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Outsane last won the day on June 24 2018

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  1. It seemed no matter what she did, no matter where she went, misery would follow. Rae had done all she could to keep Mariah from succumbing to her sickness. Most of the time, Jonathan would bark at her to stay away, despite her having some knowledge with medicine thanks to her specialty with alchemy. All she could do was stand by most times, and when Jonathan was away, she would move to Mariah's side. She shouldn't have gone with Mariah, or maybe she should have. Maybe that was where she was destined to die and she had prevented it? Had she destroyed this timeline now with her meddling there? When would she encounter Alexander again and somehow be forced to jump timelines? Where was Marishi from this timeline? By now she should have... She began to think. If she hadn't met Marishi yet, but all other times she appeared near her, why not this time? Why was this timeline different? Maybe... maybe it wasn't that different at all. Rae recalled what Marishi told her of her history. She was born to an impoverish family. A husband and wife in the beautiful lands of Coerthas where the winters we cold, but the spring and summer were lovely. Her parents' names were never mentioned, but she knew her mother was weak and sickly upon Marishi's birth, and it was at that moment that her sickly mother finally died. Her throat tightened. Was Mariah Marishi's mother? Rae was sleepless most nights upon this realization, and her desire to ensure Mariah was able to deliver her baby grew exponentially with each passing hour. She constantly checked upon Mariah, though at a distance as her husband sat at her bed side, sleeping lightly, and would grumble threateningly to her if she drew too close. Over time, he gradually grew more willing to let Rae near her, though he kept a watchful eye over them both. One night, Jonathan sat up and groaned while stretching his back. "I can sit watch, Jonathan. You need to rest," Rae offered softly. His head had jerked towards her before he agreed to her statement, but instead of going to bed, he went to change her small rag from her forehead while Rae sat in the chair. As he left, it was then that Mariah finally awoke. Rae's ears perked up and she sat up straight in her chair. "Mariah, you're awake. Jonathan! She's back!" She called out, but not too loud. Her heart raced with excitement, maybe things wouldn't turn out so bad after all! As the questions poured in, however, the excitement left Rae's eyes. Replacing it was a certain misery, a sorrow without end, an unfathomable depression. Rae barely noticed Jonathan return and speak softly to his wife, soothingly. She stared emptily at the quilt on the bed for a moment before taking a deep breath. "I... I believe I know you as well, Mariah. Not directly, but indirectly through the stories of a woman who misses her mother, who grew up with her father who loved her, but with a stern love. A father who worked harder than any man in the world could have to ensure his daughter, the last of his household would go on to live a life without want... alone. "The woman you saw was--is my wife. She still yet lives, despite... despite what I have done. That is thanks to a primal which housed itself within her body. Far worse than a tempering, she has been possessed. I... don't know how to how to explain it, as I don't know fully myself, but I have somehow been trapped in a... disrupted timeline. Or I am being pulled from timeline to timeline. I'm not sure. The day you found me, there were no tracks in the snow because I appeared there... I succumbed to my rage and... I don't remember. I don't want to remember." Rae's gaze dropped to her hands. She felt the burning heat on her fingertips again, she saw the blood, she felt the stains seep deeper than her skin and bones and taint her soul. Tears formed and poured down Rae's face as she wrapped her hands around her, hugging herself. Her shoulders trembled slightly as she silently sobbed, but as she breathed in through her mouth, she took a sharp, gasping breath. "That woman is your daughter, Marishi. She and I met long after... after..." She couldn't bring herself to say the words, to tell them that they both will die. Mariah, from being so weak and frail would die from delivery, and Jonathan, a strong, caring man who loves nothing more than his family, would succumb to a sickness not diagnosed. She knew all of how they would die, but couldn't bring herself to warn them. "I love her. With all my heart and soul. With every fibre of my being, I love Marishi. She's lead a hard life and blamed herself for things that were well beyond her control. Many thought her rude, cruel, and full of hate because she was not a woman who was conventional. She went from student, to healer, to samurai, to seamstress, to adventurer. I was at her side through those adventures as her partner and wife. All I've wanted was to make her happy, to give her the best life I could give her, to get her back and to love her eternally again... it would seem the Twelve have other designs for us..." Rae's gaze lifted to them both and she saw their expressions, the fear in their eyes, the concern, the anger. She knew they wouldn't believe her, there was no way to believe such a story. They didn't know of Alexander, of tempering, of time travel. She barely did as well! "I will leave. But please, call for a physician to come to the house immediately; do not wait. Mariah, you must not deliver Marishi alone. You must have a healer present. Maybe... maybe this timeline will be different for Marishi. Just maybe she'll have the happy life I so desperately want her to have finally..." Rae spoke wistfully while standing up. The room was silent as Jonathan and Mariah stared, bewildered at Rae's revelation to them. With that, she turned and walked to her weapons, sheathing them at her side and walked outside. As she stepped through the door, she saw a figure in the distance. Marishi. "Lock your door and do not come outside, no matter what you hear." Rae called out behind her before shutting the door tightly and stepping forward to Marishi, drawing her Rapier and staring her down. She was determined to end it here. She would die in this timeline one way or another. Whether Alexander killed her, or she lived the rest of her days here. There was no more running, no more skipping time. It was over.
  2. Rae had met dragons aplenty. Part of her feared them, but of the few she had met in recent years were gentle, although confident. They were slowly gaining the trust of Man once more, which was a feat that none would think possible. The other part, the part that was rising at that exact moment, feared them. As she heard the basket hit the snow, Rae slowly reached towards her rapiers, eyes never wavering from that of the Wyverns'. There were 4 grown Wyverns and one smaller dragonet. It seemed to Rae that the dragonet was only there as back up. While it wasn't formidable, it was annoying to deal with and could distract those who were unaware of what the priority should be. Rae kept her hands hovering close to the grip of her rapiers and licked her lips before speaking. "I do not wish to fight any of you, please. Let us pass. We are not Ishgardians, and two women were hardly a threat to dragons." She could sense the bewildered look from Mariah as Rae attempted to converse with the dragons. In her time, perhaps they would listen, but it was clear to Rae that these were tempered by the fury of their master, Nidhogg. "I know you can understand me. I do not wish to bring harm to any of you and ask you wish the same to both of us." It was a futile effort, as she knew in this day and age the Rage of Nidhogg was in full swing and none could parley with the dragons who were of his brood. Before another word was said, on Wyvern struck out. Its head snaked out, long neck stretched and jaws wide as it sought to clamp up Rae in its fanged jaws. Before it could get close, however, Rae had drawn Sanguinaire and swung up, drawing a line through the scalekin's vulnerable eye. Hot blood spattered onto the snow, causing it to melt and stain. As the Wyvern howled in pain, the others sprung into action. One lunged at Mariah while the other two jumped at Rae. Their coordination was not flawless, giving Rae a chance to parry the two that lunged at her and attack the one going for Mariah. She quickly thrust Sanguinaire into the dragon's jaw, locking it into place and forcing it off the course of Mariah and into a tree nearby. As the Wyvern began to thrash, Rae planted her foot onto the dragon's snout and kicked off, prying free her weapon. As she stepped back, another snaking head darted at her, which she dodged narrowly by arching her back and stumbling forward, directly into a swinging tail. As the tail struck, the wing was knocked out of Rae's lungs and she flew backwards. She rolled twice in the snow, but kept a tight grip on her weapon. The ground rumbled with the multiple dragons descending upon her, ready to tear her body limb from limb. A cry from Mariah echoed in the air, which caused Rae to spring to action. She jumped to her feet and quickly cast a spell of wind, blasting it through the four dragons, knocking them every which way. Some into trees, others into the snow. Rae took no time to launch another blast of magic, sending rocks hurdling towards the faces of the dragons, hoping to disorientate, if not knock them out. They screeched in agony and recoiled, but they would not back off so easily. A wing swung out, forcing a gust of wind to blast at Rae, who dug her rapier into the ground to keep her from falling back. As she braced herself, the dragonet dove down, nipping at her ears and face. Reaching over, Rae grabbed her Dreadwyrm Rapier and drew it out, swinging at the dragonet viciously. With a shriek, the dragonet withdrew into the trees and the other dragons stopped, their gaze transfixed upon Rae's blade. She paused, following their eyes to her weapon, then a flash of realization struck her. Her weapon was made from the scale of Bahamut and must be steeped with his essence as well. She held the weapon out to the dragons, who all followed it like a cat to a string. "You know what this is, don't you? You can smell Him on it. Stay away from us, lest you incur His wrath. He still yet lives, and there will come a day He will make that known, but you won't live to see that day if you keep this up," Rae spoke slowly, clearly, and walked towards the dragons. They began to step backwards, eyes wide, pupils dilated, almost as if they were hypnotized. "Go back to whatever nest you came from, and never bother us again!" Rae hissed, slashing her Rapier at them when she was close enough. The scalekin scattered and flapped hard, trying to get away from Rae's weapon. As the dragons' shadows became small freckles in the blue sky, Rae heaved a sigh and slumped against a tree, then slid down it and closed her eyes. Her hands trembled, as did her knees. They got lucky that time. If Rae hadn't been there, Mariah surely would have died. She silently pondered what sort of ramifications time would have to her interfering this way, but she decided not to go far down that path. "Are you alright, Mariah?" Rae asked, opening her eyes and turning to the woman.
  3. "My parents were not in the war. They defected from their tribe and fled to the Black Shroud. My father challenged the Nuhn and lost, the Nuhn knew about the love my father and mother had, and was going to bed her that same day to add more salt to the wound, so the two ran away with only the clothing on their back." Rae explained with a weak smile. "My father grew stronger on his own. When my mother was pregnant, he dreamt of a boy, a son to help around the house. When I was born, he couldn't have loved me more regardless." At the statement of unease from Jonathan, Rae's expression grew grim. Alexander was ever a threat and he has proven he would stop at nothing to stop Rae. She was a danger to all around her, and yet... Alexander was not near. Had he given up chase? Perhaps in her blind rage she had hurt him? Sudden flashbacks of her wife's blood staining her hands ripped through her mind and forced a visible cringe and shift of discomfort. The thought was more than she could bear. "You are right to doubt me and what dangers or safety I bring," Rae answered to Jonathan's doubt. "I won't lie to you and say that which caused these wounds won't harm you, but I can tell you that I can sense when it is near, but I do not sense it at all. For a time, I think I am safe. Worry not, however. Should I even think I sense it even once, I will leave promptly. I won't risk your lives for mine." At that, Rae rested as Mariah prepared the meal. Had she the strength, she would offer her own assistance. She missed cooking for some one. To her, it was probably only a few days, but lifetimes have passed. Many, many lifetimes. As the meal was ready to eat, Rae took slow, careful bites of her meal, not wanting to shock her body after having it surely starve for who knew how long. The whole time she felt no hunger nor thirst and wondered if it was the adrenaline or a byproduct of being forced through time line to time line. Was time stopped for her body? She couldn't remember the last meal she ate. She recalled her teeth sinking in to pale, soft flesh- Her thoughts were torn by Mariah speaking, telling stories to her. They came as an avalanche. They never seemed to have an end and, while Mariah spoke, Rae peacefully ate the meal and focused on the tales. If she focused on them, she couldn't think about the past. If she couldn't think about the past, then she would be happier. As Mariah wrapped up her stories, Rae smiled a small smile to her. "No, you aren't imposing. I like listening to your stories. They're good to listen to," Rae explained, chuckling lightly. At the mention of a husband, Rae's ears rose slightly and her eyes glanced down to her ring on her finger. "A husband? No. Most men I found... lacking. I promised my father I'd marry some one I loved and who would take care of me and I'd take care of them. I found myself a wife instead. She was truly a sight to behold. Her skin soft and pale, her hair smooth, soft, and dark. Her smile could stop a thrashing coeurl, and her eyes as dark as the ripest of currants. She was all and more I ever wanted..." A sad, wistful smile formed on her lips and she reached over with her right hand, touching the ring on her finger. As Mariah bade her good night, Rae returned her the gratitude, then rolled over in the bed and slept. A day passed before Rae was able to get out of bed without assistance. The bloodloss had taken a physical toll on her, but gradually, she was able to get up and walk. As she was able to walk, she helped around the house. She tidied, she helped prepare meals, she did any house work that needed to be done so Mariah could have a rest. Jonathan seemed to approve, as he no longer glowered at her from where he would sit. The first meal she prepared was a hesitant one. It wasn't the same as Mariah had made, but it still tasted delicious. Both Miqo'te enjoyed the different recipe, and Rae taught it to the pregnant Miqo'te. She was careful not to speak her full name around the two. When asked, Rae had answered "K'Rae." Had she been born in the tribe of her parents, that would have been her name. One morning, the sun was out and the chilly air nipped at them, but the warmth of the sun was enough to keep them from needing to bundle up. Rae was outside helping skin a buck Jonathan had brought down. "How far along are you, Mariah?" Rae asked absently, wanting to hear her tell stories more.
  4. Rae turned to the woman, surprised by the sudden onslaught of questions. There wasn't a chance to speak before the next question was brought up, followed by another, and another and another. It wasn't until the man interrupted the questioning woman that Rae's expression softened and relaxed. She laid back in the bed and breathed a sigh of relief. She finally answered some of the woman's questions. "I am a descendent of members of the K tribe. My parents defected after my mother and father fell in love," she answered, smiling a pleasant smile to Mariah. "I must thank you for taking me in and tending to my wounds. It's not often such kindness from strangers is afforded to another stranger. If there's any way I can repay you, I would like to do it." Rae stated, turning to Jonathan and Mariah, looking into their eyes and speaking with sincerity. At the last question, Rae paused, a confused look on her face. She gazed down at her bandaged body and arm, then to her hands. She couldn't recall clearly what had happened. As her brows furrowed and she thought upon it more, flashes of memories struck at her mind like lightning. The blood, the bodies, the stinging pain of Marishi's blade finding its mark on her arm, which she used to block it from cutting into her side, the hot, flowing blood of her wife's body as it lay there, gored open by her own claws... The sudden image brought a whimper from her throat and she clutched her hands and held them to her chest, her body drawing in upon itself. In that moment, she wanted nothing more than to stop existing. She wanted Alexander to find her and remove her from that instant, from all instants. She wanted to undo that memory, but for whatever reason, she was forced to know, to remember, to experience. After laying there a moment, her body relaxed. It didn't matter. None of it mattered. Marishi could die, she could live, she could meet her, she could not meet her. It didn't matter, it all didn't matter. She could reach over and gouge into the woman's belly, she could behead the man and throw their bodies into the river, but none of it mattered. She would meet Alexander, and for whatever reason, she would be thrust back into the river of time and spit back out in another moment in which she could either save her wife, or kill her. It didn't matter. "Something horrible," she finally answered at length. Her eyes raised to Mariah's, where she gazed into them a moment, feeling like she was gazing in to Marishi's eyes once more. Finally tearing her eyes away, Rae laid flat on the bed once more. "Something horrible happened to me, and something wonderful. Something inconsequential, something important. Many things have happened. I don't even know how long it has been. My sense of time is warped. I've been asleep for three days? Perhaps those have been the only normal three days for me for years." Rae glanced back to Mariah and frowned, seeing the expression on her face. She was speaking in riddles almost, and like an insane person. Jonathan's expression resembled that of his wife's, but it didn't matter to Rae. She could just skip back, skip to a time when they never met. This wasn't their last first impression of each other. "I'm sorry. I've become jaded. After all that's happened to me, I feel myself slipping away. There was a time... there was a time..." Her sentence trailed off as her expression softened once more and her eyes stared at the ceiling. 'There was a time I would have liked to have met you, to greet the parents who brought my wife into this world. There was a time when I would have been overjoyed to have this moment. There was a time...' She thought to herself sadly. "What tribe are you two from? I'm afraid with me being raised apart from the tribes and their cultures, I don't know many of the tribes and how to tell the differences between them all." Rae said, turning her head to face Mariah. She forced a smile to her, wishing to change the subject to take her mind off the existential crisis she was storming through.
  5. She didn't have to see the body of her wife fall still to know she had passed on. The feeling of her soul rent into two could be felt. Perhaps it was better, though, to describe it as one half slipping off into the void of her soul that had formed the moment her wife's body was taken over by Alexander and used as a conduit to her murder. The hole began to swallow everything. As the man watched as the light disappeared from Rae's eyes, he let her drop to the ground. She lay there, eyes half-open, lips parted, almost like a doll as his hulking form loomed over her. Before he could do more, a sharp pain struck at the side of his neck. Claws dug their way past his collar and through his flesh. Beneath him, the wide awake Rae growled as her blood-shot eyes glared at him. A golden ring formed around her iris while dark veins encircled her scleroses. A transformation beset her as the same dark veins snaked up her arms and across her temples. Ripping her hand down from his neck, blood spattered across her chest and down her arm. The man pushed himself up, clutching at his neck now gushing hot blood. His hands could not staunch the flow as it spilled down his chest and stomach from between his fingers. He never stood to his feet, but simply fell backwards and remained holding onto his throat as the life slowly drained from him through his neck. Scrambling to her feet, Rae turned upon the remaining men, who scattered, each darting out of the pub. The world was quiet around Rae save it be the crackle of the fire and the distant crying of a child. She could sense Alexander drawing near. There was an innate hatred towards the being. It wasn't just her own hatred, but that of Bahamut, who seemed to be taking over her consciousness and body. There was an irony in the situation that she noted. Both she and her wife attuned to Primals, yet neither were Tempered, and both Primals so desperately despised each other, yet she and Marishi loved each other. Perhaps this was where it was meant to come to? The world grew still around her. The flow of blood stopped, the fire's crackle silenced, the breath of wind hushed. A dark frame stood in the doorway, the familiar, yet tainted scent of her wife filled her nostrils. Before Alexander could react, Rae moved first. She sprinted from her spot, claws ready. Jumping at her wife's possessed body, Rae managed to tackle Alexander-Marishi, the two of them rolling outside of the pub. There were no witnesses, as Alexander stopped time for their battle. Rae did her best to keep Marishi from grabbing at her weapon, batting at her hands and trying to dig her nails into whatever flesh was visible. The two grappled for moments, rolling one on top of the other, bumping into a partially dilapidated column before Marishi was finally able to kick Rae off herself. Both clambered to their feet and Rae darted forward. This time, Alexander-Marishi was able to react in time, pulling up her Gordian Katana as Rae charged. The weapon caught her shoulder, digging into it and causing a scream of pain from Rae. The two held still a moment, anger and hatred bearing down on Rae's face while Marishi's was expressionless. The two stared each other in the eye before Marishi went to move, trying to lop off Rae's arm; however, Rae caught the blade, her fingers and palm bleeding as she held onto it, stopping the movement. A frustrated expression crossed Alexander-Marishi's face for a moment before Rae yanked the blade from her shoulder and pulled Marishi closer, who in turn parried away from a frantic swipe of the claw, but not a kick at her legs that caused her to trip. Rae took the opportunity to lunge at Marishi. As she did, her skin began to itch. She felt her joints pulled. Her breath escape her lungs. Her mind throbbed. Slowly, Marishi turned around, weapon ready to impale Rae through the gut, but before she could make contact, Rae vanished. --------------------------------------------------- Bahamut's wrath took over. It blinded her thoughts, her senses. Everything was a blur and all that mattered was death. Death to whoever stood in her way. Death to whoever crossed her path. Death to Alexander. She must kill Alexander. It was his fault! All of this could have been avoided had he stayed out of it. No, it could have been avoided had he but lifted a finger! The Allagans, the Ishgardians, the Eorzeans. They're all at fault! The cries of my children and kin echo in my ears. Their blood fills my nostrils. Their sorrow fuels my wrath. Man's tithe for me allowing them to live this long will be their blood. I am insatiable. I am rage. I am fear! Man stood before me, and they fell. I could smell the familiar scent of the woman cloaking Alexander. My eyes took in the scenery of a foreign land I did not recognize. Others bore down upon me, wielding weapons like that woman. I struck out against them, causing them to kneel. I followed the scent, the stench of that woman. She would bring to me Alexander. Though his smell was nowhere, I could sense him. The woman was near, coming to me. I could hear her breath. I could smell it. Her hair, so sweet, so delicate, yet she was formidable and a threat... and she would come to house Alexander. --------------------------------------------------- My skin, it itches. My joints ache, my eyes burn, my heart stops, but my anger never subsides. New smells assault my senses. New sights confound my mind. I am once again in a forested area. Is this my home? No. Myrcedia does not wreak of Man. I am the place that Man calls the Black Shroud. It is confusing to navigate. No matter, my body knows fire. My body is fire. My lungs well up, my chest extends. The sound of my scream rings in my ears, but it feels hollow. No flames spew forth, no trees catch fire. Has my fire been extinguished as well? What all has been taken from me?! I never breathed fire. How can this be? I do not breathe fire, yet I watched the world burn beneath me as I burst forth from Dalamud! I was ever in Dalamd I WAS! You cannot lie to me that for countless years I was held captive, trapped by the very Men that killed me! I never died. I did! A thousand deaths did I die! When every child of mine was killed or injured and captured. When my very sister was laid low by Man. When my Father gave himself to protect the lands of Man! I died! I died with them! I died with my fellow dragon! I am not a Dragon. NO... No... you are not. I am a Miqo'te. Yes. You are. This is your body. I am a guest. I am R- RAGE! A shadowy figure appears before me! The stench of Alexander fills the air. The metal Primal hides beneath flesh and death to escape my fury. If only you had gone back! You, a powerful and conscious entity! You could stop the massacre! You could stop the invasion! You could stop the suffering! But you chose not to. You chose passivity! I fly at my enemy, my claws meet his arm and abdomen, he bites my arm with his fang, but I have him, and I will not let go! My claws sink into his flesh, but no blood is drawn. In frustration, I roar and raise my arm to cut his neck, but I am driven out of time. Into a tunnel of flashing colours and passing moments. Sound fills my ears to the point of deafening. Again, I am another place, another time. My hunt continues. --------------------------------------------------- Stop. Why? I don't want her to die. Then she should not have involved herself! She couldn't help it! She didn't know it would come to this! That's her fault for not knowing. NOOOOOOOO! Warmth covers my hands. My skin itches, my body hurts, my limbs are tired, my head throbs. I'm pulled away from another time. How much longer must this continue? Are these my dreams again? Am I still in Dalamud? Again, I see the woman. She wears a dress of white trimmed in red. She looks terrified. As she should, for I bear down upon her. Something in my mind desperately pulls at me to stop, but I do not hear it. My mouth gushes with hot liquid as I spill molten lava from my throat. Or is it her's? A hole in her neck gushes blood. The scent fills my nose and mouth. She did not stand a chance. My rage suddenly is replaced with sorrow. Loss. Hopelessness. What have I done? The itch returns. My joints ache once more. My breath stops. I slip from consciousness. --------------------------------------------------- Cold. She was met with a blinding whiteness that hurt her eyes. Her head spun, her body ached, her eyes could not see. Surrounding her were spatters of blood that stained the snow red. It was winter. Her body ached. She could barely remember anything that happened. Gazing over herself, Rae saw the blood staining her clothes. She remembered killing the man in Rhalgr's Reach, but there was more blood than just his. Her whole body was covered in it. Licking her lips revealed to her more blood on her mouth. Rae grimaced, then took a handful of snow and wiped her face with it, though she could feel it still covering her. As she moved to sit up, a pain shot through both her arms and her side. Rae cried out and clutched at her shoulder where a gaping hole was seen through her jacket. Looking at her sleeve, she noticed a cut as well with fresh blood pouring from it. Her side that ached held a cut as well, though she did not remember where she got it. Her hands were also covered in blood, and she remembered. Suddenly she remembered the scene where she begged for Marishi's life, but she did not care. Unfathomable sorrow washed over her. Rae held her hands over her face and wept. Hot tears streamed down her face and chilled as they hit the snow beneath her. Her existence became misery and regret. As she cried, footfalls came towards her. She brought her hands down and gazed up at the man standing above her, his face obscured by the bright sun behind him, but concern filled his voice. "What in the Twelve happened to you?" He asked. Rae dropped her hands, her mouth opened to speak, but no sound came. The vision around her grew dark, and she passed out. It was some time before Rae came to. She was warm, laying on a bed, and the sound of a fire crackling filled her ears. The scent of boiled vegetables and searing meat filled her nostrils as well as various herbs and spices. She felt weak, but alive. Rae glanced around the room she was in. Stone pillars encased wood panels. Windows were closed and curtains pulled on each side of the house. There were two rooms to the small home. One was hidden behind a door, and the second was the room she laid in. She was close to the hearth that cooked the meal, which made her mouth water. Turning her head, she spotted the sleeping figure of a male Miqo'te, dozed off in a rocking chair by the fire. It was he who brought her here, she was certain. His dark hair was greying, his face bore small wrinkles of age, he looked to be about 40, perhaps. He reminded her a bit of her own father. Rae smiled and closed her eyes, turning her head and relaxing onto the pillow. The thought brought her comfort, what little it afforded was enough to rest her body. Footsteps came from outside, causing Rae to sit up and wince. Though she was now bandaged and she felt a salve on her wounds, they still were sore. She looked to the door, watching to see who came through.
  6. The Hinterlands were as she remembered them. The ruins of the once proud Sharlayan settlement stood, but the decaying remnants lay slowly reclaimed by the land around it as walls crumbled or were blown out by the Goblins. Machine and monsters alike roamed the the abandoned settlements, prowling through the streets or stalking the open areas around it. Pathways were nearly completely demolished outside the settlement borders. From their vantage point, the bridges that connected east and west were blown out save but one that was guarded by some of the local adventurers who knew it would be impossible to get from one side to another if the bridge were to crumble. The Dravanian Hinterlands were lush, teeming with life, and most importantly: dangerous. Rae had visited the place once, but it was long after it had been abandoned by her people. Well, she could never truly call them “her people”. They tolerated her at best. The only ones who accepted her were a man she crippled herself, and another who wasn’t even Sharlayan, but a visitor to the island. The Sharlayans leered upon her with disdain. They took her from her home and forced her to stay among them to learn and attempt to make her into a weapon, but only two ever treated her as a human worthy of respect. The Sharlayans were as much her people as the Au’Ra were as much of the Dragons’. Still, she would be counted as one of them. These ruins were part of her legacy. The passiveness was part of her history. Their knowledge was her’s, to an extent. She had liberal access to many of their books and many of their studies. Even as a defector, she still held the keys needed to access some of their precious secrets. The Great Gubal Library was one of them. With virtually countless corridors and bookshelves that were once filled to the brim with their collected knowledge, Rae once could have spent her days within the darkened building, letting her skin and hair pale and her eyesight grow dim from having her nose pressed into a book for endless hours in the day. The other great landmark within the Hinterlands that Rae had rare access to was the very thing the Sharlayans created. A machine given a spirit by the Goblins that worshipped the craftsmanship. A machine made to defend the Sharlayans, but now no longer heeds their command unless it deems it so. A creation that all who know of it revere it with awe. Alexander. They stood at the base of the great mechanism. Many years prior, this construct called upon Marishi. As she ventured its bowels and came to the core where the Primal existed, she made a pact with the entity, and in return, she gained perpetual youth until the time came for her task to be completed. That day seemed to soon approach as voices rang in Marishi’s head. It grew increasingly worrisome day by day as her wife related to her the symptoms and her feelings about it. Marishi was not one to speak up about things concerning her health much, unless it was debilitating. This was why Rae knew her wife was gravely serious about what was happening to her. Rae vowed to protect her wife after that day. That day she failed, the day she nearly lost her wife. She swore nothing would befall her. Rae would move heaven and earth for Marishi. She would fight armies. She would forsake all she had, all she believed. She would do the impossible to save Marishi, to spare her from suffering again. Any trials Marishi faced, Rae would be beside her. Any victories she won, Rae would rejoice with her. A door opened, sliding to the side to grant the pair access. Rae turned to Marishi, a comforting smile upon her face as she held out her hand to her wife. “Let’s go. Let’s find a way to stop the voices. Whatever the answer may be, it’ll be in here, I’m sure of it.” Rae assured her, a confident tone in her voice. The sun cast a glow across her face. It was no longer noon, but not nearly yet evening. The weather was perfect for their adventure. It seemed almost a pity to go inside, but they couldn’t speak with the Primal that inhabited Alexander’s body from outside.
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