Jump to content
Valucre added to a new directory! Read more... ×
Valucre

Outsane

Members
  • Content count

    521
  • Joined

  • Last visited

2 Followers

About Outsane

  • Rank
    Dragon Empress
  • Birthday August 25

Contact Methods

  • Skype
    For OOC chatter only, please ask

Recent Profile Visitors

4,576 profile views
  1. Outsane

    Ever Turning Wheels

    Rae had to cleanse herself. Her clothes dripped with the blood of the Highlander she murdered, staining the grainy sand beneath her feet. She walked with an exaggerated pace, not wanting to be stopped. As she moved, her thoughts whirled. Like the pool beneath the waterfall, her thoughts spun around and turned in upon itself. There were no ends to her train of thought, only beginning of new ones. She was being carried by her legs, but she did not control them. They moved on their own accord, taking her at last to the room they were to stay in. Rae stood there, feeling lost. What would she do? Wait for Marishi? No. She couldn't see her. She felt shame. She felt embarrassment. She felt guilt. Guilt for looking at her wife with such indifference. Embarrassment for dragging her along, not bothering to ask what she wanted. Shame for how she felt then and now. She loved Marishi. She loved her more than words could articulate, but then, her actions certainly didn't show it. "I must bathe," Rae murmured under her breath. She fetched a towel and left. The blood had since dried on her clothes, so she fetched a different set of clothing to change in to after her bath. She wanted to burn those other clothes. She wanted to forget this night. She wanted to forget the contempt she held for her wife when she failed to exact her revenge. Rae gasped as a flood of shame and embarrassment washed over her, gripping at her throat and heart, threatening to choke her. How could she face Marishi again? What a horrible wife she must be! Rae wanted to run, to put this behind her. How dare she claim to love Marishi when she did that? She dragged her to face her assailant when it was clear Marishi wanted nothing to do with him! And for what? To satisfy Marishi's thirst for revenge? No, this wasn't about Marishi. This was about her. She was selfish. She was blind. She was obsessed. Rae had reached the bath house and was given a room to bathe in. Immediately, she tore off her clothes and used a cup to pour water on her arms and legs to wash the dried blood off first, then climbed into the tub and sunk into the water, submerging her head. Her red hair floated above her head like tendrils of copper blood. How she wished she could drown herself. Anything to stop this shame she felt. That she could undo what she had done, that she could go back and stop herself from forcing her wife through that. She should be supporting her and building her back up, not this. She was being selfish. 'Selfish.' Rae thought. Even now she was acting selfish. This wasn't about her. This isn't about what she feels. This is about Marishi. Rae resurfaced and gasped for air, gulping down lungfuls as she brushed her hair out of her face. She needed to get back to Marishi and be with her. She needs her now more than ever. With haste, Rae scrubbed down her body and cleaned her hair, then got out of the tub and dried off, pulling on her clothes. She wore simple clothes this time. A simple crimson tunic with a gray wrapping and black, thin rope around her waist, a pair of narrow hempen pants, black in colour. Flat boots to make travel easier, and her rapier fashioned after Bahamut. She quickly moved back to their room. It was incredibly late. Marishi was most likely asleep by now, so she'd have to be cautious when returning. Her hair still dripped from the bath water, as she didn't wring it out well enough. She paid it no mind, however. Once she reached the room, Rae quietly opened the door. She was met by Marishi, as she froze. Shame threatened to swallow her up in its eternal abyss once more, but Marishi spoke and spared her the misery. As she went on, Rae felt her heart swell. This was her wife. She was never too difficult for her. She was never too needy. Rae remained still until Marishi was done, once freed from her motionless state, she swept across the room and cupped Marishi's cheeks in both hands and pressed her lips firmly against her's. Rae didn't move, she didn't break. Her breaths came deeply through her nose as she kissed Marishi with passion and love. The connection freeing Rae of any doubts or turmoil. With Marishi, she felt joy. With Marishi, she felt pace. With the most painful reluctance, Rae pulled her lips away from Marishi's, but kept their faces close. "Marishi, I love you more than words could say. What I did was unthinkable and I should have thought more before I put you in a situation like that. I promise we will be side by side throughout this. I love you." Rae sealed her last confession of love with a kiss and brushed the hair from Marishi's face and affectionately stroked her cheek. "My moonlight," Rae murmured, kissing Marishi's forehead quickly. " What are you thinking? It is getting late and we have had... a lot to feel these past few hours. Shall we sleep? I long to lay bedside you again and feel your warmth and presence near." Rae held onto Marishi like she would never let go. She spoke to her with a tone so soft and sweet. She gazed upon her with adoration and immeasurable happiness. Rae couldn't be any happier with anyone not anything else. Marishi was more than everything to her.
  2. Outsane

    Ever Turning Wheels

    The hair on the back of Rae's neck stood on end and her tail rose slightly while it expanded instinctively. It was the first time in such a long time that some one was able to sneak up on her. She didn't anticipate a voice to come behind them. She reached for her rapier and crystal, but stopped when the woman appeared to be unarmed and claimed to come in peace. She remained wary until she mentioned Rowena. No one would have known they were there under that Hyur's behest unless they were close to her. Given the news, Rae relaxed. A sly, lopsided grin slipped across her face as she mentioned the deeds Rae had done. "That boy was a thief. Where I'm from, he'd have worse than death, but he's lucky I held mercy for him. His family should feel the same." She explained, giving reason for her actions against a child. Her hand rested on the hilt of her beautiful rapier and she listened to the conversation the two had. The gift, Rae could assume, were clothes. She wasn't able to replace Marishi's clothes before that moment. While she had full intention to do as such, it was convenient and welcome that some one else had done so without her organizing it. Rae listened to the information Galiena divulged, internalized it. She was going to have to work harder with Marishi slightly crippled. She did note, however, that word travelled fast to Rowena. The fact that she knew of Marishi's assault was quick to procure a gift and have it delivered in such haste. Rae concluded the only possible way for that to happen was if it was Galiena herself who had stumbled upon Marishi and brought help to her. Sure enough, just as Rae thought it, the woman before them confirmed her suspicions. Rae bowed respectfully to her. "Thank you for saving my wife." She murmured. The gratitude she felt towards this woman could not be measured. She gave her beloved another chance at life. She stopped the worst ending from happening. There were no words, no actions she could do to properly convey her thankfulness. The talking went on. Rae felt as though she were a flower upon the wall. She had no questions to ask, as Marishi asked them. She had nothing to add in to the conversation, as all topics were being covered. She stayed at her wife's side, holding her hand throughout and remaining still and expressionless. She was focused on remembering the information and making plans. Being told they would need to fetch a scale from the fearsome Wyrm that spawned from Baelsar's Wall was staggering news indeed, but she took it without betraying her expression. It wasn't until Marishi bowed and offered a humble apology that Rae turned her head and blinked, wide-eyed and mouth slightly agape. Her wife would have hounded a man for lesser things with unapologetic disparagement. That she would apologize now... Rae frowned slightly. What had gotten in to Marishi? Why wasn't she angry? Why wasn't she seething with hatred over what happened to her? Rae's focus went away from her own questions as Galiena began to answer Marishi's questions. The Ishgardians. If not for them, she and Marishi wouldn't be there. It was ultimately their fault this all happened. If they had just warned them. If they had used someone else. If... anything. Such as it was, so she would have to let it be. They wouldn't get away with this. Despite not being able to stop them from passing the border completely, Rae figured a while to delay them was enough for them to catch up. They had three days lost plus the weeks to get to Ala Mhigo. Any sort of delay was enough for the two of them. Before Galiena left; however, she left them with the most vital piece of information. Rae--try as she might--could not hide her utter interest at the parchment left on the mantle. Where her wife lacked intrigue, Rae exuded it. Her eyebrows raised and her eyes lit up as she moved for the paper, though she paused and turned to Marishi first. Their informant had left, closing the door behind her. "Well?" She asked quietly. When Marishi made no motion to move, Rae frowned again and briskly walked to the mantle, taking the scroll from it and unravelling it. She read every detail, remembered every name, remembered the location of the tent. She thirsted for his blood. She wanted to dig her claws into his chest and hallow him out, to force him to feel the same hallowness Marishi must be feeling. She wished to string his intestines out in his tent and scrawl a threat in his blood to all who dared look at her wife with carnal intent across the face of Rhalgr's statue. She tossed the paper into the fire and turned to Marishi, anger and revenge flashing through her eyes. "We're going to find this bastard and we are going to kill him. Get your katana," Rae said, sternly. She wouldn't take no for an answer. The hesitation from Marishi sent a wildfire through her belly. Why was she faltering?! Why wouldn't she want revenge on the poor excuse of a man who took so much from her and almost killed her? All the rage Marishi should have felt seemed to manifest within Rae. Without a word, she stomped tot he fireplace, fetched the Gordian weapon from beside it, and marched to Marishi, putting it in her one hand, then grabbing the other and walking out of the room. The night was beautiful. Calm, nearly quiet save the few late-night drinking. It was late, however. Incredibly late. Those who were up were drunk beyond cognitive thought or on the verge of passing out. Rae marched through the tents, ignoring anything around her as she focused on the landmark that was written on parchment. Close to the pool, beside the fallen pillar that points to the foot of Rhalgr. To the east of that pillar sat a group of tents, one larger than the other three. They weren't far off from the other clusters of tents, but enough to know that those particular tents were owned by a specific platoon. All the while, Rae dragged the increasingly hesitant Marishi with her. Marishi's hesitation propelled her forward and fuelled her anger. Why? Why?! Why must Marishi falter? Why must she resist? This man must be made an example of! He must suffer what consequences he deserves! And Marishi would be the one to deliver that consequence. Her heart pounded. Rae could see her pulse behind her eyes and hear it in her ears. As they neared, Rae slowed her pace and listened, easing her adrenaline-pumped heart so she could discern the sound of slumber coming from the larger tent. There was no snoring, there was no peaceful breathing. It was frantic with muttering. He was awake. "Quiet now, Marishi," Rae spoke softly, but with a tightness in her voice. It was taking every ounce of her willpower to not storm in there herself and tear that man to shreds, to render him asunder and rip his throat out with her own teeth. "He's awake, and by the sounds of it, he's trying to leave. I'll stop him, but you must do it. You must kill him, Marishi. His sin must be atoned for and you must be his judging goddess." Without any sound, Rae crept closer to the tent. As they drew nearer, the sound of frantic shuffling and breathing could be heard more clearly. The men who were to be in the other tents were gone. Perfect. Less fighting to be done. As they neared the tent, the flap flung open, but Rae was prepared. Before the man could step out, she raised her foot and planted it on his chest, knocking him back into the tent as she pushed it forward. The man tumbled back and gasped, clutching his sternum while coughing. His bag's contents spilled across the tent floor, creating a bit of a ruckus, but not much. "Where do you think you're going," Rae asked, her voice a low growl. She stepped into the tent without hesitation and stood before the man. "Ahh, sobered up, have we? Guess you learned that woman you murdered wasn't actually murdered, hm? Trying to run from your mistake? Well, Highlander. I have good news for you. You won't have to live long with your mistake. In fact..." Rae stepped back, keeping an eye on the man while she reached back and pulled the flap to the tent back, revealing Marishi. "You won't have to live long at all." "P-please," the man stuttered. "I was drunk! Ye can't 'spect a man to be in his right mind when he on the sauce!" He cowered almost, hands shaking. "I 'eard about ye! Please! Don't do it! I've got family back home! I-I just wasn't thinkin' clearly!" Rae stared at him with indifference. Nothing he said to her weighed upon her. His words meant nothing. They were like words spoken in another language. She didn't recognize them and they didn't trigger any sort of response from within her. What did, however, cause her blood to boil, was when she turned to Marishi and saw her standing there. "Marishi? What are you doing?" She asked, her teeth clenched. "Take your katana and kill him!" The brief seconds that passed seemed like hours to Rae. Her mind was awhirl with bewilderment and anger. They were practically given this man on a silver plate and Marishi was hesitating. For the first time ever, Marishi balked at doing what was necessary. "H-heh... guess she lost all that anger when..." The man spoke, but Rae spun around to face him, eyes wide and filled with pure, concentrated hatred and anger. He cowed under the look as her eyes glowed from the light cast off the moon from outside. She appeared as nothing but a shadow with eyes as green as malice and filled with just that emotion. She dared him to speak another word. Silently, she begged him to say more. The macabre part of her ached to hear him continue with his sentence, but she made no indication for him to continue on. "Must I do everything now?" She grumbled, giving Marishi a pointed stare. She reached for the hilt of Marishi's Gordias Katana and pulled it from the sheath, her movement awkward, but sure. "Please, no!" The man begged as Rae stopped closer to him. He scrambled backwards, but Rae quickened her pace and rose the blade above her head and thrust down with it, plunging it through the man's groin. He howled in agony, but it was cut off by Rae's foot stomping on his throat, causing him to gag. His hands were stuck in a feeble attempt at pulling the blade from his hip and pulling Rae's foot off his neck. Every attempt he made at touching the blade earned a slice across his fingers from it. Rae twisted the blade slowly, wiggling it. "Your last moments will be in agony. Your soul will not remember peace when it leaves this world. I pray your Aether gets lost and never finds The River." She hissed at him. Between weak and breathless gasps, the man managed to hoarsely say, "My... family..."while making one more attempt and pulling her foot off his throat. Rae pulled the knife from his groin and stepped back from his neck, but he made barely a movement. The agony was too great for him. "I will send them your regards." She seethed, then plunged the blade into the man's chest, piercing his heart and ending his life. Rae held there a moment before pulling out the blade and plunging it back in again. She grunted as she did so, then repeated the motion six more times, her grunting turning in to breathless screams until she stopped, breathing heavily. She trembled. Her body was releasing the adrenaline she built up and now she quaked where she stood. The mounting anger and hatred fled from her body and for a brief moment, she felt nothing. There was nothing. She wasn't part of this moment. Before too long, Rae finally pulled the sword from the corpse one last time and stood over him, staring down at his lifeless body. It didn't illicit any sort of emotion from her. Her gaze was blank. Finally, turning to Marishi, Rae walked towards her and leaned down and took her hand and placed the handle of the katana into it. Standing up straight, Rae stared Marishi in the eye before wordlessly walking away, returning back to their room without turning back to see if her wife was following behind.
  3. Outsane

    Ever Turning Wheels

    "I know, my dearest," Rae whispered to Marishi, brushing her fingertips long her hand. "I love you, but please. Don't assume that sending me away is the answer to what is difficult. I almost lost you once, and I don't intend to lose you again." She offered her loved one a smile, small, but full of love and the warm comfort she could manage to show in a small gesture. Marishi didn't have to tell Rae twice to start eating. She could feel her stomach eating away at itself as the smell of the stew tickled her senses. She knew it wouldn't taste anything like her own stew, but that didn't matter. Food was food to her at this point. The stew and bread only lasted moments before she engulfed it hungrily, throwing away manners and dignity. Once she had her fill, Rae sat back and heaved a content sigh. She shouldn't strain herself like that. To starve like that would only hurt her and Marishi would be displeased, but Rae couldn't bear the thought of her beloved waking up by herself. If she felt the need to pardon Rae from their marriage, just how would she have reacted if she wasn't there? What would Marishi had thought? Slowly, eyes opened as Marshi began to speak, she sat up straight, showing she was interested and paying attention. Her ears dropped a bit as Marishi mentioned lying to her all their marriage. She didn't get a chance to dwell upon that thought, as Marishi began to divulge her history. It wasn't often that Marishi spoke of her past, but what she said Rae was familiar with. She pieced most of her history together from the things Marishi had mentioned casually. She knew she was an only child, her mother died early in her life and her father raised her. He was stern, but not unloving. She didn't know about the cabin, but knew her father, too, was taken from her early. As the Autumn War was brought up, Rae's brow piqued while the other curved downward, giving her a quizzical look. She didn't speak, though. It was Marishi's turn to talk, and she worried saying something would cause her to stop. It wasn't often she got a chance to listen to her speak so openly about her past. At mention of Alexander, the primal the Goblins worshipped in the Dravanian Hinterlands, Rae's ears rose. She heard far too much of that entity. The scholars in Sharlaya spoke not of disdain and disgust for the primal that was created from their works, but of reverent awe. Another reason why Rae knew she would not fit in among the learned ones of the ancient land. Their perversion of things borderlined that of the Allagans sometimes. Short of ripping apart living creatures and sewing their parts together on another body, the Sharlayans valued knowledge than life. They would die for knowledge, and they would kill for it too. As Marishi went on, Rae pieced together what she was getting at before it was even said. Marishi was not as old as she appeared. Alexander had master over the flow of time. It could undo things that were done if the master at the wheel so chose it. That was why the mechanical entity had to be sealed away. Far too much damage could be dealt with any one person at the wheel of that machine. At least the ancestors knew better than to let such a thing run rampant and unchecked. Curious, though, that Marishi has not aged. While she did pay no mind to it, she thought upon the matter and realized it had to be true. She certainly looked to be getting older. Though she was still young, Rae was 32 and had visible age upon her face. It wasn't abundantly apparent, but enough that she noticed. Marishi, however, didn't look a day older than 25. Rae's right ear fluttered, causing her to reach up and stop it from moving by masking it as scratching an itch. Marishi was old enough to be her mother. The thought brought an amused smile to her face. The impulse to tease Marishi a little rose within her, but she kept that for a later date. A sigh of relief slipped past her lips, however. If this was the lie, then Rae felt very much at ease. An age such as that meant very little to her now. Were she younger, then perhaps, but now? No. Marishi was her beloved wife. Though older than she believed, she was still the same to her. Rae watched as she stood and wobbled, she extended a hand to assist Marishi, then stood up with her as she walked forward, towards the entrance of the infirmary. Rae followed behind her, hands held behind her back as she stepped quietly beside her. As she turned and smiled at Rae, her heart melted again and she smiled back at Marishi. There she was. Her wife. "Of course, Marishi. I love you with all my being and I would not let this come between us," she answered, touching her hand and bringing it to her lips to softly kiss her knuckles. "I will follow you to the ends of the world and back again. There is nothing that will keep me from you. Come, let us return to the room and we will get ready. Some of the supplies may have gone bad, so I'll need to gather more, but you will be at my side the whole time, my love." Rae walked back to their room they had rented. After 3 days, it was left untouched. No one had stayed there. The bed was still made, their items were still left in the same spots Rae had seen them last. Rae heaved another sigh and stretched, her bones popping and cracking as she did. Sitting in a chair for a few days really took its toll on her body. Glancing back outside, she realized the moon was high in the sky. It was really quite late, and no stores would be open. "Ah. Hmm. I suppose it is late. What are you feeling, darling? Should we leave the Reach? I can pack us tonight and we can leave. Put this thrice damned place behind us." Rae smiled again at Marishi, awaiting her response.
  4. Outsane

    Ever Turning Wheels

    Rae stifled her crying as Marishi started to. She had to be strong for her now, she could tell. Marishi never cried. Rae gulped down the wave of sadness that threatened to summon tears to spill from her eyes and watched as Marishi slowly came to realize where she was. Once she gasped, however, Rae stood up quickly and moved to hold Marishi, but as she recoiled, Rae's heart plummeted into her stomach, sucking out the air from her lungs. "Marishi, please," she breathed, not reaching out for her beloved with her hands, but with her words. "Please, darling. Breathe, calm yourself. You can't-" she was cut off by Marishi's exclamation. Her heart broke that moment. Tears forced their way past her defences and she stopped obeying Marishi's request to not touch her. Rae threw her arms around Marishi, enveloping her protectively and holding her close to her bosom. Her arms trembled ever-so faintly as she held her wife to her, refusing to let go even as she wrapped her arms around her as well. Rae coiled her body around Marishi, not allowing anyone to see her like this if she could help it. Her Marishi was a strong, proud woman, but humble. No one could see her wife like this. She'd protect her so fiercely. She would protect her so fiercely before, but now, even moreso. They would not leave each other's side. If she were only there! That man would be a memory. Whoever did this to Marishi would be only a dream in the eyes of those that knew him, and even then, she could rip that memory from their thoughts and shatter it with the pure hatred she held for him. If she found out who he was, they would surely exact their revenge upon his poor soul. As an Elder came closer, Rae lifted her head, ears dropped down to reflect the sadness she felt. As Marishi would not touch the Elder Healer's hand, Rae gave her arm a gentle squeeze and helped stand her up so that she might sit on the bed beside her. Never did Rae's arm leave from around Marishi's back. She listened to the Elezen as he explained the gravity of Marishi's injuries. She had heard it before, replayed it in her own mind over and over. Rae was no stranger to the details that crushed her heart and soul. Her beloved was hurt. If only she had been there! Never again, she vowed. They would travel together and she would never be far from Marishi. They were not strong alone, but together, they were nearly unstoppable. At the mention of food, Rae realized just how hungry and parched she was. No food nor drink for three days. She fasted, praying fervently for her beloved's survival. She ostracized herself from the world, for her world had lie dying on the bed for those three days. The though crossed her mind multiple times that, should Marishi not survive, she would not go on. There was no point. No joy in this world apart from the woman she chose to love for the rest of her life. As the Healer left, Rae sat still, her eyes settled on her own hand in her lap as well. She figured Marishi was weighing everything that happened, considering it all and working herself around it so she wouldn't let it get the best of her. When she broke the silence, however, Rae stared stunned, speechless at the words Marishi chose to speak. This broke her. Rae had expected Marishi to find a way to mask the pain she felt as she always did, or to at least request a bit of time to herself, but not this. "Is that all this is to you?" Rae asked in a voice no louder than a whisper. Her brows knit together and her lips frowned as she struggled to stop the tears from flowing. Wiping an eye, Rae sucked in air sharply from her mouth and cleared her throat, then spoke again. "You think I follow you to the end of the world to leave when things get a little too tough for us? That I stay with you because of some... contract?!" Rae reached over and tenderly touched Marishi's chin with the tips of her fingers, pulling her to look at her as she spoke. Rae gazed intently into Marishi's deep red eye before she spoke again. "Do you think I married you because of your purity? Do you think I love you because it was an easy option for me to do? Don't ever speak like that, Marishi Ten. I married you for love. I follow you for our love. I love you because of how you make me feel, how you give me reason to want to wake in the morning. I love you for your unconditional love towards me. I love you for you keep me on the right path, you teach me every day what I should be doing. I love you for you. I have not lost my Marishi. My dear Marishi is still here before me. She's a little broken, but she still sits before me and I love her with all my heart, and nothing can take that away from me--from us. I will not leave you, Marishi Ten. As your wife, I vowed to stay at your side when things were good and things were bad. Right now, they're bad, but they will get better, and that is what I will strive to achieve with you. "Don't ever try to push me away. I will not go anywhere without you," Rae added. Her voice was now steady, strong. She spoke with passion and conviction. There was nothing that Marishi could say that would deter that. "You are my wife. I will remain at your side until we die." She spoke with such finality, like further discussion of the matter would not be entertained, as it surely wouldn't. Rae was prepared to do anything to stay with Marishi, and any talk otherwise would be met with a fierce rejection. Rae's countenance was as resolute as her decision. The food was brought in and Rae couldn't stop the audible growl of her stomach as the smell of the stew reached her nose. She did not move, she did not waiver. "I love you, Marishi Ten." She whispered, her voice shook as she said it as a wave of emotion rose within her heart.
  5. Outsane

    Ever Turning Wheels

    Rae could scarcely feel anything. The men and women working feverishly to keep Marishi alive were rushing about. She felt in the way even in the corner she had made herself crush into. They wouldn't let her see her wife. The last memory she had of Marishi was of her bittersweet smile before she left. If she had known it was going to be her last time seeing her - No! She mustn't think like that. Marishi WOULD survive. She had to. There was no way this was the end to her story. She stared hard at the curtain that blocked her view of Marishi, as if staring at it would give way to the appearance of her beloved. There was nothing. No sounds from her, no movements that she could see that were of her own. There were faint shadows from the lamps within the curtain that cast obscure outlines of a the puppet show that was Marishi's surgery. Rae wanted nothing more than to be in there helping, but she knew little of surgery and only of healing with magic. She'd need to stay out of the way, as her own methods of helping were not needed now. Her own methods... Rae stopped one of the women scrambling into the infirmary with fresh linen cloths. "Where was she found?" She asked, demanding an answer without saying as such. "The pub. Some one reported there being a brawl there." The woman answered hastily, a panic in her eye as she spoke. "Don't go there, though. It's not safe and we don't want another Miqo'te here to try and save." "You won't need to save me." Rae answered, whirling on her heel and walking briskly down the way to the pub. The look in her eyes caused people to jump out of her way as she stalked to the pub. There were officers investigating already, but they were barely putting an effort into it. It wasn't their own that was hurt, so who cares? "I care," Rae whispered under her breath as she snuck inside a window, as the door was being blocked by a guard. It was easy, since they assumed no one would try to interfere with the scene. The inside of the pub was like a gore house. There was blood everywhere. Marishi's blood. Rae glanced around, looking for signs of who it might have been that had done this. Two coins tossed on the ground gleamed in the dying light of the hearth fire. She made her way to them quietly and picked them up. They, too, were covered in blood, but only the bottom half where they sat in a pool of blood. Some one dropped them after the assault. This was no indication of who it could be, as anyone in the encampment had loose change. It had to be some one burly, however. Marishi would never have let some scrawny bastard do that to her. Another gleam in the light caught her eye. Marishi's Tanto. Rae picked it up from under an unbroken chair and examined it. Yes, some one stronger physically than Marishi must have done this to her. Whether it be one or more persons, that much wasn't clear yet. "He told me to leave." Rae's ears perked up. Some one was speaking about the events before the assault. She crept closer to the door and listened intently as the officer inquired more of the man. "And you just left?" He asked. "A-Aye. I'm old, I couldn't stop him. I didn' wan' him to do to me what he had already done to her. I did the next best thing. I told an officer nearby 'bout it. Didn' wanna leave the girl dead in my bar." Rae's eyes narrowed. The barkeep. He was told to leave and abandoned her wife, but she couldn't expect him to lay down his life for some stranger. At least he told some one about it. "I heard the screams an' I had to get away. Didn' wanna be near the place. Can' stand the sound." "Who did it, though," she whispered, wishing the man would answer her unheard question. "Very well," the officer said. The sound of fabric ruffling could be heard and coins clinking into passing hands. "Don't tell others who you saw doing it. Have a good night, sir. We'll clean up in here." The urge for Rae to burst through and set fire to each man out there nearly took command of her own body, but she instead darted for the window she came in to climb out. An officer paying the barkeep to not tell who did it. The man had to be some one higher-ranking. What if they were there and cheered him on to do it? Rae shook the through from her mind before her rage was all-consuming. She made her way back with what little physical evidence she had. It wouldn't go missing. They weren't going to investigate the crime properly anyways. A few missing coins and a knife would go unnoticed. She knew very little of the culprit. He was a large, strong man, surely, and a high-ranking war veteran. Highlander, possibly. Maybe Roegadyn. Most likely a Highlander, however. Roegadyns didn't make high ranking in the rebellion army and they cared more for their Highlander brothers than the others that helped in their army. Rae had placed herself in the corner she was at again while she processed the information, internalizing it. She remembered the scene, the voices, the faces of who she saw. She wanted to find the officer that paid the barkeeper and kill him. She wished to slit his throat with Marishi's blade, but that would wait. A groan from behind the curtain pulled Rae from her thoughts. Marishi, despite in a coma, moaned in agony as she heard bones snapping. "Marishi!" Rae cried out, moving towards the curtain. Oh that she could push them back and be at her side! That she could hold her hand and stroke her hair once again and whisper comforting words to her! Rae's heart broke, the painful pounding in her chest sent burning aches through her limbs once more and made it difficult to breathe. "Please, let me be with my wife!" She called out to the doctors and healers, to anyone who would hear, but no one responded. She took a step closer and one nurse who was assisting with the wrapping and cleaning of wounds barked at Rae. "Stay back! You're just get in our way!" The thought of her being the cause of why the healers couldn't save Marishi crushed her thoughts of going near again. She'd wait in the corner. She'd wait until it was alright for her to go in. Rae stood still for what seemed like days before the frantic running and orders had slowed down. The sun was above the horizon before one nurse came out, weary and waving to some Conjurers. Rae recognized them immediately and stepped forward. "Please, I can help. I am practised in white magic. I can help heal." The three shook their heads to her. "You are too emotionally invested in this. Her aether is imbalanced. We need to ease it before it slips from her body and we lose her. If you heal even too much by a slight amount, she would be lost. You must stay out." The elder of the healers instructed, to which Rae covered her face and hid in her corner again, sobbing. She felt helpless. She felt helpless to save her beloved. Just that morning prior she promised to keep Marishi safe from anyone who would harm her, and this is what happened. She couldn't even help save her life. All she could do was stand and wait. Wait and pray and hope. After another eternity, a chirurgeon and healer stepped out from behind the curtain and called Rae near. She had been standing still for so long, her joints cracked as she moved. She stumbled before them and looked to see inside the curtain, but the Conjurer stopped her. "Miss, there are some things we must tell you about your wife," he said softly to Rae. She shook, trembling, scared of what would be said. "She is in a coma now. Our alchemists are working to keep her as such while we work to mend the broken bones and repair the tissue that was destroyed from the assault. At this time, we don't have much information to give you other than she has permanent damage to the optical nerve in her eye. We’ve done what we could, but I’m afraid the she won’t have full function of the eye anymore. The pupil is dilated to near full and doesn’t respond to stimuli. We believe that she can see out of it, but she will have trouble with lights." Rae let out a sob, covering her mouth with her hand and holding to the doctor. Before Rae could say anything, the chirurgeon continued from where the healer had left. "My nurses can assist with means of fixing that. It's not a perfect solution, but given the situation, it's the best thing for her." "Anything," Rae croaked softly, her voice hoarse from crying. "Anything you have I'll take it. We'll use it. What else? What else is there?" The doctor and healer shifted uncomfortably, glancing to the side to avoid Rae's gaze. She waited for one to speak, to answer her question, but she had a feeling she knew. The feeling of dread and horror formed a small hole in her stomach, weighing it down, tendrils slowly growing and threatening to consume her. "We regret to inform you that there are... signs of sexual assault. Whoever had done this to your wife brutally raped her before she finally fell unconscious." The tears could not be stopped. Rae's body went numb and her heart slowed as her face paled. Her gaze went through the men standing before her and they stopped talking, recognizing the look on her face. After a brief moment, Rae's lungs forced her to gasp for air. She had been holding her breath and not realized it. As she did, she slowly dropped to her knees, arms shaking and mind spinning. She didn't know what to do. Her body refused to function automatically. She had to consciously think the commands of getting her lungs to breathe and her heart to beat. There was a throbbing in her ears that she didn't know was her heart about to burst or her mind trying to work hard to get her body to work. After a few moments of her episode, Rae came to her senses and gazed up at the men before her, who were kneeling with her as well. "I'm sorry," she whispered. "Please... tell me everything." The healer then cleared his throat and took over the explanation. "There was severe internal bleeding that my healers have stopped, a fracture to the arm that we can only wait for it to be mended. To be honest, miss, your wife was beat near to death. We've done all we can do for her now, but even in her state, she could go at any time. As my colleague has said, our alchemists have placed her into a medically induced coma. It's not only so we could operate on her, but... there are concerns of shock to nervous system. It could be that she doesn't wake up. Right now, all we can do is wait. I'm so sorry." Rae gulped hard and took to her feet, staring at the curtain. "May I go in?" She asked. "You should probably sleep, miss," the chirurgeon suggested. "I would sleep at my wife's side." Rae insisted, not taking her gaze off the curtain. The healer leaned in and spoke softly to the doctor. "I don't see the harm in it, Grahe." Reluctantly, the chirurgeon nodded and opened the curtain for Rae. The sight was enough to suck the life out of Rae as well. Marishi was so pale--paler than usual. She looked so frail, so weak. As if at any moment she truly could slip from this world. Rae moved quietly, as if any disturbance around them could cause Marishi to pass on. She then knelt down beside Marishi's bed and gently took her left hand in both her hands and stared at the partially-covered face of her wife. Her hand was cold. So cold. That she could give Marishi her warmth. That she could give Marishi her health. That she could give her her own life! Rae pressed Marishi's knuckles to her forehead and proceeded to sob. "Don't go, Marishi. Please, don't leave me," she begged quietly. "I need you. I need you with me still. I can't lose you yet. I can't lose you ever. Please, don't go." She begged so earnestly. She sniffled and sobbed between words and squeezed Marishi's hand as tightly as she squeezed her eyes. She tried to stop thinking about losing Marishi, but her thoughts always drifted back to wondering if this was her last moment with her. The thought gripped at her throat and choked her, causing tears to well up in her eyes anew and sent them spilling onto Marishi's hand and the bed. Every moment she would breathe deeply to even her emotions, another thought would send a wave of morose throughout her body and summon the tears and sobbing. There was no consoling her, so she allowed herself to cry until there was nothing left in her to cry. And then she fell asleep, holding tightly to her beloved's hand. The following days, Rae did not leave Marishi's side. She did not eat, she barely drank and only when she felt as though she would pass out from dehydration. More water meant more tears, but there was nothing to do for her but to cry for Marishi. She had said every prayer she could think of to every god of the Twelve and even prayers to those that may exist, but were not named. She dreamt of Marishi. She thought of Marishi. Her very existence was about Marishi and it would not stop until Marishi was better. On the third day, Rae woke from her sleep. She was slouched in her chair and her back ached. She must have cried herself to sleep again. Rae's eyes, sore as they were, settled upon Marishi and paused. The familiar currant red eye gazed back at her for the first time in days.Her lips parted slightly before Rae sat up straight suddenly and grabbed Marishi's hand. Her heart leapt. It skipped a thousand beats as she gasped sharply and repeatedly for breath. "Marishi," she breathed, then swallowed hard as the tears flowed freely from her eyes again and slid down her cheeks and onto their hands again. "Marishi!" Rae cried out and buried her face into her beloved wife's hand, sobbing happily that her sweet wife was awake, that her sweet wife had fought and won her life.
  6. Outsane

    Ever Turning Wheels

    Rae's right ear flicked rapidly, but her face betrayed no sense of embarrassment nor frustration. She knew she should keep to herself and they had a rouse to keep up, but she couldn't help it. She was a passionate Miqo'te and would express her feelings as such if they overwhelmed her. Still. Marishi was right. She needed to behave, no matter how much her feelings threatened to swallow her up. She murmured a gentle apology and took the reigns of her Chocobo and lead it into the winding passage that took them at the feet of the great statue of Rhalgr, the Destroyer. Rae gazed around in awe. The area appeared as a small haven. It was no wonder why this spot was chosen specifically for the liberation front's base. No one would get through without being seen, not that anyone could. The place was enclosed within cliffs. To any who gazed at it would think it only a fissure in the cliff. Foot soldiers would march right on past without a second glance. Following Marishi's lead, Rae walked through Rhalgr's Reach. She smiled and laughed at Marishi's stories. Despite her life's companion's best efforts, Rae could sense the eyes upon them. She knew all-too-well what they were to these Highlanders. They were little more than playthings, and the moment one of her kind showed up acting more than what they thought they were, it drove some of them mad. To the point of wanting to knock them down a few pegs. She wouldn't let that happen. Not to her, nor Marishi. Though she knew her beloved could keep her own in a fight, the desire to protect that which she loved was all-consuming to any other feeling she'd have in a moment of danger. Once in the privacy of their own room and their Chocobos properly stabled, Rae shrugged off her bag that she retrieved from the Chocobo's saddle and placed it gently on the floor. She then prepared to fetch the food from it, but Marishi's announcement that she'd be leaving soon caused her to stop. She frowned. Not even a moment to spare with her. Before she could open her mouth to protest, Marishi was upon her, pulling their hips together and biting her upper lip in an affectionate kiss. Rae was caught off-guard for a brief moment before she returned the kiss, lightly sucking on Marishi's soft bottom lip. When Marishi pulled away, Rae opened her eyes and gazed back into her's, a small smile on her face. She longed to see Marishi smile like that. It made her heart flutter each time she got to see it. "Mmmmh... I look forward to it," Rae purred in response to Marishi. As her smile shifted to bittersweet, Rae reached up and stroked her cheek with the back of her fingers and cupped her face. "I love you as well, my darling Marishi." She cooed to her, savouring the kiss once more and smiling happily as Marishi left. After a brief moment, Rae stood up to walk around the encampment. She wished to explore. They were safe there for a time, she figured. Still, she wouldn't spare any precaution. Sheathing her rapier and adjusting the crystal on the loop on the opposite side of her rapier, Rae prepared to leave. She paused a moment when the gleam of her beloved's weapons caught her eye. The thought occurred to her to bring them to Marishi, but if the contact was expecting her to be alone, Rae had best stay away. Rhaglr's Reach was a beautiful place. The simplicity of it all made Rae feel back at home in The Shroud. As there were no trees that blotted out the clear sky, she could gaze up and see the stars and moon easily. The constellations seemed to glow dimmer in this part of the world in comparison to Sharlaya, but it wasn't something she despised. There was something about the bright clarity of the stars in Sharlaya that disturbed her. It made her feel closer to the heavens; more isolated from the rest of the world. Here, in Rhalgr's Reach, the stars were as they should be. The entire encampment was surrounded by jagged cliffs that seemed perilous to scale. To the north-most part of the opening was the statue of Rhalgr, the Destroyer carved into the side of the mountain with elegant streams of water flowing down on either side of Him. Rae grew up under the rule of Azeyma as her father and mother had been raised as well, but once going to Sharlaya, she abandoned such worship after learning more of the futility of the Twelve in this world. Most Sharlayan Scholars praised the Twelve, but she found them useless. "Oof! Sorry, ma'am!" A young man ran into Rae, ripping her from her train of thought. She staggered forward and caught herself before falling into the pool before her. She was on the bridge now right before the pedestal where the offerings for Rhalgr were laid. When did she walk there? Glancing around, she spotted the young man who had bumped into her. He was carrying a sack over his shoulder and he was hunched over. It was no wonder he had walked into her without seeing where he was going. The thought to chide him vanished. "No, 'tis my fault. I shouldn't be standing and gawking in the middle of the bridge. I hope you didn't hurt yourself." Rae responded, stepping aside for the young man. The man shook his head, laughing and stomping forward, waddling forward under the weight of the sack he carried. "Naw, no pain here, ma'am. Thanks for your pardon!" He replied and continued along. Rae watched him as he walked forward and she rested one hand on her hip and the other on her... Her hand dropped from where her rapier's hilt would normally be. She gazed down at it, then back up to the man who hobbled along a bit quicker now. Hissing a curse under her breath, Rae darted forward. Upon hearing her running steps nearer, the man cast a glance over his shoulder before picking himself up and running faster. That sack wasn't quite so heavy after all. He made a sharp turn around the fork in the bridge and started towards the tented areas and Rae was on his heels. He jumped to the opposite side of the water and spun around on his foot, spinning the sack in his hand. As Rae jumped to land on him, he threw the bag at Rae, knocking the wind out of her lungs and causing her to fall back into the water. The sudden cold caused her to gasp in a lung-full of water. Before she sunk too low under the sack, she moved out from underneath it and swam up to the surface, sputtering out the water in her mouth and throat and gasping for air. As she quickly swam to the shore, she coughed hard, gagging as the water was expelled from her lungs. Rae wouldn't wait long to get to her feet and scan the small crowd of people. Her weapon was stolen by that bastard, and she'd find it... and make him suffer as well. Rae moved through the crowd, dripping wet and eyes wide, glaring at every man's face, scrutinizing his features to determine if he was the thief or not. She pulled back the flap of a tent and stared inside, looking each shocked man in the eye before throwing the flap shut. A few men attempted to shout at her in protest of her actions, but she pulled out her crystal and allowed it to glow an ominous yellow-green light to signify she was channelling a spell. This shut them up rather quickly, others reached for their own weapon, to which she responded by turning around and walking on the path as she was before. She would spare them no moment of her time. Each second was a second away from her rapier. While she was proficient with spells and magic, the rapier allowed her a larger variety of magic. She could not replace that rapier, either. Rae paused a moment recalling its origin. The Sharlayans produced it for her after she mastered her abilities as a Red Mage. It resonated with the power of the Dreadwyrm Bahamut. While no one could definitively give an accurate description of what materials were used to create such a weapon, Rae sensed a familiarity within it. Having been a practised Summoner before she took up the rapier, she knew all-too-well the presence of Bahamut's essence. So familiar, that she could find any of it if there was any nearby. She had attuned to Bahamut's aether, and so she could feel it wherever it may be. Closing her eyes, Rae reached out, touching the sightless world around her for the energy of her rapier. Walking, Rae followed the trail. It was a warmth, a faint hum that reverberated from one direction. She opened her eyes and followed the call of the Dreadwyrm. It lead inside the halls of the monk's old temple and to a small group of people. They were auctioning things. Rae pulled off her turban and stuffed it into her belt as well as her gloves. As she drew nearer, she saw the boy eagerly glancing around in search of her as his turn to auction her rapier drew nearer. Rae watched as he quickly scrambled up to the box as it was his turn. "A sword! Finest craftsmanship this side of the desert! Slight wear, but very durable!" There was a silence upon the crowd, then one man spoke up. "That ain't not sword, boy!" He seemed to ignore the man, showing the rapier to everyone. "Do I have one hundred gil?" A man raised his hand, then another and shouted double the offer. No one seemed particularly interested in a sword that looked like the wing of Bahamut. As the price reached a peak at 700 gil, Rae spoke up. "Three thousand." Her gaze never left the boy as he met her eyes and flinched. Her competition shrugged and looked to the next person, eager to see what would be sold next. The young man swallowed hard and glanced around, hoping some one else would try to outbid, but most found the weapon not worth the cost. One of the auctioneers cleared their throat, prompting the boy to move out of the way. Before he could get too far from the crowd, Rae grabbed him by the back of his collar and yanked him back. "My rapier, please." She growled. Though she did not raise her voice, the pure vitriol behind that sentence could be felt. Slowly, the boy held the weapon up to her. Rae took it from his hand and spun the blade to press it to his neck, which caused him to yelp and cower. "P-Please! I only wanted to feed my family!" He cried. "Nonsense, boy," she spat, frowning as she was lied to. "You were part of the resistance. Veterans will get paid." "N-Not I, ma'am," he whimpered. "My father was, but he was slain in battle. Tried as they might, they couldn't find his body, and since it was not accounted for in the battle, they call him a deserter! They didn't pay us! They look for anything to avoid paying!" Rae's expression did not change. The boy had stolen from her to feed his family that she didn't know existed or not. Whatever the case, he must be punished. "On your feet and walk. If you so much as move too fast for me I will sear your legs and feed them to your family." She commanded. The boy stood, tears streaming down his face. Rae could see now he couldn't be older than a teenager. He still had the cheeks of a child and his eyes held no hardness to them. Shoving him forward, Rae marched the young man forward, guiding him back to the living quarters. "Stop." She commanded again, to which the boy obeyed. "Stay here, or I'll find you and make this much worse for you." She growled, then retreated to the room she and Marishi were given. Before long, she emerged with the leftovers of the meal she had made the day prior and held it out to the boy, as well as some of the other ingredients she had purchased in a bag. "Take this to your family. There's enough to feed three people for a day or two. So ration it sparingly." Meekly, the boy took the bag and Rae reached into her belt and produced another small pouch and dug through it, producing an Allagan Gold Piece and handed it to the boy. "I know this isn't the three thousand I offered, but take this as well. Hopefully it will get your family what they need." The boy stared at Rae, eyes wide and full of tears. She stared back at him, a softer expression on her face this time. "And stop stealing, boy. Your family needs you now." The boy took the piece and choked back a sob, then threw his arms around Rae, hugging her tightly. She awkwardly patted his head, offering a sympathetic smile to him as he pulled away and ran with haste out of the reception area. Rae sighed, rubbing her face. Marishi wouldn't be pleased with her handing out some of their funds to some stranger child, but she couldn't let a family suffer because of the cruelty of this world if she could help it. As she turned around, some one calling her name stopped her. That wasn't Marishi. "Rae! Rae, please," she cried, stumbling forward and falling to her hands and knees before her. Rae stared down at the woman, not knowing who she was. She had never met her before, but she knew her name? "Rae, it's Marishi. She... she's hurt! Badly. They don't think.... I don't know who did it. We were just going to meet! They almost killed her! She's... she's gonna-" Before the woman could finish, Rae was off. Her legs moved, but her mind did not. It was stuck on a track repeating the same things over and over. Marishi. Marishi's face. Her name. Her voice. Her scent. Her touch. Her warmth. Marishi. Marishi. Marishi. There was a pain in her chest. With each beat of her heart it spread the pain to her limbs and through her lungs and gut. The pain she had felt once before when Marishi laid sickly and in bed, drained from the threat of nearly becoming a thrall to the Allagan spire that jutted out from the cold, dead wasteland of Coerthas... dead... like Marishi. Rae's voice involuntarily cried out at the thought. No, she couldn't be dead! Marishi can't be dead now! The infirmary. They had to have brought her there. Please be okay, Marishi. If she wasn't there, she'd take supplies and run to her and heal Marishi herself. Gods, please don't let Marishi be dead. She'd fight anyone who stopped her. Whoever did this will die. Where was Marishi? Where is my wife?! Rae skidded to a halt outside the infirmary where she could see healers and chirurgeons rushing about frantically. She knew Marishi had to be there. As she attempted to approach, one woman stopped her. "You can't be in here, we have an emergency. A patient in critical-" "That is my wife," she whispered, her voice shook, betraying the calm that was her outward appearance. The woman stopped blinking at Rae. "The Miqo'te in there, that is my wife. Please... please let me see her. I need to..." "Ma'am, you would not like what you see..." "I need to... I can't..." Rae's mind wouldn't formulate a sentence. Her legs buckled beneath her and she dropped to her hands and knees, tears soaking her top and dripping to the floor. When did she start crying? The woman who stopped Rae was called behind the curtain and she vanished, leaving Rae to kneel and pray to whatever god would listen to her, hoping they had not abandoned her as she had abandoned them.
  7. Outsane

    Ever Turning Wheels

    She pulled the reigns to stop the Chocobo. The tears flowed more freely this time despite her efforts to keep them contained. Rae wanted to shout back at her.To scream at the top of her lungs until she couldn't scream any more. Did Marishi think she had a say in the matter? The wards those scholars put around the island kept her barred. Even if she had got in that boat that night, it would have been dashed to pieces upon striking the barrier. She was trapped until her training was completed. What good would a half-accomplished Red Mage do against an Elder Primal, anyways? It wasn't man that killed her beloved Archon; it was a Primal. Marishi was being purely irrational now. As she turned her head, Rae stopped, mouth parted to retort, but nothing came. This was her wife. To throw words around without thinking would cut into the soul deeper than any weapon could. To argue with her like this would only make things worse. 'Pick your battles, Rae.' Her mentor had told her. She was a feisty, confrontational woman when she first met her mentor, but he helped cultivate her personality and made her rational, calm, and thoughtful. She closed her mouth and turned her back to Marishi and urged her mount forward, to which the Chocobo gladly obliged. The crossing was quiet. There was a shop set up where a few strange creature that she had never seen operated them. Her Chocobo balked at the sight of food and water, so she gave it a moment to drink and eat its fill while she spoke to the locals. She discovered the snake-like women were called Ananta. They were the beast tribe of the area and worshipped the Primal Lakshmia, the embodiment of bliss and beauty. While their sisters were enthralled by the Primal, the Ananta that worked the crossing were untouched and worked with the resistance to keep the area safe and to help build up trade and the economy. "Might you need to rest here? We have room to spare for a traveller." A young Ananta asked. She seemed to be in charge of the place. "No, thank you," Rae answered softly, smiling. "A friend and I must be in Rhalgr's Reach before dusk." She explained. It wouldn't hurt to tell this young Ananta where they were going. She had her hands full at the crossing and wouldn't pose a threat to them. The young one cast her gaze about quizzically before asking. "Friend? I see none but you, Miss Rae." Rae cleared her throat, then sucked in a deep breath sharply. "We decided to take different routes." She answered simply. Despite trying to mask the hurt in her voice, it was quite clear to be heard. Tapping her cheek, the young Ananta stared thoughtfully at Rae. After a short time, she spoke up again. "Well, different routes you may be taking, it all leads to the same place. You two will meet up again and realize how silly it was to split up. Don't let the journey get in the way of the experience." Rae's eyebrows raised at the small Ananta's words before they lowered again and she smiled and nodded her head. "Such wise words from such a young leader. It's little wonder why you're in charge around here. Thank you for your perspective. You have given me something to think upon." The young Ananta smiled proudly, lifting her head up and throwing her shoulders back to make herself appear more dignified. "If you wouldn't mind, however. I would like a place to change my clothes." Rae added cheerfully. The young one nodded and guided her to a private area where Rae changed into her typical outfit. The deep purple of her garments caught the eye of many. Her gloves bore jewels and rings that gleamed and glimmered in the sunlight and atop her head was the turban to shield her head and face from the burning rays of the sun. A few travellers stared at her, but she paid them no mind as she made her way back to her Chocobo. Checking to ensure everything was in place, Rae bade farewell to the wise Ananta girl. Before she dwelt too long, Rae hopped back onto her Chocobo and spurred it forward. It moved with a haste and renewed vigour. The brief reprieve seemed to have given it more stamina. Rae wouldn't slow it until it chose to do so itself. As it sprinted across the sandy road, Rae let her mind wander. The Conscripted Doman was killed, but his spirit returned to the Aether stream. He was at rest. To have him live in the state he was, he probably would have died a slow and agonizing death. Perhaps a soldier's death was right. Death scared her. Many lives she had taken in her time, but the thought of it impacting her caused her great anxiety. Her father was dead and that was the first death she experienced. Although she was too young to comprehend it, her grown mind thought about it often and it made her feel sadness, but also ease. He wouldn't have to suffer this world any longer where Primals threatened the boundaries of their cities and soldiers pounded on their doors to drag men from their homes and shove weapons in their hands and force them to fight under a banner they held no love nor loyalty for. Perhaps this Doman was truly saved from further suffering and Rae had only thoughts to further it. Her Chocobo slowed down, drawing her mind back from her thoughts and to glance at her surroundings. There was a river nearby and a cliff that stretched upward. She had to crane her head back far to look at the crest of it. The sound of her Chocobo wheezing caused her to dismount quickly. Its tongue lolled out to the side as it pulled her towards the water. "You terrible bird," Rae quipped, chuckling lightly. She sighed and pat the large avian's side while she looked to the horizon. The sun was starting to set. She had made it just in time. A few other wanderers made their way forward between the craggy cliffs. Glancing down the path, she spotted the large statue of Rhalgr, the God the Highlanders worshipped. She had come to the rebellion's headquarters. Suddenly alert, Rae glanced around, wondering if Marishi had made her way there yet, and it was then that she spotted her coming up behind her. Rae's pensive demeanour relaxed and her expression softened. Though her face couldn't be seen, her eyes gave enough indication of her emotion. Once beside her, Rae stared at Marishi a moment before she took a hand up and pulled the clasp from her face veil off one side and pinned it to the other, then reached up to Marishi in her saddle and pulled her down to her while she stood up on her toes and pressed her lips against her's. Rae held it there a moment, drinking in her wife's scent and the feel of her skin and lips against hers. Once content, Rae let go and dropped back to her feet, but she kept her hands on Marishi. One on her hand and the other on her leg. "I'm sorry," she whispered to her, shaking her head. "I was wrong, my dear. I'm sorry I yelled at you. I'm sorry I doubted your decision. I'm sorry I left you behind. Please, forgive me." Rae pressed her head against Marishi's thigh, closing her eyes and exhaling. She felt whole again. With Marishi at her side, whether they fought or not, she felt better. It felt right to have her there.
  8. Outsane

    Ever Turning Wheels

    Having Marishi back her up was a relief. While she knew her partner was with her, Rae did not let her guard down. The remaining soldiers hesitated upon seeing the first of their companions mutilated, but the healthier of the two swallowed his fear, drew up his sword, then charged at Rae. She turned to the man and faced him head on. Her hand held behind her back as her rapier rose and caught his blade, parrying it to the side and rose it up so it stopped between them, point raised to the heavens and pinned there between the two duelling warriors. Rae was calm, pose controlled and ready to strike. Behind her, the crystal floated, awaiting for when she'd attach it to her rapier's pommel and cast magic through it once more. The soldier cast a nervous glance to the hovering crystal, to which Rae took her opportunity. She spun her blade around, twisting her wrist and flicking it. The man clumsily followed the motions, but the twisting of the blade in his hand caused him to lose his grip in time for Rae to flick her wrist, knocking the blade out of his hand. "You should know better than to engage a Red Mage so close." Rae hissed while deftly swinging her rapier upward along the man's body, then downward again. There was a brief moment before the man's head bobbled, then he dropped to his knees. As he did, the coat he wore--already tattered as it was--burst open and blood gushed through the newly-cut holes. Rae watch as he dropped down, then her gaze darted to the remaining man. He looked near death. She'd put him out of his misery. Rae didn't wait for the other soldier to drop entirely. She was already upon him before the body hit the dust-covered ground. Before she could strike, however, the man dropped his pike and raised his hands, begging for mercy. "Please! I'm not one of them!" he cried out suddenly. Rae stopped, rapier raised and eyes wide. Her cat-like pupils were practically perfect spheres, her green eyes blotted out by the darkness. She remained still, waiting for more from the man. By her wordless command, the soldier continued. "P-P-Please, you gotta understand. I was taken. We all were. I'm not Garlean! I'm D-Doman! I was conscripted! I ju-just want to go home!" His hands shook as much as his voice did. Rae stared down at him as he lowered his head, but her free hand caught his chin and pulled him up to face her. She brushed back his hair, revealing no third eye the Garleans sported. He certainly did have a Doman look about him, too. His accent was nothing of the man who shouted at her, either. Guilt wracked her body suddenly. "Those others are Doman as well?" She asked him, forcing him to keep his head turned upward to face her. The man paused, then shook his head. Her grip on his chin tightened and he grimaced. "You lied?" She growled at him, her eyes narrowed and her lips frowned. "N-No! I didn't. I misspoke. So many... so many of us were taken. I was one. I just want to see my family again! I want to see them safe!" The man gasped a pitiful sob as tears formed in his eyes. Rae let go of his jaw and sheathed her weapon, then drew out a rope from her satchel on the Chocobo's saddle. She intended to take him home, but she wouldn't risk having him betray them by slitting their throats and taking all they owned while they slept or had their guards down. Rae knew Marishi would approve of him being tied. She turned to face him and held up the rope to him. "Arms behind your back. I'll ensure your return home, but I won't risk you stabbing us in the back when we have it turned to you." There was a light that returned to the man's eyes when Rae told him this. The man smiled like he had forgotten how, but the unmistakable look of joy in his eyes was there. He obeyed, holding his hands behind him as Rae moved in and tied him up. She ensured they were tight and couldn't be wiggled out of, then sighed. The man she tied let out a horrified gasp and Rae turned around, spotting Marishi finish off the last soldier by impaling his eye and piercing his brain. She was used to her merciless slaughter, but even this seemed brutal. Upon Marishi turning on them, Rae stopped forward. "Marishi, please, he's not-" but she wasn't listening. Rae blinked rapidly as the other Miqo'te commanded the man to kneel. What was she doing? Rae wished to run between them, but her feet were rooted. "Marishi." Rae called out again. She kept talking, however, explaining the death the man would received. "Marishi!" Rae barked, horrified. The man begged for his life, for his freedom, for his family, but Marishi raised her blade. "MARISHI!" she screamed, but it was too late. The blade cut through his neck and blood flowed freely to the sand, staining it crimson. Rae stared, mouth opened slightly and the air in her lungs gone. She promised this man to return home. He was innocent. He was forced to do what he did. Why didn't Marishi listen? Why did she have to kill him? Marishi was upon her shortly after, lecturing her, angry with her. The emotion showed clearly in her voice. Her ears dropped flat against her head as tears formed in her eyes. He didn't want to do anything that he did. He was forced to. He just wanted to go home. His family was threatened and he did what any good man would do to protect them--anything. Before Rae could stop herself, she yelled back at Marishi. "Do you ever think, or do you just act?!" She cried out to her. Her brows were knit together in anger. Pain filled her eyes as she thought of the man that was slain. Before she yelled again, Rae took a moment to catch her breath, a few gasping sobs escaping before she found her calm and stable voice. "He was conscripted, Marishi. Forced to be here. He was one of those poor Doman men who were dragged from their homes to fight for the Empire in order to feed their family and keep them from being killed. He didn't want to be here as much as you and I don't want to be, but he had to. He had to protect his family. He had to feed them. He had to work for the Empire to do those things... but he didn't have to die. Not now. Not by our hands. Not by yours." The last word was a sharp jab, like a finger to the chest. Rae wouldn't touch Marishi, though. Not now. With that, Rae swiftly grabbed her Chocobo's reins and swung on top of its back, sitting in the saddle and sat there a moment. "The crows will find their meal just fine. I'm leaving." Part of her wanted to take the man's body with them, but he would only hold them back. It was best to leave them to the scavengers of the land. As much as she also wishes to bury him, they had no tools to do as such. Her Chocobo moved slowly, stepping over the charred bodies of the men she had slain with her fires. The smell of burnt flesh and hair was pungent to her. Rae's shoulders shuddered as she inhaled deeply, her breath catching in her throat as she tried to keep herself steady and not cry. She pulled her hood up, covering her face from those who'd look, but if they listened, they could hear the silent whimpers she made and could see her shoulders quiver. She'd refuse to speak to Marishi. At least until she'd calm down.
  9. Outsane

    Ever Turning Wheels

    The moment Marishi's hand left hers, Rae pulled hers back to her side and clenched her fist, the folds of her cloak hiding her hand now. "Yes, I must have misunderstood him," she replied quietly, rubbing her face and heaving a sigh. She was hopeful the two of them wouldn't be stuck in a room full of men. She felt she could trust the Alliance members, but she knew better than that. Even now, she could feel hungry eyes on them. Were it that she had her grimoire and still practised the art of summoning, she would frighten these prying eyes... possibly in to attacking the two of them. Scared men killed that which they didn't understand. The fascination she experienced from those inquisitive men on Sharlaya was not found on this land. Though she grew up among the people under the same shade of trees in The Black Shroud and feeling the same warmth of the same sand beneath her feet in the deserts of Thanalan, she never was one of the people here. Her heart belonged to the wonder of the unknown and she would always embrace learning. These men would rather cower and snuff out the flame of inquire and learning than embrace advancing themselves. They truly are bar- Her head shook, burying those thoughts deep. Deep down, she resented these men, but they knew no better. She had been impressed upon as a young girl in Sharlaya. Those scholars had no love for the dull minds they thought these people had, but she knew better than that. Rae cast a longing glance back to Marishi as she excused herself. The cover of her hood hid the look on her face from those eyes, but she wish Marishi could see it. With a soft sigh again, Rae set her satchel on the bed, pulled her rapier and magicked crystal off her belt and carefully laid it at her side, hiding it in her cloak so the others wouldn't see. Her rapier would be no good at extremely close range, but she still had her crystal with which she could conjure a spell of flame and engulf whatever decided to lay their hand on her while she slumbered. She slept lightly, awoke when Marishi came near. She didn't need to open her eyes to hear the soft steps of her boots on the stone floor. Rae shifted slightly in her half sleep and wrapped her cloak tighter around her, sighing once more before drifting back to slumber. No dreams. No visions. Rae slept soundly through to day break. As the sun peaked above the horizon, Rae's eyes fluttered open. It didn't take her long to remember where they were. The sensation of her side being jabbed with her crystal forced her to sit up and stretch, then fetch the crystal. She was quiet with her movements as she got out of bed and fixed her cloak and replaced her weapon at her side. Marishi, of course, was up the moment Rae roused. They were ready to go shortly after waking and outside waiting for their own Chocobos. With the carriage no longer an option, they were forced to ride the Chocobos to their next destination. It didn't affect her much. She had frequently rode Chocobos as they were the fastest mode of transportation. She missed her old Chocobo upon seeing the plainly yellow-coloured feathers of the Chocobo she'd be riding. The creature didn't seem to sense her disdain as she secured her satchel and its contents on the Chocobo's side. Once safely secure, Rae climbed onto its back and swung her leg over the other side of the saddle and got herself comfortable. Rae looked forward to Marishi, who was finally situated on her Chocobo. They both moved forward when Marishi beckoned her mount to do so. Men stepped aside as they moved forward slowly, testing their mounts' comfort with them on their back. Once outside the Castrum, the birds broke out into a light jog, then began picking up speed gradually until they were speeding along the winding path through the sparse forest that blanketed the Castrum. Their hoods wouldn't stay on their heads as they dashed along. Rae closed her eyes and smiled, breathing in deeply the smell of the forest. She missed it dearly. With it came memories of her life as a young child with her mother and father. The nostalgic aromas gave way to a new set. Rae opened her eyes to see the trees all but gone and in its place the familiar sight of sand and rocks. In the distance, the sight of wreckage of felled Garlean war ships and their mechanical soldiers still smouldering from fires that will not be quenched until the ceruleum burns up. Rae stared with half wonder at the machines. She only ever learned of the Garleans' advance with technology. They closely coincided with the technological entities of the Allagans since the Garleans learned so closely what the ancient race had done. She swallowed hard and gazed around more, taking in the scenery. It looked like Thanalan, but at the same time, it did not. The sand was more grainy. The trees that grew randomly looked as if they belonged in the Shroud which this province neighboured. To their left, there was a waterfall that could be seen between peaks of strangely-shaped rock formations that can't quite be called stalagmites, nor mountains. To herself, Rae wondered if those things were man-made or natural. Rae looked ahead and spotted a dark, ominous spire in the distance. She was far ahead of Marishi by this point, as her Chocobo seemed more spry and eager to reach the destination. Before they got too close to see any more of it, the Chocobos suddenly halted and squawked, trotting in spot like excitable fillies. Rae pet her Chocobo's head, encouraging it to silence and continue on, but she knew the raptor-like bird could sense something she did not. With her mount not willing to listen to her, Rae jumped off her mount to examine the area, but before she could get too far, an arrow shot past her face. She instinctively pulled back and her Chocobo let out a surprised squawk, but Rae kept a firm grip on its reigns so it couldn't dart off. Her eyes darted to where the arrow came. There was little cover, but if she had been paying attention, she could have seen the three soldiers ducking behind a bush. "Just three, huh?" Rae murmured, turning to face them. Before she could say more, the sound of more soldiers approaching from behind and to her right were heard. She blinked rapidly upon seeing three more ahead of her and three more behind her. "Nine, huh?" She cursed under her breath and went to get on her mount, but another arrow flying past her stopped her. "Don't even think about it, cat," one soldier spat. They were Garleans. They appeared to be in dire straits. One looking almost sickly from starvation while the other, bandaged with what appeared to be week-old, well-used bandages, looking near death. "Give us all your belongings." The same soldier ordered forcefully. He looked the healthier of the bunch and ready to take to fighting if needed. The others were in no shape which became increasingly more evident as they drew nearer. One soldier glanced from where Rae had come and grunted. "Here comes another one." He muttered. For a brief moment, everyone's attention was on Marishi. That was just enough time for Rae to reach at her sides, pulling out her rapier and crystal and attaching them both. In two quick movements, she channelled her power through the crystal and summoned the power of earth and sent a heavy, sturdy rock flying at the healthier soldier, then spun on her heal and shot a blast of fire at the three blocking their way forward. The three from behind yelled in surprise and hesitated before charging forward. Rae urged her Chocobo to stay with her by hooping her arm through the reigns and using it to guide the Chocobo to block the three from reaching her. The three she threw the stone at had stumbled back, one getting hit by the debris of her summon and falling to the ground, not moving. "You bitch!" Shouted the soldier and charged at her. She kept her calm while focusing her power in a burst between the groups to keep them at bay until Marishi could arrive to help her. With another cast, she sent an explosion of red between the two that charged in front of her and glanced to the others at her right, but they were dealing with being on fire to be a problem to her. Rae sent a second blast with her Dualcast abilities at the group behind her, causing them to scatter. "Damned Red Mages!" Bellowed another soldier, loading an arrow up to his bow and aiming it directly at Rae.
  10. Outsane

    Ever Turning Wheels

    She listened with undivided attention. The sound of the carriage was muffled by the closed windows and door. The creak and groan of the axle straining to keep the carriage up was barely heard as Rae's full attention was given to Marishi. She read about Ala Mhigo. She heard stories of Ala Mhigo. There were paintings in Sharlaya of the mountainous province. It oddly reminded her a lot of Thanalan, the land she spent a small portion of her life in as a child. Her memories of the land were as fleeting as her stay there, but the unmistakable smell of hot sand, resilient desert plants, and sweat. She wondered if Ala Mhigo would smell the same. Marishi's admiration of Gaius was no secret to Rae. What she knew of this man came only from Marishi, and while he did perform some rather heinous works, he only had the best intent for the general people. To her, he was a villain, but to himself, he was a hero. Sometimes Rae wondered if her own actions would be seen as wicked by others. While she was loathe to spill blood, she, too, did not back down when the time called for such action. While Marishi went on, Rae proceeded to eat her fill of food, savouring the taste of it while thinking upon the road ahead. Once she had finished her meal and packed away the leftovers, she sighed with contentment. Part of her wished this was the carriage that took them back home, but the other part of her was glad she was still with Marishi. Looking up, Rae smiled pleasantly to the woman across the carriage from her. Sleep. She wouldn't sleep, but perhaps meditate. Her night may have held restless dreams and her fretting over Marishi, but she felt rested enough. She first attempted to meditate by sitting upright, as she typically did, but this proved problematic to keep herself balance with the rocking of the carriage, so Rae took to laying on the bench, resting her eyes, placing her hands on her stomach and locking her fingers between one another. Her meditation was always to clear out her thoughts and sort them. Which were more important? Which could go, and which could stay? Somewhere amid sorting through her thoughts, the gentle rocking of the coach and the quiet around them, as well as the sense of Marishi's presence beside her, she felt her consciousness slip. She didn't realize she was tired, but perhaps carriage rides always made her sleepy. It wasn't long before she turned to her side, pulling her hands up to rest under her head and her knees sliding up to tuck against her stomach. She rested peacefully, waking up once or twice to shift around a bit and get comfortable again. While Rae didn't typically like to rest the day away, there was little to do in a carriage, she would get bored far too quickly. She didn't sense the carriage roll to a stop, nor did she hear the driver yell back at them. It wasn't until Marishi's hand gently roused her from her sleep that Rae sat up. Her eyes flickered open and she pushed herself upright, gazing around at the darkened windows. Had she slept the whole way? Perhaps she really was that tired. Looking back up to Marishi, she smiled a small, sleepy smile and took her hand, using it to pull herself up. She didn't let go of her hand after standing beside her partner. Instead, she took a step towards the carriage door and chuckled. "I would do so gladly, my love," she quipped. Rae hopped down the carriage steps and kept a hold of Marishi's hand while she glanced around the Castrum. The dying sunlight allowed her to see the weary faces of Alliance members and Ala Mhigan resistance fighters alike. Near the door that lead to the Fringes was set up a makeshift tent where she spotted a face she recognized: Raubahn. She should have known he would be here, though to see him without the Sultana on his shoulder or nearby was strange, but expected. "My Star," she purred to Marishi with a sly smile on her face. "I won't make any threatening movements if these men keep their eyes and hands to themselves." She already felt eyes on them both, so she pulled her hood over her head and walked along the street, glancing about for an obvious place where they might find refuge for the rest of the night. A curious smell caught her nose and jerked her head to the left. An open door revealed what appeared to be a group of men and women talking, laughing, drinking, and eating. Rae tilted her head to the side and approached. It seemed the building was a barracks of sorts that the Garleans used to house their soldiers and was now used to house the remaining Alliance and Resistance fighters. There was a kitchen inside, as well. Rae's tail twitched and she glanced back to Marishi, offering her a question with just a look. Should they stay there? "Make way!" bellowed a deep voice from behind them. Rae jumped to the side as a large, burly Roegadyn sauntered past them, making his way into the barracks-looking building. Among the boisterous soldiers sat a lone soldier with a paper and piece of wood trying to account for everyone. He would know if there was room available. Rae approached the man, leaving Marishi behind her. He was garbed in the Twin Adder uniform, and she knew Marishi would prefer to keep her distance than risk recognition. "Excuse me, sir," she called out over the cacophony that filled the open area of the barracks. The soldier turned to her, looking slightly overwhelmed. Sympathy filled her and she smiled kindly to the man. "I'm sorry to be a bother, but my partner and I are travelling through here. We have goods we wish to trade with the in the newly liberated Ala Mhigo, but we must rest for the night. Do you know of any place we might stay?" The soldier rubbed his face and looked at his paper, then back up at Rae. She had a kind smile on her face and the man seemed to lose a bit of his tenseness. "I-I don't know. I'll have to check, but this might take a bit and you're going to have to wait a while so I can-" Rae giggled and shook her head. "Oh, that's fine. Take your time, good soldier. You seem to have your hands full and I'm in no rush, really," she replied, her voice soothing, but slightly bubbly. The man smiled with relief at her words, clearly worried she might not like his answer. "Is there anything I can help you with? You look horribly busy and I'd hate for you to over-exert yourself any more than you clearly have." "Naaw," the soldier replied, smiling a little more now. He certainly liked that his hard work went recognized. "You'd have to have the numbers and recognize the faces of the soldiers and make sure they're all accounted for. This is a job only I can do; I'm afraid you can't help." Another pleasant smile graced her lips and she nodded. "Ah! I understand. I'm sorry I can't help. Perhaps if I left you alone, you could focus better? I'll wait outside until-" "Oh that won't be necessary," he quickly replied, glancing back at his paper. "If these numbers are right, there's at least 27 available rooms that anyone can occupy. I'm sure we can spare one for you and your business partner." The soldier looked up to Rae and smiled broadly. Her right ear flicked rapidly a few times again and she blinked at the man. "Yes... my business partner," she murmured, glancing back to Marishi. "Come, my dear. We may occupy a room here!" The soldier's face immediately turned red while Rae held her hand out to Marishi, smiling to her, her tail flicking.
  11. Outsane

    Ever Turning Wheels

    Rae gave her Marishi a small, helpless smile. "You know I can't do that, my sweet," she murmured. There was nothing more that she wanted than to help Marishi. There were some things she just couldn't help her with, however. Rae took her partner's reluctance to discuss it further as a sign and nodded. "Of course! Though we won't be eating in the comfort of the room, I wouldn't mind eating in a carriage with you." A smile creased her features as she watched Marishi march over to the wash room and disappear behind the door. Rae got to her feet, ready to call for some one to get a bath for her, but heard the sound of water rushing through pipes to their tub. Rae's right ear flicked rapidly a few times before she thumped the ball of her palm to her forehead. "Plumbing. I forgot that existed." She laughed. Which meant she could have water in that sink by the window. Rae pulled out an apron from her satchel, not wanting to put on a full outfit just to undress later, and quickly washed up her hands and set about preparing breakfast. After deciding on what to make, Rae began prepping and allowing her mind to wander. She remembered her dream vividly. Each detail she dedicated to memory. Since going to Sharlaya to learn with her master the arts of both white and black magic (classed under its own unique sector called 'red magic' by her master's predecessors), Rae became aware of the skills Astrologians had. Not only were their healing abilities drawn from the stars and constellations, but they had divination abilities. She befriended an Astrologian during her studies in the far distant province. She taught her about the divination that could be seen through the stars that watched over her. Rae had an innate ability to sense the stars. Her friend commented on this and strongly suggested she try her hand at being an Astrologian. Her heart wasn't in the work of healing, though. She couldn't protect her loved ones with healing only. It was that sole reason that, when she heard of a Red Mage in Eorzea, she dropped her summoner's book and sought him out. Her master was a male Miqo'te. Greyed hair, but still young. The last of his kind, too. Rae felt a pang of sympathy when he expressed this to her. What he saw in her, she wasn't sure, but he could sense her power. He could feel the flow of both white and black magic thrive through her body like the blood in her veins. Rae took to the duality of being a Red Mage quite aptly. Her master was impressed and pleased with her rapid progress. With her abilities, she felt whole. As a summoner, she felt devoid of something fundamental to her person. There was a part of her that craved more power. As a Red Mage, she found her thirst for that power quenched. She could deal damage and rejuvenate her allies in battle at the same time. It was an eye-opener. During that time, tales of war breaking out on Eorzea found their way to Rae and her master. The desire to reach out to her home and help fight was overwhelming, but her master refused her. Red Mages were not to be known of. Something hunted them, which was why they fled back to Sharlaya rather than staying on Eorzea. They were safe there with the scholars' barriers. She was awake that fateful night. The sky was red as blood, like the sky was rend asunder and the heavens bled over it. The Dalamud moon as close to the earth as she had ever seen it, the very aether around them prickled. Rae and her master did not sleep as they watched Dalamud break apart and the large Dreadwyrm escape from his tomb. Her blood ran cold and her heart stopped. At that moment, she knew she should be on that battle field that was undoubtedly waging beneath that frightening monstrosity. There was a spirit that called to her that she felt her own soul reach out for. Whose it was, she didn't know, but the unmistakable urge to protect it with all her power and skill resonated within her so fiercely that she stood to her feet and ran out the hut they called home and towards the shore. There was no getting off the island, however, so she stared helplessly as the monster Bahamut's wicked onslaught of flares shot through the sky and sent ripples of energy through the land. She was helpless to stop the Primal's attack. Even if she were there, she would surely be caught in the blast of one of those deadly flares. Before long, the explosions stopped and the Primal was caught, or so it seemed. The brief moment of hope made Rae's heart skip a beat, she beamed to her master in absolute elation. The Twelve! The Twelve were saving the land! Her master's grim expression said otherwise. As quickly as the sigils of the Twelve spawned around the Elder Primal, they were shattered. 'We are next.' She thought to herself, but before anything more could be done, Bahamut was gone in a flash of a brilliant, white light. Rae and her master were speechless, unable to make reason with what had happened. They didn't sleep for the night, nor the night after, fully expecting death to rain down upon them. How could such a powerful, angry being simply vanish? After it was evident there would be nothing to be had by the wrath of the Elder Primal, Rae and her master continued on their life. Curious, but grateful. Shortly after her mastery of red magic did she set out on her own and find her Astrologian friend. She spent some time with her and learned a little from her, but it wasn't long before Rae's itch to return home became all-encompassing. Her focus was nowhere near her practice. She wanted to see Eorzea and how much it had changed since that night. Under the behest of her friend, Rae set sail back home. The food was finished. Rae's thoughts returned to the breakfast she had prepared. Shredded potatoes, fresh bread that needed yet to cool, butter, and fresh fruit. They'd have enough rolls for the trip so they didn't have to rely on salty dried beef alone. Pleased with her work, Rae quickly got dressed into her travel clothes. A faded red tunic, black-dyed pants, brown knee-high boots, and a brown hooded cloak. She threw it on easily and packed away the meal and the rest of their belongings, then shouldered the satchel. It felt lighter than yesterday, but not by much, and that was only because she carried in her hands a portion of the supplies she had bought. She placed the food she had prepared on her hip and held it with one hand as she exited the room. Marishi's words caused her brows to knit together with concern. The certainty in her tone gave Rae chills. She noted mentally that she would keep a closer eye on her beloved. The revelation seemed to have startled Marishi as well, which furthered Rae's unease. Taking her hand, Rae gave Marishi's a reassuring squeeze and smiled at her fondly. So long as she was around, nothing would happen to Marishi. She would have to be dead in order for Marishi to suffer the same fate. Come Bahamut or the Twelve. As they approached the carriage and Rae climbed in, she seated herself carefully on a cushioned bench within. She gently placed the food at her side and her foil to her left so it would not roll about the carriage. "Of course, dear," Rae hummed happily while unwrapping their meal. She had patiently remained quiet while Marishi and the driver exchanged words. The sight of Marishi's smile spurred Rae into action. She was grateful she took extra steps to make this meal particularly special. She did her best when making every meal for her and her wife, but this one, she felt especially proud of. She handed over a container of the meal to Marishi, the bread roll placed on top still steamed. "It's still quite hot, so let it cool a bit before you bite into the bread." She cautioned before unwrapping her own meal and ate the shredded potatoes first. She seasoned it just enough that the cooked potatoes had a gentle salty taste to them. The fruit were fresh and filled with delicious, sweet flavour, so she didn't touch them beyond washing and cutting them. Rae's gaze went to the outside as they travelled. It was strange to go through Coerthas by carriage after running through it by Chocobo so often, then by foot. "Marishi," She said, breaking the silence between them. "Do you know much of Ala Mhigo?" Rae knew of Marishi's history with Ala Mhigans. It wasn't the best, but it was also did well to know what was beyond the wall.
  12. Outsane

    Ever Turning Wheels

    Rae was a little disappointed that Marishi wishes to sleep instead of spend more time together, but she understood why. She was still quite weak from her near-death experience and needed all the energy she could muster for the upcoming task. Rae climbed into the bed as Marishi did. She started at the foot of it so she could kick off her sandals and remove her skirt and wrap and gloves. She was in her small clothes, but she typically slept in those. With everything placed neatly over the pole at the foot of the bed, Rae turned back to Marishi and listened to her speak. Her heart panged as she mentioned where she wished to be buried. They had an agreement. Marishi would fight to the bitter end and give enough chance for Rae to escape when a situation got too out of control. Rae protested it at the start, but over time, she knew there would be no convincing Marishi of otherwise. Because she loved her, she would never let her death be in vain. Even if it meant feeling like she was abandoning her, Rae had to convince herself if Marishi told her to run, she would run. It was because of this promise, however, that Rae knew she'd live the rest of her life in sadness, and that she knew she'd be in charge of overseeing Marishi's burial. With all her power, she'd ensure the one she loved most would find peace. "Of course, Marishi," Rae promised, nodding solemnly and gazing into her eyes. Her sadness matched Marishi's and it didn't go away until after Marishi changed the subject and curled up in bed. Rae crawled up beside her and laid down, sliding her arms around Marishi's waist and pulling her close while burying her face into the pale Miqo'te's shoulder and nuzzling her there. Both eyes closed and deep breaths drawing in and out, Rae slowly drifted off to sleep. Subconsciously, Rae pulled her beloved closer to her until they could get no closer. Only then did Rae sleep. She felt light. Lighter than usual. Her eyes were closed, but she sensed no light. She could no longer feel the bed, nor Marishi's presence. She knew it was a dream at that point. Opening her eyes, Rae gazed at the infinite blue before her. It wasn't blue as the sky, no. It was a dark, murky blue. Exhaling produced bubbles. Water? The ocean? Rae cupped her mouth and panicked. How did she get underwater?! Try as she might, she couldn't move anywhere. Her lungs burned with the need to inhale, but there was no air to suck in. Rae couldn't hold what little breath she had left and exhaled, then breathed in a lung-filling breath of... air. She blinked twice before remembering her previous observation. 'It's a dream, Rae. You can do whatever you want.' She reminded herself mentally. Relief swept over her as she took another deep breath. It was interesting to be underwater. She had never been so far out in the ocean where she would know what it would look like. Maybe it was a lot brighter out in the ocean? Rae looked around as she swam forward. Luckily her mother taught her how to swim when she was a child, otherwise this might scare her a bit more than it should. The ocean was quiet. There was naught another sign of life to be seen nor heard. It made her feel lonely. After swimming for some time, she spotted a glint of light in the distance. Squinting, Rae tried to discern what the source of that glimmer was. She swam closer and closer until she finally could see the outline of a limp form. Marishi. Rae swam more frantically towards her unconscious wife; however, she swam farther away, not closer. "Marishi!" She cried out, pushing forward as strong as she could. She paused to catch her breath and watched as her beloved moved farther away still. It wasn't her being pulled back, Marishi was ever slipping away further and further away from her. The feeling caused her heart to leap in panic and she screamed out in frustration and despair. The softest groan escaped her lips and woke her up. Her dream's outcry manifested through her own voice. She hoped it didn't wake Marishi. It was still dark out, the moon had only just crested over the sky and bathed the room in a soft, silver light. Rae was on her back and Marishi lay beside her still, facing her now. Sweat beaded on her brow, Rae noted. She got up and walked to the window sill where some wash cloths were for them to clean themselves with. She took her own and walked to Marishi and gently patted it against her brow and along her neck. "My love, what do you dream of? Why do you suffer to let your mind go places where peace will forsake you?" She whispered softly, sadly. After pausing a moment, Rae placed the cloth on the stand beside their bed and she settled back into it. She took Marishi's hand in one of hers while laying on her side to face her. She brought Marishi's hand to her lips and pressed the knuckle of her thumb against them. She stayed like this but mere moments before she slipped back into slumber. She awoke a few hours later to the feeling of eyes on her. There was no dream that she remembered between waking up earlier and then, which came as a relief to her. Her eyes opened and lifted to Marishi, who was yet again drenched in her own sweat and gazing down at her. "Good morning, my sweet," she murmured while sitting up, propping herself up with her one hand. She reached over and touched her love's cheek softly and frowned. She rolled over and grabbed the small cloth and lightly dabbed it on Marishi's forehead again. "Marishi..." she whispered. She had no words. She wanted to know, but at the same time, she wanted to make Marishi forget what she dreamt. Her mind wasn't coming up with anything to say, however. She was at a loss. Her own dream left her wanting to talk about it, but now wasn't the time. She'd seek out an Astrologian later, perhaps. "We should get you cleaned up, hun. Before we start out. We have enough time. I'll have them draw up a bath for us and I'll get some breakfast started," Rae said after a bit. She put the cloth to the side again and got up to her knees. She wanted nothing more than to lay there more, to take Marishi into her arms and lay back down and stroke her hair while letting her rest on her chest. She was used to Marishi's bad dreams. Although being used to them didn't make it any easier to watch her wife suffer with them. Usually they were about Carteneau. They were almost always about Carteneau. Rae hadn't joined that war. She was studying at that time. Her superiors turned a blind eye to the situation, despite it showing potential to destroy their own world. Rae shirked the thoughts from her head before she delved too deep within them again. "Are you okay, Marishi?" Rae asked her softly. She wanted to make sure before she left her side.
  13. Outsane

    Ever Turning Wheels

    Rae smiled up and her and rolled her eyes. "Of course, of course, my love," she quipped. Marishi wouldn't stand to be called a hero. She was far too humble, and her feats 'aren't as fantastic as others', or so she would claim. Before Rae could retort, Marishi had tasked her with fetching their provisions. Leaving her in charge of shopping? As well as free reign over whatever she wanted? Rowena was truly generous with this offer. Perhaps this was a mission not to be taken so lightly. Although she knew it to be that fact, Rowena opening her wares to take at their own discretion added a bit more weight to it. Rae smiled broadly to Marishi and nodded her head. "I'll gladly do the shopping. Don't you fret your pretty little head, Rishi." She assured, patting Marishi's hand and leaning in for a quick peck on her cheek before she practically skipped off to the market. The throng of shoppers was causing things to be quite difficult to shop for. When Rae approached one stall, four or five others joined her and nudged her around as she tried to grab for things she thought they'd need. It wasn't their fault. Things were cramped with this many people in the market. Perhaps there were sales going on that she wasn't privy to? Rae spotted a finely-wrapped stack of beef. Her culinary instincts told her that batch was the best of them. As she reached for it, another hand darted out and snatched it up. Rae scowled at the owner of the hand and watched as she, in turn, made a rude gesture towards her. Ears piqued as well as her displeasure, Rae stood up straight and cleared her throat. "Ahem. Excuse me, shopkeeper. I am Rae Ten. I am under the employment of Rowena. I do believe she told you I'd be by? I came to collect some ingredients from your shop," the shop owner nodded vigorously, smiling happily and promised to give Rae whatever she wanted. "That's wonderful. I actually would like that stack of beef you are currently selling, if that's not too much trouble." Rae pointed at the string-wrapped meat the woman was attempting to hand over to the shopkeeper. The two of them stared at Rae, then to each other, then back at her. "A-at once, Miss Ten," the shopkeeper said, wrapping the purchase in a thick paper and handing it to Rae, all the while, the other woman shot daggers through her eyes at Rae. Rae smiled at the shop owner and took the package. "Mrs. Ten, actually, and thank you! I appreciate your assistance." With a happy, beaming smile, Rae waved to them both and walked away. Once a good enough distance away, Rae exhaled and slumped her shoulders. She hated acting like that. Normally she would have let the woman have it, but if they were going on a mission that was going to ultimately kill them, Rae felt like she could warrant a few pleasures. The next stop was a produce stand. No one surrounded it this time, which was a relief. Rae picked at the fruit and vegetables, examining them one by one before placing them in individual bags for purchase. "I gots the best fruits around," the shop owner stated, proud of his stock. Rae smiled pleasantly to him and nodded, agreeing with him. He was, after all, the only produce shop in the Toll. Rae took a good portion of all the items there and the owner raised a brow. "You got coin to pay fer all that?" With another pleasant smile, Rae replied. "Rowena should have mentioned to you, Rae and Marishi would come by to pick their needs. I believe you should be expecting me?" The man straightened up and smiled back at her, apologizing for the assumption. Rae only laughed and waved her hand dismissively while plopping the sacks on the counter before him so he could tally what she took. "Say, you wouldn't know much about Ala Mhigo, would you?" She asked him, wanting to start casual conversation. Rae had never been to Ala Mhigo. It was under siege while she was yet a child. She knew it was likened unto Thanalan and that it was a desert, but other things she didn't know. "Aye. Ala Mhigo is a miserable place. I haven't heard much since their liberation, but what tales I've gathered, it's a wreck. Plenty of visible Garlean presence there by means of their buildings and ruined ships from battles to stop the Alliance. The people are miserable, too. After two decades of being under the rule of the Garlean empire, the people lost hope of ever being free. They lost their worship of their god, they lost their way of life, they lost their will. Shame, really. Could'a been us, too." The shop owner recounted what little information he knew of the distant land. Rae did her best to remain stoic in her features, but she couldn't help but feel bad for the Highlanders. What an awful fate to have everything stripped of them. "Ah, but if you want to see real beauty, The Lochs is where it's at. The salt beds there create a beautiful mirror for the sky. I used to export the salt from there back when trade was open and I lived in Thanalan. Best quality there ever was!" Rae smiled and thanked the man, gathering up her bags, placing them in her satchel, then going about shopping more. She purchased a few other odds and ends. Whetstones, metal for repairing her tools, and a bit more food. All the while she gathered information as well. She asked about the roads between here and Gridania. She asked about the Garleans. She asked about the liberation. Tales spread far and wide and news of the liberation of Ala Mhigo reached Mor Dhona rather fast. Rae was pleased with the information she had gathered. It was purely for her own purposes for the most part. She was certain Marishi had known most of what she asked besides current events. The sun was beginning to set and Rae had decided now to take a moment to indulge in some wistful shopping. Her tail twitched behind her as she excitedly looked at the fine craftsmanship of the baubles. Though she wouldn't buy anything, she did enjoy looking at the fine jewellery. While it was impractical for her to own any given her lifestyle, she still entertained the thought of owning grand jewellery now and then. The finest piece she ever owned was the ring she had on her left ring finger, the one Marishi made herself after the two of them journeyed across the land of Eorzea to pray for the blessings of the Twelve. All else were dull in comparison. As Marishi called to Rae, she jumped in shock and turned to her, eyes wide and blinking. Her cheeks turned red slightly at the compliment and her eyes darted to the side, a small smile forming on her lips. "Of course you'd find me when I was self-indulging," she murmured. At Marishi's next comment, she smiled and giggled at her, then wrapped her arm through Marishi's and walked with her to their rented room. As they walked, the red-haired Miqo'te turned to gaze at her partner. Rae saw Marishi differently. Being together would prove a challenge, that much she knew, but loving her was easy. Their personalities contrasted each other quite well. Where one lacked, the other flourished. They were not only the perfect team, but the perfect pair, it seemed. Of course, they had their arguments, but they still loved each other afterwards. That was something that would never change for her. Not for any reason. Rae smiled softly, then returned her attention forward. "What are you thinking, my love?" She asked while they reached the door to their room. Rae fiddled with the keys and lock and opened it up for them. She dropped the heavy satchel to the floor and rubbed her shoulder where the strap once sat. It was a heavy bag now, thanks to her shopping. At least they would have a Chocobo or something carry it after today.
  14. Outsane

    Ever Turning Wheels

    Rae's ears dropped at the news that they'd have to postpone their return home yet again. She missed her home. More importantly, she missed the normal life they had in between odd jobs. It seemed they were taking on more and more work as their names became renowned for their accomplishments. Rowena being the greediest of their time, insisting they take month-long adventures through trepidatious situations that otherwise normal and sane people would avoid. Not Rae and Marishi. No, they were a pair cut from a different cloth. The challenge was welcome to them. Not a job they had undertaken had beaten them yet. Their cohesion as a team was unmatched and envied by all who knew them. Rae took her seat and frowned up at Marishi, her bright, emerald eyes staring at her love as she went on to preface the situation with a story. She knew where this was leading. The moment she heard of Balsar's Wall and the Primal being summoned... Rowena would be all over that, especially with the mechanized weapon being deployed and seeming to have done a great deal of damage to the monstrous being. Her first instinct was to cry out. This was unfair! Rowena had plenty of other adventurers at her disposal! Marishi looked weakened still from her last struggle where she lost her life. Rowena had no understanding of loss of life! Perhaps that's what came with having so many people at one's disposal. The importance of one life loses its value when they become a dime a dozen. Still! Her Marishi was not a dime a dozen! Marishi was one in a million. She was one in a billion! No other adventurer would match her beloved in skill and knowledge. Rowena was pulling all her resources for this one. All her best resources. Rae's hands clasped in her lap as she continued to listen to Marishi while she looked down at the ground. Her brows knit together in a furrowed frown as she thought about the consequences of this adventure. She wanted them to seek out an Eikon and a strange Allagan invention that no one had any knowledge about. One thing Rae knew about Primals were their ability to turn anyone without the Echo into a Thrall. The thought of serving life as a mindless, obedient servant to the Aether-hungry beast summoned by the desperation of man... An involuntary shudder ripped down her spine and Rae sat up straight, her ears perking up and her eyes rising to meet with Marishi's. She had been silent now. The offer to stay home and be at peace was made to her. The urge again to denounce Rowena and grab Marishi's hand and drag her back home surged through her again. And yet, she remained. This was important. Marishi was going to do it. Her beloved's mind was made up. The world needed to know peace, and by the Twelve, Marishi would have a hand in bringing it about. Rae stared into Marishi's currant-red eyes a moment before her expression softened. Rae stood up slowly and brushed at the non-existent dirt on her skirt. "Well, home isn't home without you, my dearest," she said at length before crossing her arms and leaning to one foot, gazing back to Marishi's eyes. "If the odds are ten-thousand to one, then I suppose two will make it only five-thousand. Those odds seem a bit more favourable, no?" Rae smiled broadly to Marishi, her tail flicking with anticipation. Before Marishi could protest, Rae quickly added. "When I married you, I knew of all the trials and hardships we'd face. It wasn't going to be an easy life, but never has it been for anyone like us. I'd much rather be at your side knowing what sort of Hells you are going through so I can help you through every bit of it. If this mission will be our final one, I'm prepared to die with you. Besides, I know you'd get far too lonely in the Aether without me." Rae smirked again and winked. Part of her was scared, but with Marishi, she knew it would all turn out the way she'd want it to in the end. Whether they lived or not, they'd be together still.
  15. Outsane

    Ever Turning Wheels

    Rae had stood up at that point, finding the bench to be a less than desirable place to sit. Besides, she couldn't see very well over the market stalls' wares and the shopkeepers running them. Taking this opportunity to stretch out, raising her arms above her head and arching her back while her tail curled upward. Shirking the sleep from her muscle and bones, Rae breathed a deep sigh of content and combed her hair from her face. The people of Revenant's Toll were good people. They worked hard, they were honest, and, despite their history, they were happy. It was people like this that made her glad for the work she did. While she was no Scion that battled Eikons nor fabled warrior that fought at the battle of Carteneau, the work she did was good. Sometimes it was a small job, sometimes it involved more skill and tactical work to accomplish, but no matter the splash, the ripples spread wide and leave a lasting effect. Never was the lake the same after the rock was tossed in, and so too the world when a single action was done. Pulling her hair over her right shoulder, Rae played with it a bit while walking back up the aisle of market stalls. Loosely braiding it, she allowed her eyes to wander over the wares once more, examining anything that she might want to purchase. She was getting bored and Marishi had better show up soon before she thought to buy something useless. Tearing her eyes off the goods, Rae glanced around briefly once more before spotting Marishi exit from Rowena's House of Splendor's and into the marketplace. Rae's face lit up with happiness upon seeing her wife. She skipped into a brisk jog towards her while waving a hand to catch her attention. Rae stopped just short of Marishi and smiled at her more. "Good morning, beautiful," she cooed before leaning in for a soft, lingering kiss. Before too long, Rae pulled back and clasped her hands behind her back. "Didn't even wake me up this morning before you left. I was really looking forward to cuddling with you this morning, too. Ah! Did you get your meeting over with? Are we free to go home?" Rae was quick to change the subject, knowing Marishi would probably scoff at her teasing.
×