Dim sounds of battle penetrated the walls of The Quicksand; the clash of swords, the cries of the fallen, the screams of those attempting to flee all punctuated periodically with a Thaumaturge’s blast that reverberated against the thin glass of the window’s pane and Dalamud hung so low in the sky you could feel its presence. C’aehli could only describe that feeling as malevolent... and oppressive.
And she was, for all intents and purposes, oppressed. She’d been lying on the bed of her rented room for hours, staring at the ceiling like one in a trance; immobile, unblinking, she likely wouldn’t have troubled herself to breathe had her body not insisted upon it. In some sort of completely counterproductive self-defense mechanism, C’aehli had shut down.
She blinked, her eyes alone moved to where her linkpearl had long since rolled from her limp fingers and onto the floor.
She pushed herself into an upright position, inhaling deeply before reaching for the pearl.
“... able to fight, make haste to the area northwest of Camp Brittlebark...”, the words drifted ominously up from the little sphere.
In a moment C’aehli had shoved the linkpearl into a pack, grabbed her crook and was at the door, only to be halted by the sight of her brother leaning casually against the frame.
“Don’t try to stop me!” she said, bristling with the sudden urgency of the situation. “There are monsters in the streets, people are dying, and the Eorzean Alliance is begging for help.” She paced her room, gesticulating wildly as she spoke.
“And the voice, C’aehlus!” she stopped, whispering dismally as she pressed one finger to her forehead. “... the voice is always there.”
All he did in response was watch her with the depthless blues of his eyes, seeing her in that way that only twins could see each other.
“So, I’m going. I’m going to the shrine to pray to whichever of the Twelve will listen to my pleas, then I’m going to fight.”
Her breathing calmed as she stood still before him, and she peered up into her brother’s face with eyes wide and full with countless emotions.
“We’ve been running away all our lives. And if my life is going to end tonight I want to leave it knowing that, just once, I ran toward something.” She pulled the hood of her robe over her head, her ears taking a moment to pop through the slits in a way that would be comedic under any other circumstance.
Caelus watched her steadily for a heartbeat more before giving his reply to her. He uncrossed his arms and nestled a heavy hand between his sister's fuzzy ears.
"I just wanted to make sure you had made up your mind, and it looks like you finally have." He paused a moment, then looked down as his ears flicked in annoyance. "You know how I feel about this war, Caeli. I'd be content with a keg of moogle wine and some sweet company, honestly. Let the Primals judge for all I care. But you..." He looked up again, locking her gaze. "You see something in joining the masses that I do not. The world is full of pain and people who hate us because of what we are. But you believe in those people because of something I am most surely blind to. You're willing to give your life for them. I am willing to give my life for you because you're what I believe in."
He dropped both hands to take hers into his and raise them to his chest, above his heart, then his lips. Not once did his gaze ever lose her perfect and fairer reflection. His breath traced lightly against her fingertips as he spoke.
"If it comes to it, I won't let you leave this world any other way than how you entered it. " He kissed her hands. "With me."
C'aehli smiled for the first time in what seemed like years before throwing her arms around her brother in a completely uncharacteristic display of affection. "Oh, C'aehlus!”
"You and I are in this together, little sister. If you feel like saving the world, well... let's go save it." He grinned devilishly.
The journey to Camp Brittlebark was swift, though not without its difficulties. Getting out of Ul’dah alone was challenging enough, and more than once C’aehli was convinced their well-meaning adventure would end before it had begun.
Often, as their chocobos carried them further and further north, she thought of her brother’s words. Logically she could admit he was right; they would always be hated, they would always be running. But if she didn’t fight for something better, not just for themselves but for all of Eorzea, how could she live with herself?
Assuming, of course, she did end up living.
All too soon they had arrived at the Carteneau Flats, and there was no time for wayward thoughts. She and her brother were in the midst of battle before they had a chance to exchange even a glance, but they had fought together for too long to be at any disadvantage on the field of battle.
Caelus’ lace slashed through the air felling three Garlean troops before they could get within range of causing them any damage as C’aehli raised her crook and the ground cracked beneath the feet of more would-be attackers in the distance. They stumbled, not being able to maintain their footing, while her brother hit the weakened earth with his axe. As the cloud of dust and cries cleared, their enemies lay still and quiet.
And so it continued, Caelus cutting through their foes like puppets in a pantomime of some macabre child’s afternoon entertainment, C’aehli protecting him from the onslaught while casting a barrage of elemental assaults, and ever did Dalamud loom threateningly overhead.
Until it exploded.
The twins stared with wide, unblinking eyes as Bahamut emerged in an eruption of flame and destruction. Their allies fled around them while they stood in shocked silence, watching the Primal fly menacingly over the battlefield. Caelus pulled his sister to him, shielding her from the barrage of flaming missiles, instinctively moving to protect her, knowing it would not save her.
From the distance blinding pillars of light shot forth to encompass the rampant Primal, and they watched as he struggled against them. But Bahamut was too strong, and with a concussive crack he had freed himself. The blast radiated outward, rushing toward the siblings as columns of blue encompassed them... then all was white.