|Alciel "Aiswynd" Indranil|
|Nameday||7th Sun of the 5th Astral Moon (9th of September)|
|Occupation||Former Adder & Skysteel Machinist|
|Guardian||Azeyma, the Warden|
(( NOTE: THIS CHARACTER HAS BEEN PERMANENTLY RETIRED FROM RP AND WILL NOT LIKELY BE RETURNING. HERE FOR HISTORY SAKE ))
Appearance & Personality
He is short for an Au Ra male, however this does not change the fact that he is solid with an athletic build. While his face has little marring upon it, his body does show signs of extensive conflict, however few of the scars are noticeable upon a glance, there are a couple that are typically hidden by his clothing. With the change and loss of memories, he tends towards being calmer and focused, having lost much of his fiery personality he had before. Depending on his emotions, his purple limbal rings will seem to pulse and dance with light. People who get physically close will notice that he smells of Cinnamon and Vanilla constantly.
With recent events, Alciel has had a shift, having gone from being the cautious, calm person he was when he arrived, to someone that had lost the memories of much of his painful past. He has gaps in his memory that he recognizes, and trying to force them to reveal themselves before he is ready to causes him pain. He has also lost conscious access to much of his skills, however the loss of past traumatic memories have re-awakened skills that he had locked away, namely Arcanima. He still has the instincts from being a Scout and Tracker, however when they surface, they usually leave him confused after the fact.
He has an obsession with fish and felines, to the point that some people in his tribe used to jokingly call him a Coeurl, and a few people in his tribe believed it had to do with the fact that he was cared for by a Coeurl for a few weeks after the flood. He shows a general distaste towards people that flit from partner to partner, non-fish meats and alcohol. He will in some rare occasions drink, but typically goes for wines or fermented buffalo milk. Has also shown an allergy towards Rum usually resulting in severe sickness and disorientation.
Arc 0 - Before Eorzea
Aiswynd grew up as part of the Drakareus Tribe, a Tribe of Xaela that were not renown for anything in particular other than the Elders insistence that everyone be well educated for a wandering people. Aside from the occasional clashes with other tribes, life for Aiswynd was peaceful as a young child and he made friends easily. It was not long before things began to go sour in his life. He was barely the human equivalent of 8 when a river flood while gathering food along the banks swept him and his parents away. The tribe had given up on him and his family, only finding him by chance among a Coeurl den by Scouts of the tribe as the whole tribe migrated down river.
His isolation began there, while the tribe took over raising him, he began to feel disconnected, the only strong connection he had was Koertha, another like him who had lost his parents. The two of them became good friends, brothers even as they grew into adult hood. Koertha learning to be a warrior that fought with nothing but his fists, while Aiswynd took up daggers and aided the tribe as a scout and hunter.
Koertha and Shinsui
Aiswynd was stretched out by the remains of a fire pit lying outside of the main camp of the Drakareus tribe. The fire pit had long since burned low, just embers casting off heat, but Aiswynd took no notice as he rolled onto his back, snoring away upon the ground as if it was a bed that belonged to some king. A shape creeped up on Aiswynd, who was so relaxed when he slept that he let himself sleep deeply, so did not awaken to the approach until the figure suddenly sat on his chest.
He let out a gasp of air and within moments was shoving the laughing blond haired Au Ra off of him, “By the mother Koertha you could have been killed pulling a stunt like that with one of the scouts!” Aiswynd shouts, trying not to laugh while sounding serious and failing spectacularly. The Blonde Au Ra just grins widely at him and laughs at him, “Oh come on! The only time I ever get to sneak up on you is after you pass out from a big fish catch like that! Anywhere further out from camp and you sleep too lightly.”
Aiswynd smirked and pounced at Koertha, and the two broke into a match of wrestling, trying to wrangle the other into a headlock and laughing the entire time, while Koertha certainly had strength and height on Aiswynd, he was nowhere near as flexible and before long the shorter flame haired Au Ra had the massive blonde in a head lock, “Yield yield! For the mother yield I can’t be falling asleep already!” Koertha starts smacking Aiswynd’s arms and trying to laugh although he could feel the drowsiness of the sleeper hold set in before he was suddenly released.
A third voice joined in the laughter, another young Au Ra like Koertha and Aiswynd stood there, dark hair and a look as sharp as a knife were what set him apart from the other two, “Shinsui!” Koertha called out laughing as he shoved Aiswynd who shoved him back. Shinsui gave them both a smile and motioned, “Looks like they’ve seen fit to have all three of us scouting…more really…there’s apparently another tribe that’s been sighted and we’re to scout their scouts and see who they are.”
Koertha holds up a hand and dashes off to a nearby yurt to retrieve his gauntlets, on his way out he is half entangled with a sleepy Au Ra woman that is trying to coax him to stay longer. Aiswynd and Shinsui look at each other and then at Koertha as he arrives, both of them mirroring the smirk the other has, “Ah the trouble of being popular with the girls.” Shinsui remarks, and Koertha elbows him in the ribs, “If you didn’t walk around like a living knife you’d have more interested in you.” The three of them left unspoken Aiswynd’s recent outright rejection of one of the girls leading him to basically be a pariah among them. Koertha cast a worried glance at Aiswynd’s back as the three of them started towards the west, even though Aiswynd acted as if the whole thing didn’t bother him, he had this feeling that his friend was going to live a very lonely life someday.
…An hour later…
The three crept quietly through a forest that was to the west and north of tribe’s camp, here they had found fresh tracks of others like them and began stalking them with Koertha bringing up the rear, being the least stealthy of the three. It was only another ten, fifteen minutes before they found their quarry, a group of Au Ra hunters that were busy preparing their catches for movement back to their camp. Among the hunters was a guard, like Koertha, however he carried a metal blade and shield. Shinsui held up a hand and motioned to the side, Aiswynd nodded and began to circle around, keeping his stealth while Koertha remained behind with Shinsui.
The guard turned and Koertha clenched his jaw, recognizing the symbol on the shield. He tapped Shinsui, who nodded and let out a bird call before retreating back the way they had come a safe distance, Aiswynd meeting up with them. As soon as it was safe for them they began talking in low whispers. The first words out were from Aiswynd, “I know.” Is all he said, Koertha and Shinsui nodded, Shinsui being the next to speak, “Dotharl…”
There was a moment of silence before Shinsui started to move back towards the hunters, Koertha placing a hand on his shoulder, “What are you doing?” Shinsui wheeled on him with a bone dagger at his throat, “I am going back to kill them so that they can’t follow us back.” Shinsui’s tone was cold and cruel. The tribe knew he had originally come from Doma, and that he had run afoul of the Dotharl for they had left their symbol carved into his back, but beyond that they did not know any more, nor did they ask from him what he would not freely share. Aiswynd pulled Shinsui’s arm away from Koertha and shook his head, “No we need to warn the tribe, break camp and slip away quickly. We can’t handle the Dotharl.”
Shinsui clenched his fist, knuckles going white before he relented and the group slinked out of the forest and started back towards the tribe, being careful to cover their tracks.
…Later At Camp…
The three are lead into the Yurt for the elder tribesman, the kneel down on the ground and Koertha, as a guard, is the one to speak of what they saw. The Elders consulted quietly for a bit before one of them stepped forward to speak, “We shall be breaking camp immediately, we shall be heading east, into the hills to escape the Dotharl and save ourselves from meaningless conflict.”
The three nodded their heads and were dismissed. On the way out, Aiswynd was stopped by one of the elders who wished to speak to him, leaving Koertha and Shinsui to spread the notice to break camp.
Aiswynd followed the elder, Kubren, to his Yurt, with a motion, Aiswynd sat upon the ground and Kubren sat opposite of him. “Aiswynd I wished to speak to you. You have potential, a lot of potential when it comes to magic, and I believe you to have the potential to be a great elder one day. You know our tribe, only the learned are Elders, and I want you to become learned. I ask you to change your mind about magic.” Aiswynd shakes his head, “No, I…I don’t want to mess around with magic anymore...I respectfully request that you leave this matter be Elder.” Aiswynd bows deep enough to press his forehead against the ground.
Kubren however continues on, “Aiswynd, mistakes are made upon the path to all skills, even with knives you’ve hurt yourself, or missed plenty. It is the same with magic, do not take to heart your miscants, your miscasts, they are all part of learning. I trust one day soon you will understand, you have the knack, you have a keen eye and a precision that many of the elders lack.” He steps over to Aiswynd and rests a hand on his shoulders, “I understand that the devices and machines of those soldiers and the trinkets interest you but it is that keen interest in unraveling how things work that will lend to your magics, if you just take the time to learn how to apply it.” Kubren sighs and silences a protest before it starts, “We will continue this later Aiswynd…go help your friends notify the camp.”
Aiswynd took off out of the Yurt after a final bow, relieved to have been released from the discussion of his magical ability once again. It wasn’t long before he located Shinsui and Koertha though, and as he approached the two of them were in a heated discussion.
“You are a naïve fool Koertha! We should have struck out first, bloodied the Dotharl! If we killed their hunters that would have slowed them down as they would need to send more out to get food, as well as search for who killed them!” Shinsui shouts angrily, a group of people from the tribe having gathered to watch the exchange happening just outside of the central circle of the camp. Koertha clenches his fists, knuckles whitening as he retorts, “If we bloodied the Dotharl they would come at us like a raging buffalo, how would that do us any good getting into a war with them! They are already one of the most violent and warmongering clans, Drakareus would not last! We are wasting time we need to break camp now Shinsui!”
Shinsui sweeps a hand out, “FOOL! The Dotharl are rabid Coeurls, they will come hunt us down regardless, and will do that until all tribes are destroyed and they are the only one left, we should stand and fight not run like terrified children!” Koertha hit his limit at this point and took a swing at Shinsui. A scuffle quickly erupted from there between the two, knuckles and knives, it wasn’t a clean fight, it was dirty, with kicking and biting and gouging with horns. They broke for a moment and Shinsui slipped through some quick hand gestures before a pillar of flames erupted around Koertha.
Once the flames died down, Koertha was lying upon the ground, barely alive, but to add to the problem, the flames injured some of the people watching the fight, and set one of the Yurts a flame. Everyone sprang into action right away, Aiswynd bolted across the battlefield and came to a stop next to Koertha, panic welling up over his badly burned friend. He did the first thing that came to mind and ran over the basic Physick spell, the one curative spell he knew. He ran through the spell again, and again until Koertha no longer looked like he had been caught in the flames.
Aiswynd stood up and marched over to Shinsui who stood there in shock at what he had done. Aiswynd took one swing and hit Shinsui in the face hard enough to cause him to stumble backwards. Shinsui entered into a blind rage at being struck and lashed out at Aiswynd who slipped around the knife slash only to punch Shinsui in the face again, following it up with a hard punch into the side, between patches of scales. Shinsui was about to retaliate before the two were shoved apart physically and magically by Kubren as he intervened.
Shinsui spat blood and pointed at Aiswynd, “I see whose friend you are, I cast you out, you and your weak gutless ilk! May you all become fodder for the flames.” Shinsui spat again and stalked off towards his camping site. Aiswynd stood there, looking hard and cold at Shinsui until Kubren placed a hand on his shoulder, “We have a camp to break down.” Aiswynd nodded his head but said nothing as he went with the Xaela Elder. Within the hour the camp was torn down, packed up and they were off to the east. Koertha though healed, was still badly hurt and strapped to one of the buffalo until he recovered. Aiswynd scouted ahead alone, as Shinsui, his scouting partner for the past two years had not joined the tribe.
No one spoke of Shinsui’s disappearance, no one wanted to as what he had done was intolerable. They hardened their hearts to him and moved along with their lives. Koertha made a full recovery and before long Koertha and Aiswynd were wrestling and fighting and jostling like before. Koertha began to push Aiswynd as well to start studying magic after how effectively he was able to heal him, but Aiswynd refused, and anytime the friendly pushing went too far, Aiswynd would disappear to go hunting, causing his skills as a scout and hunter to grow more than they had.
Sometimes though, Aiswynd would find injured animals, when no one else was around, and he would practice Physick upon them, but never daring to cast any other spell.
Aiswynd laughed at a joke his cousin made about the Raen tribe as he, and several other Xaela sat around a fire. They were out on the periphery of the camp, the others more central were families and elderly, the young warriors and hunters lived on the edge. This was so if an attack happened, they were already on hand, ready to go and those that could not fight as well were already circled into the center and protected.
The group fell silent as a bird call echoed out from the darkness, one of them sending another bird call back. A couple moments of silence passed before a pair of Xaela hunters rode up on chocobos which were haggard from a hard run. They dismount, the lead of the two motions towards the group as he swept past and towards the central camp. The other Xaela approaches the group after tending to the Chocobo, "Another tribe is approaching on the march of war. Get rest, they'll be here by morning." the Xaela says, motioning for some of the stew and thanking them for the food.
Aiswynd sighed and looked off towards where the riders came from. It wasn't long until his watch shift ended and he retired to the tents to sleep. Morning however was a rush of adrenaline as weapons were handed out and armor prepared. It was not long before the other army came into sight. Tension in the tribe was high as they noticed some strange armor among the Xaela tribe that arrived.
The lines were formed, the Drakareus tribe readied themselves for the assault. It was not long before a shout went up from the enemy, and moments later the tribes met in bloody conflict.
The first to come upon Aiswynd was one of those in strange armor, wielding a sword and shield that hummed strangely with a crackle of magical lightning. He slashed, and Aiswynd spun, the armor, the weapons availed the man naught as one of Aiswynd's daggers slipped between helmet and pauldron, slicing open the warrior's throat. Aiswynd advanced, the next foe a Xaela like himself and they clashed and slashed, wove and dodged. Blades met, but in a few moments Aiswynd was the victor.
It was not long before it appeared the Drakareus tribe was going to be the victor, despite the strange additional soldiers. Then one arrived from the rear, and wielded a weapon that was strange, a blade with a tube on the backside. A moment later more arrived, and before long loud cracks could be heard and his fellow tribesmen began to fall one after another.
Aiswynd watched in horror, he knew at once who they were, having had small skirmishes before. These were Garleans, why they would involve themselves in tribal conflict he didn't know. He didn't care. He saw his cousin gunned down a moment later before he was stabbed as he tried to recover. Aiswynd tightened the gripe on his knives and went into a bloody rage.
He slashed and cut and sliced, lashing out with fist and leg, knocking down and killing everyone he could as quickly as he could. He advanced upon the Garlean's with the gunblades before one more arrived upon a large walker. There was a stunned silence as a beam of magic tore through the battlefield, and the camp. More and more appeared, cutting swaths in the ground, and troops and camp, killing all caught in it.
A hand grabbed Aiswynd and tugged at him. He spun to find one of Koertha before him, "Let go!" he shouted as he gestured to the Walkers, "I have to kill them!" his friend shook his head and pulled, "NO! We have to flee! We have to try and survive!" Aiswynd turned to pull away only to be spun around by his friend. His friend was moving to strike him to knock him out only to stop. A moment later he was flung away and crumpled to the ground, his spine severed.
Aiswynd spun in place to face his friends killer only to find a massive Garlean Soldier with an axe in hand. He lashed out with the butt of the axe, Aiswynd attempted to dodge but the strike was fast as lightning and caught him in the shoulder, causing him to twist with the impact. He rolled with the momentum of the strike, swinging in and catching the Garlean in the cheek, leaving a long slash. He was repaid a moment later as the Garlean twisted about the axe and slammed the back side into Aiswynd's stomach, forcing him to stumble back in pain.
Shoulder bruised, stomach feeling battered, Aiswynd slowed down but did not stop his assault in blind rage. He came in with a feint for the right side, snapping and twisting suddenly into a low kick meant to strike the Garlean's leg behind the knee and cause a fracture. Instead of being caught the Garlean stepped in and slammed the haft into Aiswynd's face, a loud crack could be heard and Aiswynd's vision filled with stars before going black.
"Nice try boy...Find me when you learn how to fight better, it could be fun."
Aiswynd woke up some time later amid piles of bodies, his daggers had long since been pilfered and his nose was bloody and felt broken. He was alive however, as were a handful of others who were picking across the battlefield. The camp was ruined, full of charred bodies. One of the other Xaela came over and helped Aiswynd up, told him that they had lost, and were all going to scatter, maybe find new tribes to take them in. Most of the survivors had already left.
He stumbled over to the camp, to where the elders all lay slain and fell to his knees, these were like his parents once his had died. He reached down and with the soot and char he drew an X across his face, his fellow Xaela all having done this as well. They were all tribeless now, and would wear that mark until they were accepted, they were part of a new tribe. He stood up and gave forth a sigh before he started off.
Among the bodies he found new knives, not as good as his old ones, but they would have to do. It was some years of travel and wandering before he found himself upon a coastal village. He never joined another tribe having left the steppes and living as a wanderer and a rogue. The people upon the ship fascinated him, however he feared to get aboard because of the water. The night before they left port, he had gotten drunk with some Roegaden, not waking up until the had long cast off, having been brought aboard to join the crew as they traveled south to Limsa Lominsa.
His arrival in Limsa lead him to falling in with the Rogues guild for a short time, and after a violent encounter where he saved a group of Adders from a Garlean scouting party, he ended up being pulled into the fold of the Adders where he was at first a glorified messenger before quickly escalated up to handling more dangerous missions that better fit his talents.
Arc 1 - Arrival
Crunch, crunch, crunch
Aiswynd's steps came to a stop as his breath fogs before him. He adjusts the scarf about his mouth and face, and a sheer cloth to protect his eyes from the cold and brightness of Coerthas. He pulls a map out of his pocket and studies it for a bit, looking up from the map a few times before putting it away and trudging on through the snow. A pack slung across his back filled with missives and some tool resupplyment for a scouting group that was working in Coerthas.
Crunch, crunch, crunch As he trudges on through the snow, Aiswynd thinks about the events of his life up until recently. He had ended up in Limsa and fell in with the Rogues guild, well they more picked him up. They were watching all the new arrivals and apparently his skills doing odd jobs culling some of the more dangerous creatures near the city attracted his attention. He worked with them for only a month before they parted ways. They liked to work in shadows and secret and his method was a bit more direct than their style. It was during a courier job from Limsa to Gridania that started him with the Adders.
Crunch, Crunch, Crunch He stops and looks up at the sky, the snow was starting to come down thicker, he was going to soon lose a lot of visibility. He checks the map one more time to make sure he was facing in the right direction. He lets out a sigh and continues on. His thoughts straying back to the Adders. How he fell in with them, it was pure chance, a group of Adders were being attacked by Garleans that had slipped into the area. The Adders were losing and he charged in without thinking. They fell fast, already worn out from the battle, and not ready for a sudden strike from someone more skilled than them. A couple Garleans were left alive for the Adders but proved to know little that was useful, or they didn't break. The Adders gave him honorary status, and he started doing jobs from them, small, but he quickly proved his usefulness.
Crunch, crunch... He comes to a stop as the wind starts picking up with the thickening wall of snowfall. He normally wouldn't be doing resupply jobs like this but the Adders were short handed, and he volunteered because he wanted to see Coerthas. A land of pure pristine snow of shades of white, blue and...
"Azeyma let this be a fresh carcass of an animal." He says under his breath as he starts moving quickly, the streak of blood turning out to be from one of the Adders that were camped out. He kneels down at the body to inspect it. No signs of gunshots, he muses within his mind, rolling the body over to find scorch marks all across the body, "No..."
He stands up, letting the pack land in the snow by the body before he draws his blades and creeping forward towards the next blotch. He freezes in position as the camp comes into view. It was several Garleans standing around the remains of a campfire, dead Adders lying all about them. Aiswynd clenches his teeth, his jaw and then launches at the nearest of the Garleans, one that held a bow at the ready. The Garlean was taken by surprise as Aiswynd latches onto the back collar of his armor, drags him backwards and slices his throat open. The gurgle alerts the others.
Without hesitation he launches himself at the next nearest Garlean, Fire scorching past his head. The next spell was ended before it could be cast as he buries his fist into the stomach of the Thaumaturge. He twists around and slices low, hamstringing the Thaum as his Gladiator ally misses his swing for Aiswynd's head. Aiswynd continues his twisting spin, coming back up and slipping behind the Gladiator's shield and planting a dagger just under his shoulder. His other dagger is thrown past the Gladiator's head to catch the Thaumaturge in the face, ending his career in an instant.
The last person left in sight, a Pugilist launches himself at Aiswynd, believing him to be unarmed now. Aiswynd kicks the dying Gladiator into the Pugilist's path, buying himself enough time to bring forth another pair of daggers. He doesn't meet the strikes coming at him head on, insteady parrying and slipping sideways. His movements significantly faster than the Pugilist, scoring a slice across the ribs. The Pugilist aims a high sweeping kick at Aiswynd. Aiswynd, catches the leg and rolls with the kick, coming away from the strike rolling through the snow. He stands up and draws another dagger, having left the one in his hand planted firmly into the back of the knee of the Pugilist who was now on the ground and screaming in pain. A swift execution follows and Aiswynd gathers his daggers.
As he approaches the pack, a faint clapping could be heard along with the heavy crunch of snow, and into view came a Marauder, no, this one was a Warrior, the stature and armor sending flashes of recognition through Aiswynd's mind. For a moment, Aiswynd was no longer in a land of snow, but a steppe land, and the corpses around him were not Adders, but Xaelas. "That was magnificent for a backwater hick." the Warrior comments, laughing a little as he does.
He brings his axe to bear, "And I see you've gotten better...I was not wrong to let you live...You've culled weaklings from our ranks quite well."
Aiswynd's knuckles go white with how tightly he grips his daggers as he approaches the Warrior, "I will kill you." then it was all motion. He rushes in and aims for a throat cut at the start only to leave a knick upon the haft of the Warrior's Axe. With ease the axe is swung forcing Aiswynd to retreat before he leaps in again, this time aiming low and again the Warrior parries his attack and pushes him back with another swing. Aiswynd collects enough of his wits to change his tactics, going for a feint that he uses to grab the haft of the axe and launch himself past to aim a strike at the Warrior's face. His dagger leaves a shallow cut on the armor. He releases his grip and ducks down under the axe swing, aiming to stab the Warrior in the thigh only to be sent reeling as the haft crashes into the side of his head. He rolls to the side as an Axe blade narrowly misses coming down upon his head.
"You've gotten better, but so have I boy." The Warrior lets out, chuckling as he sweeps his axe up, unleashing a wave of snow and obscuring Aiswynd's view. Aiswynd leaps backward from the snow launch and launches a cluster of throwing daggers into it. He realizes to late that the Warrior went around to the side. The Warrior's swing comes in with the blade backwards, Aiswynd's arm cracking painfully under the impact of the haft and he is sent tumbling.
Aiswynd stands up slowly, the broken arm hanging limply by his side, the dagger in the snow. The pain of his arm causing him to collapse. The Warrior grins widely as he approaches, his helmet splitting from the strike earlier that hit more deeply than it first appeared. There was a fresh cut on his cheek, above the scar of another. The Warrior stops before Aiswynd as he tests the weight of his axe in his hand, "One more try...hehehe...next time...maybe you will win...I am curious to see just how powerful you will become."
In quick motion, Aiswynd brings up his linkpearl and broadcasts his location through it, getting it out before the haft connects with the side of his head and all goes black.
Sometime later, he awakens to the sound of crackling fire and warmth. Heavy blankets are over him and his arm is pinned and splinted, he groans painfully as his vision swims. Someone found him at least. He closes his eyes and sleeps back off into sleep. In his dreams the laughter of the warrior is coming not from the Garlean Warrior, but his father, laughing at some idiosyncrasy of tribal Xaela life.
Sand crunches beneath the claws of a fiery orange chocobo as it makes its way leisurely through the sands of Southern Thanalan. Upon the chocobo's back is Aiswynd, who has a hand upon a link pearl dangling from one of his horns.
"Look, I know Yujika-...No No What I am saying is that...Ah come on can I at least...yes...yes I know...I haven't been kicked out! I said I was on temporary leave...I know how it looks...No, you should know me better than that!...mmhm..mmhm...No I'm not just rolling over...oh come on be reasonable the Adders don't want me around until a decision is made...Yes, Ul'dah...Sagolii...No I'm not going to cause any troubles...gee thanks -mother-...I'm sorry I won't use that tone with you...Fiiiine I will try to keep in touch better." he releases the link shell and sighs as he slumps over the front of his chocob, only to have it wark at him.
"No, nothing to worry about Clarence." he pats the chocobo on the neck as he sits back up, his left arm and horn not completely healed yet, but it was to the point that he could manage again at least. He flexes his left hand and sighs, as the muscles were still tight, he was going to need to continue with therapy with that hand for a long time before it could ever be as remotely dexterous as it once was. It was going to hamper his ability to fight with his off hand he knew as much.
A guard for the Forgotten Springs hails him as he approaches and Aiswynd hails back, "I've come to see the Seer known as Sangolus." he calls as he nears the town's gates. The guard looks back into town worriedly before motioning for Aiswynd to approach, "Your timing could not be worse, we just got word about Garleans waylaying Sangolus' caravan, there are some Immortal Flames that just left, if you hurry you can follow their tracks, or you can wait here and hope they all come back."
With a couple quick gestures, Aiswynd was off on the trail of the immortal flames, hurrying his chocobo from a walking pace to a gallop pace, "Just what I need now...a seer that might know what in the void is going on...and if that was actually my father...getting ganked by Garleans." he feels his left hand tense up painfully around the reins. He kicked Clarence into a faster pace, worried about what would happen if he took too long.
He could hear the battle before he could see what was going on, cresting a dune to see a squad of Immortal Flames being pushed back by Garlean soldiers, most of the caravan guard were dead, and the remainder were surrounded, with the few surviving caravansary in the middle. Aiswynd leaps off Clarence and frees one of the knives as he rushes down the dune, "Immortal Flames I am here to help kill some Garleans!" he calls out before he bursts through the guards and catches the lead Garlean beneath the helmet, leaving a lethal slice of the throat. He snaps his left hand forward, catching an archer in the chest with a burst of daggers, none of them hitting anything critical but still managing to take the archer out of the fight.
Aiswynd spins around, clipping the next nearest Garlean with a back heel kick that he follows with a pair of spinning slices, his second knife slipping into his left hand mid spin. He then slips in and catches the Garlean in the soft spot in the arm pit before releasing him to die in the sand, advancing on the next. This one a lancer that bursts forward without hesitation, his spear passing through Aiswynd as he fades into dust, there was a moment of confusion before he gurgles and falls forward, sliding off the knife that pierced him through his back from behind.
The battle wages on, Aiswynd's skills managing to turn the tide in the favor of the Immortal Flames, and rallying their spirits. Then from the other side of the caravan guards, there is a glint and an Au Ra Xaela in Garlean Pugilist garb rushes in and Gauntlet glances off a parrying knife blow. The Garlean Xaela grins from beneath her mask as she passes Aiswynd, "I see you're alive boy."
They shift about, pacing a circle as they keep eyes on one another, Aiswynd managing to keep his cool, even though he swears he recognizes the derisive tones of this woman before him. Right jab, Parry with left knife, it's a feint, Right knife already moving to intercept left body blow. Twist down, let initial jab slide over head, pull parry back, aim to slice her left arm. Everything moves in seeming slow motion before the complicated dance of parry, feint, attack and redirection ends with the two of them jumping back from each other and pulling back up.
The fighting between the Garleans and the Guards and Flames has settled down for the moment, everyone now watching in tension at the Pugilist and the Rogue battle it out. This time it was Aiswynd that went on the offensive, High right knife, twist to the right to aim a low kick at the back of her knee, she twists too, glancing hit across Aiswynd's ribs. He twists, coming in with a kick, too swift for the Garlean, she takes the blow into the side and stumbles a bit. Aiswynd recovers goes in for a left hook with the blade, aiming to slash if she dodges back. Instead she steps in parries with the right, palm strike into the shoulder with the left, dislocating Aiswynd's shoulder. The two come away with Aiswynd's left arm hanging limply, knife barely being held onto.
The Pugilist Garlean smiles in brief triumph before she winces and realizes there was a large gash in her left side from where she was slashed during the exchange by Aiswynd's right knife. The Pugilist charges Aiswynd, and the force of the tackle into the ground forces his shoulder to relocate upon impact, the pop was loud, so was his cry, he manages to bob his head, her punch hitting sand and he jabs his thumb into her gash causing her to roll away as she cries out in agony. They come back up to their feet, both breathing heavily.
She spits into the sand before backing towards the Garleans, "Child...we'll come back for you later." she snaps a glare at the Garleans and they begin to beat a hasty retreat. Their conjurers having already fallen leaving the Xaela to recover later.
The Immortal Flames gather around and congratulate Aiswynd on chasing off the Garleans, unfortunately Sangolus perished during the earlier melee before the Immortal Flames arrived. Aiswynd though, his thoughts now were on the fact that not only is he now battling what may be his father, but his mother as well. As he travels with the remainder of the Flames and Caravan back to Forgotten Springs, he explains to the Immortal Flames what he was doing there, and they all promised to put in good words for him to their commanders in hopes that it is passed along and helps with his current situation with being under investigation by the Twin Adders for concerns of corruption, spying and possibly delivering important missives to Garleans.
As he arrives in Forgotten Springs, the Delivery Moogle flits up and gives him a letter. He looks it over and frowns, "I'm going to be under watch from a bodyguard hired by the Adders to determine if I am the kind of person to betray them, and if it is even remotely possible that I did." he sighs and rolls it up, "So some Elezan named Vixanya huh..."
The next day, after being tended to by a conjurer, he departs Forgotten Springs, starting his long trek to meet his new commander in Bentbranch Meadows.
Letters & Fates
Aiswynd let out a yawn, his breath frosting in the air as he meanders across the steps of faith upon his blue chocobo Clarence. He was letting the Chocobo lead the way across the steps as he reads the letters in his hands. The first was his approval for temporary entry into Ishgard, behind it was a letter that had shown up in his room at the free company's house.
It is true, we are alive and well. We are also Garleans. We destroyed the Drakareus tribe to show you how weak the Xaela tribes are, to show you the strength and purity that being Garlean means. You failed us though, and sought power from Eorzeans, you have been given two chances. This is your last one, find us in the Sea of Clouds, and join Garlemond, or we shall start cutting your ties to Eorzea until you do.
Aisugei Quo Kha & Altaniwyn Eir Arulaq"
He rolls the letter back up and stuffs it inside of his winter coat with the rest of the parchments. In the next motion he withdraws the letter of entry again and hands it to a guard. The man glares at Aiswynd but then waves him through the gate and he enters Foundation. He had to keep showing his entry permit to every guard he passed after he stabled Clarence, causing his travel to be slow going, although eventually he reached his goal, The Athenaeum Astrologicum.
He takes a few steps inside and speaks to the receptionist, once again showing his entry permit. He is lead through to a waiting room off and sits there for a few moments examining the warm, plush decorations. In the middle of the room was a pair of couches, one of which he already sat upon, and between them was a strange apparatus. He moved it about a bit, but the device appeared incomplete, as if something was meant to go into it first. He was not aware of how long he was waiting there, entertaining himself by flexing and relaxing his ever stiff left arm, but eventually a man entered, fully garbed as an Astrologian, and carrying a star globe. He sat down on the other couch, and set the globe in the apparatus.
"You are here to get your stars read, and to know what may happen if you take the path of the Dark Knight?" The Astrologian asks as he sits forward, eyes gazing into Aiswynd's. Aiswynd nods his head as he leans forward, "Yes. I am. What do I need to do?" he responds. The Astrologian motions for Aiswynd to reach out and grasp the first card he can from the star globe, "I warn this will be an intense experience, and while the imagery will be quite...strong...it is not entirely literal of what will happen, there is some...subjectiveness to it.". Aiswynd nods his head and reaches out for the first card he can catch. He brings it forward.
A wind tears across the island as the clouds race below in some rush to be off somewhere. Aiswynd stands there clad in black armor, a great sword resting against his shoulder as he stares down a large Warrior standing in the same pose with an Axe. The Warrior spits and moves first, Aiswynd dashes forward, dark energies bleeding off of him as he swings his blade in to meet axe, the sound resounding with pressure. He twists about, attempting to cleave the Warrior's head off, only to miss barely as his opponent twists away. Aiswynd shifts and thrusts in, only to have his sword parried with haft, the pommel snapped at his face and glancing off of his helmet, the sound ringing loudly out.
The two of them disengage, and Aiswynd holds his sword before him, attuning himself to the Dark Arts before launching himself at the Warrior, blade and axe swing in furry, parried and slashing, dodged and slicing. The shift and cut and slice, for a time neither appears to be gaining an advantage over the other until in Aiswynd's blind rage he leaves himself open, reeling back as he takes a haft stab to the side. The Warrior followed this up with a strong sweeping blow that cut through armor and sent Aiswynd tumbling. The great sword knocked from his hand and sent skittering off the edge of the island.
The Warrior took his helmet off, the face of Aiswynd's father Aisugei sneered down at him, "Worthless failure." he sneered as he planted his foot on Aiswynd's chest, pinning him to the ground and swing the axe down.
The card drops from Aiswynd's hand only to flutter away to rejoin the others around the Star Globe, his face was pale and his body felt numb. The Astrologian nods his head and smiles as he stands up, "You have your answer." he collects the Star Globe and makes his way towards the door, "Think deep on what path you select from now, although...I have heard the Sky Steel Manufactory is looking for apprentices, although this was a thought you had yourself already." The man waves and slips away through the door.
It took a bit before he felt up to moving, but he eventually managed to stand up and on his way out he thanked and paid the receptionist. He was outside a few steps later and closed his eyes as he felt snow falling about him. He just started walking, no destination in mind as he wandered Foundation. It was nearing sundown when he found himself before a building that threw out considerable warmth. He looked up at the sign and blinked a few times before he stepped inside.
The next morning he was jostled awake by an Elezan, "Wake up Newbie, time to see if you can even figure out which end of a gun to aim down."
Arc 2 - Family Obligations
Warning: Graphical Depictions
It was dark, a deep oppressive gloom that hung heavy in the air, weighing down upon the body and soul. Add to the darkness was the water, thick and warm, it felt as if it clung to his legs with every step. Through this water, through this darkness he ran, splashing through at a desperate pace for behind him he could feel it, he knew it, a warrior in bone armor walked after him with an axe made from a skull. In the distance there was a reddish glow, to this glow he ran, stumbling and coughing as the fouled water entered his mouth.
He couldn't risk stopping though, the warrior came ever closer with each step. He climbs back to his feet and continues to, the glow grows brighter and brighter, closer and closer. Soon within the glow a lone peak starts to appear, and as he gets closer, it looks like a giant mottled white spire stretching into the sky. The horror of it sets in as he comes close. The mountain is nothing more than a pile of skulls, the glow coming from the depths of their empty sockets. The water was blood, thick, congealing, clinging to him still as he moved.
He couldn't risk stopping, the terror of that which stalked him override the horror of the mountain and he began to climb it frantically, hoping to reach safety if he could get far enough up it. As he climbed the skulls gnashed their teeth at him, biting him every chance they got, tearing small pieces of him away with each. He makes it half way before his body gives out, torn and battered, he tumbles down the mountain and splashes at the bottom.
From the darkness the warrior clad in pure white bone steps, his movements methodical. A sinister grin can be seen beneath his helmet as he steps up to him. The Warrior hefts the axe and swings down for his skull.
Aiswynd bolts awake, his bed soaked with the sweat of his nightmare. He lurches out of bed and stumbles across the room to the chamberpot. After losing the remnants of his dinner from the night before, he lies there on the floor half curled into the fetal position and crying, "Why....why can't they just...stop...every night....every night the mountain grows..."
For a time he lies there before he rolls onto his back and looks at the morning light filtering in through the window. He climbs to his feet and rinses the sweat off of himself from the fountain in the corner of the room before dressing himself. He slings his rifle across his back and aether amp at his hip. As he reaches for the door his link pearl pings him.
He reaches up to touch it and nods his head, "On my way..." he sighs and shakes his head, "Too few of us Machinists...and if I leave him to die..." he shakes his head and sighs, "It's the right thing to do Aiswynd, don't start thinking like that, don't become like the garleans." he pulls the door open and steps out of the inn and heads down the path from the inn to the Black Shroud.
A whistle outside the gates and a Rhotano blue chocobo comes charging in through the trees. However, he doesn't quite clear a small log and comes crashing down, sliding through the dirt to come to a stop a few feet from Aiswynd who gives out a deep sigh. Aiswynd helps his chocobo back up before dusting it off, "You really need to learn to...do...everything...better." he pats his chocobo before climbing up into the saddle, Kraw kraw! it lets out before it starts running. Aiswynd just shakes his head, "At least you didn't choke on your tongue that time."
Within a few minutes of running through the shroud, he could see signs of what he had been told had become a running battle against some Garleans and a fellow Machinist from Skysteel. He could hear it all as he approached, the magic, the gun fire. He grunts a bit as he draws his rifle and loads a cartridge in, as soon as the Garleans come into view he lets go with a couple quick shots to draw their attention. It succeeds, and Clarence, the Chocobo, bucks his rider as a blast of fire gets too close and tears off at a breakneck speed into the forest. Aiswynd tumbles and comes to his feet, "Seriously Clarence!?" he stands and looks at the group of Garleans squaring off at him. He ejects the cartridge and loads a new one, a sinister grin creeping across his face, "I need to shed some Garlean blood."
A lone Machinist is ducked down behind a rock, he heard a charging chocobo, and gunfire as well as magic. There was a brief moment of silence and the Machinist creeps along the rocks to take a peek, loading a new cartridge just in case. His eyes widen as he espies a fiery red haired Au Ra squaring off against the Garleans. It was a quick skirmish, the Au Ra starts running in an attempt to circle around the Garleans, this throws off his aim but he still manages to hit the one with a sword in the leg, the man stumbling to the ground as a result. A few shots traded as he moves from behind one tree to another with a pair of black mages before he fires off a spray that wards the Black mages and causes them to hesitate a moment. Then the Au Ra sprints between them before launching himself over the rocks the Machinist was hiding behind.
The Au Ra grins at him, "This is quite the mess, all good, I was wanting to take on some Garleans." as if timed perfectly a gout of fire bursts up from the other side of the rocks. The Au Ra pulls a pair of disks from the Aether Amp and throws it grenade style, "Shut up with your spells!" the au ra shouts. The Disk bounces off the head of the casting black mage, stunning him for a moment before deploying a bishop. The two black mages wince and cry out from the electrocution that results. The Swordsmand scrambles back to his feet finally and charges the rock cover.
The Au Ra ejects his cartridge and loads a new one with non-standard rounds. He grins and begins fire, the charging swordsman crashes into the ground, no longer moving after the third round hits him cleanly. The two black mages recover and both begin to chant again. Aiswynd launchings a Grenado shot, however his aim is off and it explodes at the base of a tree, causing it to topple over, crushing his Bishop turret. A blast of ice slams into the Au Ra, knocking him back. The second Black mage though reels as he holds the side of his head, his spell cancelled.
The Machinist takes this opportunity to unload his cartridge on the black mage that wasn't silenced from a head graze. The Au Ra was swiftly back to his feet, charging over the rocks. The black mage started to cast again only to take a hard shot to the chest, stunning him. The Au Ra got close and fired a blank shot, launching the mage backward, causing him to impact against a tree that was barely a yalm behind him, the force cracking his back and causing him to crumple to the ground. The Au Ra stepped up to the Black mage and with one last shot through the chest, ended his life.
The Machinist clambers over the rocks and crosses the carnage, stopping when suddenly there was a rifle pointed at his head, the Au Ra was still staring at the dead Garlean, "...More blood...not...not enough...will it ever be enough..." he chuckles a little bit and shakes his head, appearing to regain his sense of self. The rifle is holstered and the Au Ra looks to the Machinist, "Stephanivien sent me to back you up...Lead me to the garlean camp, we'll clear them out..." the Au Ra smiles warmly at the Machinist, "Don't worry, we can get this done."
Aiswynd sat on the ground not far from the Aetheryte in Camp Cloudtop, near him a Griffin was reseting, waiting for what was coming. He got up and started pacing again, watching the sky above, it would be daybreak soon, and he was hoping to use the dawning light at their back to mask their approach.
Kasumi was the first to arrive, they exchanged glances but neither felt ready to speak, she just moved to stand by him before the next two, the black mage Xanadu Noire, currently going by the name Rune appears, and not long after, L'Koana arrives, adjusting a quiver and bow. Aiswynd steps up to greet L'koana and explain the situation. They were there to kill Aiswynd's parents who have put out assassination contracts on all of Aiswynd's friends, as Garlean commanders no less, and upon a mutual friend of theirs as well. This sombers L'koana who only nods and they are soon off across the skies on various flying mounts.
No one spoke for the flight, and at the edges of the Aether currents they found the island, a decent sized camp was set up upon it, with a small garrison's worth of Garleans. They set down on the far edge and bid their mounts to stay close. Weapons drawn and at the ready the moved in, ready to make use of the surprise they had hoped to gain. This however was not to be though, as they approached the camp, the could see a pair of chairs set up and facing towards them. In one sat a massive Au Ra in armor, an Axe resting in his hands, next to him was an Au Ra woman in the garb of a monk with garlean colors.
The Warrior stands up and rests the axe against his shoulder as he starts walking up to them, the Monk following a few steps behind. As they approach Aiswynd's grip on his rifle tenses a bit, "So I hear tell from your letters...you're my parents then." his eyes watching them sharply. The Warrior stops and lifts his visor, the face looked a lot like Aiswynd's however older, and with purple eyes, hints of black hair peeking down, "Yes, you've come to join us or die?"
The Monk smiles far to cheerfully at the two of them, even going so far as to wave, one glance at her showed where Aiswynd got his eyes and hair, "I really do hope your here to join us sweetie, Garlemald has everything you could ever want." She looks at his gathered friends and sighs, her shoulders slumping, "It doesn't look like that though, unless you brought them here to kill them as a show of loyalty. If that is the case though, you must really have a Garlean heart, spare not women or children and...you brought us a doman? Oh! I so look forward to crushing her like the rest!" The Monk waves in a far too cheerful manner at Kasumi, "Don't worry, you'll get to see the rest of your unloyal scum soon!"
Kasumi tightens the grip on her knives, the look on her face said she was ready to go after the Monk in a moment. It was Aiswynd that spoke up as he took a couple steps forward and leveled his rifle at the Warrior, "Aisugei Quo Kha, Altaniwyn Eir Arulaq...On behalf of Eorzea, my friends and Coe. You die today." and with that shots fired and battle is joined.
The Warrior flips the visor down as the shell passes by his head, behind him one of the many Garlean soldiers pouring out of the tents takes the shot in the chest and doesn't get back up. Aisugei, the Warrior, grins and charges Aiswynd, the axe swings down and Aiswynd twists to the side to bury the barrel into the Warrior's side and launch him sideways with a blank.
The Monk, Altaniwyn, tsks before she launches at Kasumi, a right jab that is parried by a dagger pushing the gauntlet aside, Kasumi giving the crazed grin of Aiswynd's mother a cold look before suddenly disappearing. The Monk quickly recovers from the missing Kasumi, spinning around only to twist as a Fuma Shuriken grazes her arm, and seconds later the two are joined again, the fight swift. Punches, kicks, slashes, dodge, parry, twist, stab, strike, as the seconds pass the battle between the two picks up in intensity and speed, gauntlet and knife crashing in a cacophony of metal.
The first of the soldiers however to join the battle field attempts to go for Aiswynd, stumbling backwards to the ground with a pair of arrow shafts sticking from his chest, others move to encircle the whole battle field before trying to make it in, the first few that go for L'Koana end up taking arrows until they decide to charge in groups. L'Koana dives through one group, the weapons missing as he rolls up behind them, firing arrow after arrow quickly and accurately, taking the group down before they have a chance to recover. Moments later he is up and fires one off at Aisugei, causing the latest axe swing to veer off course, completely missing Aiswynd.
Other Garleans go for Xanadu, she hesitates for a moment, but then sweeps her cane forward and the group is engulfed in flames, she sweeps the staff in and begins to channel once more the first one out of the inferno created by the Fire 2 is struck full force in the chest by a blast of thunder that is swiftly followed by a bolt of Fire that takes his compatriot down. She shifts to another group that comes charge to her and before they make it far a Blizzard of ice erupts about them, binding them to place. One of them managed to stay out of range only to be struck by a singular Blizzard from Xanadu, a transposition and the bound group are all set a blaze as well.
Aiswynd and the Warrior part from thier latest pass at each other. The Warrior, Aisugei, lets out a whistle that is cut short by a shot winging past his head and leaving a gouge in his helmet. The goal was done and airships began to rise from the clouds below as Aisugei drops the broken helmet on the ground. Without a word, everyone acted, while Aiswynd and Kasumi were still embattled with their duels, L'koana began to fire arrows at one Airship, taking out several lead soldiers before ending the pilot with a well aimed shot, the airship veering off with screams of terror and an explosion soon after. Xanadu's response was to first create a blast of Fire 2 upon the deck, this was then followed up with a mass of Ice forming upon the moving parts caused by a Blizzard 2. The burning, frozen mass collapsed, some jumping for the island, but few made it to land, only to be met with arrows.
More and more airships began to arrive, forcing even Kasumi and Aiswynd to throw in a cheap shot when they can, A blasting pillar of fire erupts from one, another has a bishop turret thrown in, clocking one of the Garleans in the head before deployment. The Garleans scream as they are electrocuted, the airship careens suddenly, to the side, crashing into the island and sending debris raining. One singular airship, out classing the others begins to rise, and with it, a load of Magitek Reapers ready to join the fray. Xanadu acted faster than any to this having seen it first. Quickly spell upon spell were layered, enochian, sure cast, swift cast, all of them bound into one single spell. A Massive pillar of fire tears through the airship with such force that the flames tear through the bottom as well. There was a moment of silence after before the entire thing fell apart, pieces raining down upon the land below the clouds.
With the flaming wreckage falling apart behind him, Aiswynd looks right at Aisugei, no words, just a look and they are engaged in battle again. An axe swings, and Aiswynd ducks it and dodges to the side, fires a split, spins to the side narrowly avoiding a chop, and fires a slug. There is a shift and Aiswynd is flung by a flat slap from the Axe. He rolls to his feet as he lands, standing and the two start pacing towards one another, sizing up the next move.
"So you thought what, a gun? A couple friends? would win you the day? I have my axe, I have an army!" Aiswynd grins and pulls a device out from his pouch, his eyes not betraying the spots on the horizon heading their way from the direction of Ishgard. "Yep." is all he says, Aisugei launches himself at Aiswynd, only to catch the device in the face from a fast ball pitch. Aiswynd jumps to the side as Aisugei tumbles by, further disoriented by the deployment of the Rook that begins to fire at him. A single swing takes out the turret and Aisugei turns back to Aiswynd, staring down a Gauss Barrel, "What?"
"Eorzean Magitek." Aiswynd answers, energy arcs about the rifle, and in turn Aiswynd, kicking up a faint wind of static as a result. A hum emits from the Aetherotransformer, and Aiswynd fires a blank shot, energy blasting Aisugei backwards several yalms. The Warrior stands only to have another blast graze his foot, pinning it to the ground and forcing him back to his knee. Aiswynd quick loads an ammunition cartridge, a hum of energy and a burning blast slams into Aisugei's armor. The binding ends and Aisugei is on the charge again, only to take another shot, this time to the chest. The wind blasted out of him as he crumpled over, however Aiswynd did not relent, a charge and split shot, followed in quick succession by a slug shot. Aiswynd takes a moment to reassemble his focus before he fires a last clean shot, the round connecting as Aisugei bull rushes Aiswynd.
The two end up tumbling, weapons lost from hand and reach. There is no hesitation in either of them as they climb back to their feet, no reason at this point, just murderous hatred. The Warrior's armor is cast off as he rises and they start swinging, blow for blow they go, however Aisugei has experience, and strength over Aiswynd who starts being driven back. When Aiswynd finally begins to falter, Aisugei capitalizes on it and grabs him about the throat, lifting him up and slamming him there, "You know your folly boy? Thinking we didn't know best! Your brother and sister are far better than you in everything!" He lifts Aiswynd up only to slam him down again, "You are nothing but a stupid, weak failure! You do not deserve to be Garl-urk!"
Aisugei stumbles backwards, hand clasping at his throat a look of panic upon his face. Aiswynd climbs to his feet slowly, blood dripping down his face. He stumbles over to his rifle and picks it up. A few stumbling steps and he bumps into his father, the barrel leveled at the man's stomach, "Your mistake...is...under estimating Eorzeans." Aisugei clutches at the barrel fumbling in his attempt to crush or push it away, "And forgetting...that I have needles..." Aiswynd pulls the trigger, fingers drag across the barrel, and tear a piece of the Gauss barrel off before disappearing over the side of the island and into the clouds below.
With a heavy sigh he collapses to the ground and lies there for a bit, his everything hurting, an odd noise comes to him from the rifle. He lifts it up to look at it.
The battle over, the garleans either fled on the remaining airships or surrended with the arrival of the Machinist's guild on Chocobo with a pair of Airships hauling Adders, and a squad of Immortal Flames. With her fight with Altaniwyn finally at a fatal end, Kasumi turns to Aiswynd from across the island in time to watch him shoot his father off the island and collapse, as she runs to him, terrified that he had died too, she watches him raise the rifle up, relief flooding into her moments before the Gauss barrel overloads and sets off the ammunition.
Arc 3 - Interlude of Memories
"Alciel" a voice distant and faint, ancient and ephemeral calls, rousing Aiswynd from his sleep. He shifts a bit, confused for a moment by the weight in the bed next to him. The confusion passes as he hears the call again. He slowly stumbles out of bed, careful not to disturb the person next to him, a brief memory of a people around him, and some voice claiming to be his wife washes over him, but it fades, along with the questions of when did he get married, and to whom.
He follows the voice as he steps out of the tavern and into the night, instead of snow he found himself in a vast fog, lights of various colors pulse all around him until suddenly, one step he is in a fog, the next, a Xaela camp is surrounding and he sees people going about their day to day activity. One particular Xaela catches his eyes, a boy with a bright smile and hair like fire is carrying a scroll as he chases after other boys fighting with sticks.
"Alciel" the voice pulses in his head, "Alciel Kha...a boy named after an adventurer from Eorzea...his parents gave him the name because they wished him to be strong too." Time passed and the boy grew, for a moment the boy met Aiswynd's eyes, brilliant purple stared into burning orange and the gaze was then away. The boy studied, and studied, books, scrolls, magic, but all the time, he watched those that fought and snuck away to practice himself, throwing more fervor into his practice, than into the magics.
"We called to him too, and he answered us...He sought knowledge of us from his elders who called us Drakens, and then when they had no more answers, he left the Kha to try and seek us himself, he left behind the name Alciel Kha...and took the name Drakareus." the voices pulsed around Aiswynd. The scene shifted, time sped up, Drakareus traveled the steppes and people began to gather with him. He aged and soon passed on to be replaced by the elders of the tribe.
"He was not the one we needed, one raised as a scholar, but a warrior at heart...but he paved the way for you...raised a warrior, but a scholar at heart, one to learn, to question, to understand and seek us when the time is right for us...and when you and yours are ready." The voices pulsed out, and the scene shifted and sped, generations of Drakareus tribe came and went, the last image was of his parents, although he could not make out their faces, coming to join the tribe.
He was again walking through the fog, "Okay...but...you say that...I am...meant to continue Drakareus' mission? Who am I though?" he asks, the fog darken slowly, a shape comes out from the fog, massive and scaled, "Alciel became Drakareus, and passed on...you are an echo of him, Drakareus who became Alciel, we sent our servent Vern, orchestrated your separation from your parents, we could not risk you becoming Garlean, your gift is too dangerous for them, too important to us." the head of a dragon fully came into view, massive as an airship, "Now awaken Alciel"
Aiswynd woke with a start, disoriented at first as to where he was.
Alciel nestles down into the corner of the room after having taken his linkpearl off. For a moment he holds it in his hand, staring at it through eyes blurred by tears caused by petty actions he had taken moments prior. Helooks to the fireplace of the room in the Forgotten Knight and starts toreel back his hand to throw it.
"Stop" a voice echoes through his head. His motions falter and then thehand with the pearl just drops down to his lap. He closes his eyes and rests his head against the wall. Within moments his mind was awash in images until he was floating in a space within minds where rests echos.
A scaled reptilian head peers out at him from the edges of vision, vague and barely able to be perceived, yet massive and imposing, the eyes burning powerfully at Alciel. He shies away from the gaze and then looks away, only to find more and more scaled heads appearing at the edges of his vision, tens, hundreds appear, each different, each with a burning piercing gaze focused on him.
"You are ruled by fear." the voices echo through him, booming and deep and powerful, "We can not use you as you are, a terrified child. You are no use to us, to anyone one. Reacting in fear. Fear of your memories, fear of what you have done and lost, fear of losing. Fear of being alone again."
Alciel clutches at his head and shakes it, "I-I'm not afraid I'm just...I..." he lashes out at the heads but his reach is far too meager to even near them. "Why me!? What can I even do!? I...I killed my parents...Why did I even do that?! Why would I do that?! Just...Just who am I even!?" He collapses to his knees and clutches at his head, "The memories...they feel like mine but...not mine...why do I get called Aiswynd, who is he?"
"FEAR!!!" the voices boom in unison, the force of it knocking Alciel back, leaving him sprawled for a moment. The heads coalesce together into a single form. It reaches down and drags Alciel to his feet, "Hey Ais, what are you so scared about?"
Alciel stares at the face, it was blurry at first but slowly began to clear up, it was Koertha. He starts shaking as tears spill from his eyes, "I-E...everything...What I became, what I am, what I lost, what I am losing..." he reaches up a shaking hand and puts it on Koertha's shoulder. Koertha looks at the hand then at Alciel and lets Alciel go, taking a step away and turning. "You realize my death was my fault, I didn't pay attention, a cheap shot like that shouldn't have gotten me. But you lived on for us, you continue to live however..."
Alciel runs a hand over his face to wipe away the tears as Koertha twists in a turning motion, "However...?" and Koertha plants a roundhouse haymaker directly into Alciel's face, hitting him hard enough that Alciel's feet leave the ground before he lands flat on his back. "However, don't think for a moment you can give up, Aiswynd never gave up! Yisui but you found someone new! I died, and you know what you did, you found the person that killed me and punched him in the face! Stand up!"
There was a twitch of motion before he rolls over and stands up, his back to Koertha, "You...you don't understand...I...I lost it all, why...WHY!?" Alciel wheels around and aims a sloppy punch at Koertha who side steps it easily and plants a hard punch directly into Alciel's gut, knocking the wind out, "Seriously Ais, woe is me? I can't figure out what to do? Really?! This from the guy that would play wrestle with full growl Coeurl's and laugh it off? From the Xaela that would walk into a tribal battle like a demon of flashing blades!?" Koertha shoves Alciel back and sends him sprawling again with a swift roundhouse to the side of the head, "Maybe if I hit you hard enough it'll knock your brain loose and you'll stop being a scared idiot."
He rolls over onto his back and groans, tasting blood in his mouth. With slow careful movement he clambers back up to his feet and looks at Koertha, blood splattering down from the corner of his mouth and nose, a bruise already forming on the side of his head, "You are dead...you died because of me...people keep dying around me, because of me..." he shakes his head, "Of course I am scared! I'm scared that the most important person in my life is going to die because of me!"
Koertha shakes his head and turns to the side, and from him Kubren steps forth, the Elder Au Ra adjusts his robes and sighs, greying hair just like it was the day he had died. "You know what I taught you. I didn't just teach you magic, I taught you how to think, and reason, and understand. I taught you to look and study and formulate plans and how to do all of that as instinct." Kubren shakes his head as he paces around Alciel.
"I know this Elder but-" and he feels the switch across his shoulder even though Kubren did nothing but smile, "But is an excuse used by those who refuse to face the truth." the Elder shakes his head and sighs. He stops in front of Alciel and begins to stroke his scaled chin, "You need to stop running, stop being afraid, find the dawn of truth and let go of your fear."
Alciel hangs his head, "It's...hard..." he squeaks out, his hands shaking as he bundles them up into fists. He doesn't notice that Kubren was replaced until he looks up again and this time it's a raen staring back at him with brilliant teal hair cascading down her back. Silver limbal rings look into his, "Yisui..." Alciel lets out in a harsh whisper as his eyes start tearing up. She reaches out and covers his mouth, shaking her head. She makes a quick gesture with her other hand and he nods his head, "...But what...what if..." and Yisui shakes her head quickly, slapping him hard. She then walks away, and the last image of her, she looks back at him, and was Kasumi, and then whisked away.
"We have no use for one who is controlled by fear, conquer it or disappear." The echos of the dragons boom again. There was just silence as he floated there, left to his thoughts until come morning his eyes open. He stares at his blankets, at the bed across the room and then to his bag.
He clenches his jaw before he quietly stands and moves to the bag. He shuffles about within the bag and then he leaves an unopened envelope from the church of the twelve, and his scholar book upon the desk by the bed. Once finished he hefts his bag and steps out of the room in stealthy fashion, slipping past everyone in the common room, not a single gaze towards him. Once outside he tilts his face up and feels the sting of the cold and snow upon it, a moment, then another passes before he starts walking, his steps carrying him towards the Skysteel.
The letter left unopened, was a notice from the church of the twelve declaring the marriage annulled due to improperly filed paperwork.
A Grave Visit
The rain drums a steady, if rapid rhythm onto Alciel's hat as Clarence marched along the road. It was already like this when he arrived in the region but he paid it no real heed as they made the ascent up to the graveyard outside of Saint Adama Landama's church. There was a single crack of thunder and with one swift motion he was pitched from his chocobo who tore off through the mud in absolute terror.
Alciel waited there for a few moments just feeling the rain on the back of his head before he hefted himself up and picked his hat up, flicking it a couple times to dislodge the mud on it. He stops a moment and takes his glasses off, putting them in his coat and wiping the mud off of his face before he continues his ascent.
It wasn't long before he was standing before the tree, and the small gravemarker. He just sat down, not caring one bit that it was wet, or muddy. He didn't speak for a long while as he stared at the grave, when he finally did it came out choked like the last time he was there. "Coe I-..." he hangs his head, tears landing on his hands, not that anyone could tell with how hard it was raining in Drybone.
"I screwed up...I chased off Kasumi...I-...I betrayed her and hurt her and..." he lets out a shaky breath, "I am sure she still sends her regards though..." he reaches into the coat and pulls out three flowers, a carnation, a cone flower, and a mistletoe. He lays them down on the grave, pressing them down into the dirt a bit so they wouldn't get blown away.
"It's my fault...I let myself be afraid...and then...stupid...and I claim it's spite but...I was afraid she was suddenly disappearing and...I didn't want to be alone so in desperation I...I'm lying of course...I tell people it's in spite because I'm still afraid." He clenches his fists as he continues to cry, "Kasumi...she was amazing, she did everything she could for me and I go and kiss Kira...I was so afraid she would disappear, that I made it happen...The dragons...y-your name sake...you're all right...I'm terrified and I let that terror guide me and ruin my happiness..."
His starts to stand up, his legs shaking, the mud sticking to his pants and boots, trying to suck him back down into it but he breaks free. Standing now, he looks down at the grave, "I'm...I think I am going to be alone for awhile...I have to get over my fear of it. People end up alone, it happens..." he pats the rifle, "I'm going to...get over being afraid of this too...and I think...I'm going to get over the water thing somehow...And if...if I'm lucky...maybe Kasumi will decide...that she wants to forgive me..." he takes a shuddering breath.
"I still love her, that will never go away Coe." he looks at the marker itself and rests his hand upon it, "Just...It's...up to her now...and if she doesn't feel she could ever trust her heart with me ever again...I wouldn't blame her...I just hope she'll find someone worthy of it." he pats the stone, "I'll be by again Coe, so don't go anywhere...and dream of hunting fat phrubles and marmots."
He turns away from the gravemarker and makes his way back towards the Camp itself to gather some supplies before he started walking about Eorzea. A grimace comes to his face as he hopes Clarence doesn't actually hurt himself while he's running in terror.
Prior to his departure by ship, Alciel had a storm of activity. Starting with a run from the steps of faith to the Skysteel Manufactory. He attempted to recruit several of the leaders and more responsible Machinists, but eventually it fell to recruiting Vahlkrys who had a life debt to repay. Alciel at least took hope in the fact that Alciel was once learning to be a Majordomo would help keep things together in his absence.
From there he dragged Vahlkrys with him through a swift ride through the Aethercyte to Limsa Lominsa. For once Alciel was so focused he didn't feel his normal post Aether Sickness. Vahlkrys stumbling behind him. They traveled straight to the Drowning Wench and Alciel cleaned out his room, what he wasn't taking with him he paid for a year's worth of storage and shoved it away.
On the counter he scribbled down quickly instructions which he pressed into Vahlkrys' hands as he made for the docks explaining quickly what was going on, what Vahlkrys needed to do and the importance of keeping the members of the Free Company safe. At the docks he swayed a bit but clenched his jaws and hurried onto a ship that he had been keeping an eye on since he started residing in Limsa as a Scholar. At the ship he was headed for he spun and pressed a link pearl into Vahlkrys' hand with the command to only use it in dire need to get ahold of him.
He was greeted by the sailors and everyone as he scaled the gangplank, this was the same ship he had arrived in Eorzea on. He stumbles as he gets on the deck and holds onto the railing and everyone begins laughing heartily and clapping him on the back, the crew were primarily Roegadyn. Once he was on board, they cast off, apparently delaying departure for Alciel's arrival. He was quickly holding the railing and losing his last couple meals.
A few days later.
A large Hellsguard walks up and pats Alciel on the back, laughing at the poor seasick Xaela, "Ya know, if'n ya just drank, th' rum 'elps take th' edge off." the Roe said, in a horribly imitation of the sailors. Alciel just starts laughing as he hangs onto the railing, "Oh...ugh...don't make me laugh...everything moves."
The Roe chuckles lightly and pats Alciel one more time on the back hard enough to cause the Xaela to oof, "Sorry about that Alciel. I had, you understand them as well as any sailor." he chuckles a bit as he stretches, joints popping, "Ya never did tell me why yer headin' to Doma. Yer not a pirate by any sort, 'course neither am ah yet."
Alciel looks up at the massive Roe and shakes his head a bit, "Ugh...stick with them...they will make a pirate out of you...You never answered my question from yesterday...What is with the name Jonathan Tallows?" he smirks weakly at the Hellguard named Jonathan.
Jonathan leans against the railing next to Alciel, "Well, everyone had trouble saying my birth name, and ah was working as a candle maker at the time so...Just stated going by Jonathan Tallows, it stuck and I've gone by it since. Not some fancy special story, 'course there ain't much profit as a candle maker, and ah've always been good with an axe, thought to try my hand at pirating, jus' not 'round Eorzea, love 'er too much to make 'er suffer, now Othard, that's all Garleans now right? Stealin' from them is fine!"
There is a bob of the head from the Xaela, "Alright, you've gone above and beyond...ugh...Okay so I'm going to Doma 'cause..." he sighs and pushes against the railing a bit, "...I screwed up and I'm probably going to be forever in penance but...no that's..." he grumbles a bit, "My heart went there to hunt someone down that is putting her at risk and she went alone." he grips the railing until his knuckles turn white.
A slight chuckle comes forth from Jonathan, "Ah, makes sense, she went alone, that don't sit well with you so you're chasing after yer heart. Simple enough ah think. Well, ah'll make sure ya make it ta land just fine. Yer ain't ever gettin' yer sea legs the others said." he laughs a bit and claps Alciel on the back, "So what's with the penance stuff?"
Alciel was quiet for a bit before he shakes his head, "At this point...that's just between me and her, sorry about that." he glances at Jonathan and smiles a bit weakly, "Going to try and see if I can't find a goldsmith while in Othard, maybe one that can do doma style jewelry while I'm chasing her too."
Jonathan raises an eyebrow, "An why would you do that Alciel?" he asks, a grin starts cracking across his features. Alciel reddens and shakes his head before sighing, "As bad as ever, just before everything went absolutely sour I found this pinkish gem about the color of her hair...I don't know if it's all that valuable but..."
There was a whistle of appreciation that drew attention from some of the crew but only briefly before they went back to their tasks. Jonathan grins at Alciel, "So what were you planning to make with that little rock?"
There was a contemplative look before Alciel answers, "I...think...maybe an amulet or something now...I mean originally I was looking for it to make a ring but..." he puts it away and sighs, "I'll figure that out as I go." Jonathan nods and slaps him on the back, "Sounds good, though..." he looks out at the deck behind them, "Ya better go get the bucket and mop an' go clean up yer mess."
A Short Finale
It began first with another ship coming into view on an course to intercept theirs. They never attempted to board, just fired again and again until they had been sunk, it was an unknown amount of time that Alciel and Jonathan clung to wreckage before washing ashore, but they were not given much time to recover. While Alciel made contact to let them know he was alive. Jonathan fended off Sahagin that had come to pick the wreckage.
With what few survivors were left, the two fled away from the beach, having landed near a village that Jonathan was familiar with and it was the closest they would be able to find. Unfortunately, it was a fair distance, and one by one the survivors fell to illness of injury until it was only Alciel and Jonathan left when they had finally arrived together at the village. It was doman in style, but looked abandoned. They moved from room to room, house to house looking for someone, anyone.
Then they came to it, the last house, and sitting inside was a face Alciel had not seen in years. He looked up at Alciel and smiled coldly, "Ah...the betrayer has come home to Othard." Shinsui spoke. Alciel reached for his rifle, realizing he left it on the beach because it was broken, like the rest of his weapons, "You're the one that betrayed our trust Shinsui!" Alciel spat back.
Shinsui shook his head, "No, he's the betrayer my old friend." Alciel turned to see who Shinsui spoke. There was a moment of shock as he felt the pinch and then the blooming of immense pain. He stumbles backwards, the knife released from Jonathan's grip as Alciel falls to the ground. Shinsui smiles as he steps past the dying friend, "The best deaths, are not drawn out, nor complex traps...simple trickery is easy enough, and far more fun." he looks to Jonathan and nods as the two walk off.
Once out of earshot, Jonathan uses the linkpearl he filched from Alciel to send notice of Alciel's death at the hand of someone calling himself Shinsui. Once the conversation was over, he crushed the pearl and turned towards Shinsui only to have his own throat slit. Shinsui shoved the dying Roegadyn back into the brush as he continued on down the path, "No loose ends needed. Ah I wonder what to do now that I have settled all my debts? Maybe find my way to this Eorzea place...I am sure it should be far more fun than Othard's become. People other than Xaela and Garleans to kill."
In the distance behind him smoke begins to rise and the buildings begin to burn one after another while Shinsui just hums a tune.
Gaining a Menagerie: Clarence the Chocobo
Aiswynd smiled as he made his way from the Grand Company hut for the Twin Adders, a slip held tightly in hand, "It took them long enough...ah well, I finally got permission to get my own personal chocobo." he looked at the slip again and laughed. It wasn't long before he was across the Aetheryte Plaza and to the chocobo breeder. On his way in, they were leading a Rhotano blue chocobo out, no saddle or bit, and it was struggling and warking in reverse.
He gave a shrug, "Probably just new and needing to be trained..." he mutters before handing the slip to the breeder who leads him into the stables. They pass several stalls and the Breeder introduces him to chocobo after chocobo, going on about their breeding, their color, this fact or that. After the twentieth or so Chocobo, Aiswynd stops the tour and holds a hand out, "Well, I'm not seeing any like that blue chocobo that was being lead out a bit ago, what about that one? Is he already claimed?"
The Breeder hesitated and tried to continue with his tour, skipping over the question as if it was never asked, after some badgering he finally relented however, "We've...He was a bad birth, and isn't right in the head so we're taking him off to be turned into chocobo steaks." he commented. Aiswynd frowned and snatched the ticket from the breeder's hand, "I'm going to take him as my chocobo then! He can't be that bad!"
With that Aiswynd was out of the stables and racing across Gridania, using his skills as a scout and tracker to find and follow the right group of prints until he finds his way out to bentbranch meadows, and to where the stables are there. He notices the chocobo as they put a hood over its head. "HEY STOP! THAT CHOCOBO IS MINE!" he practically screams as he waves the Chocobo Slip. His calls cause confusion and the chocobo slips away only going a little bit way to try and shake the hood off.
It took a few minutes of explanation and argument but those there finally relented, deciding it was less trouble to hand the chocobo over than it was to try and pursue the chocobo's execution. Once the group dispersed, Aiswynd made his way over to the Chocobo and removed the hood, patting him on the neck reassuringly, "Hm...so you're mine, I'm yours now...I can't think of a better name so...I'll call you Clarence...let's get you saddled up and back to Gridania so we can get you stabled properly."
Clarence tilts his head sideways, staring at him with one eye before he lets out his reverse wark, but otherwise stands fairly still while he is saddled and bridled. Everything went smooth until Aiswynd tried to mount him. The Chocobo would suddenly kneel down, or step sideways, one time it reared and flapped, almost choking on his own tongue in the process. The chocobo handlers all around were laughing, they figured before long the Au Ra would change his mind and get one that was able to be trained properly.
Aiswynd glared at them and had an idea, he pulled out Gyasahl greens and started rubbing them on the Chocobo's beak until it calmed down, as soon as that beak lolled open he shoved the greens in. Distracted with food, Aiswynd was able to climb into the saddle and once the greens were gone they were off. The Chocobo made for the open gate and down the hill, as soon as he hit the planks of wood, he stumbled and pitched Aiswynd off as the Chocobo tripped.
There was a moment of silence before laughter erupted all over, it wasn't just the breeders, it was fellow adventurers and townspeople. Aiswynd clenched his jaw as he stood up and dusted himself off, Clarence was lying on his back, looking absolutely pathetic and distressed. Aiswynd stepped over and with effort, got the chocobo back onto his feet, this time not needing to bribe it to let him into the saddle. They managed to make it out of town at an easy pace, heading back towards Gridania.
Everything was finally going well, until a Fungaur suddenly exploded into life, expanding in a territorial display, spooking Clarence who took off at a full uncontrolled sprint. Aiswynd lost grip on the reins and when Clarence made a sharp turn to flee from a second Fungaur, he was pitched from the saddle and arm first into a tree.
Aiswynd groaned as the first thing he remembers after tree is the sound of rain on a roof, a hand gently pats his shoulder, "You're going to be alright, just a broken arm and a concussion, nothing we can't handle Aiswynd." a familiar voice states in a calm manner. With a couple winces he finally opened his eyes to find himself staring up at one of the Padjal white mages. It was a few moments before he opted to try speaking, "What happened to my chocobo?"
The Padjal halted what he was doing and shook his head slowly, "That is the strangest bird I have ever seen." the Padjal answers him, "It's...wrapped around Raya-O-Senna...who found the bird dragging you to us...and...I think the bird is trying to hatch her?"
He leaned his head back and groaned, "...The bird's name is Clarence...he's...He's my chocobo..."
Gaining a Menagerie: Vern the Wyvern
The snow in the Western Coerthas Highlands came down in a wind blown sheet of white, but this did not stop a lone figure tromping through it all the same. It was not too much longer before a second figure came into view, a Coeurl kitten bouncing through the snow, butt wiggling in excitement.
Aiswynd glances back at the Coeurl and laughs, "You are endlessly excited by snow..." he comments, his breath a cloud in the snow. Coe ignores him as she pounces at a snow flake, confused when it can't be found but then jumps at another one. Aiswynd shakes his head and keeps tromping on, "Anyway...somewhere out here the Ishgards said there were others with black horns and scales like me. I wonder if maybe I can get them recruited to help me with my parents...Even as a matter of honor or something."
He sighs and adjusts the thick coat and nods his head as he keeps tromping along through the snow, coming to a valley depression against the large wall of rocks, providing shelter from the snow. He adjusts the gloves as he looks about, "I don't see anyone...I don't even see signs of some camp...Maybe they moved on?"
Coe on the other hand went pouncing about before hissing at something a moment, burrowing into the snow. Aiswynd rushes over to Coe and kneels down to reach in and pulls Coe out of the hole she burrowed, "Hey don't get to deep or you'll freeze you little-" With Coe comes a small egg, and the Coeurl chirps happily at him, "What...is this...It's an egg..."
He rolls the egg around in his hands in confusion before standing up and stowing it away in his coat carefully, "It's hard as a rock too..." he looks into the hole that the egg was found and pales. He kneels down and quickly starts clearing snow away, revealing at first a hand that was cluctching the egg, and the rest.
A few hours of work later and what probably was a whole tribe, and the buried and burned remnants are uncovered. He sits there against the rock face and hangs his head, "...Why....why did anyone need to drag them out and burn them...and burn their homes...Do Ishgardians really hate all things draconic that much..." he looks at Coe who long ago curled upon his lap, "I need to be careful around them...I could probably be next...it...might be better to leave Ishgard as soon as my business is done..."
He stands after a bit and buries the bodies under a mass cairn before making his way back to Ishgard. A couple days later he sets out to the Arcanist guild in Limsa Lominsa
-A Week Later-
Aiswynd sits back from the desk in the Drowning Wrench inn room, the Egg sitting in a cup on the desk. He marks his place in the book he was reading before closing it and snuffing out the candle, "Maybe it's a wyvern...I mean there were theories that some could have trained them but...that's all theory no fact..." he shuffles around and flops down onto the bed, already stripped out of his clothes. Coe grumbles and hops off the bed to stretch and find a new place to cuddle up.
There was an uttered sigh, "I shouldn't...I should sleep but..." he reaches up and taps the pearl at his ear, "Hey Kasumi? How have you been? Yea I know it's been awhile...I'm sorry." he rolls over onto his back and nestles into the blankets, "No nothing, I just wanted to talk to you." he smiles as he lays there. He is so enthralled that he doesn't notice the cracking sound.
There was a sudden weight on his chest, "Hold on Kasumi I-" a draconic face comes into view, "EUAGH!" he jumps out of bed and has his rifle aimed, "I-I'm okay...uh...Coe jumped on my crouch claw first...I pearl you in the morning!" The pearl link ends and there is suddenly a leathery bird like shape perched on the rifle barrel. He sighs and pulls it close, "You are a strange thing...Guess I'll call you Vern...Vern sounds good to me." The Wyvern yawns and blasts Aiswynd in the face with a small gout of flames.