkway looked well-trodden, which put Rae on higher alert. Along the wall were gaping holes created by the passing of time. In each opening, Rae would see sinister figures standing at the end of the corridor formed by the other tall walls. She would pause now and then to stare at the figures. Their heads blurred by their violent and erratic shaking while their bodies remained perfectly still. They wore strips of clothing only, some not at all, but their bodies were so horribly disfigured that it was impossible to tell if they were human, animal, or kin. Rae would stare long enough for her heart to stop in her chest as she felt its eyes on her, then she would move onward, catching up to Marishi and Hime, only to stop again and stare at another horror. Each one different than the next. Excessively tall, lanky, stubs for hands, no eyes, a mouth lined with teeth that were blunt, but larger than the average man’s. It looked as if it wished to speak, but its tongue was made of its fingers, making it impossible to speak. It would only shake its head as if to try and loose the fingers and try to speak again. This process was repeated as it drew nearer, walking towards Rae. Her mouth went dry as she saw the creature, then chased after Marishi and Hime once more. This time, Hime glanced back to watch Rae catch up, her face pale and her countenance visibly shaken. She then turned to Wilson, then frowned. “Stop telling her to drink from you. She’s not thirsty. You pervert flower vase. You just want lips on you.” Hime then proceeded to ignore Wilson, despite her twitching her ears as if he was talking. The climb up the stairs was uneventful. The horrors ceased appearing. Turning around, it was evident that surrounding the pathway they took was a large maze of walls and corridors that lead to the intermittent building in between. No one pathway lead from one building to another. Turns had to be made in order to make it to that destination. In short, it was a maze. One that a person could get lost in for weeks and die. As the group reached the top of the step, the ground began to tremble and shake. Beneath them, the pathway shifted, churning, sliding. It was then that the walls began to move. The pathways interlocked, causing the straight path they took to get there to disappear. The three stared in silence as their pathway to escape obscured within the winding maze that was created before them. “It would seem that whatever is in this structure,” Hime said, turning around to the dark opening within. “Wants us to stay here…” Another silence passed between the three before Rae spoke up. “Nowhere to go but forward, I guess. We’ll find out what changed the maze and get it to change back… or die trying.” The three entered into the building, though Rae pulled out her Dreadwyrm Rapier and muttered a spell to it, causing the crystal to light up, casting a purple glow throughout the room. It was a small room with no other extensions to it. There was only one doorway, and they just used it to come in. Rae walked around, examining the plain, black walls before nearly falling down a flight of stairs that lead into an even deeper darkness. She called out to the other two, beckoning them to join her going downward. “Rae, maybe we shouldn’t go down there. Wilson doesn’t feel good about this, and neither do I. This isn’t my idea of fun.” Marishi and Rae were already on the steps at that point, ready to walk down, but Rae stopped, turning to Hime. “Would you rather take your chance outside in the maze?” Rae asked her, frowning a bit. The purple light cast a shadow across her face. Faintly, Hime could see the shaking of Rae’s eyes. It was then in that light she saw flecks of a strange, glowing powder coating her eyes. Hime’s eyes narrowed and she moved closer to Rae, trying to see her eyes clearly, but suddenly, she turned her head down the steps. Hands. Hands reached out from the dark abyss and grabbed at them. Rae stepped back tentatively, but their reach grew. Troubled, Rae turned to move upward, but the hands suddenly grabbed at her and began dragging her down. She cried out in surprise and fear as they pulled her into the darkness, but she was not alone. Marishi and Hime soon fell with her, seeming to slide down the stairs. Rae, panicked, screamed out, flailing, trying desperately to free herself from the hands that pulled her down, but for every set she freed herself from, another 3 hands grabbed at her, pulling at her skin and hair, threatening to tear it off. They descended faster and faster into the darkness as the hands pulled at them all. Rae waved her Rapier around, trying to cut the hands that pulled at Marishi, but she missed until finally it smacked against the stony wall and out of her hand. The Rapier sang a sharp, grating song as it slid down the slide that was once the stairs. They were moving at such a velocity that the hands no longer existed. Rae’s heart thundered in her chest as she felt them slide faster and faster until finally the sound of solid ground neared and they came to a nearly abrupt stop. The three rolled to a stop on the ground in the basement of the large structure they ventured in to. The light was gone, but a presence could be felt. Rae held still a moment, feeling around for where she heard her weapon fall, but couldn’t reach it before bright, green flames burst throughout the room, illuminating the creatures that were within. Horrors of all manners stood there. Those that had eyes stared at her, those without eyes still faced her. The breath slipped from her lungs and Rae fell backwards, sliding away from them as one approached nearer. Scrambling to her feet, Hime ran to Rae’s side, letting Wilson rest beside them while she threw her arms around Rae, which caused her to scream uncontrollably. Some heads tilted to the side, the beasts glancing to one another curiously. Hime watched the one draw nearer, she protectively held Rae close, brows furrowed and a frown on her face while Rae completely lost her mind, closing her eyes, grabbing and pulling at Hime’s arm, using her nails to claw at it, but she did not relent. “What do you want?” She barked at the nearing creature. Its eyeballs were large, but the eyelids drew over most of the eyes, leaving them an oval-shape. The colours of the eyes were different among the creatures from what Hime could see. There were three rings around the iris. Not unlike the Au’Ra, but not like them as well. Three varying colours for each ring, but all of them generally the same tone. The creatures had large, tall ears that rose directly above their head and met in points, like large leaf. Their noses were piggish and turned upward. Some had a point at the tip, others had two points. Their upper lips were pulled upward with the nose as well, revealing a few front teeth that were cone-like in shape, though on the sides of their lips were larger fangs that jutted out from the top lip. They had short snouts and small chins. Their necks varied in length, though it appeared they could grow, much like an owl’s. They had humanoid bodies, but their fingers were exceptionally long and webbed. Their feet were short and bent awkward angles and their toes were tipped with claws. They had thumbs on their feet as well, which allowed them to grasp things with them. Behind the creatures were fins that rose along their spine, but not a great distant upward, and a long, frilled tail as well. Short, oily fur covered their bodies, making it clear these were not regular beast men. The one that drew nearer crouched down, staring at Rae, who stopped screaming for a moment to stare back with one eye while her head was turned to hide within Hime’s hold. Her whole body trembled violently as she stared at the creature. No one could know what she must be staring at, as the infection of the Vilekin had set into her version so fiercely. Slowly, the creature’s eyes widened until the eyelids vanished, almost making it seem like its eyes were to pop out. “Sick child,” it said, its voice high pitched, almost squeaking. “Spider’s pollen. Sick, ill, plagued child.” “I know.” Hime retorted, drawing Rae closer to her as the creature glanced to Hime, then to Rae, then to Marishi. Its eyes settled upon her a moment before standing up and hobbling towards her. Its body was malformed, requiring the knuckles of its large hands to move around thanks to the small, crooked legs it had. Its tail dragged along the ground, sliding limply as it moved until it stopped before Marishi, its wide eyes examining her. “You….” it said softly, its head cocking from side to side, bobbing up and down as it examined her over. Suddenly it stood up straight, neck rising above to reveal its awkwardly round head while it stared down at Marishi. “Strange. Different. Similar. Familiar. Why come? Why here? Nyctalus home is sacred. Secret. Haven. Smell of Mamool Ja. Smell of Wendigo. Answer what. Tell us. Inform.” The creature then sat down, its small legs crossing behind it while its hands rested on either side of its legs, its long neck drooping down back into its shoulders while its eyes reverted back to its normal size. All the other creatures followed suit, sitting down on the ground, watching Marishi, expecting an answer.
  6. Outsane

    The World of Savages [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    A fight. Of course. As the other two reacted to the sound of banging the second time, Rae searched her mind for spells. Spells she barely remembered. Fear had gripped her heart and mind with such a tenacious hold and would not relent, making it near impossible for her to think. Recalling words she had repeated many times over seemed such a trial. As the door flung open to the large, daunting arachnids that surely had come to exact revenge upon her for the murder of their sister, Rae felt all knowledge of magic slip between her fingers. No longer emboldened as she was before, Rae felt helpless. Terrified and helpless. As Marishi met the first, another slipped by to lay claim to Rae's flesh. It was all she could do to grab Sanguinaire and feebly hold it up before her, attempting to parry the arm that would surely knock the weapon out of her weak hold and sever her flesh in one swing. Rae had only moments to come to terms with her death, at which she could not do as her mind was empty. It was then the limb cracked against the invisible glass pane, snapping Rae from her loss of conscious thought. She blinked rapidly as she saw the Vilekin recoil and favour her injured limb, only to have Marishi teleport into view to impale the leader of the group with her blade, effectively killing her. For a moment, Rae thought it was Hime who had conjured the shield. She knew Astrologians had the capacity to do so, but glancing to her and seeing the shocked, horrified expression that matched Rae's as well, she knew it was not her doing, but Marishi's. Marishi, her wife of 10 years. The woman whom she had never cast magic in her life, but knew she was once a White Mage, but no White Mage nor Conjurer could perform acts as Marishi has. It almost looked as it her aether was manipulated to teleport her around, but it followed her weapons. Arms trembled as they all remained still a moment. Rae stared at the corpse on the ground, recalling the Vilekin she had killed. They would be back. They would bring reinforcements. They were not safe. As Hime threatened Marishi, power surged through Rae and she climbed to her feet, using Sanguinaire as her support while she drew her Dreadwyrm Rapier and held it pointing at Hime. "Not a hair on my wife will be harmed, Hime. She saved us with that magic. Whatever it is," Rae had never seen magic quite like it, nor had she ever read about it in Sharlaya's vast library. Of course, Rae had scarcely read the volumes upon volumes before being spirited away by her Red Mage Master. Rae could feel her skin crawl. Glancing down, she saw millions of spiders crawling up her legs. Panic set in and she was about to dance about, swatting them off her and crushing them as they crawled from the corpse up her body, but she noticed Hime not react at all, not bat an eye as countless spiders crawled up her as well, as too Marishi. 'I'm hallucinating.' Rae said to herself, forcing herself to stay calm as she could clearly see the spiders crawl over her own eyes and feel them crawl into her mouth. Her skin felt itchy. As Hime conceded, Rae sheathed her rapiers and began scratching at her skin furiously. "Stop, Wilson. You're speaking nonsense. Now isn't the time for tea!" Hime barked, withdrawing her Astralobe to her back. Rae whimpered as she tried her best to scratch and scratch, but the spiders continued on. Perhaps if she burned the corpse, if she burned the source, she wouldn't feel their tiny feet itching her skin... "Do you have fleas, Rae? Stop scratching and sit down. Marishi, you have a lot of explaining to do. A LOT of explaining to do! You come here to my house, under my roof and disrespect me-" Hime stopped as her ears perked up, Rae's as well. Thunderous footsteps in the distance. Screeching and howling. Judging Hime's reaction, Rae knew she wasn't imagining that sound. "We must go." Rae urged, grabbing her jacket and throwing it on. As the others followed suit and quickly darted out of the door, the forest seemed to turn black. Rae paused a moment, staring about wildly. She felt eyes on her. Through the darkness, she saw blood-red eyes leer at them, mouths that glowed a fluorescent blue with rows upon rows of teeth that looked more like daggers. "Where will we escape?" Rae asked desperately. Hime, holding Wilson tucked under her arm, pointed. "There's a safe place over yonder. Nothing ventures there because of the traps around it. I've seen most of them. Anything with a brain can see them, but these things in the forest aren't very observant. Let's go. We'll be safe there." With that, the three darted off, leaving the shack behind. As they were several malms away, Rae knew the small haven that Hime called Home was destroyed. Shrill cries filled the air of aggravation as they realized their targets were no longer in the shack they destroyed. The forest flew by in a blur. The path they took was not well-travelled, but there was one enough that allowed Hime, Rae, and Marishi to flee through the brush without much hinderance. Anyone searching for their tracks would be sorely disappointed, as the main trail was not even visible and the forest floor seemed unaffected by their trampling through. Every now and then, Hime would come to a sudden stop and make a random turn through the brush, Rae and Marishi staggering to keep up as they felt their lungs burn, their breath come as sharp, stabbing inhales and exhales, and their minds swim from fatigue. They began to slow their progress, not out of the feeling of being safe, but out of necessity. They could no longer carry their legs through the forest as swiftly as they had hoped. All the while, Rae's mind thought back to the magic Marishi had used. She thought back to the reaction Hime held. Was this the skill that came with Marishi's possession by the Wendigo? Was she even being possessed by a Wendigo? Maybe it was all in her head? Rae couldn't make reality and imagination make sense. None of this made sense. Something was in that plant that exploded its spores into her face, and she'd need to figure out what it was and how to reverse it. But first... safety. The sound of the pack of Vilekin chasing them had faded, but it was still a dull buzz in the many countless other sounds of the jungle. The trio reached a part of the thicket where the density of it began to thin and the trees became sparse and soon a large opening surrendered to them as they made their way towards a large building surrounded by walls in the shape of a pyramid. Rae fell to her knees, unable to continue onward. The adrenaline that pulled her through it had since run out, rendering her weaker than before. Hime had stopped, graciously giving them a reprieve from their unrelenting trek through the forest.
  7. Outsane

    The World of Savages [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    As she slumbered, her body twitched, flinching, contorting to feign hiding or blocking an attack. Her knuckles were white, her nails dug into the ground beneath her. As her weak, unconscious body forced herself to rest, she dreamt of monsters entering her dreams, plaguing her thoughts, possessing her body. These were not the Wendigo that Rae saw Marishi becoming, but they were something else. Some had no form nor shape, some were like beasts rising from the sludge. Others were humanoid with other body parts from different people and creatures stapled to the main body. One chest, two chests, five arms, six legs, three heads, hands bursting from the stomach, arms growing from mouths, feet where hands should be. All manner of creatures pawed at her, reaching at her from the darkness. She remained huddled in the dwindling, waning shaft of light in the dying sunlight that filled her consciousness. No one would save her from these monstrosities. She would soon be their's. There was no stopping it... And yet, they paused. Footsteps echoed beside them. Hands stopped groping, mouths stopped gnashing, the scurrying stopped and the groaning ended. All was still as the footsteps drew nearer. Opening her eyes, Rae tilted her head to greet who approached. "Ma... ri..." She croaked. Her mouth was dry, her throat burning. She was feverish. "Silly girl," cooed the spider as it dropped its head to her. Her purple eyes looked familiar to her. They were large, glowing, with cat-like slits for pupils. "I told you to stay, but you had to go off. Tch. I suppose Wilson and I will have to take care of both of you." "Wil... son...?" Rae murmured. Before she could react, the spider woman was sweeping Rae up in her arms, but Rae struggled, wriggling out of her arms and falling to the ground heavily, causing the spider woman to curse while Rae gasped for breath, having it knocked out of her. "Hime?" She groaned. "Of course it's Hime! Now stop squirming like a worm and let me take you back to my home." The blonde-haired Miqo'te snapped, gathering Rae up quickly and dragging her along the ground back to the hut. Once there, Hime peeled off her cold clothes and wrapped her up in a thick hide, laying her next to the fire. The crackle of the logs caused Rae to flinch, the shadows the flames cast caused her to cower. The Miqo'te watched her with pity almost as she fitfully tried to get back to sleep, but even with her eyes closed, they were no reprieve from the visions of the monsters that surrounded her, grabbing at her limbs, tickling her senses, threatening to plunge her into the abyss they crawled from. It was a long while later before Rae woke up again, this time to the sound of screaming. Her eyes slowly opened, then snapped wide awake and she shot up, sitting upright and reaching at her side where no weapon awaited her. She glanced around, realizing she, too, was without clothes, and looked back to the screaming women. The situation was almost hilarious, had she not been scared for her life. Rae grimaced at the two screaming and covered her ears, waiting for them to stop. When it didn't happen right away, she spoke up. "Enough! Stop screaming, you two!" They both paused, looking to Rae with wide eyes. Hime then turned to the urn by the door and huffed. "I told you to tell me when they woke up! Now I see all you wanted to do was look at naked women! You pervert pot. I should smash you-" Rae glanced to Marishi, noticing she was indeed naked as well. As Hime finished her threat, Rae spoke up. "What's with you and having two naked, unconscious women in your house? Looks kind of bad when you think about it..." Without another word, Hime walked into the hut, closing the door behind her and urging Marishi to sit back down. It was then that Rae noticed a smell in the air. Something was cooking. Their clothes were placed down and she went to the fire, stirring a pot beside it, then getting on her hands and knees to check between the large slabs of rock for something within them. "You SHOULD be thanking me. I saved you both. This one from dying from fatigue, and you from freezing to death. I didn't want to, no ma'am. But Wilson kept telling me to! He told me to make sure you lived. Now I see he just wanted a free show. You pervert! You'll regret that, mister. You disgusting-" "Thank you," Rae said humbly. Hime stopped, glancing over to Rae, then snuffed and sat back down on the back of her calves and shrugged. "I... I shouldn't have left. You had every reason to not come out and help me, but you did. I thank you." Hime shifted awkwardly, then glanced back to Marishi, then scrunched her face up in a cringe. "Put some clothes on, woman! Over there. They're all clean now, so you can wear them and look somewhat decent." As Rae attempted to stand up, her limbs wobbled and gave out beneath her, causing her to fall back down flat onto the ground. Suddenly, the hide she slept under felt very, very heavy. "You, not yet. You need to eat. It's been days since you've had food." With that, Hime fetched a hooked stick from against the wall, then shoved it into the stone slabs and pulled out a hot, steaming loaf of bread, then fetched a mug from the cupboard and returned, plunging it into the broth she stirred. "Here. Eat this. Soup first, then the bread." As she handed the mug to Rae, she sniffed it and felt her mouth water. She wanted nothing more than to down the whole thing at once. Before she could, however, she noticed within the broth were... boiled bugs. Her mouth went dry instantly and her face paled as she stared at the up-ended bugs drifting in her soup. "W-What's in here?" She asked, glancing up to Hime questioningly. As Hime fetched herself and Marishi something to eat, Hime snorted. "What? Vegetables and protein, of course. It's a recipe I've known for just about always! Drink up, drink up! No, Wilson. She'll use the mug just fine!" Rae frowned deeply, staring back into the contents of her mug, then gingerly took a sip from it. Despite the insects, it tasted quite good. As she drank more, she felt her body warm and her stomach come to rest. She didn't know how hungry she was until she began picking out the vegetables and biting into the now warm bread. "This came from Sharlaya, didn't it?" Rae asked, glancing to Hime. The recipe for the bread was quite obviously Sharlayan. The loaf was round instead of oval like most rolls. Denser, and the top looked like the imprints of a wicker basket. "I remember eating this every day there. It's pretty good, it reminds me of home in a sense..." Hime was busy eating to answer, but she shot a glare to the urn, then glanced back to Rae and spoke with her mouth full. "It's the only bread recipe I know. I forgot a lot of things from Sharlaya, from home, but Wilson knew about them, and reminded me. He reminded me of a lot of things. It's too bad he can't remember to WARN ME when our guests woke up!" Rae smiled a small smile, then returned to eating her meal, finishing off the bread and the soup, but left the bugs inside the cup. As she placed it down, the Miqo'te glanced inside and frowned. "What are you, a vegan?" She asked, pointedly. Rae's ears raised up and she stared with wide eyes, shocked at the accusation, but Hime then shrugged and laughed. "More for me!" She exclaimed, then snatched up the cup and knocked it back, pouring the chunks of meat into her mouth. Rae murmured something of an apology while glancing away. Once everyone's meal had been finished and Rae was able to get herself dressed, not without the help of her wife, the three sat down, Rae situating herself closer to Marishi, her hand reaching out and touching her's, needing to feel the comfort of her contact. While they sat in silence, a knock came at the door. Rae turned to look at it, wondering who could possibly be knocking. Instead of answering the door, however, Hime began to speak. "Once the two of you are able to walk, I'll take you to the boarder of my home. I can ensure you have food and shelter and protection throughout your travel around these parts, but once you reach to the end of my territory, you're on your own." Again, a knock came on the door, a little more impatient this time. Rae glanced from the door to Hime, then to Marishi, who didn't seem bothered by the knocking. It was then Hime snapped her head to the door and her eyes narrowed. Rae watched her as she got up and walked towards it, three more knocks came, this time heavier, almost like club fists banging against it. Instead of opening the door, Hime fetched Wilson the Urn and returned to her spot beside the fire. Bewildered, Rae glanced to the door as it seemed to push inward, whatever was outside wanted in, but no one else seemed bothered by it. "No need to shout at me from across the room, Wilson. That's terribly rude. Now, you said you want to go with them? Well, that's just not possible. You don't have legs." The door returned back to its spot on the frame, but a loud, angry bellow was heard, causing the hair on the back of Rae's neck to stand on end and her ears to raise up in alarm. She moved closer to Marishi, wrapping her arms around her's and began to breathe deeply. A brow piqued from Hime as she questioned Rae. "What's the problem?" Glancing back, Rae realized that neither one of them seemed bothered by the animalistic cry that just came from behind the door. Forcing herself to relax, Rae shook her head. "I... I thought I heard something." She answered. Hime frowned, furrowing her eyebrows, then stood up and walked to the door. She opened it to reveal a large, hulking creature right outside. Tentacles wriggled and writhed from its back, teeth the size of Rae's forearm jutted out in every direction from its unhinged jaw that nearly hung slacked down to the ground. Its upper torso was bulky, lumpy, and covered with patches of fur. Where fur wasn't, there was shaved, bubbling flesh that oozed red and yellow pus. Its legs were hidden behind a curtain of the fur that grew thicker around the waist. One eye was larger than the other. The smaller of the two spinning around wildly, focusing on nothing while the other darted in opposite fashion, seemingly searching. The breath in Rae's lungs escaped as both the creature's large, blood-shot eyes settled upon her. She felt the world close in around her. She felt her blood run cold and her heart stop. Just as the creature began reaching out to her, the door closed quietly. "I think you're imagining it," Hime said simply, then turned and sat back down. Rae, who was visibly trembling, her nails digging in to Marishi's arm, sat quietly, not pushing the matter further. "So anyways. Wilson and I will be able to guide you off the property, but then it's up to you." "No," Rae blurted out suddenly, jerking her head to Hime. "No, you can't leave us. We need your help. You... You know more about what's out there. You can't leave, please don't leave us." Whatever was happening, Rae was terrified. Her hands trembled as she clung on to Marishi, not so much for the safety, but simply for the feeling of being grounded somewhat. At least with Marishi, she didn't feel like she was going to lose her mind. "W-Whatever's out there, you can help us. You can stop it. You're our only chance out there." Stunned, Hime stared at Rae with wide eyes. No one has ever said that to her before. Seeing the terrified, desperate expression on Rae's face, it softens Hime's heart a bit, but not by much. "There's nothing out there that I can stop." Hime replied quietly, glancing down and thumbing the lip around Wilson's top. "Maybe..."
  8. Outsane

    The World of Savages [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    Rae kept quiet. She did not want to raise alarm in Marishi, or perhaps the Wendigo that was possessing her body now. Koheel spoke to Rae before he left that early morning while Marishi had left to tend to personal business. "The other, she changes. Skinwalker, now. Kill her. Only way to save us." He whispered, glancing around nervously. Offense sketched itself onto her features as she turned to the Mamool Ja, her body moving away from him as if he had coughed up mucus onto her flesh. "Kill her? I would never kill my wife! She's still there. There's still hope for her. The fru-" She was cut off by Koheel waving his hand at her, silencing her. "Fruit does not exist. Made up. You are delusional. Both of you will die here. Koheel Ja will not!" With that, he stood and quickly snatched up his gear and retreated, running back from whence they came. Rae glared after him, scowling. She had noticed the slight changes, mostly the smell. Her flesh no longer carried that sweet aroma. It no longer held the scent of lavender and vanilla, but of rotten flesh, burning hair, and putrid soil stained with festering intestines. The smell made her repulsed, but she never shied away from her lover's presence. Rae, at one point, had pointed out the smell, but in a passive manner. Marishi had not noticed it. She knew then it was futile to raise awareness of it. Since then, Rae kept to herself about Marishi's transformation. All her efforts went toward recalling the path. At night, she slept, but no dreams came to her. At least, none of the pathway again. She began saying a silent prayer to the Guardian, begging her to reveal herself once more and show her the way. Just as all her other prayers, this one went unanswered. Rae jumped at the touch of the cold hand to her arm. Spinning around, Rae stared wide-eyed at Marishi, half wanting to pull out her Rapiers to fight her, half wanting to run away. She had grown somewhat accustomed to the smell, but the sight of her was truly abhorrent. This was not her wife, yet it sounded like her. Somewhat. Following Marishi's gaze, she spotted the sigils. They looked... familiar, somehow. "I see," she answered. When instructed not to touch anything, Rae nodded and placed her steps carefully. Floating Isles. How long had it been since she had visited there? In this forest, time seemed to quicken. It was night before the sun seemed to reach its peak some days, then it felt the moon made 3 laps across the sky before the dawn came again. As they ventured deeper into the protected area, Rae sensed more... at ease, strangely enough. These sigils brought her tumultuous mind peace. Though, glancing back at her wife, she realized she was the only one of the two who felt that way. A mere few seconds after looking forward again, Rae heard the pained cry of her lover. Jumping and twisting around, Rae was to Marishi's side, ears and tail raised in alarm, unsure how to assist her wife in easing her pain, for she did not know what caused it. Was the Wendigo fully taking over? A voice from the right tore her attention away from her wife and her hands darted to the hilts of her Rapiers, but stayed when she saw the woman and the ewer. Rae watched warily as she spoke to the inanimate object, a brow piqued in both intrigue and confusion. As Marishi spoke, Rae looked back to her, brows now furrowed. "Stop, my love. You are hurt, we must help you." She murmured. This insane woman was not going to be able to assist them, especially with her bowling her pottery around. Just as she was about to assist Marishi in standing, when the woman mentioned her deck. Rae's eyes widened as realization washed over her. She didn't look familiar to Rae, yet the woman claimed to know her. She was about her age, fine clothing that she suddenly recognized as a formal uniform from the school. It was given to their most distinguished students. Sudden memories flashed through her mind. She remembered her face, those eyes. The disgust she held in them were the same as before. The hair on the back of Rae's neck stood on end and her eyes widened. Hime. One of the top students from Sharalaya. She made Rae's life on the isle a miserable hell. Whether it was by her inaction or direct action, she contributed to the mockery of her. Rae resented her for it for so long, but took to forgetting her once she became a disciple of her Red Mage master. Strange, though, she didn't recall her being an absolute lunatic. Rae would have sneered, if she didn't feel the need to get her wife to safety. The crimson sigils--magic characters that once lined the halls of the Sharlayan school she went to--bore down upon the two. Rae knew she needed to get Marishi out of this tangled mess of magic and suffering. Hime offered succour, however. Much to Rae's confusion. She recognized her, she remembered her, yet still Hime would help her. As Marishi fell unconscious, Rae caught her before she hit the snow, then turned her around to lay on her back. As Hime instructed her to stay with Marishi, she looked over her wife's face and knew she needed to do something else. "Time is running out," Rae barked back at Hime, desperation in her tone. "I can't sit here and watch as my wife's body is taken over by those... things! I need to get the fruit. I need to do my part to save her." Before Hime could counter, Rae jumped to her feet and ran. She needed to get back across the river. As harrowing as it would be, that was where the smell was last. Her retracing their footsteps was not perfect, however, and Rae became horribly lost within the ominous jungle. She paused for a break, arms trembling, legs weak. She was lost now. Maybe she wouldn't be able to find her wife again. That smell. Rae's ears perked up and she lifted her head. Sweet, soothing, enticing. Rae's mouth watered as she inhaled the scent again. Memories burst to the front of her mind. The pathway! Quickly glancing around, Rae spotted the rock jutting from beside a tree that she had recognized from before. Rae followed the path instantly, easily as if she walked it a thousand times. Each moment, the smell became stronger and stronger until it was sickeningly sweet. A waterfall. Rae stared a moment, then shook her head. No time to daydream. She needed to fetch this plant to save her wife's life. As she skirted around the waterfall to reach behind it, she noticed the opening was in the middle of the water. Frowning, Rae positioned herself and crouched, then jumped towards the ledge, but missed and plunged into the water completely. As quick as she could, Rae scrambled out, climbing into the cave behind the waterfall. She shook violently, the cold, biting air already seeming to frost over her skin. Rae wailed at the extreme cold, tears spilling down her face that offered the briefest of solace from the bitter chill, but would soon attribute to the intolerable temperature. "For Marishi," Rae murmured, shrugging off her jacket and wringing it out as best she could, then replacing it. It was still horribly damp, but at least it wasn't dripping. She wrapped her arms around herself as she moved forward. The cave grew darker and darker, no light showing on the other side. Rae hesitated, not recalling this as part of the dream, but the smell was overwhelming and she couldn't ignore it. Pushing forward, Rae pulled her Dreadwyrm Rapier from her side and held it out, the magicite crystal upon its pommel glowing a purple light that illuminated the cavern easily. The narrow corridor opened up finally to a massive, humid room that was covered with vines, leaves, and silence. Rae's shivering stopped as she walked into the room, feeling the natural insulation keep her from collapsing from hypothermia. As she entered the room, bulbs on the vines came to life, glowing a faint, yellow-ish green light, thus illuminating the room fully. Rae placed her Rapier back at her side and stared around, awe-struck at the small haven within the hellish land they were in. "Star Child," came a familiar voice. Rae snapped her head to the direction it came, seeing the woman, resting against a large pile of vines. She looked sickly, almost near death. As Rae came closer, the woman spoke firmly. "Do not approach me, Child. I am Sick. What I have would kill you in an instant if you were to touch me." Rae gasped, then glanced around. It was then that she saw it. The plant. It rested upon the top of a fallen tree stump, the petals of blue and black opened wide to allow the green and pink bulb to jut out from them. "Why not take the fruit for yourself, Guardian? It could-" "Oh, my sweet child," the woman said, laughing weakly. "It cannot heal me." She stared quietly a moment, then glanced back to the fruit. Time was wasting there and she needed to get back to Marishi, fast. "Thank you for your sacrifice, Guardian," Rae said looking back to the woman, then turned back and approached the plant. As she reached out to it, she heard vines move. She spun around and saw razor-sharp vines dart at her, whistling through the air as they advanced upon her. Jumping back, she was able to avoid getting impaled, but her coat was stabbed through, pinning her to the ground. "What is this?!" She shrieked, then saw the Guardian lift up from the pile of vines. They fell away to reveal a large, arachnid body. The woman's legs detached from her hips and changed colour, becoming fore-pincers to the arachnid body. The breath left Rae's throat as she saw the towering Arachne. Without another word, the creature lashed out to Rae, its fore-pincer seeking to crush her. Shrugging off the coat, Rae was able to narrowly dodge it, then pulled out her Rapiers. She wouldn't be able to conjure fire here, sadly, as it would trap her and set her ablaze as well. She'd need to out-maneuver the Vilekin. A string of sticky web was shot at Rae, but she hopped back from it, then darted towards the spider-like woman. Raising her Rapiers, she swung them at one leg, but the attack was dodged and she was kicked over by another of the 8 legs. Rae tumbled, but got to her feet quickly, just in time to jump and roll away from another pincer crashing into the ground, causing an indent into the earth. Before the monster could pull her club claw away, Rae sliced at it with her blades, causing a pained and angry shriek to fill the room. Deep, blue blood spurted from the wound and the creature swatted at Rae again, who was ready for the attack. She jumped up and landed on the pincer, then stabbed her blades through, then pushed them apart, opening the wounds wider. She pulled her weapons free before she was thrown off and crashed onto the wall. Rae slid down slowly and gasped for breath, having the wind knocked out of her from the knock back. Scurrying could be heard as the spider woman rushed Rae, rearing back and using her legs to pin her arms to the wall. "Filthy off-lander," the Arachne hissed. "It's time to end this. I've groomed you enough to be my dinner and waited long for this moment. Now it is mine!" Both the pincers raised above Rae's head and prepared to crush her frame, but a quick spell stopped the attack. A blast of crimson and white exploded between the two. Rae shielded her eyes by closing them tight, but the Arachne was not so fortunate. The severely-damaged pincer blasted right off her arm while the other clung on by mere tendons. Once freed, Rae would not cease the onslaught. Rapiers bared, she cut off the rest of the tendons to the spider woman's most dangerous weapons, disarming her of her fore-pincers entirely. She then swung at a leg, hacking it off easily, then stabbed her Sanguinaire into the abdomen, causing hot blood to ooze out onto her hand and arm. With agonized wails, the Arachne jumped back, catching herself onto the wall behind her. "BEGONE! LEAVE! GET OUT OF MY HOME!" She shrieked at Rae, retreating into the vines she hid in before. Rae quickly sheathed her Rapiers and darted to the plant. She quickly pulled the bulb from the stem attached to the black and blue leaves, and jerked it free from its place. Instantly, the pink and green petals exploded open, coating Rae's eyes and the inside of her mouth with dust. She cried out in surprise, throwing the bulb to the ground and shook her head, coughing and sputtering to try and spit out the thick powder as she rubbed her burning eyes. From her right, she head the cackling of the weakened and bleeding Arachne. "You fool! My revenge will be had!" She laughed. Opening her eyes, Rae's head jerked to where the monster was and she drew her Rapiers again. With a gasp, the woman tried to flee, but Rae jumped after her, landing on her abdomen and cutting another leg of hers off and causing them both to fall down. As they tumbled, Rae stabbed both Rapiers into her body, and as they landed, she pierced through her heart. With a gurgle, the Vilekin's eyes glazed over and she laid limp on the ground, blood spilling from her wounds and opened mouth. Climbing off the corpse, Rae breathlessly sheathed her weapons. Her arms hung, dangling at her sides as she walked forward. Leaving the area, she realized she would have to leap through the water again if she were to leave. Moving back, she fetched some vines and used them to lasso a rock above her and swing across to safety. Defeated, Rae walked back the way she came, finding the path to Marishi easily as she followed her nose again. As she walked, however, she could see things from the corners of her eyes. Shadows, shapes, darting between trees. She would turn to face them when she saw them, but every time they would evade her sight. Rae came to a stream and she knelt down, using the frozen cold water to splash alertness onto her face, as well as sip from the clear spring to wash her mouth out and rub her eyes with it. Standing up, she noticed across the stream a creature she had never seen before. Its body was hunched over, eyes beady and red like blood. It bore no mouth that she could see, its limbs were twisted, like the bones had long since been broken and healed into the misshapen place they were in. Its flesh was black and tar-like. Droplets of it fell into the water, splashing and tainting its pristine appearance. Rae glanced down to her hands and noticed the tar-like substance coated them. Gasping, Rae shook her hands, ridding them of the black flesh of the creature, then wiped her eyes with the sleeves of her coat. She spit out the water in her mouth, but thankfully it was clear. Clambering to her feet, the creature made a grotesque cry out for her and reached, its limb stretching across the stream to grasp at her. In a hurry, Rae jumped back and darted off, not wanting the thing to touch her. As she ran through the jungle, following the scent of Marishi, Rae was assaulted by the very inanimate objects she passed. Trees reached out, swiping at her flesh, bruising her. Rocks grew arms and legs and chased her. Shadows became sentient and pulled her down into the earth, forcing her to trudge through the earth to free herself. The pathway became an enemy and, as she leapt into the brush, her skin itched with countless thousands of bugs crawling across her flesh, burrowing in. Brids descended from the sky and picked at her ears, tearing the fur and flesh from them, causing Rae to cry out in pain and surprise. She rushed through the suddenly alive forest, tears streaming down her face, body hot and sweating, breath coming out in ragged, painful gasps. Before her, she spotted a tall tree with a sigil carved into it. Weakly, she dragged her feet towards it and pressed her fingers to the sigil, then collapsed against the trunk and blacked out.
  9. Outsane

    The World of Savages [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    "Marishi," Rae murmured, her tone filled with caution. Why was she acting like this? The Mamool Ja have been nothing but helpful and kind. Her snarky remarks and snide comments were close to getting them a one-way ticket into getting lost and dying in this jungle. She moved to speak more, but Marishi moved away and Koheel turned to her. Rae met his gaze and frowned. Was Marishi falling victim to the Wendigo? She went to speak, but Koheel spoke first, warning Rae. She nodded. "She will sleep. I will make sure of it. I apologize on her behalf. She truly isn't like this. I'm... worried." Nothing more was spoken on the matter. Immediately they got to work chopping down trees. Rae fretted over Marishi as she took her many breaks, her breathing laboured, her coughing worsening. She wanted to go out and seek medicine, but Marishi would have none of that. At the mention of herbs or sleep, the work would continue. It was almost as though her wife wanted to be weakened physically and mentally. Like being susceptible to an attack would be preferable. Rae stopped attempting to get Marishi to listen to reason, and together they finished the boat. "Rest now. Eat. We barge when dawn fills sky. Is too late. Firehair, stay with sick one. I will return." With that, the Mamool Ja swept up his pike in his hand and vanished into the woods to fetch them food. Rae's hands trembled, her arms felt as though the bones were gone from them. Her back was sore, her neck was sore, her hands were blistered, but she focused on Marishi. Thoughts trailed to the symptom her wife exhibited. She jotted them down. It felt sick to her. Disgusting. Foul. She was writing down the symptoms of her wife rather than seeking out a cure for them. Since when did the work come before her beloved? But she already had the cure. Thoughts went back to her dream. The True Fruit. The one that could negate the effects of the Wendigo, and cure anything, really. It was her only hope, but she tried to recall the path in the dream, but could not. Had she forgotten it? The Guardian had blessed her with the knowledge of where it was. Perhaps it truly was a dream... Koheel Ja returned. Three small rabbit-like creatures in his hand. Snared, their necks broken. Handing one to Rae, they began to skin them while the Mamool Ja ordered Marishi to start a fire, which she did. Once skinned, Rae began to roast the first rabbit while speaking with Koheel. "Are there other stories about these lands? I'll be honest, I thought this land was smaller than Eorzea. By the way you describe it, there are multiple different biomes here and I didn't think it quite possible on such a small continent." "Gods bless us. Give us land that we do not need to leave. Give us all we need here. We do not need Smoothskins trades and wares. Mamool Ja can take care of self. Live off land for generations. Smoothskins think better, but are not. If money goes away, what do Smoothskins have? If walls fall, will Smoothskins live? Smoothskins know not how to live off land. Not well enough. Many die. Sad. Mamool Ja will thrive. Always thrive. Different weather given by the gods. Let us explore world without leaving home. Can still protect sacred land." Came his long answer. Rae noticed the rabbit-creature was done cooking, and pulled it off the spit roaster and placed another one on and began roasting it as well while Koheel sunk his teeth into the still sizzling flesh. "So the gods blessed this land with different biomes so you wouldn't need to get off the continent. Interesting. Why accept trade from us Smoothskins, then? If you don't need from us, why humour our efforts to build a relationship?" Rae asked, glancing to Marishi briefly, then back to Koheel Ja. After a moment to think, he answered. "Safety. Perhaps technology of Smoothskins save us from threats. Easy to live off land, but predators stalk us. Kill us. Scatter us. Maybe Smoothskins save us from evil. Maybe kill all Wendigo. They parasite. Feed off, but never give back. Even kill and eat eachother. Filthy." He made a point to stare directly at Marishi as he spoke. Rae frowned deeply again, then turned back to Marishi, then to the Mamool Ja. If he was trying to start a fight, Marishi would lose. She was in no condition now after the strenuous work they did all day. She hand't even slept yet. Rae quickly finished cooking the last two rabbits and they sat down and ate. It was gamey. She wasn't a fan of the all-too-natural taste of the beast, but she didn't have time to make something ellaborate while also ensuring neither Marishi nor Koheel Ja tore each other apart. Soon, it was time to sleep. Mats spread out and coverings over their bodies, Rae laid down and stared at the embers of the fire. Her thoughts went back to the dream and the pathway to the True Fruit. It had to be real. There was no way it was a false dream. But what was the path? She forgot it already. She drudged through her memories, searching for the way marks, the turns and twists in the road that she did not travel while conscious. "Please, Guardian. Show me the way again." Rae murmured before closing her eyes and drifting off to sleep.
  10. Outsane

    The World of Savages [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    "Almost like Thralls," Rae murmured, more to herself than to the other two. She worked on a hearty meal. Potatoes, meat, seared vegetables and fruit gathered by their guide. The aroma was mouth-watering. She served the Mamool Ja first, then Marishi, then herself. They ate and Rae listened intently to what Koheel had to say. "Perhaps more Ascian than Primal." She corrected herself. To be a prisoner in one's own body and to witness the horrors that they performed felt a fate worse than death. She ate the rest of the meal in silence. Once it was done, she cleaned, but kept the fire ablaze. It would provide a bit of light and warmth for them in this chilling environment. Rae glanced to Marishi, noting her reserved disposition. She kept to herself, but would glance out to the forest trees now and then. Rae would follow her gaze, but saw nothing. Not so much as a movement. Sympathy rolled within her soul. Marishi never did well in newer environments, and she looked tired. Perhaps it was time to sleep. Rolls out, everyone wrapped in their respective blankets, the trio slept. Rae kept her Rapiers near and her spells readied. Koheel slept on his dagger, and Marishi... There was a smell, an aroma that tickled her senses. It pulled her awake. It wasn't an unpleasant smell, in fact, it was quite delicious. Like a bowl of cut fruit, or crushed petals burning to create an aroma. She sat up and glanced around, following her nose as the scent grew stronger while drifting out from the clearing, deeper into the forest. It was a curious scent indeed. She stood, and walked out of the clearing in silence. The forest was cold, but warm. The wind stirred the trees, but did not blast her bare skin, despite her not having her jacket on... or anything, really. When did she strip from her clothes? "Ah, it must be a dream." She murmured, then continued on. She would see this dream to its end, to find what that smell was. She followed it, through the winding paths of the forest, through the thick brush, under the tangled boughs of the trees, through the cave that was veiled by a waterfall, and there she found a plant. It rested in the middle of the hidden orchard, a light gleaming down upon it. "Dear Child of the Stars," came a voice from around her. Rae spun, searching for its source, but none could be found. "You have come here, despite all odds. You've followed the scent of the True Plant, the Hesporicus. It only calls to those of divine blessing. And none are more divine than yourself, Child of the Stars. I have searched for you, waited, prayed to the Life Mother that you would come before it was too late." "Too late?" Rae asked curiously, a brow piqued in intrigue. She drew nearer to the plant. It was a vibrant pink with green tips. It was like petals of a large flower closed up around its pistil, in the shape of a tear. The leaves around it looked like stars, but were ringed with thorns and sharp ridges. To touch it would surely draw blood. The aroma, however, was blissful. It exuded directly from the small opening where the petals of the fruit pressed together, almost like lips for a kiss. Rae examined it, but did not touch. "This fruit is the last of its kind. My kin have guarded the fruit of this orchard for eons. Now, sadly, it draws to an end. The trees bear no more fruit, the grass becomes sparse, the leaves die, but do not return. I fear a poison has beset this orchard and it slowly claims the lives of all those who dwell within it," the voice went on to say. It was very clearly feminine, and filled with sorrow. "There was once a time this whole land was filled with these wondrous fruits, these miracle-workers, but the Wendigo drove it out. They ripped out the Hesporicus plants at their roots, they threw our fruits into the fire. These fruits work against them. They give those that eat it immunity, they repel those beasts from within the mind of the weakened and bless them with insight, knowledge, and intelligence. All spells become amplified with just a bite. All wounds become quick to heal. All ailments are cured... that is why it is called The True Plant." Rae listened to the voice, then heard a twig snap behind her, which she spun to face the owner of the voice. She was beautiful. A pale woman with hair like moon light, eyes large and dark like the night sky. Her clothes danced around her, like smoke to a blown-out candle wick. She moved gracefully, but with a visible frailty. Rae watched with slight concern, then gasped when the woman fell. She landed beside the plant and let out a pained cry. Rae ran to her side, holding her, picking her up into her arms and turning her around to face her. "Why do you not partake of the fruit? You are so weak, so frail. A guardian should not be as so." The woman smiled, her lips as pale as the rest of her skin, her teeth immaculate, her skin soft, warm, and smooth. She reached up and tenderly stroked Rae's face, brushing the hair from her eyes. "I cannot eat that which I guard, Child of the Stars. I, along with my sisters, have accepted our fate. When each plant dies, so too goes the guardian. My time is near, but I will hold on. I can hold on for you. Come to this orchard. Come, take this fruit of my plant. You will come to need it soon, I believe. I have shown you the way in this dream of yours. I bless you to remember it. I bless you, Star....Child...." ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Rae awoke, tangled in her blanket and coat. Her clothes shifted uncomfortably against her, her nose and ears cold from being exposed to the morning chill, or rather, the chill that lasted the whole night through. As she sat up and rubbed her eyes, she caught a familiar smell. She paused, eyes opening wide and she recalled her dream, the voice, the sights, the path. Her eyes darted to the forest around them, then to Koheel Ja, who was awake and watching her intently. "Koheel," Rae said, her voice cracking. Clearing it, she spoke again. "Koheel, I must ask you a question. Do you know of any plants called... Hesporicus? The True Plant?" The Mamool Ja's expression distorted to confusion and slight disgust. "Koheel never heard of such name. Hesporicus? Sounds as a spell. Why Smoothskin ask?" "I dreamt of it. This delicious-smelling plant... And a woman who guarded it. She was beautiful, but dying. As was this plant that bore a fruit. She... ah. Perhaps it was a dream." Rae stopped speaking when she saw the Mamool Ja's expression quickly grow more and more leery of what she said. "My apologies, Koheel. I sometimes get a little whimsical when I dream. Got my head in the clouds, one could say." She smiled and chuckled, then crawled out of her coccoon of warmth and made her way to Marishi, who looked worse for wear. "My Lune," Rae cooed, kneeling down beside Marishi. She looked concerned as well, seeing Marishi's eyes with dark circles around them. "Are you feeling alright? How did you sleep last night?" She asked softly, not wanting their guide to hear. At the sight of the two speaking softly, Koheel Ja stood. "I gather breakfast food. Use rest of meat from last night. Need enough food. Travel far, but not much farther. River coming soon, will need all day to pass it. We sleep there at the bank. Can fish. Fish good. More tasty. You felines, like panthers. Panthers love fish. You love fish." The Mamool Ja smirked at Rae, who glanced back to him and noted his demeanour. "Are you being racist, Koheel?" She asked, but he turned and walked away, laughing lightly. Rae snorted, smiling as well and turned back to Marishi, stroking her fingers along her cheek. "It seems our guide has a bit of a sense of humour on him." She murmured.
  11. Outsane

    The World of Savages [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    "Which is why they sent me as well," Rae explained. She sat cross-legged, contrast to her partner. Leaning forward, Rae locked her fingers together and rested her chin on them, her elbows resting on her knees. "Wendigo need to get close in order to take on the skin of their target. They can't get close to some one wielding magic. My Rapiers are not for show. Through them, I can channel magic. However, the idea is to not have to go to such greath lengths as to slaughter the Wendigo, unless your tribe has no qualms with our methods." "Smoothskins know of Wendigo?" Radol Ja stated, both heads speaking in unison, all eyes narrowed and leering at Rae. She did not falter in her response. "Of course we know of them, Chief Radol Ja. We were warned of their existance upon hearing of the mission, while aboard the ship as well as in the port. There were a vast many stories told to us, all of them sharing one thing in common: the Wendigo are not to be taken lightly. They unlike anything we have ever encountered before. The beasts have raised quite a stir among the eastern lands. Sailors would not dare come here unless paid a healthy sum, soldiers demanded the finest equipment and weapons, and the people? Well, they find solace in numbers. Seeing walls up around them, seeing seasoned guards with sturdy weapons, seeing other people appearing safe, they convince themselves it will never happen to them. So long as they stay on the beach where they are supposed to, perhaps it won't." The Chief appeared satisfied with her explanation of the Wendigo, but the blue head spoke quickly. "Smoothskins know of dangers. Know of Wendigo. Still come to explore and map. Come to establish trades. Smoothskins are either brave or foolish." Rae smiled again, straightening up and resting her hands on her knees. "I suppose we shall find out what we are, then. It won't be of any consequence to your tribe whether we are brave or not. We go into the wild with nothing but our weapons and gumption and should we return, blessed are we. Should we die, then another soul to be lost in the abyss. Your tribe will continue on as usual, like nothing ever happened." "Indeed," spoke the other head, turning to the other Mamool Ja within the hut. Their questions seemed to be answered with satisfaction and honesty. There was no reason to question the two further. "Smoothskins have been cooperative. Do not seem hostile. Smoothskins may have weapons back, but must answer more questions. Sailors not tell much of your land. They keep secrets. We Mamool Ja will never leave this land, must guard it, must protect it and it will protect us. Tell us of your land." Rae's eyes gleamed as the Mamool Ja who held her Rapiers returned them to her. She gratefully took them back, bowing in respect and sheathing them while going in to great detail about Eorzea. "I was born in The Black Shroud. It's a densely forested area that's like this forest, but unlike it as well. The smell where I am from is more earthy, like tilled soil after a morning of rain," there was recognition flashing in the eyes of many around them. From the entrance, a crowd had gathered as they listened and stared at the strange newcomers. They had drawn a crowd. "Fruit is not as abundant as within your forest, but that which grows natrually are protected by the Elements - spirits of the forest that embody the core makeup of the world around them. Earth, Water, Wind, Fire. All elements are present within and help flourish the forest. At a young age, I was taken to another land: Sharlaya. An island closer to here than Aldenard. There is where some of the finest Scholars are hailed from. They take pleasure from books and knowledge and the study of magic and the cosmos. While some have their faces turned down to books, others cast their eyes up to stare at the stars. The land is... artificial. None of what remains was of the original design. The Sharlayans care little for nature if it isn't something magical. They presume to know everything of the physical world and seek to learn that of the celestial and aetherial." "What does Smoothskin feel of that?" Asked Radol Ja, caution in his tone. "I disagree with it whole-heartedly," Rae quipped, a scowl on her face. "There is far more of nature that the Sharlayans are willingly blind to. They think with their skant knowledge of what they have observed over the span of one decade they have seen all that the physical world has to offer. They had no idea of the Elementals. They had no idea of the tree in the Central Shroud which an elder Elemental presides within. When I attempted to teach them of more, they explained away my knowledge as... primitive folklore. Not many White Mages are among their ranks, as they are those who conjure spells and restorative magics from the vast pool of aether that is Nature." The tension within the Chief seemed to melt away as he relaxed to Rae's answer. "Tell us more, Smoothskin. Your world seems interesting. You weild swords but claim to use magic. Is this magic from Sharrl-aye?" He spoke the word with hesitation, his tongue struggling to form the word. Patiently, Rae answered his question. "Sharlaya. And no, not entirely. I am a Red Mage. I wield both Black and White magic, but not as potently as one who would specialize in one or the other. My magic hails from the nations of Mhach and Amdapor-" "Amdapor!" Exclaimed Radol Ja. Many of the others turned to one another and whispered at the sudden outburst of their chief. "Amdapor is a nation we know! Smoothskins came here many years ago. Seeking passage. Seeking knowledge. Seeking forbidden things! Our grandfathers and grandmothers write of the Amdapor men! Angry. Evil. They seek curses. Do you work for nation?!" Rae's hands were thrown up and her eyesbrows raised as well, shock on her face. "No! Of course not. You will be pleased to know the nation of Amdapor got what it wanted, and thus what it deserved. The people were wiped out, and those who remained cursed to be small monsters we call Tonberries. Amdapor is no longer a threat to this world," At her explanation, the room seemed to quiet down. Knowing the threat of the Amdapor scholars was gone seemed to put them at ease. "I had no idea other nations had made it out to this land before our own. Have you had many other visitors besides those?" "If any, they did not enter our land by shore," Radol Ja answered, relaxing back against his chair. As he did, food was brought in, as well as drinks. Rae stared at all the prepared meals. There was meat that smelled spicy, fruits that were both charred or simply cut into sections to bite into. Rae leaned closer to one platter where a slab of meat was glazed with a sweet-smelling liquid that oozed onto large, green leafs beneath it. "Eat. Smoothskins are guests, smoothskins may eat and drink." With a smile, Rae obliged the chief and reached to tear into the chunk of meat before her. "We appreciate your hospitality, Chief Radol Ja. This meal look simply wonderful," as she bit into the meat she tore off, Rae had to cover her mouth to keep the juice from gushing out. Flavour unlike any she had tasted before filled her mouth. It was like she had bit into a juicy fruit. Once she swallowed all that was in her mouth, she laughed. "I would love to learn of the spices and herbs you use, as well as how you cooked that! I've never bit into meat so juicy!" One of the heads bit into a leg of something while the other spoke before filling his mouth with a leaf full of berries. "That is the bladder of a Red Crown Zuu." Upon hearing it was part of a bladder, Rae's stomach churned and she stopped herself from putting another piece into her mouth. Her expression dropped to one of dismay as she slowly lowered the hunk she cut off. A few Mamool Ja laughed while Radol Ja smirked, quite pleased with Rae's reaction. "Most Smoothskin don't finish either. Hrah hrah hrah." His laugh was a low rumble, almost a growl. Rae reached over to the charred fruit, knowing it couldn't possibly be something horrendous like a tongue or genital of some strange animal. "Black-eyed Smoothskin does not speak of world. Speak. Tell of your world." Said the blue head before biting into the succulent leg it was gnawing on before.
  12. Outsane

    The World of Savages [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    "Of course it's snow," Rae murmured, shivering and rubbing her hands over her arms. She was not a fan of the cold. Growing up in the Shroud, she rarely saw the snow and felt the cold. Perhaps a bit of her parents' genes altered her tolerance to the cold, as she hated it more than usual. More often than not did she find herself huddling closer to her wife, shivering, teeth chattering, tail lazily wrapped up around her waist, tucked up under her heavy blanket to keep her warm. It did little to that effect. The chill in the air didn't begin to nip at Rae's senses until they were a month and a half away from reaching the New World. She would wrap blankets around herself, robbing cots of them, only to replace them shortly after a few disgruntled murmurs from the crew met with her ears. Snow never fell, but it felt though at any given moment it would. It was dark. It was cold. Rae was a little more than irritable. She had one bed sheet used as a scarf while another was her coat. Her ears pressed flat against her head and her eyes leered from under her furrowed brows. She looked exactly like a miserable feline would caught out in the freezing cold. Once all the things were in order and the civilians were allowed to leave the ship, Rae walked with Marishi, smiling to her from underneath her two layers of clothing. Mildly, she wondered if setting fire to her blankets an walking around with burning sheets was such a bad idea. There was no assigned camps for anyone but the crew, so Rae and Marishi picked a campfire and rolled out their mats. Rae, ever the attentive chef, prepared a simple soup and re-heated some rolls she made while on the ship. She knew there would be no chance to make rolls such as these once they landed, so she prepared a few within the ship's humble kitchen. A few of the onlookers glanced their way hungrily. Rae ignored them while scooping up some of the creamy soup. It tasted rich, smooth, and warmed the soul through and through. Rae ignored the scalding pain on her tongue as she gulped down as much of the soup she could before it went warm. Belly warm, her body heated up as well and he was left smiling contentedly, humming with joy. When warned to not stray from the fires, Rae scoffed, her sound muffled by the sheet. "Like I would. My Nocturne, I have no idea how you are so comfortable with this temperature. My tail would have fallen off if not for these blankets. My ears feel like icicles," She commented, laughing lightly as she allowed others to partake of the meal she made. They wouldn't be able to take it all with them, after all. As Marishi apologized, Rae smiled warmly to her. "It's not a bother, my dear. I wouldn't want you in a position where you couldn't use your senses properly to guide you. I have no qualms with resting on solid ground tonight. I'd rather the world stop rocking like the ship, anyway." Soon after eating, sleep overtook her and Marishi. She slept near her wife, her hand reaching out from the covers and touching her's. Soon, she drifted off to sleep. Chanting filled her dreams from disembodied voices that she never heard before. A language she never knew, a song she never learned. The chanting brought a feeling of dread within her, but when it stopped, she felt peace slowly return. Once she thought the ordeal had passed, a large had reached out from the darkness and snatched her up. The tapping at her feet caused her to stir. Rae opened her eyes and looked up to her wife, already prepared to leave. She smiled and stretched. Odd. It seemed warmer that day. It didn't take Rae long at all to pack away her roll and pull on the coat Marishi had made for her. She also stored away one of the blankets she absconded from the ship. For good measure. Once their miniature camp was cleaned, they were off. It was strange. The island reminded her of The Shroud, but at the same time, it was quite unlike the Shroud. There were cries from creatures she had never heard before. Smells she had never encountered. Fruits hung low from the overburdened trees and Rae knew most of them. There were a few that she did not recognize, so she steered clear. Thankfully, due to the Limsan sailors' trade, she was able to know what the fruits from this world was and how they tasted. They would not starve on this island, that was for certain. The journey through the forested area was rather uneventful for the most part. The birds would fly overhead and chirp or screech, the wildlife would scurry away before spotted by the biped intruders. Rae and Marishi, at times, would need to use blades to cut through the thickets and vines that covered the discrete path they took. It was well-covered, but there was a path there. Soon, the song of the birds began to quiet down, the animals that darted around became sparse and the the fruits that over-burdened the trees appeared to be more culled and controlled in population. Rae was the first to notice the fruit count going down and made comment to Marishi. "I think we're getting close to either civilization or a gathering site." She cautioned. Before long, movement of another kind would be seen. Larger figures darted between trees. Branches trembled. Twigs snapped. Rae stopped, ears raised in alert and her eyes watching the shadows dart around eagerly. She rested her hand on her Dreadwyrm Rapier, readying to use it for an attack. Perhaps, however, these shadow-lurkers were merely curious of their presence? They possibly had never seen a Miqo'te before and found this one fascinating. What language did they speak? Perhaps some of the earlier settlers of the island had brought the language to them. The movements stopped and Rae could clearly see one body standing not too far, not fearing to hide between the trees. It was one of the island's natives--a Mamool ja. They looked as if a snake grew arms and legs and an antennae. Like an Eft deformed. Rae kept her comments to herself, however. "Hello," she called out, warily, turning to fully address the one brave enough to not hide in the thicket. "We are friends. We do not come to harm you. Can you understand me?" There was a silence that came as the Mamool Ja stared, cocking his head from side to side. "Of course Welool Ja understand. Smoothskins teach us words. Mamool Ja learn. Friend? But Smoothskin puts its hand on weapon. Mouth says one thing, hand does other." His voice was a gruff hiss. With his spear, he pointed at Rae's hand resting upon the pommel of her Rapier, which she dropped to her side. "I ask for your forgiveness, Welool Ja," Rae replied, bowing slightly. "Being a stranger in a strange land puts one on edge. I meant nothing of this affront and I hope you could look past it. I'll not draw my weapon on you and yours, so long as you do not draw yours upon me and mine." Welool Ja seemed satisfied by her words and action, although his face did not show it. "Smoothskin uses fancy words. The Mamool Ja know the Smoothskins that speak with honey in their mouth are deceitful." From somewhere in the canopy of trees, a bow string was drawn. "It's not always that way, you see," Rae said, glancing to the tree tops, then back to Welool Ja. "I am a scholar, unlike those men who you must have seen before. I take more diplomatic approaches. If you wish for some one who speaks plainly, my wife would be happy to oblige." "Why have the Smoothskins come to our land," Welool Ja demanded, his face contorted with anger. "Why invade? Why trespass? Why steal? Why kill? Why here?" Rae spoke up calmly. "We have come to explore, not ki-" She was cut off by the spear-wielding Mamool Ja stamping the spear onto a rock beside him, then pointing the head at her. "Enough from the fire-haired Smoothskin! You speak! You answer!" His spear then turned to Marishi, his face hardened as he waited an answer.
  13. Outsane

    Under Boughs Of Blood [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    Seeing the blood at Marishi's side, Rae knew what was to come. Her wife was bleeding out slowly. The wound caused by the explosion had gravely wounded Marishi. Not even Alexander could stop death when it was imminent. We was powerful, but not omnipotent. At first, she felt numb. The time of reckoning had come. She was do undo what she had done. She was to face the consequences of her actions, and it would involve her, directly. As Marishi asked her to prop her up, Rae did so, carefully moving her wife, resting her back to her chest. Rae held her, resting her face next to Marishi's, their cheeks pressed together. Marishi's was cold. When instructed to take the wakizashi out for her, Rae did so, slowly. Her hands trembled. They felt as cold as Marishi's did. When asked to help her, Rae's hands moved on their own, holding Marishi's. The tears flowed freely as the dagger aligned to Marishi's chest. Rae, unable to watch, turned her face, burying it into Marishi's neck and squeezing her eyes shut. It felt strange. Rae had pierced bodes before. She had plunged her Rapiers into the chest of men who would seek to end her. She had sliced the arms and legs and necks of those brigands who sought to attack them. Doing this, however, felt... perverse. Wrong. The feel of the blade slipping through between her ribs and plunging into her heart was enough to make Rae almost gag. Her hands shook violently, her fingers numb as she let go of the dagger and slid back, carefully helping Marishi to lay down comfortably, her head on Rae's lap as blood pooled around them. She hunched over, pressing her forehead to Marishi's as she wept silently, her hands absently stroking her wife's face, her hair, her neck. Rae could see her mother weeping at the corner of her eye, but she made no movement to console her, to comfort her. She hurt the most at that moment. The following events were a blur to Rae. As the form of Zodiark vanished, loud cheers rose up to the sky. Word spread fast that the evil Zodiark had left this plane and the world was spared of a worse horror. For now. the ever diligent Scions of the Seventh Dawn warned that the Ascian influence was not entirely gone from this world and the nations would still need to be alert of their presence and look for them in every shadow, around every corner, in every court room. Serreth and Rae carried Marishi's body out from Zodiark after quite some time. By then, the sun was gone and the moon high in the night sky. "We need to take her to Coerthas," Rae murmured, her face red from crying, her skin dry from long-dried tears. "She would want to be buried there, with her family." "Rae Ten," came a voice from beside them. Rae and Serreth turned and spotted a Twin Adders Commander, as well as a handful of officers along with him. "We have orders to escort you back to Gridania. You are being charged with treachery, consorting with the enemy, terrorism and acts of terrorism, and the cause of the mass destruction of the Churning Mists and the Dravanian Forelands." Serreth's ears and tail rose while her eyes widened. "You'll sooner take my daughter from me when I am dead on the ground with her wife! Don't you lay a finger on her or I will break all of them and rip your hearts out and stuff them-" "Mother," Rae said, calmly, quietly, causing her mother to stop her impassioned threatening. "It's alright. This needs to happen. This was all my fault because I was selfish. I shouldn't have done what I had done. There needs to be consequences for my actions." Serreth stared at Rae, eyes filling with tears anew. She was going to lose two daughters only after just getting one back. How could things have gone so wrong? How could that simple invitation have lead to something as horrible as this? "If you would allow me, I would like to bury my wife first before you detain me," Rae said, looking to the general and his officers. They had all lowered their weapons, having prepared for a fight to bring her in. Upon seeing her melancholy, the Commander nodded, giving her the right to do so. Using their ships, they flew to Coerthas. Upon the ship were tools to wrap Marishi and shovels to bury her. It took quite a bit of effort, but Serreth and Rae were able to dig a grave. Blisters covered their hands and they bled. As they lowered Marishi into the ground, Rae felt a wave of new emotion wash over her. Each shovel of dirt was another stab into her heart. Each stab brought upon ten tears without seeming end. Once buried, Rae turned to the Gridanian soldiers and held her hands out to them. Shackled, she was escorted back onto the airship. "Please! Don't kill her. Don't sentence her to death! She's done so much for us. She stopped Odin, she scattered the Red Bellies! She... She had to kill her wife to stop Zodiark. Please, spare her mercy. She's not bad. She had a moment of weakness, and I'm sure you all would have done the same!" The airship's engine started, causing the ship to shudder and a loud humming as well as the sound of the propellers starting up filled the air. The Commander stood still a moment before turning to Serreth as the airship began to leave for Gridania. "I will ensure the council knows of her deeds, but the decision is up to them, Madame." With that, the discussion was over and Serreth moved to the ship where her daughter was, wrapping her arms around her and holding her until the flight brought them to the familiar tree tops of the Shroud, then docked at the Gridanian airship station. A crowd was there to meet them. Once seeing Rae, they booed and hissed at her, throwing things as they could. Her mother attempted to shield her, earning her cuts and bruises from rocks thrown. The soldiers did little to stop them, but only kept them back so they wouldn't swarm and attack her. Everyone knew what she had done. She brought Zodiark to the star and almost caused its destruction. The throng of people slowly dissipated as they drew nearer to the Lotus Stand, and the crowd did not follow as they went through to the older part of Gridania. Once at the stand, she was made to stand before the council. The typical council was not there. This time, the leaders of the great nations--minus Garlemald--were seated at the table, facing her and watching her every move. Serreth was barred entry to the meeting, knowing she would disrupt it when the judgement was given. "Rae Ten," spoke the Seedseer, acting leader of the council. "You have been brought before us with charges faced against you. Treachery, terrorism, acts of terrorism, consorting with the enemy, mass destruction, mass murder... just to name a few. The council here is to ensure you receive a fair trial. On the council are those whom have suffered at the consequences of your actions. The leaders of the great nations, Merlwyb of Limsa Lominsa, Raubahn of Ul'Dah, Aymeric of Coerthas, and I, Kan-E-Senna of Gridania. We have come to hear your side of the story that surround the events of the utter decimation of the Churning Mists and the Dravanian Forelands." "I plead guilty," Rae answered, her head hung low, eyes staring at the wooden planks that she stood upon. There was a silence among the four leaders, all glancing to one another in sudden shock. "I willingly allowed those things to happen, despite the warnings of my mother and the Scions of the Seventh Dawn. I asked for the life of my wife to be spared by turning to an Ascian. I did it knowing the consequences would be dire, but I was selfish and wished it anyways. I wanted to stop at nothing to have my wife back... even now... even now I seek to reunite with her. The penalty for treachery is death, is it not?" She lifted her head, staring pointedly at the leaders, seeking an answer. Aymeric shifted uneasily while glancing to the others. The Commander was still present and spoke up. "It was brought to my attention that Mistress Ten performed great acts of heroism. Not only did she give chase to stop her possessed wife, she dealt the final blow upon her that would send Zodiark from this world. Moreover, she had a hand in the quelling of Odin as well as the dismantling of the Redbellies gang in the South Shroud. This has enabled us to capture and charge nearly all of them and ushered in a degree of safety for all those who would seek to travel through the Shroud now." The council all took on a look of surprise, Raubahn was even impressed. They looked to Rae, sizing her up. Such a small creature could cause so much unrest in such a short amount of time. "We note these brave acts and will consider them when we make our decision." Kan-E-Senna stated, Rae's ears folding downward. She did not want her good deeds to be known. She wanted execution. She wanted peace. Quietly, the council spoke to one another. Now and then, their woulds could be heard, but Rae stared into the water. She could throw herself in there, but it was barely a puddle. She could not drown in it. The dread of feeling as though she would be spared the death sentence grew as the council nodded, one by one, then turned to address her again. "Rae Ten of Gridania. For your acts involving the summoning of Zodiark and the calamity he brought upon the world, you have earned yourself a death sentence; however, for your acts in helping stop a fate worse than what was done, for the good deeds you have done within the Shroud, we have decided to spare thee. But you will not be free to leave. You will remain in the prison in Coerthas until such a time as we deem fit to release you. Lord Aymeric and his soldiers will escort you this night to your new home." Rae's eyes squeezed shut and her hands balled into fists as she was lead away. Tears rolled down her face and her legs barely moved as a shuffle as she was brought to the docks where the awaiting airship to escort them to Coerthas stayed. Once aboard, the ship departed immediately, taking them to the chilly realm of Coerthas, where Rae was taken to a deep, dark, stony gaol. There was a window that allowed the cold air in, forcing Rae to shiver, but she did nothing of it. Perhaps hypothermia would take her if she got cold enough. Dawn was just starting to break, the snow dispersing, the rays of the Sun beaming through the high window. Rae sat on the floor, shivering, still able to see her breath. She stared with hallow eyes at the cobblestone floor that was her new home. The shouts of prisoners echoed through the halls, the sound of metal grating as a door opened from down the hallway. She tuned it all out, ignoring everything and focusing on the sound of Marishi's voice, her laugh, her breathing, her talking, her humming. Never to be heard again in this life. Perhaps this was why they didn't kill her. Perhaps this was why they forced her to live. There were fates far worse than death, and to live an empty, purposeless life in the cold gaol cell of a country she never lived in was the worst of it. Memories haunted her. The terrible kind. No more could she recall her wife's voice and soothing touch, but the memories of her torment at the hands of Zodiark, the feeling of the knife sliding itself through her ribs, the heat of her blood pumping out onto her hands and legs. It burned worse than any fire could. "There she is. Take your time, Lord Aymeric would wish to speak to you after, though." Instructed a guard as he unlocked her cell door, allowing two guests to enter. Rae did not turn to consider them. She did not acknowledge their presence. Instead, she stared intently, letting her mind consume her with thoughts of her failure to save her wife, and the torment she thrust upon her due to her own selfishness. As the guard left, the two remained quiet until the door was closed, giving them somewhat better privacy. "Ahh, she is a strange one indeed," said one, a Miqo'te woman. "When you told me she would have strange aether, I did not expect to see this." "One of the other Scions told me she had mentioned she had Bahamut fighting for her body to fend off Zodiark from possessing her as well," came a male voice, he stepped closer to Rae, then paused before slowly kneeling down, but she did not lift her gaze still. "It's almost as if her aether is Bahamut's. It's discoloured from ours. Purple, flecks of gold, wings. It certainly resembles his. Rae, come. Address us, is that any way to treat your guests?" The woman spoke sternly, causing Rae to lift her gaze and look upon them both. Both had white hair, one had a bandage over his right eye while the other had silvery white eyes. The Miqo'te. The man who wore the bandage bore facial hair and was quite handsome, with kindness in his eyes as he beheld Rae. The Miqo'te had no expression in her eyes, but a small smile on her face as she looked at Rae as if she could see her. "My name is Thancred, and this is my partner, Y'shtola. We are Scions of the Seventh Dawn. After hearing about your ability to resist the possession of Zodiark, we wished to meet you and offer you a chance. Not a chance to redeem yourself or any of that, but a chance to continue your work. You'd be free of this cell, you'd travel the world and fight perilously against Primals. It is our goal to stop the threat of Primals on this land, and we believe, with your help, it is possible." "What do you say, Rae? Will you join us?" The one named Y'shtola asked, holding her hand out to Rae, still smiling. Rae stared between them both, then looked at her hand. Thoughts whirled in her head like a storm. Quickly, Rae considered her options. An urging from within her bade her to take the hand. And so, she did.
  14. Outsane

    Under Boughs Of Blood [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    Rae didn't react to her words - no. Not her words. His words. Zodiark spoke to hurt her, to weaken her resolve, to cause her torment. She knew he may be telling the truth, she knew he may very well be lying as well. Rae relived that night in her own mind, revisited the old pains she felt, the old wounds being ripped open in her mind and soul. There was nothing more that she wanted than to plunge her Rapier through his throat. It was as he said, though. If she killed him, Marishi died as well. She didn't react when the skies above were filed with the multitude of airships, circling around like buzzards above a corpse. They waited. Too well did they know the extent of Zodiark's power now. Having seen countless of their comrades die at his hands with a mere flick of the wrist, it was enough to keep them at bay. They stared with curious eyes at the two below. Some used telescopes, others simply squinted, barely making out what was to be seen. Rae heard the shouts of the Garlean commanders, of the Alliance captains, ordering to ready the cannons to strike when the moment was right. Her focus was entirely on Marishi. Any slight movement and she could be dead. She knew there was no taking on a God. She knew there was no way she'd make it out of this alive. Bahamut or not, he was within her, not outside her. He could only do so much and she had seen the extent of his power. It wasn't until Marishi dropped to her knee, howling. Within that pained cry, Rae detected something else. Her ears picked up the familiar tone of hr wife's voice. She moved to run to her side, but stopped herself. Zodiark was still very much a threat. However, with Marishi fighting--for surely that was what was happening--then she might have a chance. Perhaps she could assist in tipping the scales. Break the concentration of the God and give the mortal a chance to take advantage. Just as Rae began casting a spell, she noticed a shift in the area. A pull of aether directly concentrated to one spot. Tearing her eyes off Marishi, she stared at Alexander. Her mother had gone in, but she didn't think this was her solution. There would be no way she could get out of there in time. Maybe that's what was necessary, though. Her hands dropped to her sides, still gripping the Rapiers. This was a way she and Marishi could be together. As long as they were together, she didn't fear death. She didn't fear what was on the other side. She didn't worry of what was before them, for she knew they could make through it together. Closing her eyes, Rae leaned her head back, welcoming the end. Just when she felt the heat of the blast, she was suddenly met with a strange chill. Like a ghost walked through her. Then, the sound of outside was replaced with cogs turning, gears grinding, metal clanking, steam hissing, a distant humming vibrating everything slightly. Rae opened her eyes slowly, suddenly realizing she wasn't dead but, in fact, within the Primal Alexander. She hesitated a moment, half wondering if this was the afterlife, but when she saw her mother, Rae knew what happened. The two embraced, Rae wrapping her arms tightly around Serreth, her mother doing the same in return. "Mother, I don't know how you did it, but thank you." She pulled away suddenly, glancing around, then saw Marishi on the floor. Her first instinct was to run to her side, but Serreth stopped her a moment. It was then that she collapsed and Rae along with her, trying to keep her mother standing. Panic set in. She wondered if her mother had over exerted herself, but her simple statement quelled that worry. Alexander left her to be with Marishi, to help her stay alive. When it was safe to do so, Rae walked forward, slowly moving towards Marishi. The clacking of her boot heels to the metal floor echoed in the room until it all faded into a dull ringing in the background. Rae knelt down to Marishi's side, taking one hand in her's and her other hand slipping under Marishi's head, resting it onto her lap. She waited, still, her breath short and shallow, her heart pounding in her ears. Rae stared intently at her wife, looking for signs of her returning to them. Although perhaps t wasn't so bad if she did not. Marishi, of all people, deserved a break. She deserved peace. And Rae, selfishly, denied her that. A mistake she would regret for the rest of her own days. For now, however, all her thoughts were consumed with Marishi and the silent prayers that Alexander was able to sustain her when he converged with her once more. "Marishi," Rae whispered, her voice seemed to break the silence that surrounded them, like she spoke into an amplifier for her voice. "Marishi, wake up, my Lune, my Moonlight. Come back to me, my love." Rae cooed, leaning her head down and kissing Marishi's forehead. She pulled back, holding still, hand gripping Marishi's tightly, her body shaking slightly with anxiety.
  15. Outsane

    Under Boughs Of Blood [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    Why were they all so determined to kill her? Rae struggled to fight against her mother's hold on her. Seeing the dagger embed within Marishi's chest sent sharp jolts through her own as though she had sympathy pains from witnessing it. Still, she was beyond way over her head in this. There was no measurement to accurately describe how above this all was to her. A literal God inhabated her wife's body. And, it was just as she had said. This was her fault. Had she not so desperately sought the comfort of having Marishi back, she would not have allowed this demon in a merciful god's clothing to lay a hand on her wife. And to make matters worse, she eternally struggled with her own battle of fending off Zodiark as he threatened to consume and torture her soul as well. She brought this ultimate destruction upon the world. She caused the death of all those countless many in the Forelands and the Churning Mists. Would it be better that she gave in to the assault upon her spirit then she would not feel this torment. An anger welled up within her. Not her own, but Bahamut's. The searing rage caused her cheeks to burn and her muscles to tense. The very thought of giving up so enraged him that it manifested physically, affecting her body. "We have to go. If we stay here, Marishi will get to that... Mah-to-ah's Cave... Then all will be lost." Serreth said, standing up and heaving her daughter to her feet by the collar of her shirt. "Matoya," Rae corrected her mother, the rage passing as she moved quickly to the falcons that perched on the ground nearby, obediently waiting for their temporary masters. She climbed onto the back of one while her mother did the other. "She's like a hero among the Scholars on Sharlaya. She's also the guardian to a great secret that they've struggled to keep, but I fear Zodiark may know what that secret is." Before they could take to the skies, the remaining airships flew passed them. Rae and Serreth stared up into the sky as they moved after Marishi. Rae glanced to the fallen destruction of mangled bodies and airships. A few of the alliance airships still stood, more Garlean ones than those, but still not a threatening number to a God, no matter how crippled. Rae remained still, the gravity of the situation hitting her harder now. Dismay, shame, embarrassment, horror, depression. All worked together to hold her in place. Serreth glanced to her daughter quizzically, then dismounted her falcon and moved to her side, touching her hand. "Rae, we must go. If we do not, I fear the whole world will end." She whispered urgently. Tears formed in Rae's eyes as she shut them tight, letting the droplets pool out and run down her face. "Maybe... Maybe we should let it. What are we to a god? He could will us dead and it would be done. You've seen what Zodiark can do." Her will to fight weakened. Another episode rang at her heart. This time, she welcomed it. A slap across the face brought Rae back to her senses. Shocked, she stared at her mother who glared at her with a righteous fury in her eyes. "Don't ever say that," she growled, her voice shook slightly and cracked a little. "Don't you ever say that again! Giving up.... giving up was the worst mistake of my life! Rae, when you were a small girl, those Sharlayans took you from our home. It... it wasn't by coincidence. I allowed them. I told them of you, of your skill, of your power. I told them to take you from me. To train you. I... I couldn't..." Tears welled up in Serreth's eyes as well as Rae stared at her in astonishment. Serreth's gaze never left Rae's, however. "I gave you up. In my misery, in my sorrow, I felt bitter towards you. I felt betrayed. I felt... horrible things a mother should never feel towards her child. Ashamed, I sent you away from me. I thought it'd be easier, but my life was harder. Had I been a mother, perhaps it wouldn't have been so difficult. I was selfish. I was cruel. I was wicked. Not a day passed that I didn't think about you. I knew I made the wrong decision. I knew it would ruin your life. I gave up! Never have I regretted something so immensely as I do that! If I could turn back time, I would strike myself down sooner than giving you up! Do not make my mistake, Rae. Do not follow in my footsteps. Do not give up on Marishi. I... I feel she is still in there, and I know you can feel it too. Do not take after your old mother. Be the stronger woman that I know you are." Tears flowed freely between the two. Though Serreth's voice strained and cracked, it never faltered. She clutched onto her daughter's hand and spoke until she was breathless, then sucked in a jagged breath of air and spoke more. Once done, Serreth dropped her head, burying it in the feathers of the patient falcon. Rae stared down at her mother, a strange sensation running through her body. Her childhood was her mother's fault. So much happened. So many things, so many unfair things happened to her. All could have been avoided had her mother done one thing. Had she just... never given up. Things would be different. Too different. Was Rae unhappy with her life? Did she regret any part of it? Everything that happened lead to some of the happiest moments of her life. Meeting her Master, becoming a Red Mage, learning of the stars, seeing the awe-inspiring libraries of Sharlaya, rubbing shoulders with the most intelligent people of this world, meeting Marishi, their wedding... Something within her changed. Rae felt the pain of Zodiark's influence subside. She felt his presence slowly withdraw as Bahamut, emboldened and empowered, dealt a deadly strike, pushing his presence out of Rae. The feeling left her empty, allowing room for her own emotions to flood in. Rae swallowed her tears, placing her other hand on top of her mothers', causing her to lift her head and look to Rae. She smiled down to Serreth, tears still flowing down her face. "If you hadn't given up, then I wouldn't be who I am today, and I am proud of who I have become," Rae told her mother. "But if I give up now, then I'll never get to continue to live how I am. Nothing will ever get better, and there's always ways for things to get better. Come, mother. Let's go save my wife." The two stared back at one another a moment before Serreth turned, jumped onto her falcon's back, and they both set off. Upon arriving in the Hinterlands, the two noticed the airships moving to Matoya's Cave, lead by an Alliance airship. Perhaps they would defend rather than attack. A smart move. "We need to find her and impair her more," Rae called out to her mother, who nodded in response. She seemed distracted. They scouted the land carefully, searching for movement, for life beyond that of the beasts that roamed. They drew nearer to the river, and Serreth banked left. Rae turned, surprised at her mother's sudden movement. At first, she believed she had seen Marishi, but it was then she realized she was turning to Alexander. Did he still reside within her? Rae watched as her mother's falcon landed, then she sent it away, and climbed into the opening in the foot of the great metal construct. She would trust her mother and leave her to her devices. In the mean time, she would find Marishi. If she was going to fail stopping her from reaching the cave, then she would do so through death. After quite some time, she finally spotted Marishi. Weaving between the ruined homes of the old Sharlayan settlement, the injured body of Marishi moved. Silently urging the falcon to land, it perched on a caved roof, allowing Rae to dismount. Drawing her Rapiers, she conjured a spell of thunder, sending it out at Marishi, striking the ground before her. The next spell was a blast of fire, which she caused the house beside her to explode, sending rubble and debris falling onto the pathway all around, blocking Marishi's path. Rae knew she would be no match. She knew her spells would be simply erased if she sent them at Marishi. Instead, she would use the environment around them to hinder Marishi, to hurt her, to stall long enough for the Alliance and Garleans to fortify and protect the Antitower. "Some god you are!" Rae shouted over the falling wreckage of her destruction. "A mere mortal and a Primal can drive you out from one's body. I thought you were Zodiark! The one we all feared! Do we fear for nothing, then? Do we fear a false god? You won't get what you want this day, Zodiark. Nor ever! Come, show me your so-called power. I've been underwhelmed by your display as of late!" Inwardly, Rae prayed to Bahamut, asking for help. While the gods were absent, Bahamut never was.
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