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Outsane

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  1. Outsane

    Under Boughs Of Blood [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    Serreth's eyes narrowed as Avila spoke. With the dagger in her hand, she crouched. She had girded her skirt, wrapping it around her legs and hips and tying it tightly so she wouldn't trip over it. "You can't talk to her like you know her. Marishi kills for honour and survival. You kill for sport like a rabid mongrel. You think killing makes you strong somehow, but it doesn't. I am impressed, though. Took you no time at all to find out my real name," Serreth growled, standing close to her daughters. "You think I would go running to the Adders with that information you gave me? I want nothing to do with your gang anymore. I just wanted to live a quiet life, but you wouldn't let me. This is your fault, Avila. Your men didn't have to die if you would have just kept to yourself." The Miqo'te laughed and shook her head. "The only way to make sure our secrets don't get spread is to kill those who fall away. We're all brothers and sisters, but when one choses to leave, they're an enemy. You've lied to us all these years, how can I say I know you? Lookin' at the two of you, I see the resemblance now. I don't typically remember the mange males I kill, but that one held a dear spot in my heart. Seeing father and daughter skewered like that filled my dreams every night for years. I s'pose I should have seen this coming, though. When you don't find a body, you don't just assume the wild beasts got to it. What did ya do with your dad's body, girl? That's what I'm curious about." The Miqo'te turned to Rae, staring at her with the cold, emotionless eyes that had haunted her dreams for years as well. "I carried it away and buried him myself." She answered with a flat tone. Her Rapiers were poised, one held in front, ready to strike, the other behind her back, ready to supplement or defend. Her mother's brows furrowed, her scowl deepening. "If you want to fight then shut up and fight!" Serreth snapped angrily, poising her dagger, flipping it around in her hand to face the length of her forearm. She crouched, ready to strike. The three of them could take her down easily enough. Avila laughed and shook her head again, entertained by Serreth's eagerness to fight. "Oh no, no, no. See, I know when I'm beat, Silver Leaf. If I tried to fight any of you three alone, I wouldn't win," with that, she produced a whistle from her pouch and blew in it. From the canopy of branches above dropped six black-clothed warriors, each one carrying varying weapons. From daggers to swords to bows. Two bows were trained on Serreth and Marishi, daring them to move while the others stared at Rae, watching for her movement. "I don't go anywhere without my body guards these days. Can never be too careful, y'know?" Rae smiled, her teeth bared as she watched the Shinobi, calculating her moves. Avila glanced her way and piqued a brow. "Don't let her move her lips. She casts spells and will destroy us before we got a chance to move." One bow was then aimed at Rae, string taught and ready to loose. Serreth grimaced, unsure how to get through this situation. They would need another distraction at the very least, something to draw the attention of the archers. Then the three of them could close in. "It's a pity, Silv. I would have loved to have made you my right-hand woman. I suppose it's for the best. Had I known it was your bastard I killed, I would have finished your as well. Tie them up!" Before any of the Shinobi could move closer, Rae extended the pommel of her Dreadwyrm Rapier to them, sending a light from above that coiled around them, binding their feet together and causing some to fall forward. Shocked by the sudden magic, Rae laughed while preparing her second attack. "Not all spells require lips to move, just a tongue to speak!" She answered their unspoken question. She then sent a jolt of magic that exploded between all of them, sending some flying back into rocky walls or tree stumps while others held their ground rather well. Serreth laughed proudly and darted in, catching the first bowman off-guard and cutting at his wrists, rendering his hands useless before she kicked the back of his knee it, then slicing down his face and kneeing his chest, knocking him down flat. Rae sent an aetheric tether towards the closest sword-wielding Shinobi and pulled him closer to her, using her Rapier to pierce his belly. He cried out in pain and tried to push himself off Rae's weapon, but she held onto his shoulder, turning to face the other bowman--who had loosed his arrow finally--and let the dying Shinobi catch the arrow with his back, earning another gurgled cry of agony. Avila, furious, cried out and anger and frustration. The spell that bound her still was lifted and she took her lance and jumped, aiming to pierce Rae in the skull. Rae, too burdened with the body she held, was unable to move fast enough. She caught the metal part of the lance with her other Rapier, deflecting it, but cut her arm in the process and had to clumsily jump back to avoid the lance from stabbing her body. In doing so, she lost her balance and the body fell on top of her. Avila laughed and raised the lance again. "I'll finished what I started all those years ago!" She shouted and prepared to stab Rae's chest, but an arrow whizzed by them, embedding into the tree beside Rae's head. Both turned and stared, startled by the sudden attack on Rae. Serreth had taken a bow and her cheeks where flushed red when she saw how narrowly she missed her own daughter's head. Avila almost laughed, smirking. "Never good with the bow, were ya, Silv?" She said. Though the distraction was enough for Rae to scramble away from the body, pulling her Rapier out of its abdomen. "Try that again! I think y'might hit 'er this time!" Avila laughed, but was quickly stopped by a block of rocks flying at her. She jumped out of the way in time for the pile to crash through a few trees before embedding into the earth. Those trees it broke through teetered, then collapsed on the wall, sending men scrambling for cover. Scowling, Avila turned back to Rae. "Destructive one, aren't ya? Better kill you fast before you completely demolish my fortress!" With that, she charged at Rae, lance pointed downward and ready to thrust up and cut when she got to her. Serreth would not be able to stop her this time. The other Shinobi began to move. The two with daggers moved in on her, slicing at her, but missing. They, too, misjudged her speed and paid for it with cuts of their own, but not enough to disable them. The three sparred while the remaining bowman readied his bow, aiming at Rae and waited till she was still enough for him to shoot.
  2. Outsane

    Under Boughs Of Blood [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    As Odin began to approach, Rae drew her Rapiers. Standing before Marishi's comatose body, she steeled her nerves. She could feel his rage. Despite his words, she knew he hated her. It was because of his words she knew. Bond with him? A Primal? She'd become his thrall, or perhaps worse. She knew very little about Odin from her readings. He was an Elder Primal summoned here by a mortal woman, and he thrived eternally through cursing people with his weapon. Whoever bore the weapon was his next target, possessing their body, making them become Odin. She'd die easily. She was no match for the Elder Primal, but she wasn't going to die without a fight at least. It was then that his attention was drawn to Marishi. Rae, too, turned and looked at her wife's body as she could feel the shift, the change within her. Ears raised in alarm, Rae turned to Marishi, mouth opened to utter words, but nothing came forward. The rumbling of the earth below caused Rae to drop to her knees, but she held herself up with her Rapiers piercing the earth. The dust settled, and Marishi spoke. No, not Marishi. Alexander. Rae feared this day would come. Sadly it was a day she was still alive to see. As Marishi spoke, calling her by her pet name, she felt her heart pound in her chest. Marishi was still in there. Barely. Pulling her Rapiers from the ground, she sheathed them, placed a hand on the back of Marishi's neck and pulled her close, roughly pressing her lips to Marishi's for a moment before pulling away, gazing into Marishi's eyes. "I love you, Marishi Ten. Don't forget that, my Lune." She whispered to her. "Alexander, take care of my wife. Protect her." With that, she darted off towards her mother. Eyes were on her now, however. A few arrows shot towards her, but she darted between the trees, giving her cover from any arrows. Odin thought to turn to give her chase, but the impending threat of Alexander kept his attention on Marishi, just as she had hoped. As Rae drew nearer, she was intercepted by a small Miqo'te. She tangled her limbs with Rae's, causing her to fall over and both of them to roll until the smaller girl was on top, straddling Rae and pinning her hands. Rae stared up at the small girl, who returned the stare, but with a wild intensity. She looked almost feral. "Tha's a good lass! Keep 'er busy!" Shouted the man holding Serreth as he vanished into the encampment. Rae growled and tossed the girl off her with ease. She was a whole two feet smaller than Rae, and she was small for her age to begin with. Once on her feet, Rae noticed the girl used only her claws to fight. They were long and sharpened, almost like daggers. Rae sighed. She didn't much like to fight a child. "Look, child," Rae said, both hands resting on the grips of her Rapiers. "I do not wish to kill you, but if you persist, I will have to." Rae reasoned. She knew it wouldn't work. The girl lunging at her only confirmed it. Catching her before her hands could connect with her skin, Rae used the flat side of her blades to slap the girl's hands away from her. With ease, she'd give the girl cuts here and there along her skin, causing the bites to smart, but not deter the girl. Before she could do more, the girl threw herself at Rae again, tangling her legs and arms with Rae's and causing her to stumble backwards. It was then that Rae recognized the method. Before the girl could pin her down, Rae flung her off, knocking her against the tree nearby. A few men from the barracks hooted and hollered, but they ignored them. Looking at her, she couldn't be more than 12 years old. Maybe 13. What's a 13 year old doing in a gang? The girl lunged again, clawed nails bared as she latched on to Rae. She brought up her Rapiers to catch the girl, but she predicted that, and feinted, stopping dead in her tracks and dropping low, kicking Rae's feet from underneath her, knocking her onto her back. The girl went to slam her foot on Rae's ribs, but the Red Mage rolled away, jumping to her feet. This girl was nothing to scoff at. Rae took a better pose, treating this girl like her equal. She could slit her throat if she got the chance, but Rae wouldn't give it to her. How, though, does she stop this girl without killing her? The girl charged her again, but Rae slapped her aside, spinning in the process. It was then she noticed a rope leading to the trees. Following it with her eyes, she spotted a log. It was a trap. Probably to help with the defence of their fortress. Turning her gaze back to the girl, she noticed her smile. It was dark, sinister, almost evil. "Finally, a challenge," the girl said. Her voice sounded hoarse, like she were dehydrated and her throat was filled with sand. She laughed loudly, throwing her head back as she did. The men watching the fight from the barracks stopped, staring at the girl in shock. They had never known her to laugh nor make a sound. Her laughter filled the air with a bone-chilling sound. The hair on the back of Rae's neck stood on end as the girl dropped her head down, breathing heavily, loud enough for Rae to hear. "Killing you will be wonderful. I'll decorate these trees with your entrails! Your screams will echo here for an eternity! Make peace with your gods, nemesis, for you shall meet them soon!" Rae blinked rapidly as the girl screamed and began to run towards her. Without a second though, she sliced the rope and stood there, baiting the girl closer until finally she ducked. The girl, confused, skidded to a halt, but was then met with the crash of a log ramming into her back, sending her flying through the trees and colliding with another one. The impact knocked the wind out of her lungs and caused her to pass out. There was a stunned silence from the men as the log swung back their way and Rae, aiming two spells at the rope that held it, seared and burnt away the ropes, allowing the log to crash back into the wall, sending the men scattering out of the way. Jumping to her feet, Rae then cast two more spells, sending a bolt of lightning across the tops of the wall, catching fire to some of the wooden logs. She then sent a blast of fire into the wall, causing the fortified wood to blast apart, splintering and sending burning debris all around. Hazardous, but Rae wanted a distraction, and the men and women scrambled to douse the flames before they could spread while Rae, under the guise of the darkness from the aetherical alteration that Odin brought with him, prowled into the darkness and crept into the fortress, searching for her mother. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "Now sit tight, yeh damned whore," the Hyur ordered, tossing Serreth into a chair. She was bound and blood trickled down her face, but otherwise she was alert and unharmed. "Caused me a great deal o' grief y'did. Yer lucky Avila wants yeh alive an' unharmed. Otherwise yeh'd be bleeding in places y'never bled from before." He laughed and turned away from her, thinking to leave, but a shout came from up the stairway. "Stay down with her, you giant oaf! She could escape and your head will be skewered with hers if Avila catches ye!" It was another woman, a Roegadyn. Muttering a curse, the man turned back around and walked back to Serreth, standing before her. She lifted her gaze, glaring up at him, stare unwavering. "Got a lotta guts in ya. Only girly who'd stare a man in th'eye without so much as a blink when she was tied up and gagged, ready fer death." He sneered. Serreth watched as he walked over to a table, grabbing a jug of mead that sat there, and walked back over to her, planting his hand on his hip while taking a long swig of the drink, then wiping his lips and exhaling with content. It was then that an explosion sounded outside, the walls of their underground room shook and debris from the ceiling fell. Both turned their gaze skyward and listened to the shouting from outside. People ran by, some shouting orders to douse the flames, others shouting to find the wench that did it. "Find that damned cat and kill her on sight!" Serreth's eyes widened. Cat. Her daughter? Was her daughter here? "OI! What's happening up there?" The man shouted. One Redbelly stopped and shouted back. "Some red-haired cat and her whore wife are here! The one with the Katana is fighting goddamn Odin himself while the other with the two Rapiers is blowin' the damn place up!" "Rae." Serreth breathed, her word muffled behind the gag. The Hyur turned to Serreth, who looked back at him, then she began speaking, frantically, eyes wide. The Hyur shook his head. "I don't understand a damn thing yer sayin', Silv," he told her, but she continued without stopping. Annoyed, he walked over to her, grabbing the rag over her mouth. "I said I can't understand ye!" He then tore it off her mouth, giving her a chance to gasp for breath a few times, then look back into his eyes. "I said I'm going to break your stupid neck." She said, then lifted her legs and kicked his knee cap, snapping it the other way and knocking him down to his knees. As he began to howl in agony, Serreth lifted her legs up, spreading them as best she could before fitting his head between them, muffling his screams. Twisting her hips, she tried to snap his neck, but the angle they were at made it impossible. Instinctively, the man pulled back, bringing Serreth with him, which gave her the angle she needed. Using her body weight, she spun her torso around, locking her thighs around his head and bringing his face to follow her movement, dragging his head around his shoulder and to face his back as her body dangled behind him. She could feel the tendons in his neck snap as she jerked his head completely around. She could feel the discs break out of position. For a brief moment, he remained still, body upright and hands gripping Serreth's thighs. The next moment he fell backward, landing on top of her, causing the Miqo'te to gasp and grimace. Above ground, more screaming could be heard as a second explosion rocked the earth, followed by the authoritative command of Avila. Serreth squirmed, wresting herself out from beneath the heavy Hyur's dead body. "I'm coming, Rae. Don't get captured yet." She said to herself, as if her daughter could hear her. Once freed, she took a moment to gather her breath, then rolled to the opposite side of the room where a dagger lay on the ground. Using it to free her bound hands, she cut the bonds around her ankles as well and stuffed the dagger into her waist sash. She looked to the stairway where shadows of Redbellies running back and forth could be seen. She wasn't sure how she was going to do it, but she would get out there and help her daughter escape. A feeling of love burst within her chest and tears threatened to build up in her eyes. Perhaps her daughter wasn't with the Redbellies after all. If she would come here and cause such chaos, surely it was to save her. Surely it was to keep her family. The emotions swelled up within Serreth, but she pushed them down. She needed to be level-headed to escape, and weeping like a proud mother would do her no good. Cautiously, Serreth took to the stairs, watching as the Redbellies ran by, not paying attention to her at all. When she had her chance, Serreth snuck out, slipping into the darkness in search for her daughter.
  3. Outsane

    Under Boughs Of Blood [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    Marishi's near indifference to her tale was a relief. It reassured her, and perhaps made her question her thoughts on it. Maybe she was making it overly dramatic than it was? No, her father died. There was nothing over-dramatic about that. Perhaps, though, where she laid the blame was where it was. She would investigate her feelings further into this, but for now, she would think of the present moment. As they scaled a tree, finding a branch sturdy and broad enough to allow them to sit without discomfort, Rae settled in. She and her father would do this often while hunting for multiple days. Rather than return home and lose the trail, they would take to the trees where their prey had no forethought to check, let alone the capability. A hooved creature could never climb trees. Which is where Rae found solace in sleeping in the boughs while she felt the thunder radiate through her limbs, affecting her heartbeat. A heartbeat. Rae rested her head against Marishi's shoulder. She could feel Marishi's heart beat against her back. She could feel her pulse in her delicate neck. The rhythmic beat slowly lulled her to a slumber. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ "Summoner," he whispered. Rae's eyes opened slowly, meeting the stare of a young man. Hyur. Black hair, dark eyes, pale skin, boyish features. Brows furrowed, she sat up in her bed and asked what the matter was, but with a voice not her own. "That which thou hath summoned seeketh thee." "I hath not summoned anything," she tried to say, but her mouth moved and no voice came out. Rae sat, perplexed. This was a dream, that much she knew. She never met this boy before, however. Part of her thought this to be a vision. In her short years she spent practising to be an Astrologian, she learned a bit of divination and reading dreams and visions. Perhaps she would remain silent and watch the dream unfold. "Even as thou hath sealed it, the fearsome creature seeketh thee. Freed from its imprisonment, the Dark Rider wisheth to destroy thee." "What is its name?" She asked, her own voice ringing true. "Odin." Came his solemn answer. The name rang in her dream, echoing through her mind, shaking it to its core as though the world of dreams trembled at his name. In that instance, Rae awoke. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Rae shot up, sitting upright on the branch. Her heart thundered in her chest and her breathing was quick, but other than that, she was fine. Rae glanced around, then turned to Marishi, who updated her of the night's events. "You didn't wake me so you could sleep," Rae frowned. It wasn't good if just one of them slept while the other stayed awake. "You must sleep on the ride, then. You were hurt as much as me, if not more than." Rae quickly dropped from the trees, catching onto a branch to slow her decent before she hit the ground. This felt natural to her, despite not having to use these methods to camp for so long. It was second nature to her. She never let herself forget the lessons her father taught her. She thought doing so would cause his memory in this world to die. Once on the ground, Rae fetched the Chocobo and mounted, then fled from the area. Rae knew where to go now. Despite there being no trail now, she guided the Chocobo with ease. She walked this path in her dreams countless times. Many times she fantasized of returning. The strongest warrior in the world, and exacting revenge upon the whole Redbellies gang. Many times more she dreamt of returning and dying at their hands. Today, with Marishi at her side, she felt at ease. She felt confident and sure. They would not die this day. Her mother would be saved. As they made their way to the hideout, Rae could feel the aether shudder. Rae halted the Chocobo and glanced around, ears raised and alert. Something evil was here. She glanced to Marishi, opening her mouth to speak, but her eyes appeared glazed over. Was she asleep? When did Marishi sleep with her eyes open? It was a tactic used by those in the army, so perhaps it wasn't too far fetched a thought, especially them being in enemy territory. Rae dismounted, carefully holding on to Marishi, who was rather stiff at this point, and helped her down. She seemed to move with her direction, and even stood. This further confused Rae. There was no way Marishi was asleep. Not if she was doing this. "Marishi, what is wrong?" She whispered to her. It was then she heard the horse's screaming neigh. Rae jumped, startled by the sudden sound, and looked past Marishi. There, several feet in front of them, stood the Dark Ride. Seething hatred pierced her soul as she felt his gaze upon her. Rae clutched onto Marishi, her nails digging into Marishi's flesh. "Moonlight, you must snap out of it," she urged, looking to Marishi as the Dark Rider began to approach them. Shaking her, Rae shrieked. "MARISHI! WAKE UP!" The sound of a bow twang and an arrow cutting through the sky caught the Rider's attention. He deflected the trajectory with his shield and turned to face the barricaded fortress. There was a shout that was met with many more shouts, followed by the sound of more bow twangs and thundering, running footsteps. Something heavy was launched from behind the walls and flew directly towards Odin, obliterating trees and snapping branches along the way. Drawing his sword, he rose it above his head and cut downward just as the boulder reached him. The large rock was split in two and flew on either side of him, harmlessly for him, at least. However, one boulder flew directly at Marishi and Rae, forcing Rae to hurl Marishi to the side, out of the boulder's path. Their Chocobo sprinted away, warking in fear and panic. Landing on top of Marishi, Rae remained still a moment, eyes squeezed shut as she feared Odin would charge them; however, his attention was drawn to the Redbellies who engaged him in battle first. Rae lifted her head and watched as they fought, stabbing, slicing, shooting at him. Their attacks seemed to do very little. As Odin swiped at them with his long sword, most would dodge, some would fall. Those that fell were replaced by dozens others. Like a Hydra, the Redbellies fought off the threat of the Elder Primal. Turning to her wife, Rae stared down at the seeming lifeless body of Marishi. She shook her one more time, pleading for her to snap out of whatever trance she was in. "Marishi, we need to get out of here! We're not safe! WAKE UP!" ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ "Bloody fog," cursed one Redbelly. He was a tall, gruff sort. Clearly a Highlander, but not an Ala Mhigan, the Hyur man surveyed the area. One hand held a scimitar, the other was wrapped around the legs of a woman, who was tied and gagged. Along side him was a lithe Miqo'te. She bore scars across her face and arms as well as tattoos all over any exposed part of her skin. She sneered back at the man, but said nothing. "Yer makin' this real difficult on us, y'know, Silv? All yeh had t'do was just ask boss if'n ya could leave. She would'a letcha go." Serreth snorted behind the cloth wrapped around her mouth, then answered something incoherent. The smaller Miqo'te held a hand up to her blonde ear, smirking at Serreth, who only rolled her eyes, then muttered something else. The Hyur snarled at Serreth, shaking her so her head wobbled back and forth like a rag doll's. "Tha's righ'. If yeh got somethin' t'say, speak clearly, wench." As she was jostled, the rag gagging her fell from around her mouth, giving her a chance to do just that. "At least I can speak," She quipped, staring directly at the Miqo'te, whose ears folded back and a wicked scowl crossed her face. She then lunged toward Serreth, claws seeking to bite into her flesh, but the hulking Hyur intercepted, throwing Serreth to the ground roughly, knocking the wind out of her, then catching the Miqo'te's wrists with his large hands, rendering her useless. "Yeh can't go slicin' things that upset yeh, girly," he chided her as she planted her feet on his chest and tried to pull her hands free from his. His grip was strong and vice-like, not allowing her to budge. "Don' yeh worry. Boss'll make sure she suffers for every bit o' trouble she caused. Silv ain't dyin' so fast and easily, but we can' let her get cut up when we deliver her, see? Boss won' like that." With that, he let the Miqo'te girl go, who fell to the ground and huffed, then scrambled up to her feet and crossed her arms, pouting. "An' fer you. Time to muzzle that gob o' yer's, ye filthy whore." The Hyur turned around to pick up Serreth, but her legs were curled up to her chest and, as he faced her, she pushed upward, launching her feet into the air and striking him against his face, knocking him back as he clutched his nose, screaming in pain. The Miqo'te girl moved to catch Serreth, who was now on her feet, her tail whipping around wildly to keep her balance. She then crouched and launched herself into the Miqo'te girl, knocking her over while Serreth fell down. Rolling onto her back, she hopped back up to her feet. Being bound made it incredibly difficult, but she managed to hop a foot away before she was snatched up again. The Hyur's wrathful face met hers as he headbutted her, knocking her unconscious, making her limp in his hands. "Bitch." He hissed, tossing Serreth over his shoulder, then walking to the smaller Miqo'te and picking her up. With that, they were off. The fortress was not too far away at that point. They could see the lookout, as well as hear the sound of shouting, screams, and the swinging of swords and the thunder of hooves. "Blood hell, are we being invaded?" The Hyur muttered, cautiously approaching their barricaded home. Time seemed to hold still in that moment as their eyes fell upon Odin, his massive Zansetsuken swinging and slicing trees like warm butter. Fear filled their bodies, forcing them to remain still as they watched comrades and friends fall to the fearsome blade and its wielder.
  4. Outsane

    Under Boughs Of Blood [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    Rae relaxed, allowing her body's aether to give in to the healing effects the young Hearer wielded. She remembered being visited by one when she was younger. With an intense fever that would not break, her body needed to be healed, her temperature lowered, or she would incinerate her organs and die a horrible, slow death. It was a poison she was afflicted with, the Morbols had sprayed some flowers that she had smelled, causing her lungs to take in the poison and slowly infect her bloodstream. She should be dead, had it not been for that Padjali hearer. As she felt the weariness in her bones leave her body, Rae opened her eyes and smiled to the young healer. "You did exceptionally well, young lady," Rae said, smiling to her and bowing her head in gratitude. Scarfing down the remainder of her food, she and Marishi left to fetch a Chocobo. She knew her wife detested the beasts, but if they were to reach the hideout in an acceptable amount of time, she would need to ride the creature and not stop until the end of tomorrow. "It... it is no pain," Rae half lied. While each day it grew a little easier to think about, it still tore open the wounds she struggled to heal. Recalling that day, that awful and fateful day, Rae mounted her bird and guided Marishi along. As they rode, Rae felt guilt wrack her body. Not just from her memories of having her father killed, but of not telling Marishi the whole truth. Her mother must have let slip a bit to her, so Rae decided to fill in the holes. "I should tell you why my past is so steeped with the Redbellies. 'Tis true they killed my father, but he is dead because of me," Rae explained, pain crossing her expression. "I've not been fully truthful to you about this. I've only told you half truths. I must tell you all, so that you might understand why this hurts me so. My father, Fieraman, was a loving man. He would have done anything for his family, including die for them. I was a foolish child. I had left my bow and quiver out while we had hunted and, when I ran back to fetch them, I saw a group of Redbellies with them, talking away, back to their hideout. Father and I were hunting and, without my bow, I would not be able to participate. Sobbing, I returned to father. I told him of what I saw, but instead of coming to my rescue and fetching the bow and arrows from them, he said to me 'Let us return home, then. Without a bow for you, hunting will be boring." I was so determined not to return home. As he turned his back to me, I ran after the Redbellies. I stalked them, following them back to their headquarters. Knowing I could not enter in through their main doors, I found an entrance that was not guarded. It gave me shelter, as well, to hide under a set of stairs and in the shadows. I took to that entrance and watched as the Redbellies placed my hunting bow and arrows down on the ground beside a door. As they left them unattended, I snuck over and snatched them up. I turned to run, but ran directly into one of the Redbellies. "They sounded an alarm as I darted off under the man. I ran and ran, dodging hands and swords and pikes, miraculously, no arrows struck me. It wasn't until I was out of the gate that I saw my father. Three Redbellies lay dead at his feet and he covered in their blood. I ran to him, knowing I was safe with him. He hugged me and swung around just in time for three arrows to pierce his back. I'll never forget the pained roar that escaped his clenched teeth. I was stunned, unable to move. I was only 5 at the time. He held onto me tightly as two people approached. One a bowman, the other, a lance-wielding woman. She spoke, but I did not hear. She stabbed my father with her lance and pushed him into the ground. He moved willingly, which I think is what saved me from being pierced through as well. He laid on top of me, shielding my face from being seen. The woman thought she killed us both and pulled the lance from his back, letting him bleed out on top of me. I watched as his dying moments were of him smiling to me, trying to stroke my cheek and console me, promising me everything would be fine. I returned home two days later. Starved, covered in blood, dehydrated, faint. My mother gave me water, and it was then I began to cry anew and told her everything that happened. It was that night she grew to detest me so." Rae gripped the reigns of her Chocobo, tears streaming down her face as she spoke. To recount the tale was painful to her. All wounds she bore through that event were rent open, bleeding fresh blood that stained her soul. "No, perhaps not detest me, but... she held no love for me. Only a sense of duty to be my matron. I believe that was why she did nothing when I was kidnapped by those men of Sharlaya. Look, here. The footprints, they vanish. They have gone off the path here. There, those bushes look freshly disturbed. Hmm... Ah! There. Hurry, this way." Rae's sharp eyes had spotted the trail of two footprints, one small, the other one larger, and that one sunk into the mud much deeper than the other and appeared to be more closely spaced than the other set. It was clear the other was carrying a person--her mother. As they came to nightfall, Rae glanced about, fully alert to the changes in the land. It was darker, but it shouldn't be that dark. From the ground rose specks of white, formed from the ground itself it seemed. The hair on the back of her neck stood on end and her ears rose. Something felt foreboding about the atmosphere. "Here, to the water." Rae instructed, pointing to the small stream nearby. Allowing them all to drink and fill their water skeins, Rae then spotted a cave nearby where they let their Chocobos hide within. Hopefully nothing claimed the cave as home, and hopefully no Redbellies would go in and steal them. She and Marishi tied up their Chocobos, giving them enough space to move around reach down, and drink if they so chose. "We will sleep nearby, but not on the ground. The Redbellies will patrol and find us here. I'd much rather not fight just yet. We will rest. I feel we may have made some good time, especially if the pair were on foot." Rae glanced around, uneasy. This atmosphere was new to her. In all her years growing up in the Shroud, she never aw the earth act this way. "Moonlight," she murmured to Marishi, turning to her. "I have a bad feeling about this... Something is not right." She said, glancing around. She could feel a disturbance in the Shroud, she could hear slow, purposeful hoof steps of a horse in the distance. She could almost feel the elementals shiver and quake in fear.
  5. Outsane

    Under Boughs Of Blood [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    "Wake up, my little Honeysuckle," called a voice. Rae hadn't heard it in so long. She had almost forgotten it, but the nickname was unmistakable. She was in the tree lofts again, sleeping on the floor. A single mat was all her bed was. No blankets, no pillows, no sheets. The mat was thin, but comfortable enough for a young girl to sleep on. Her family didn't have much, but they gave her everything they could. Her childhood would seem sad to most, but to her, she was the happiest little 6 year old. "Rise and shine, Rae-Bear. It's time to go hunting. The meat we had expired too early." Her father faced away from her On his back a quiver full of arrows and a bow, strung and ready to use. Rae looked at her hands, noting their size. Small. Her claws were short. She still had a bit of her baby fat on her thighs and tummy, patting her face, she felt her full, round cheeks. She was certainly not an adult anymore. Her hair was short, cut in a bob, tapered under her chin. She was a child again. In her hoe when her father was alive. She was dreaming, that much was certain to her. She could not wake, however. Not that she wanted to. "Where is Mama?" Rae asked, standing up, using her hands and planting them in front of her, then lifting her rear up into the air and standing her legs up, then stood up straight. Her short, fluffy tail swishing back and forth excitedly as she quickly ran to her dresser, fetching her hunting gear, throwing on a pair of gloves, a leather jacket, and pulling on her leather pants and boots. She strapped the quiver over her right shoulder and snatched her bow, clutching it in her hands. She was ready in an instant. "She had to run to Quarrymill. She'll be back in time for lunch, she said. We'll just have to have jerky and bread while she's gone. Come, little Honeysuckle. We shall find the fattest antelope your mother has ever seen! And we'll bring her back the most beautiful flowers in the marsh. She will be so pleased!" Her father said, turning around to face her. He was handsome. Strong features, a square jaw with a bit of hair, but not a full beard, but stubble. He bore markings on the inside corners of his eyes and stripes along his cheeks. He was well-built, with muscles, strong hands, and strong legs. His tail wasn't as furry as Rae's, nor was it as long. It was short and capped with a white tip. His hair was black and tied out of his face. It was quite long for a male with a long braid that curled from one side, wrapped around the ponytail and almost touched his shoulder, but not quite. His eyes were a bright green, just like Rae's. Looking to her, he smiled proudly. "Ahh, my fearsome hunter! Come, you shall scout for us while we prowl the darkness of the forest." He held his hand out to Rae, revealing a large scar that ran along his forearm. It matched the width and shape as one that was on his shoulder as well. As Rae climbed his arm, perching herself upon his cut shoulder, he curled his arm around her legs, keeping her secure. The scars aligned, telling a story of a failed attempt to protect himself from the bite of a blade. Walking to the hole in the floor, Fieraman dropped down, grabbing the rope and allowed him to slide to the ground without hurting his knees. Rae, gasping, wrapped her arms around his forehead, clutching him tightly as they landed, then laughed merrily as she realized they were safe. She knew her father would never let harm come to her, but some things always exhilarated her and caught her off-guard. The two shared a laugh while he walked into the forest, Rae's arm still wrapped around his forehead as they vanished into the Shroud. As they walked, the light vanished from above them, like the Sun had gone away. No moon filled the sky, only darkness. Eventually, the trees thinned out until they vanished entirely as well and the two were left walking into darkness. They weren't hunting, only stalling. Rae's smile vanished. She thought of her mother. They fought. She fought... fiercely. How did her mother learn to fight like that? She never hunted with her and her mother Those weren't skills for hunters, anyways Those were skills to use against other people. "Papa," Rae said after a time. "What happened to Mama? Why does she hate me?" "Your mother doesn't hate you, my Honeysuckle," Fieraman answered, his voice was reassuring, Rae almost believed him. "She still loves you. Why else would she call you to her home?" "To kill Marishi and I." She answered flatly. Fieraman chuckled. "And why would your mother wish to kill you two?" "Because she works with the Redbellies." Rae explained. This was met with silence from her father. He continued to walk, his arm still wrapped around both of Rae's legs. "And why would the Redbellies want you and Marishi dead?" "Marishi killed two of them." "So she predicted you two would show up and kill two of her associates?" It was Rae's turn to be silent. She stared straight ahead, thinking. "I suppose... she couldn't have predicted that. Then why would she invite us over?" "Here, walk beside me, daughter," Fieraman said, grunting as he bent down to let her stand. She was taller suddenly. The clothes she wore barely fit her and the fat in her legs and tummy were gone. She was slimmer. Perhaps a teenager now, or a pre-teen. "I think you know the answer, Rae. Tell me, what do you think?" After some time mulling over the possible answers, Rae hesitantly said, "Was she... telling the truth?" She turned to her father, looking up at him as she asked. "Perhaps. Why would she lie to you?" "To lure us out here." "For what?" "... to kill us." "Why else would she want to kill you?" "... for having you killed." Rae choked out the last sentence. Her voice was strained and large, hot tears fell down her face. Fieraman stopped and turned to Rae, kneeling down and placing his hands on her shoulders. She was a child again. He gazed into her eyes with such intensity, she could feel them pierce through to her soul. "Rae, you mustn't continue to blame yourself for my death," he urged her, but still, tears fell. She did not make a sound, but she cried while dropping her head, avoiding his gaze. "Honeysuckle, listen to me. Listen to your father. What happened needed to happen. In order for the world to move on, things must happen. Had I not died, you would not have left the Shroud. Had you not left the Shroud, you would not have met Marishi. Had you not met Marishi, you would continue to live as a sheltered woman, not knowing the world outside of the boughs we built our home within. Could you imagine a life with Marishi?" Wiping her eyes, Rae shook her head, but spoke. "You should still be alive, though. I should have listened. I should have obeyed you. I wasn't old enough to go adventuring out. I wasn't smart enough. We could have made a new bow for me, but... I thought I could do it. I thought I could-" by that point, she was blubbering. Her face was red as were her eyes as she spoke almost incoherently. Her father covered her mouth with his hand, causing her to stop and calm down. She would sniffle, hiccuping as her shoulders rose and fell with each sharp inhale. "What happened had to happen, my Honeysuckle," he repeated, soothingly. He took his hand from her mouth, wiping the tears off her face, then drying his hand on his pant leg. "I couldn't live forever. Yes, life was difficult without me. The guilt you've felt has overwhelmed you at times when it sunk in just what had happened. It wasn't your fault. Not at all. I would rather have taken those arrows and that spear for you. You were always going to sneak into the Redbelly's fort. That was unavoidable. At least you chose a time when I could be there to protect you." Rae kept her gaze downcast as her father paused, watching her for a reaction. Finally, she threw her arms around his neck, hugging him tightly. Fieraman, in turn, wrapped his arms around her. Together, they embraced. Rae sobbed, letting go of all the pain she felt, all the guilt in the form of tears. Once emptied of her suffering, Fieraman spoke once more, softly. "Do you know why your mother wishes to see you?" "Because she loves me." Rae murmured, her voice muffled by her father's shoulder. "That's right," he answered, stroking her hair. It was quite long, reaching passed her shoulders and down her back. "She hurts, just as you do. Your mother does not know how to cope with this pain. While she may blame you for my death, there is a way to fix it. To help her find closure, to find peace." Pulling away, Rae looked to her father, lips slightly parted. She looked to him for an answer, but instead, he smiled to her, reaching over and holding her braid, counting the plaits quietly. "33. You're not much older than I was." He murmured, smiling to her. Rae stared back at him. She was herself now. No longer a child scared of the Redbelly gang, no longer a sheltered teenager stuck in the world of Scholars. Holding Rae at arms-length, he looked her over, smiling still. "I'm proud of who you've become, my Honeysuckle. You should be, too. There's nothing to be ashamed of what happened. Go forward with pride, my daughter. Save your mother. Always remember that I love you." -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Rae's eyes fluttered open and she stared at the ground before her. Suddenly, a flood of pain washed over her. That's right, her mother kicked her ass. "Ugh," Rae groaned, getting to her feet slowly. She had no idea her mother was such a skilled fighter. Perhaps it was something she learned from the Redbellies. Limping, Rae made her way outside where she saw Marishi laying flat on the ground with a few people standing around, staring with wide eyes. Rae hobbled to Marishi's side, dropping to her knees and carefully cradling her head in her hands. She could see she was still breathing, but it appeared she got as good of a beating as she did. Bruises covered both their bodies, lumps and bumps swelled and cuts stung, but did not bleed as much. "Marishi," Rae croaked, coughing and clearing her throat. Her chest hurt from her mother's boots being planted firmly on it and kicking her into the wall. "Marishi, can you hear me? Wake up." She urged, trying to get her wife to come to consciousness.
  6. Outsane

    Under Boughs Of Blood [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    Before she could ask another question, Marishi stated it was time to sleep and promptly left, taking Rae along with her. Serreth watched, eyes narrowed and suspicions rising. They would be planning something. What, she didn't know. Perhaps they knew she was aware of their situation all along. No matter. She'd be rid of them soon. Morning would come. Perhaps she would just confront them about it? No. Two against one is not ideal. She would need to gain the upper hand somehow. Drugging them was her only option. Killing them... maybe if she were in a different mindset. That part of her that still loved Rae dwelt within her. She couldn't kill her own child. Marishi? Well, that was another story. She would wake up early enough so they wouldn't be and she could make them breakfast. Or maybe she should just leave now? She tidied up a bit before walking towards the door, hand outstretched and ready to open. One ear perked, turned towards Rae and Marishi's door as she strained to hear their voices, but nothing came. Perhaps they were asleep. Now would be as good of time as ever to leave. Except they were probably awake. If she tried to leave, they'd only follow her. Tonight was not the time to make action, tonight was the night to plan. She turned, returning to her room and unlocking the door, then promptly closing it and locking it behind her. Serreth then silently walked to her bed, removing her clothes. Her apron hit the ground hard, causing her to glance at it while letting the rest of her clothes lay flat on her dresser. Picking it up, she found her pipe, still full, with some of crushed leaves remaining in her pocket. Thumbing the pipe, she replaced it back in her apron, but emptied out the rest of the packing into her pocket first, then carefully hung her apron around the bottom right post of her bed frame. Pulling on a plain shift to sleep in, Serreth finally climbed into her bed. It was a single bed. She would never have another in her life that she loved like Fieraman. He was one of a kind. The love of a lifetime. Laying there, she did not pull the blankets over her, but laid on top of them and stared at the ceiling. Thoughts filled her head as she contemplated her options, weighing each one, and fit together a plan. Before long, she fell asleep. "I know," Rae murmured, laying down beside Marishi and pulling herself close to her, her head resting on the pillow. "I know... I don't want to think of it. Never in any of the letters I got from her did she even hint that she was in trouble, much less doing anything questionable. Do you... no, that can't be. Nevermind. Let's just sleep." Rae whispered, wrapping her arms around Marishi and closing her eyes. Before long, she, too, was asleep. Morning came quickly. Rae awoke to the sound of some one up and in the kitchen. At first, she thought it was the Redbellies having broken into their house, or maybe even let in. Rae sat up, careful not to disturb Marishi, then walked to the bedroom door and opened it. Her mother was in the kitchen, already preparing breakfast. Rae watched as she looked up to her from cutting the pork. The two stared a moment and Rae, for a split second, forgot her mother was a questionable person. She wanted nothing more than to walk over and hug her, but she knew the reaction she would received, and it would hurt her to experience it. "Good morning, mother." Rae groggily murmured, offering a sleepy smile. Serreth silently cursed and smiled back to her daughter. She hadn't been able to make the tea and slip the mixture in. Maybe she'd send Rae out for a moment. "Could you fetch a log? It gets quite cold in the morning and I wouldn't want you nor Marishi to freeze." Serreth requested, returning her attention to the pork, slicing a thin slice of it, then placing the slice on a plate while the frying pan heated up. "It's not that cold, mother," Rae replied, walking towards the kitchen. She would do something that Marishi wouldn't agree with. She'd reveal too much of what they know, or what they're thinking. Gulping, Rae leaned against the counter and lowered her voice. "You know, mother... if you were... in trouble. You could always come to me." She spoke quiet enough that Marishi wouldn't be able to hear, even if she was awake. A curious glance was thrown to Rae at her offer. Serreth wasn't sure what to make of it, but she felt slightly threatened. Did her daughter know something she didn't? Perhaps she was trying to warn her? Maybe Marishi was the one who was pulling the strings and Rae, the ever dutiful wife, was along to support her. "I'm not in trouble, Rae," she replied cautiously. "Could you please go get the wood?" She asked, a little more pointedly. Rae frowned even more, her brows furrowing. Not wanting to disobey her mother, she turned to get the wood, but knocked on Marishi's door. Serreth's grip on the handle of her knife tightened. She would never get the opportunity, would she?! "Marishi, darling. Time to wake up! Go get showered before I have to." Rae called out, not wanting to leave her mother alone in the house. She then walked out around the corner, pausing a moment to stare at the group of men and women sulking around the entrance to the small settlement. Redbellies. Picking up a few logs, Rae quickly walked back into the house, closing the door tightly behind her. Were they planning an attack? Rae remained calm, however, and walked to the fireplace, placing the pile of logs she gathered down beside it and began cleaning out the pit, clearing the ashes of the last log that was in there before she started the fire. The air was tense, Serreth seemed to exude rage as her plans constantly interrupted.
  7. Outsane

    Under Boughs Of Blood [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    Serreth stared into the bedroom, noticing the closet immediately. Nothing else was moved, nothing else touched. The temperature was different as well, but no matches. Did the wards weaken? No. There was no way. They probably found out and lit the lamp outside. She didn't need to touch it. She knew already the extent of their prying. They knew too much. Did they find what was in her lock box? Perhaps not. Maybe that wasn't why they were here at all. She needed to find out more. She walked into the bedroom, placing her purse down and leaving the room, ensuring to lock it behind her. She scolded herself, allowing her guard to drop around them. They played her quite well. Still, they had no idea she was on to them. She could play at their game a little better. "As such, I'll just change what the menu is. A stew, perhaps? I have the spices for that." She hummed, a cheerful tone in her voice. As she walked to the kitchen, the corner of her eye caught sight of Marishi's Katana at her hip. Her heart skipped a beat, but she never wavered in her step. Once she gt close enough to the kitchen, Rae interjected. "Have a seat, mother," she said suddenly in a sing-song voice, smiling pleasantly to her mother, who eyed her a moment. "I'll cook tonight. I have a good stew recipe that you'll like, I think! You should take a break!" With a smile, Serreth nodded. 'Take me away from my kitchen full of knives, hm?' She thought to herself, a smile on her face still as she sat on the couch, crossing her legs and leaning to one side and resting her elbow on the arm of the couch. She watched as Rae quickly prepped the meal while her mother watched. She wanted to slip something into their stew, but to put up a fight with not wanting to give up cooking would have raised red flags for them. The way her daughter moved and handled the knife was a sight to behold. She truly became adept with the culinary trade. "So," Serreth started, turning to Marishi. Her attempts before at being her mother failed, she shoved those feelings aside. This was a job, now. Just like the others. She would get information as much as she needed, then knock them out and escape with what money should could. She'd have to prepare tea or something with the meal. It was easy enough to taint the cups and make her escape. A shame. She never wanted to leave the South Shroud, but now she would have to. "What convinced you two to come? Rae, when we spoke, you made it seem that Marishi would be hesitant to come along, yet you both showed up less than a day of the invitation!" "This was Marishi's idea," Rae answered quickly, scooping the vegetables she had cut into her cupped hands and pouring them into the cauldron she was preparing the stew in. It hung over the opened oven, the shelves removed to allow it to fit. Rae had since taken the frying pan off the stove and placed it on the counter. By the fireplace was a log poker. She could use that as a weapon if needs be. Rae was easy to overpower, but Marishi would be a contender. She was used to close-range combat, she was used to out-manoeuvring her opponents. "She was hesitant at first, but then thought it was a good idea to get to know you." Serreth watched the fire crackle. Her daughter sure seemed interested in doing all the talking. Was she in charge of this charade? Of this mission they were sent on? Get to know her... was that code for something? Are they just here to gather information and report back? "I feel like I haven't been a very good hostess, especially if I let you do all the cooking by yourself," she answered, chuckling lightly. "What else do you two do for a living? Surely adventuring isn't that lucrative? You own a mansion, don't you? There must be something else that gets you all that gil." "No," Rae answered, crushing some herbs and letting them fall into the pot. "Adventuring is mostly where we get our livelihood. We've made enough that we're able to live comfortably for several years before we might need to pick up another job. You should know with all the gil I've given you, mother! You were able to buy a home and decorate it so well." With a modest laugh, Serereth answered. "Oh, it was enough to buy a half-destroyed shack in a small hamlet. Not enough to get me a cottage in Ul'Dah." "But enough to buy you plenty of fancy dresses," Rae quipped, pressing the matter more, looking to her mother for a reaction. So she admitted it. They were snooping through her closet. "I hardly call this dress 'fancy', Rae." Her mother answered with a light laugh. Rae bit her tongue. Her mother was coy. She showed a bit of their hand, but she still did not keel. She would have to let Marishi do the rest. Serreth stood up as Rae left the kitchen, though paused when her mother walked towards the counter. She glanced through the bookshelf as if looking for something, one hand on her hip and the other tapping her chin while she squinted at the spines of the books. "So you two have no jobs right now? How do you received your business? How do your employers contact you?" She asked while grabbing a book off the shelf. She knew arming herself with the metal rod would be taken as an act of hostility by Marishi, so she looked elsewhere for her weapon. She'd throw a book if she had to.
  8. Outsane

    Under Boughs Of Blood [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    Serreth noted the response, her expression dropping. She laid it on too thick. Her ears folded down, much like Rae's did when she was defeated, the light in her eyes--the hope--gone. She turned her gaze back to the ground and faced forward again. Her one chance she lost to make Marishi trust her, to make her realize that all she wanted was to be a family. She was never good with interactions like this. Putting her heart out on the line was a mistake. Her body language closed up and she sighed as well, the hurt that was on her face now replaced with a stoic expression. "Of course, Marishi. She is my daughter. I've been a failed parent long enough. I don't intend to bring her more hurt." Her tone was distant as she watched the other children play again. She'll never get those years back with Rae. She'll never enjoy her childish laughter as Fieraman would chase her around the room and into the streets. There were no other children her age during those times. No one dared raise a child in unprotected areas when gangs ran around rampantly. In retrospect, perhaps staying in the Shroud was the worst idea they came to. They set themselves up for failure. She came back from her own thoughts as Marishi stood up and she followed suit, stuffing her pipe in the pocket of her apron and turning to face the door as Marishi opened it. Rae jumped back as she heard Marishi speak. It was too late for her to dash away to pretend she wasn't eavesdropping, so she stood at the door, clutching the picture frame and stared at them with wide eyes. Her mother glanced down to the painting, then back to Rae, a quizzical look on her face. Rae then sputtered out her questions. "When did you paint this? Wait, no, I know when, but... when did you learn how to paint? Have you more paintings than these? Why didn't you tell me you painted?! Have you sold any of your paintings? Why don't you?! You're amazing!" The words flowed out of her mouth, unable to stop, as she grilled her mother about her secret talent. She only smiled, the joy returning to her eyes as her daughter showed such interest in her talents. "I painted that many years ago," Serreth explained, taking the painting from her hands and walking back to where Rae had taken it from, then hanging it up. "I had a dream that night of the world changing. I suppose it was a sign. It wasn't long after that that Dalamud fell and Bahamut laid waste to Eorzea. I had nothing else to do during that time. No family to care for, no friends, no will... I dreamt of that land and painted it, wishing I was there in the dream world." She stared back at the painting as it hung on the wall, a pained expression on her face. "I keep it to remind me of where I was. To remind me to not go back." She murmured. Rae, noting the suffering in her tone and expression, moved closer to her mother, wrapping an arm around her. The gesture caught her off-guard and Serreth flinched, turning to Rae, who pulled back, hands raised and ears pointed upward. Serreth was tense. Just what did they talk about out there? It was then that Marishi exited from the bathroom and excused herself. Rae and Serreth watched her leave, both quite baffled at her strange behaviour, though Rae knew a bit more than her mother. As the door closed, Rae turned to Serreth and explained calmly. "She just needs to think. She hasn't had parents in her life for so long... It's probably... overwhelming to think about." Her mom shook her head sadly and sighed. "If only that were the case. I fear I may have scared her off. I pushed her a little too hard to... Ah. It does not matter." She murmured. "Perhaps it was too soon to invite you over. I should have been more warm and welcoming in my letters; set the foundation for inviting you over." Serreth chuckled and wiped at her eyes, then turned back to Rae. Her daughter, ever attentive of other's feelings, was quick to change the subject, to keep her mother from dwelling upon it for too long. "Tell me more about your paintings, Mother," she urged, walking over to another one that hung in the room. "What about this one? Tell me about it!" Serreth smiled and chuckled. "This one was painted back when your father and I first came to the Shroud. We entered in the South and journeyed to the East, seeking to get as far away from Thanalan as possible. While in the East Shroud, we encountered the Beast Tribe there, the Sylphs. They were all quite... unfriendly towards us. They didn't want man tromping around in their realm. We were resilient, though, and curious as kittens. Have a seat, dear. I'll make us some tea. Now, we heard of an area that only the Beast Men were allowed: the Goldleaf Dais. Your father was always the more adventurous one, so he convinced me to go with him. Together, we snuck into the Beast Tribe's boundaries and prowled through the darkness. As a hunter, your father was deadly and silent. I learned a bit from him. Enough to be quiet to an acceptable level, but my stealth left much to be desired. There was more than one instance when the two of us were sprinting through the boughs, trying to hide from the monsters that were enraged at our presence there. Had your father not brought his bow, I'm sure we both would have been dead." "Father was always very good with the bow. He knew just how to maim a creature to allow me to kill it." Rae reminisced, watching her mother work in the kitchen. She quickly finished with the tea and adding leaves to the cups, then brought it all over to the sitting room, balancing the two cups and saucers in one hand while holding the kettle in the other. She placed the cups down and poured the tea, then sat beside Rae, who thanked her. "He took care of us. We never wanted with him around..." Rae said, staring into the orange-hued water, steam gently drifting off it, creating a delicious aroma of La Noscean oranges and Pearl Ginger. "Fieraman certainly was a good man. He should have been Nuhn, but they were cowards and wouldn't let him challenge the Nuhn at the time. He sent him off to get killed, but survived despite the odds." Her mother said, staring into the dead fireplace while taking a breath of the hot steam, clearing her mind. "He wanted to become Nuhn so he could rightfully marry me. The other females didn't interest him at all, but of course, becoming Nuhn would mean he would have to satisfy all those other women as well, not just me. If he failed at that, he would be dethroned instantly and thrown out or killed. Our only option to be together was to run away. And that, of course, did not sit well with K'Turan Nuhn. I was the prized possession. I was his Nightingale. He wanted me more than his other harem whores, but I was determined to not become his. Every night was a new excuse. A headache. I was bleeding. I had gas. I would hide from him, pretending to be out hunting. He had enough of my excuses, however. He vowed one night to take me, whether I was willing or not. It was that night that your father and I ran away." Serreth smiled, her thumb grazing across the lip of the cup. "He took such good care of me. He was nearly ten years older, but he loved me. He was patient, caring, thoughtful, brave... He was everything I needed and wanted. I was happy with him. With your father at my side, I knew everything would be alright." Rae's hands trembled, the tea spilling out over the sides and onto her legs, but she didn't yelp in pain. Tears rolled down her face as she put the cup down and squeezed her eyes shut, her mother looking to her. She knew what her daughter was thinking. And secretly, she hoped she would make her feel this way. Rae let a sob slip passed her lips, covering her mouth as the tears streaked down her face without restraint. Serreth sat and watched as her daughter's shoulders began to tremble and her head jerk from the silent sobs she kept in. After a moment, she then let her arm slide around Rae's shoulder and she pulled her to her bosom in a hug. Rae, in turn, wrapped her arms around her mother's back and clung onto her, gathering fistfuls of her shirt as she sobbed, uncontrollably, into her mother's shoulder. "I'm so sorry!" Rae sobbed, her voice muffled and strained with her sorrow. "I'm so sorry! I was so foolish! I was such an idiot child! I didn't mean to get Father killed! I'm so sorry!" Serreth held Rae close, one arm wrapped around her shoulders while her hand reached up and stroked her hair. A single tear rolled down her face as she stared at the window where her home once was, her mind and heart elsewhere. She could not forgive Rae for what happened. Not yet. There was something to be atoned for. Something she must do first. As the sobs ended and Rae calmed down, Serreth pulled her away and wiped at her cheeks, a sad, sympathetic smile on her face as she gazed at her daughter's reddened eyes. "Come. Go splash water on your face. Let's get something ready to eat. Your wife may be back soon and we shouldn't make her wait for food." She ordered Rae, who nodded and went to the bathroom, her shoulders slouched as the door closed behind her. Serreth watched her with a sharp eye, then turned and walked to her bedroom,, unlocking the door and quickly stepping in, closing it behind her. The room was dark, too dark, but she knew the layout well enough she didn't need to turn on the lamp. Taking a deep breath, she regained control of her emotions and walked to the window. There, too, she could see the tree house. More clearly, however, as a tree did not obscure her vision. It was then she spotted something she dreaded. Redbellies climbed the tree and began examining the abandoned house. She moved away from the window and watched from the mirror of her vanity that was adjacent to her. They scoured the only room for any signs, then looked out, directly towards her home. One pointed and spoke to the other, then the two paused, gazing inside her home a bit longer. There was a noise from the bathroom, and the two turned, quickly descended the tree, and were out of sight. Dread filled Serreth as she looked towards the wall where the bathroom was. What was that noise? Prying herself off the wall, she left her bedroom, closing the door behind her and moving to the bathroom. She knocked on the door, then jumped back when Rae swung it open, her body tense as she stared at her mother. Her face was less red as it was before. A quick examination of the room behind her revealed nothing out of the ordinary. Curious. "I heard something, are you alright, dear?" Serreth asked, looking back to Rae. "I'm fine." She answered quickly, her body tense. "Sorry. I just slipped and knocked something over. I'm fine, though. I promise." Rae added, smiling to Serreth and walking around her. "Let's go get some food started. Did you have anything in mind for supper?" Rae was not as talented as Marishi or her mother at keeping a straight face. She had looked outside the window and spotted the Redbellies stalking about their house, then point directly at where they were and stare into the windows. She had hidden herself on top of the tub to get a better view of them through the mirror, but she lost her balance and slipped off the edge of the tub, her foot kicking the other side and knocking the shower head down, but she caught it in time before it clattered to the ground. Why were the Redbellies at their old house? What were they searching for? The two began to prepare supper. The fire in the living room was started to warm the house while the oven heated up, a frying pan sat on top, warming up so they could fry some venison. It was then that Marishi came into the house, looking paler than usual. Serreth noted it first, then Rae as Marishi drew closer to excuse herself into the bathroom. The pieces were falling together. Feigning concern, Serreth glanced to Rae, then to the bathroom. "Perhaps I should-" she started, but Rae interrupted her. "No, mother. It's fine," she said, a smile on her face. "Marishi doesn't like others in the bathroom with her after her walks. That's her alone time." She lied. It was feeble, but Serreth appeared to buy it as she turned away, focusing on the vegetables she cut. It was then that Marishi beckoned Rae to join her, which put Serreth on full alert. She watched Rae go into the bathroom with alarm. What were they doing in there? What were they saying? Thoughts ran through her head to go into the room with them, to burst the door open and confront them with her suspicion, but she couldn't. Not without further proof. Maybe she was being paranoid? If she moved closer to the door, Marishi would hear. She purposefully made the floors creak for the reason so no one could sneak around her house. "I seem to have forgotten something at the stalls," Serreth called out to them, masking her fear with a mild cheerfulness. "I'll be back in a little bit. Please watch the stove if you can!" With that, she was out of the door and walking, creeping, silently around the side of the house. Serreth perched under the window, listening intently, but hearing nothing. The two spoke in softer tones than she could hear. Cursing under her breath, she went to the next best place to get information--the market. The stalls weren't far from her house. They were still open and selling their wares with a few mothers buying their produce for their evening meal. "Didn't you hear? She got attacked," whispered one woman to another. Serreth's ears turned her direction, but she remained overly attentive to an avocado, paying more attention to it than one should. "Redbellies, that's for sure. Bold little bastards." "How did she escape?" "Another one of their kind showed up, she said," the woman answered. "Got a little pissed they were roughing a girl up. She was dressed in black and had a weird eye. Poor thing was in hysterics when she got back here. Don't think she'll step a foot into Silent Arbor again." "What happened to them? Did she say?" "One of 'em was killed straight away. You know how they handle insubordination." "I heard it was just a stranger." "Don't be foolish. No one messes with the Redbellies. It was probably a higher-up. They're the only ones who'll do anything about their unruly brats." Her head was swimming. Terror threatened to choke her as she dropped the avocado. The owner looked at Serreth with concern, seeing her paled face and trembling hands. "O-oh. I'm sorry." Serreth stammered, handing over a coin to pay for the avocado she dropped. She then left, not bothering to grab anything. She stumbled away, about to leave, when she spotted a few Redbellies prowling about the exit she walked towards. Serreth spun around on her heel and marched directly towards Buscarron's Druther's, the bar, and hid herself in there while trying not to hyperventilate. A few patrons glanced her way, then quickly returned to their drink and meal. Her head spun, panic set in. Her daughter and Marishi worked for the Redbellies. How could that be? And they were higher ups? So soon? It couldn't be longer than 3 years that they joined, but she would have seen them, heard of them before now. No, perhaps they were hired? Yes. They were hired. No, that made no sense. Unless it was all by some inexplicable coincidence that they got the job just as she invited them. That's impossible. They must work in the gang. Their skill has earned them a spot higher up. They were their recon. Almost like what she was. How much did they know? Everything, perhaps. And they were putting on a show. A better show than she ever could. They had fooled her. Rae, especially. Oh, how she tricked her! Actually made her believe she loved her! Rage built up within Serreth. How dare she play upon her emotions! Well, two could play at that game. Taking a steady breath, Serreth corrected her emotions. She'd need time to formulate a plan. She walked to the counter and ordered a drink. Tonight was not the time to attack. Tonight, she would plan, observe, construct. ---------------------------------------------------------------- Rae gasped as Marishi revealed her wound. She fell to her knees and examined it carefully, a deep frown creasing her brows. "How in the seven Hells did you get this? Why is it that whenever I let you out of my sight you get hurt?!" She chided, then rolled her eyes as Marishi joked. "I'm so glad you find this funny. I've half a mind to put a leash on you." Rae snapped back. Her suture kit was left home. Glancing at the kit her mother had, Rae hesitated a moment. That was quite the medical supply for a woman who stayed at home. "Hey, Marishi..." Rae stared while examining the contents of the kit. There was a numbing agent in the kit, so she pulled it out, poured some of it onto a cotton swab, then dabbed it onto the cut. Then, grabbing a needle and threading and tying the end and, she pinched the skin together and warned Marishi she was going to begin. "I... I saw something disturbing today while you were out. A couple of Redbellies were haunting around my old home. They... they pointed in here and stared. I think they were looking for my mother." Rae explained while she began to sew Marishi's wound closed. She moved with swift and perfect accuracy, knowing the numbing sensation wouldn't last forever.
  9. Outsane

    Under Boughs Of Blood [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    As Marishi left to go outside, Rae rolled her eyes and sighed. "She always smokes after a meal," Rae explained to her mother while she finished up the dishes, drying the last one and letting her mother put it away. "I've tried to get her to stop. I hid her pipe one day. That didn't turn out well." Rae giggled, her tail flicking with mischievous joy as she recalled the events. Serreth watched as Marishi walked out the door, frowning slightly. She wanted to connect with her, but she felt like she was missing her opportunity. "I've got some terrible news for you, my Daughter," she said, walking to one of the pantries and pulling out a pipe of her own. Rae frowned, watching her mother fill the pipe with tobacco. "It's something I picked up over the years. Helped me cope a little. We won't be long, dear. Explore the house. If you plan to stay a while, get comfortable in the guest bedroom here." She pointed at the door before quietly slipping outside. Rae shrugged. Some people had their things to help. She just wished it wasn't something so unhealthy... or stinky. Serreth stood, watching Marishi, thinking of words to say, of how to approach her. It was then that Marishi spoke up, causing her ears to raise in alarm. "I suppose when you live in a house in the trees you learn to tread lightly," she explained softly, a nervous smile on her face. Marishi made her nervous. She put her on edge, but she couldn't place why. She took a seat beside her, but a fair distance away so as to not invade her personal space. She patted her pockets and sighed. She left her match inside. Too nervous to ask Marishi for her's, she resigned to not smoke. It was then that Marishi bombarded her with questions, pointed ones at that. She stared at her with wide eyes, mouth slightly open. She couldn't answer her at first, stunned into silence. When Marishi pressed for an answer, Serreth stammered. "I-I didn't-I'm not..." she cleared her throat, furrowing her brows and closing her eyes. "You are as aggressive as Rae said you were. It's good, though. I'm glad she has some one in her life to watch over her. At last..." There was a tinge of pain and sadness in her voice. It wasn't easy for her to talk about this. "It's not something that I want from her, necessarily. It's something I want with her--and you, for that matter. I'm sure Rae has told you how her life was as a child. Taken from her home to be raised in a place where no one would give her the attention and care that a mother should have... Years went on. I lived in seclusion in our old home, hiding from my mistakes and the world. I agonized over the loss of my husband and, shortly after, my daughter. Seeing children grow up in the world around me caused me more pain, more depression. I would gaze out the window and see parents holding their young ones as the storm started, their frightened little souls seeking comfort in the arms of the ones they trusted. I saw them playing together with other children, laughing, joyful, carefree. I ached for that. I wanted to be a family... but I was so burdened with grief and shame. When Rae started to finally write to me after she made it back to Eorzea, I wanted to have her back in my life. I wanted to see her. I wanted to hold her in my arms and stroke her hair as I did when she was sick, when she cried from being hurt, as I did when she fell asleep in my lap. But I couldn't bring her back to the home we had. It was shameful. I did nothing with my life! I wanted her proud of her mother. I wanted her to be happy with me... I couldn't let her see what I had become. Then, she told me she was to be married," her eyes lit up, tears filling them as she stared at the ground outside her home. Her voice was choked, strained from holding back the sobs. "It was beautiful, the way she described you. The way she told me how she felt. It reminded me of my late husband and I. I wanted so desperately to be there, but I had nothing. I was an old hag in a tree house. It was then that she began sending me parcels. Allagan pieces were within them, which allowed me save up. I was able to buy this house--a mere shack before. Then I renovated. It's not completely done, as you've seen... ah, but that's beside the point. I finally felt comfortable enough to have you both over. To... try and become part of your lives. She told me all about your adventures, all about you, all about your married life and how happy you were. I was overjoyed to know that she had some one like you in her life. I wanted to get to know you. I wanted to... I wanted to know my other daughter. The daughter of mine that my own flesh and blood chose to be part of our family. "I've neglected being a mother long enough. If you would allow me, I would like to be a family with you," she explained, looking Marishi in her eyes. Her voice shook at this point, wavering slightly as she struggled to hold back her tears. "There's nothing I want from either of you, just something I want with you both." She laid her emotions bare, putting her heart out for Marishi to either accept it, or refuse it. --------------------------------- Rae glanced out the window, not seeing either her mother nor Marishi, so she figured they were right out on the steps. They could probably stay a few days, unless Marishi was so deeply offended by what was said out there. Walking to the guest bedroom, she explored around a bit. A lovely queen-sized bed awaited them there. Fresh, clean linens with a downy duvet on top. Another custom painting adorned the headboard of the bed. On either side sat two bedside tables and a lamp for each one. A soft, plush rug rested under the bed and reached out a bit passed the edge of it. There was a closet in the corner and one window off to the left. It wasn't a large bedroom, but it was just enough for a cozy sleep. It was close to the fireplace in the sitting area, so it didn't require a fireplace there to keep them warm. She walked back out of the guest bedroom and checked the bathroom. A tub with a shower head, toilet, sink, floor-length mirror, and a simple chandelier hung from the ceiling. Rae moved to her mother's room and attempted to open it, but it was locked. Tilting her head to the side, Rae twisted the knob again, but it held fast. Why would her mother lock her bedroom? It occurred to her that not all parents allowed others into their bedroom, so she moved away from the door, figuring it was something of a custom. Their tree home didn't have rooms, just one large room for the three of them to live in. Moving to the nearest painting, Rae examined it, searching for a signature. None was to be found, however. Lifting it off the wall, she searched for it on the back and gasped. K'Serreth 1571 Rae flipped it back around, staring at the painting. It was of a fantasy world. Opal crystals jutted from the sandy landscape, in the sky hung the moon waning crescent. Flowers grew in the desert. Beautiful, vibrant colours were used all over the picture and the stars dotted the sky. The details were fine, almost as if she were there gazing upon this scenery. Her mother painted this. She glanced back to the door, hesitating a moment, wanting to go out and address this to her mother, but she worried she'd interfere in a moment between the two. Although knowing Marishi, it was probably an uncomfortable confrontation. Deciding it was best to listen in before she opened the door, Rae snuck towards it, pressing her ear against it to try and listen in on their conversation.
  10. Outsane

    Under Boughs Of Blood [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    The subtle jabs were not lost on Serreth. Small cringes on her face and shifting uncomfortably were her responses to Marishi's words. Her lights lit up, however, as Marishi addressed her as 'Mother'. Rae shot a look to Marishi, knowing what she was doing. Still, though. She couldn't be upset. She knew WHY she was doing it, too. "Oh, of course," Serreth said, nodding to Marishi. "My home is over here. Please, come. I've already made some breakfast, but I'll make more for you two." Serreth explained, walking quickly to her basket and picking it up, then guiding them to her home. It was one of the dingy places, though it looked recently renovated. Patchwork here and there on the roof, the window panes were warped, but the glass windows fit still, the siding was new, however. A fresh-looking yew wood were tiled on the outside to give it a more newer look. The steps were redone, made of a lighter stone than that of the wall built around the small settlement. They looked out of place. Serreth quickly grabbed her keys and unlocked the door, opening it and allowing them to enter her home. The fire had recently been snuffed out in the fireplace nearby. The floors were clean, polished walnut wood, but were not stained. Inside, the house was a bright, cheerful appearance. The walls were redone as well with an off-yellow wallpaper placed on it with wood panelling on the bottom quarter. Paintings were hung along the walls, not ones typical of the mass-printed kind. There was a humble kitchen equipped with a stove, cold box, two pantries, and plenty of counter space. To their right was a sitting area with a rug, a couch, a love seat, and an arm chair. All fashioned after the Glade theme. There was a bookshelf between the kitchen and sitting area filled with books of all kinds. Cook books, history, fiction, guides. To their left was a closet and a door leading to the guest bedroom. The door was closed, however. Beside that room was a smaller room with another door, presumably the bath room. Beside that was the master bedroom, which door was also closed. Hanging from the ceiling was a chandelier that illuminated the room quite nicely, complimenting the natural light that shone in through the windows. All in all, Serreth's house looked quite nice. "Please, make yourselves at home. I'll get some tea ready. What would you like for breakfast? I started to make eggs and ham with bread, but I forgot to get something from the market so I had to go fetch more ingredients. I didn't expect you'd be here so early!" Serreth exclaimed, rushing to the kitchen and starting a fire in the stove to heat up the top. She pulled out a large pan and more eggs and ham to cut. Rae chuckled and walked into the kitchen with her mother. "Perhaps I could help you cook?" She asked her, grabbing a knife to cut the ham. This earned a shocked look from her mother. "You? Cook? You were so resistant to domestic duties before. I didn't think you'd want to cook..." She teased, smiling to Rae, who smiled back at her. "Things change when you have some one to cook for, I suppose." Rae mused. There was a sad smile that followed her words. Serreth looked as though she wanted to say something, but didn't. Rae looked away from her mother, looking out the kitchen window. She paused, staring at the trees, her smile turned bittersweet. "It's still up, I see." She murmured softly. Out in the trees, high above the ground was a home. It encircled the largest tree, a balcony built around it, stretching out far, a cone roof made of wood and clay shingles. Sturdy, wooden walls with windows cut into it, though no glass was there, only caps over the window to block out the elements when the rain came or the wind gusted. Serreth didn't need to follow Rae's gaze to know. She coated the pan with a thin layer of butter, oiling it up so the food would not stick. "Aye. I lived there until three years ago," she explained, cracking an egg into the pan. "I couldn't move far. To leave seemed a betrayal. It hurts, but being away hurts more." Rae turned her face down, looking at the meat, then taking a knife and cutting in to it. It was a clean, easy cut. Like soft butter. The two worked in silence a moment, sharing in the pain, before Serreth spoke up again. "Marishi. I am told you are well-travelled. How have things been in Doma? I had a friend who visited me once from there, many years ago before it fell to the Empire. I never heard from her since... but she told me about her home. It seems beautiful from what she has told me!" She turned to Marishi, smiling to her as she cracked another egg, placing the third egg into the pan to let it sizzle. She then fetched a few spices and added them to the eggs she fried.
  11. Outsane

    Under Boughs Of Blood [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    Rae was helpless to interject. She knew Marishi's vehement feelings towards her mother. She blamed her for what happened to herself that night, she blamed her for her father's death. Rae made no effort to correct her. Shame infused with pain and trauma kept her silent as Marishi ranted, venting about how negligent her mother was. Rae couldn't blame her mother, however. After what she had done, after acting in foolishness, she cost her and her mother the one man they loved in their life. She knew the story of her father and mother. Her father told her many times over how they were in love under the K tribe in Eastern Thanalan. How their leader was ruthless and unkind. How her mother was the eye of his affection and she would constantly deflect his attentions night after night until finally, one night, he would not be refused anymore... Marishi was gone. Swept passed Rae in her fit as she walked up the stairs, her appetite gone and the will to help her cook demolished. With a defeated sigh, Rae went about preparing a meal anyways. They'd grow hungry eventually and it did good to have food readily available. She finished cooking, a hearty meal of Dodo breasts, garnished with in-season vegetables and brown rice. She placed the meal in their preserve box, cleaned the kitchen, and walked upstairs. Marishi was in bed. Guilt and sadness racked Rae's heart. She shouldn't have mentioned it to her. She should have dismissed her mother's request to join her. Maybe she should have secretly gone herself? These thoughts flooded her mind as she showered herself, dried off, braided, then tied her hair up and laid in their bed. Marishi faced away, as she typically did, but that night, it felt painfully lonely to Rae. She slept, curled into a ball, her tail wrapped around her ankles and her arms tucked tight against her body. She awoke the next morning, Marishi had gone already. With another sigh, Rae climbed out of the bed. She'd apologize to her, revoke the invitation and write to her mother, explaining there was no way she could return to the South Shroud. Rae walked passed the kitchen, spotting the papers her mother had written. A swell of bittersweet joy filled her heart. The letters were so earnestly written. Her mother did, in fact, truly wish for her to be back in her life. She forgave her for what she had done. She wanted to meet and get to know Marishi more. This was all Rae had ever wanted. She wanted Marishi to have the family she was denied as a child. She wanted her mother to love her and forgive her. This was their chance, but it seemed that all things could not go as she wished. Taking a quill and parchment out, Rae quickly scribbled her letter, declining her mother's invitation to have them visit. After writing it, she folded it up, slipped it into an envelope, then got ready for the day, quickly changing into her travelling outfit, undoing her hair and tying it back up in a ponytail, then making her way downstairs. She'd finish this errand before Marishi knew she was away, whatever her wife may be doing at that time. Rae was out the door and ready to walk to Central Shroud again by the time she saw Marishi, their Ceremony Chocobo saddled and ready to ride. She stopped in her tracks and stared at Marishi, slightly dumbfounded. She never anticipated her being so willing to go now. As she offered to help her up, Rae leaned in, cupping Marishi's cheek and pulling her to her for an affectionate kiss, then climbed onto the saddle and helped Marishi join her as well. Once settled, she flicked the reigns, coaxing the Chocobo to be off. "The letters were... touching," Rae explained as they rode down the streets of the Lavender Beds. "She explained how she realized how selfish she's been, how it must have rung its toll on me all these years to have lost my father and mother in such a short time. She... regrets everything. She regrets not stopping the Scholars that stole me away, she regrets not contacting me sooner, she regrets not coming to our wedding, she regrets not showing me the love a mother should to her growing child, she regrets not getting to know you more. She was so wrapped up in her own life and problems, her own sorrows, that she didn't realize some one else was suffering as well, and she wants to make things right." Rae left out the part of her mother forgiving her. It wasn't entirely necessary to say. Rae halted the Chocobo at the docks, dismounted with Marishi, then paid the fare for them to ride across the river. Once on the other side, Rae climbed back onto the Chocobo and helped Marishi up as well, then they were off once more in the direction towards the South Shroud. Thankfully, the trek wouldn't be as far. It was a shorter distance to get to the South Shroud than it was to get to Bentbranch Meadows. Once within the region of the South Shroud, Rae was flooded with memories. She avoided the South Shroud as much as possible, not being able to tolerate the memories she had there. With Marishi, though, she felt stronger, braver. She could walk through there without hesitation. They arrived at Buscarron's Druthers, a small encampment with a bar, outside seating, and a few buildings that people called home. Surrounding slightly flourishing settlement were high walls made of stone, blocking out monsters or the Redbellies that stalked the land. Guards were posted at every exit and entrance, checking everyone who entered and left carefully. Their diligence was due to a small number of raids at the hands of the Redbellies. They wouldn't be caught unawares. Rae dismounted from their Chocobo upon arriving at the Chocobo keep. The worker there, clad in the typical Chocobo-like uniform, gratefully took their ride and brought it to a larger stable, feeding it and watering it. "I didn't give her a response," Rae explained to Marishi, glancing around the settlement. "I don't think she's really expecting us, and I'm not too sure of which house is hers. I just know she lives here." The weather was overcast. Dark clouds that threatened to rain loomed overhead, making the Shroud appear darker than it actually was. Rae glanced about, examining the few homes that were built there, trying to determine which one could possibly be her mother's. "Rae?" The voice came from beside them. Rae turned and spotted a familiar face--her mother. She was dressed in a typical Glade dress. Brown skirt, leather vest, a white, long-sleeved shirt that hung off the shoulders slightly. She was almost exactly like Rae. She bore the stripes on her face, the slightly pointed nose, and the same mouth with a thinner upper lip and a plump, pouty bottom lip with the corners curved upward into a slight smile, but her eyes were different. They were brown, and her hair brown as well with streaks of grey running through it. Not at all matching the bright, copper colour of her daughter's. She bore faint wrinkles, but not enough to put her at an old age. Older, though. The resemblance was there. The same angular features with chubby cheeks, the thick, bushy tail, and the sweet smile that curved her eyes in to two crescent moons. She carried a basket with her of produce, which she dropped on the ground as she rushed to meet Rae, sweeping her up in her arms. Rae embraced her mother as well, wrapping her arms tightly around her in a hug that she refused to let go, fearing it would mean her mother would walk away. The two embraced a moment before her mother pulled away, holding her daughter at arm's length. They had just seen each other yesterday, but she looked upon her daughter as if she had never seen her in thirty years. Then, her mother looked to Marishi and she smiled a warm, yet worried smile. "Marishi. It's so good to see you, as well. My daughter has said so much about you in the letters. I... I always wanted to meet you." She looked as though she wanted to say more, but she did not. There was an awkward moment. She did not know how to greet her daughter's wife. Based off what Rae had said, it was difficult to determine what was appropriate. She held a hand out, turning to face Marishi. What she did after was up to Marishi.
  12. Outsane

    Under Boughs Of Blood [FINAL FANTASY XIV]

    How long had it been? Ten? Fifteen years? She clutched the papers in her hands as she walked from Bentbranch Meadows to the boat that would return her home. The sun-dappled pathway was lonely. The inhabitants of the forest were in the major city that day, not out in the dangerous field where monsters roamed freely. They paid her no mind, however, knowing she was a foe that would strike them down easily. It was strange the monster's innate ability to sense the strength of those that crossed their path. If others could sense that, perhaps there would be less violence. Or perhaps more. Man was a vile and selfish creature. Her thoughts returned to her mother. She had intercepted her--or perhaps it was the other way around. She was making an unprecedented trip to the delivery Moogle to have her letter taken to her mother's home in the southern part of The Black Shroud, a heavily-forested area of Eorzea where those that lived there worshipped the elements and revered them. They were more in tune with the land than any other nationalities, more-so the the Padjal, whom their esteemed leader, Kan-E-Senna, was. Between the gentle shafts of light she walked, her bright, copper hair gleaming in the waning daylight. The Moon would rise before long. Perhaps she'd make it home just before the last breath of Sunlight graced the land for the day and herald in her silver lover. She wore simple folk clothes that day. A simple, long-sleeved top dyed forest green with leaf-gold details stitched into it--a gift crafted by the hands of her beloved wife herself--and a white, silk fabric tied around under her bust. She wore black shorts that clung to her shape, and tall, brown leather boots that reached above her knees. At either side of her hips rested a Rapier and a short sword. The short sword was a brilliant silver, intricately carved blade with details on the blade and hilt while the hand guard was fashioned to twist and spin around the grip of the weapon. The other, a deep, ominous purple metal of unknown material. The hand guard carved after the fashion of a dragon's wing with gold details. The first weapon she called Sanguinaire, the second was Dreadwyrm. The ferryman awaited her patiently, smiling to Rae as she approached. She offered him a distracted smile and paid his fare--40 Gil coins--then sat at the bow and read over the letters. She had committed them to memory, but seeing the carefully scrawled letters, the perfectly curved arches, straight lines, delicate curls... her mother wrote all this for her. Apologies. Apologies and excuses. Rae loved her mother dearly, despite the rather distant feelings she held for her own daughter. Every month she would ensure her mother had money for food and clothes and to maintain her home. At first it wasn't much, but as Marishi and Rae did more jobs, became more well-known, she was able to afford sending her mother more money. It eventually got to the point where her mother could afford to buy a real home, rather than the house in the trees her father had built for them all those years ago. Home... Rae stood before the mansion doors, both hands holding the papers still. How would she tell Marishi? She knew her wife held some ill-will towards her mother. Or at least had no love for her. She blamed her mother for her kidnapping, but it wasn't anyone's fault. She was showing off her skill to the other kids. It was natural they'd tell their parents and the School would catch wind, sweeping her up in their halls to learn their trade. Her mother was helpless that night. They made sure of that. She opened the door and was greeted with the annoyed tone of her wife. She barely heard Marishi speak, lost in thought, head swimming with possible ways to bring up what she needed to speak to her about. She was snapped from her reverie when Marishi strode up to her, leaning in to kiss her lips. Rae reciprocated the gesture, smiling to Marishi. "Oh, no. The Moogle was fine." Rae said. She didn't need to use the delivery Moogle's services, in fact. Her mother was there in Bentbranch Meadow attempting to deliver the letters. They spoke and her mother said most of what was in the letters, but having it in writing made her realize it more, that her mother wanted to be in her life finally, that she forgave her, that she loved her. Her mother loved her. The thought almost caused her to collapse and weep with joy. Such affection was denied her for so long. To have it now... Rae was in the kitchen, still holding the papers. Always holding them, fearing letting them go would send them into The Void. As Marishi began to gather ingredients, Rae decided then was the best moment to talk about the events that day. She placed the papers down, helping Marishi pick out the ingredients. "You did really well this time, my Moonlight," Rae murmured, a smile on her lips. "I don't think I could have picked out better, riper fruits myself. Ah! An Orthard Plum! A rare find, indeed. I hope this didn't cost you too much, darling." She commented, holding up the mauve fruit and admiring it in better light. After some time, Rae finally cleared her throat, replacing the plum in the basket and turning to Marishi. "I... uhm.... I received a letter today. It seemed I intercepted the sender before it could be delivered. I went to Bentbranch Meadows to send off a parcel and... I ran into my mother," Rae paused, watching Marishi's reaction gauging, weighing her options She decided to take the plunge. "She's invited us to her home. She wants to talk to us, catch up. She's realized how much time she's lost, how... selfish she's been. She wants to have us over for a week." Rae spoke fast, blurting out her words before Marishi could interject. There was a brief pause before Rae continued. "I think we should! I think... I think it would be good if we were to visit her. She seems genuinely interested in getting to know about what we do! She... she wants to get to know her daughters better." Saying it like that made it seem as bad as it was. It hit Rae rather hard that her mother knew nothing about her beyond the fact she was married to a woman and she worked as a sell-sword, basically. Her profession, her skills, her hobbies, her talents, her passions... her mother knew nothing of them. It didn't matter, though. She wanted to know now. Her mother wanted to get to know them. It was almost like a dream come true for her.
  13. "I said turn back," Rae screeched, tugging on Fenrir's mane. He ignored her, however. He knew there was no way he'd be able to reach Marishi and get out of the blast. He could sense Alexander's grip on time was slipping too quickly. "GO BACK! MARISHI IS STILL THERE!" Rae screamed again, desperately trying to get Fenrir to obey, but still he did not. If he wasn't going to take her down, she'd go herself. At least she wouldn't have to live without Marishi that way. As she went to throw herself off his back, Fenrir bent his forelegs, pinning his elbows back and trapping Rae's legs around him. Another screech from her ranging his ears, but he ignored the slapping of her hands and punching of her fists on his shoulders. They were weak, anyways. "Both of you need not be martyrs." Fenrir told her flatly, but Rae struggled on, trying to free herself from Fenrir's hold. Sobs escaped her lips as she watch the dome around the battlefield drop and the explosions set in. She heard the scream of soldiers become drowned in the roar of the explosions. She struggled to hear Marishi, but could not. As Fenrir spoke, Rae howled in agony, feeling every bit of her being break. "What was the point?!" She cried, throwing herself onto Fenrir's back, burying herself in his mane as hot, burning tears streaked down her purple-veined face. With the cast completed, Bahamut vanished into the sky and the spare aether he held was returned to Rae. "Why come back in time?! Why come here and be stuck on this planet?! I just wanted to save Marishi! I only want her alive! Altana, please! Rhalgr, Nophica, Althyk, Nald, Thal, Azeyma, Byregot, Oshcon, Llymlaen, Thaliak, Nymeia, Menphina, Halone... anyone! Please! Don't forsake us! Don't abandon me!" "The gods and goddesses will not bent to heel to one who will not choose," Fenrir advised as he landed, his yellow eye looking back to gaze at her. "Altana listens and watches. Believe in her, for she has not abandoned you." Rae dropped from Fenrir's back and landed heavily in the snow. By then, her body was reverting back to normal. Her canines shrank, the veins of purple smoothed onto her skin, the colour returning to it. Her blood-red hair returned to the same copper-hue it was before and her eyes reverted to green, but the golden circle around her pupils remained. She looked fatigued, but she got to her feet when Kagero, Tenzen, and Gilgamesh turned to her and welcomed her, despite her being the sole reason Marishi was dead. She wrapped her arms around Kagero, clutching her and sobbing into her shoulder while Tenzen and Gilgamesh hugged her as well, offering support. No moment was spared them before Rae's eyes snapped open. The fireball that drew nearer caught her attention and she moved away from the group. Quizzical gazes were given to her before she staggered forward, tripping in the piles of snow and falling to her hands and knees just as the flame descended, landing before them to reveal Marishi's slumbering body. Rae moved quicker, strength renewed upon seeing the perfectly preserved body of her wife. Tendrils of steam radiated from her body, making it impossible for Rae to judge based off sight alone if she was still breathing. Rae was at her side in an instant and she fell to her knees, then leaned down, pressing her left ear to Marishi's chest. The steady, soothing beat of her heart could be heard clearly as well as her relaxed breathing. Tears flowed again, this time of relief as she closed her eyes and exhaled, her whole body visibly dropping all the weight she bore. Any fear, any stress, any worry was gone as she listened to the rhythmic beat of her wife's heart. "She lives." She sobbed happily. Behind her, Kagero and Tenzen smiled, gathering each other up in an embrace as tears flowed. Gilgamesh smiled broadly while tears formed in his eyes as well. Rae sat back on her feet and gazed up to the sky, smiling as tears dripped from her cheeks and onto her lap. "Altana, thank you." She whispered. Her eyes gazed down to the destruction below. Many lives were needlessly lost that day all because of one man's lust, one man's greed. Many paths could have been taken to avoid this, but life would not freely give them second chances. This life, this path in the crossroads of time was most preferred. Marishi alive, with her, their friends alive and safe. There was nothing she would change. Life would not spring forth in the crater that was created by Bahamut. Just as on Hydaelyn, it would remain barren and destroyed for many years to come, if not for eternity. Part of Rae was remorseful for the damage dealt, but she knew it was necessary. "Come, we should get to someplace warm." Gilgamesh said, walking over and bending down to pick up Marishi, carefully cradling her in his arms. He took utmost care to avoid waking her. She earned a rest. Tenzen moved to help Rae up but Fenrir stepped in between. Tenzen backed away, allowing the avatar to have his peace. Rae looked up to him, seeing the look in his eye. "The contract is not void on Vana'diel." He pointed out to her. Rae stood, climbing onto his back, stabilizing herself before he walked forward, following the path the others took down the side of the mountain. Rae thought upon his words a moment, then huffed. "Maybe so, but you'll find killing me would be most difficult," she countered quietly, not wanting the others to listen to her conversation. "I've finally reached the timeline I want. I would live here on Vana'diel in peace with my wife. We will live long lives. Long, and happy lives. If you think to take that from me, I will fight you with every ounce I have. If I die, it will be because I've expended every bit of energy and tried to kill you first." His lips curled into a wolfish smile and a low rumble vibrated in his chest. "That is what I like to hear. Perhaps one day I shall call upon the end of our contract, but today will not be that day. Nor any time soon. A happy ending, yes. Some summoners deserve those." He mused. Before they could make it down the mountain, their backup arrived. Arciela's airship landed on the small part of the mountain that was not completely destroyed. All on board gawked at the sight of the massive crater formed into the land. Where once grand mountains stood only a hole in the ground. As the group drew nearer, the red mage spotted Fenrir and gasped. "F-Fenrir! You did this?!" She exclaimed, waving to the totally levelled mountains. "Nay," Gilgamesh answered, climbing on board with Marishi in his arms still. "That fiery-haired woman on his back did." He then laughed and walked into the cabin, finding a bed for Marishi to be laid down upon. Arciela gasped and watched as Rae dropped off Fenrir's back, then fell to her knees. Tenzen quickly helped her up to her feet, lending his support to her as she walked on board the ship. Rae looked up to her and locked eyes, then smiled cheerfully. "Arciela, it's wonderful to see you again! I've missed you so much." Rae said, which earned her a bewildered expression from the young woman. "I-I don't believe we've met." She answered, holding her hand out to Rae. Weakly, Rae took her hand and shook it, laughing breathily. Fatigue was setting in hard at that point. "We have. In another time. You're quite a formidable Red Mage. One I'd ever appreciate to have at my side." Tenzen then brought Rae into the cabin where Marishi was resting and attempted to take her to another bed, but she shrugged herself out of his hold and moved over to the bed Marishi was at, kneeling down and draping her body over the feathered mattress and grabbing Marishi's hand. She dropped her head down and instantly fell asleep. As Tenzen attempted to get her to sit in a chair, it was obvious she was too deep asleep to bother trying. Instead, he took a blanket and draped it over her, then they left them alone to sleep. Once they landed on Ulbaka, they disembarked and were taken to the grand city of Adoulin, they were taken to an infirmary where their wounds and weariness would be tended to. It was a week before they could visit Rae after she regained consciousness. The drain of exerting so much aether and having practically starved herself for weeks on end the month prior all added up and nearly wasted away her body, but she woke up, her body stabilized, her strength mostly returned, and her soul at ease. A gentle tapping came on the sheet that covered Rae's bed area and she was greeted by four familiar faces--Tenzen, Kagero, Gilgamesh, and Arciela. They brought her gifts of fruit, something warm to eat, flowers, and good company. As they pulled up a seat, Arciela was the first to ask what happened during the battle. It was then that Rae passed on the success of their mission, the death of Marishi, and her determination to travel through time to keep her alive. All who listened were in shock and awe. Arciela seemed skeptical, but Gilgamesh, Tenzen, and Kagero knew them quite well and would not put it passed them if this were to happen. "If I did not feel the fearsome strength of Bahamut and these three did not see it for themselves, I fear I would have counted you a liar, Rae." Arciela explained, laughing a little, which caused Rae to smile as well. "Your wife suffered grievous injuries, but she will be fine after the healers finish with her. She will be joining us soon I have been told. You will stay here until you are rested and able to return to your home planet." The smile vanished slowly from Rae's lips. Home. Hydaelyn. She could never return to that place. What Alexander said echoed in her mind and she closed her eyes, sighing. "I'm afraid I won't be able to return to Hydaelyn. My life will be spent here on Vana'diel. A consequence of my action in meddling with time," Rae explained, everyone's eyes raising in shock. That was her soul purpose for the past several months! How could she so quickly abandon her mission? "With Pandemonium and Ultimecia dead, there's no reason to go back to Hydaelyn. I've no responsibilities there. Perhaps I could return with the help of Cait Sith, but it is better here. Despite all that happened, despite the pain and trials, Vana'diel is a better place--a happier place for me to live. If you all wouldn't mind, I would like to stay here." Rae turned to them and smiled. Tenzen and Kagero nodded, smiling to Rae happily while Gilgamesh stroked his chin. "Well, if ye promise not to keep levelin' mountains, I suppose we can keep ye." He teased, causing Rae to giggle. "I can make no such promise, Gilgamesh. You know how I feel about mountains." She teased back, the group laughing again. Tension was gone, urgency vanished, peace settled in as the group joked, waiting for Marishi to recover enough to come out to speak with them. Rae thought of how to break the news to Marishi. She wondered if she'd feel the same about staying here as she did. Once upon she might have, but would she now?
  14. The ensuing moments happened faster than they could process. Where scores of men stood, suddenly they were lost to the infinite white. Kagero was the first to realize that they were no longer on the battlefield. Safely resting from the battle, she glanced to her right and saw as Fenrir returned, dropping Gilgamesh while Phoenix returned Tenzen to the ground. Both avatars returned to the battle as they all staggered forward, swinging down on enemies that were no longer there. The army was frozen in time, but only a few bodies moved. From their position, it was difficult to make out who they were, but the trio knew. "Lord Tenzen, look!" Kagero gasped, pointing to the sky across from the ledge they rested upon. Bahamut floated from the clouds, inhaling deeply while below two forms duelled and the third remained still. The way the first two moved, it was clear one wielded a rapier while the other, a Katana. "Marishi..." Kagero whispered. The first blast had gone off already, but due to time behind held still, no resulting explosion happened. A strain could be felt on the constraints of time as Alexander struggled to maintain its hold over their battlefield. Rae could sense it. "Just a bit more." Rae murmured. Bahamut would create enough blasts that would decimate the whole mountainside. Suddenly, Fenrir was at her side again. "Intercept them. Marishi is still fatigued." Rae ordered, to which Fenrir obeyed. Another blast hit the mountain, the earth groaned and bubbled up from the impending explosion. Fenrir darted in between the two staggering back from one another, clamping down on Francmage's arm, causing him to scream in agony. He shook his head, tearing his arm to shreds, then threw his head back and slammed down, causing Francmage's body to rag-doll around and hit the earth hard. Before more damage could be done, Francmage aimed a blast of stones at Fenrir, forcing him to let go and jump back to safety, close to Rae. She watched the playing field. Everyone here would die. No one would be able to escape. But what was stopping Francmage from escaping the force of the blast? He could move freely in time. By the time they got out, he would be out of harm's way as well. All that would result would be a large hole in the mountain. She needed more. There needed to be more done. He needed to be trapped in time there as well... it was then the idea came to her. "Phoenix!" Rae called out, the fire bird turning to acknowledge her. "Help Marishi! Give her strength! Help her to pin him again!" The avatar obeyed, flying to Marishi's side. Rae then turned to Francmage and stretched forth her hand, veins of purple creating fissures down her arm and along her face. Commanding Bahamut, allowing his essence within her to take so much of her energy, was causing her to physically change. Fangs appeared in her mouth, her canines elongated. Her eyes were now purple with gold veins running through them and a circle of gold around her pupil. Her hair appeared darker, almost blood-like now and her skin paler. She opened her mouth and spoke her next command to her summon. "Bahamut! Giga-flare!" It was the attack that destroyed Cartineau and almost all of Eorzea. It was the attack that was seared into the memories of all the inhabitants of Hydaelyn. Giga-flare was the single most potent attack she could think of that would surely destroy any remaining essence that would be Francmage, but she needed to finish the cast. She needed to pour enough of her aether into the spell to ensure it would be strong enough to do the job. As she began to cast, Francmage darted towards her, knowing her intentions and feeling the need to stop her. Marishi was knocked aside and Francmage darted towards Rae, reaching out to stop her from her cast, but he was intercepted by Fenrir, body-checking him into the snow and snarling at him, pinning Francmage there. A blast of fire sent Fenrir rolling to the side, allowing Francmage to scramble up. It was three against one, the prize being Rae, though he would have to knock her out to stop her from completing the spell. Parts of his army that had fallen behind were killed from the blasts that riddled the plateau they were on, though time held still, so they were still very much alive in that exact moment. Francmage screamed , begging Rae to stop, but she was beyond hearing, she was beyond listening. He ran to her, grabbing her wrist and yanking her to face him, as she spun around, an open palm met his face, jagged lines of blood opened across his cheek she slapped as she raked her finger nails across his flesh. In a fit of rage, Francmage slapped her as well, the force of it knocking her down. Before she could get up, he was on her already, wrestling, trying to overpower her. While her magical prowess was beyond compare now, she was still physically weak. The cuts across his cheek was starting to heal as he wrapped his arm around Rae's arms, pinning her down. Still, she focused on the spell. She'd die in a blaze of glory if it meant he died as well, whether he got what he wanted or not. Though it would not be given to him so easily. Fenrir leapt in, clamping his jaws down around Francmage's head and squeezing, causing him to scream and his arms to flail, while he tried to pry the fanged maw off his head. Several teeth cracked through his skull, causing him to twitch, hos motor function losing control. Blood and grey matter spilled into Fenrir's mouth and onto Rae's back as she slowly stood up. Fenrir jerked his head, shaking it to cause more tears into Francmage's body before he threw him aside, towards Marishi. "It is done," Rae said, her voice harsh, raspy. Like she had inhaled flames and it burned her throat. "Take us from here before we become a victim of my own spell." Fenrir nodded, allowing Rae to climb onto his back, then sprinted towards Marishi, giving Rae a chance to sweep her up once the task was completed. "Marishi," Phoenix beckoned, appearing to her in the form of her bestial appearance, a brilliant fire-bird. "Use me once more that I may pin this monstrosity down and prevent him from fleeing. Together, we shall end this abomination and rid the world of his wicked plague!" As she spoke, she bound her spirit to Marishi's black weapon, her energy fusing with the material of the blade, strengthening its already ominous energy that it radiated. The weapon would be able to lock any foe in place and with Phoenix's added strength, even Francmage would not be able to escape.
  15. Rae stared at Francmage as he drew nearer. How was he still alive? She glanced and spotted him in the fray, frozen in time as well, so this Francmage that was moving was not the one from back in time. Rae had to act fast. She needed to pull Marishi away from the knight if she was going to save her. Rushing quickly, Rae started to run towards Marishi, but was intercepted by Francmage. She skidded to a halt and glared at him with wide-eyes, wanting nothing more than to kill him. Yet again he was standing in her way between her and her wife. What was wrong with him that he was this obsessed with capturing her? "Get out of my way, Francmage. I'm saving my wife." Rae growled, her tone threatening. She drew her rapiers. She wasn't above killing him, or at least mortally wounding him. If fire didn't kill him, however, what would? "It's alright, Rae," Francmage answered, a smile on his face, he held his arms out to her, standing straight, in his right hand he held his rapier. A foreboding scene if she ever saw one. "You don't have to keep doing this. That foul bitch has no power over you now. We can be together now. You don't have to try to keep her from being killed. With her out of the way, we won't have to worry about anything." Rage boiled within Rae. How delusional can one person be? "Shut up!" Rae spat, pure vitriol oozing from her words. Francmage made no indication her anger affected him. Instead, he looked upon her with pity, which intensified her rage. "You think this is some sort of game? Some joke? You think you have a hold on me? That I even care about you? You mean nothing to me! Not a goddamn thing! You are a thorn in my side at best, a cancer at worst. You have tried without end to come between Marishi and I. You have tried and failed. Marishi and I will never be apart! I will never go with the likes of you! I don't care how posh you can promise my life will be! I don't care how much you claim to love me! You. Do. Not! This is not love! This is obsession! You are sick. All of this for what? For a woman? For me? I can assure you, I am not worth this! Look! Your men have fallen! Died at the feet of mine and my friends'! You have so much blood on your hands that you cannot even beg the Goddess Altana forgiveness without staining her own dress! You're pathetic!" She couldn't contain her words. They flowed from her mouth like venom from a viper's bite. She didn't care how he would feel afterwards. She wanted him to hurt. She wanted him to back down. She wanted him to leave her alone. Instead, he persisted. "My poor, Rae. Don't you see how strong a hold she has on you even past the grave," Francmage said, his arms still out on either side, the grip on his rapier tighter now. "Do you not remember that blessed day? The tour around the city? The foods, the smells, the gifts, the laughs, the tales? Do you not remember the feeling that night as we stood in the stream together and shared our kiss? I saw the look in your eyes. There's no denying it! You enjoyed the kiss. You wanted it! Now you refuse to acknowledge it." "It was wrong!" Rae snapped, tears forming in her eyes, arms shaking. Her lips were curled into a snarl and her fingernails dug into the balls of her hands, drawing blood from the punctures. "It was wrong to have done that! You and I are married! Your wife is fat with your heir and you chose to chase after some alien from another universe! You had it all and you threw it away like a selfish, narrow-minded idiot!" Francmage laughed, stepping closer to Rae. "Just because it's wrong, doesn't mean you didn't like it." He continued to step closer, Rae feeling horrid guilt plague her conscience. She did. She had enjoyed it. The neglect from Marishi left her wanting. But that was not Marishi's fault. It was her's. She knew at any time she could have spoken to Marishi about it, but she did not. Instead, she got caught up in the magic of the day and let a moment's weakness slip where she allowed herself to indulge in something that was painfully wrong. He was close now. Rae's eyes flickered to him and she quickly summoned the power of the earth to rise, causing Francmage to tumble to the side. She then threw a blast of fire at him, knocking him back and causing his clothes to singe, but the snow beneath him doused the embers. "Don't you dare come near me," Rae hissed, her Dreadwyrm Rapier held before her, ready to launch another attack if needed. Her gaze then darted to Marishi, still frozen in time. "Daughter of Bahamut. If thou do not fetch Marishi now, I cannot keep mine hold over time in this world." Came Alexander's voice. It rang in her head, blocking out all other sounds. She needed to act quickly. As she moved towards Marishi, Francmage did as well, aiming his rapier to strike her ribs. Rae, however, would not allow this. Not now, not ever. "Just DIEi" She screamed, casting a spell of summoning while still running towards Marishi. She focused all her emotion, all her energy into the spell, conjuring her summon full-strength. The aetheric energy shot into the sky, hiding in the clouds. Thunder rolled and the earth trembled. The mountains groaned in agony as its load of snow shook free, threatening to create an avalanche. The resulting tremor caused Francmage to lose his balance, falling back in the snow, while Rae reached Marishi first. The moment she placed her hand on Marishi, the hold against time that Alexander had on her was lost, dragging her in between the tides of time. Without pause, she summoned nine blades of aether and aimed them directly at the Holy Knight. He would die when time reverted to normal. It was then that a terrifying roar echoed throughout the skies. Through the opaque clouds dropped a form. It was not quite the size of the Bahamut they knew from Hydaelyn, but it looked genuine. Rae's eyes were veined with purple and gold as she looked up to the sky a wild look in her stare. "Bahamut! An noskh ool strah! Ehk morn err! EHK MORN ERR! N narr ool kin! Eehl nesh fanl! Ahk Morn!" She spoke Dragon Speak, her voice ringing through and reaching her summoned Bahamut. In the stillness of time, Bahamut's head reared. Francmage, on his feet now, stared up at the wrathful Bahamut, then to Rae, who stared back at him, eyes wide and filled with pure hatred. The look was almost frightening to him. Never had anything stared at him with such an expression. He could barely recognize her. She looked more dragon-like than feline at that point as she glared at him while clutching on to Marishi. The resulting blasts would destroy the face of the mountain they were on. She didn't care. She knew this would kill him, though. What could be resurrected if nothing was left of him? She would destroy him at all cost, no matter the collateral damage.
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