A black-clad woman stands against the far wall, away from the limelight and din of her fellow patrons. With a half finished ale on hand and an unmarked tome on the other, she peers up occasionally to give the establishment a sweeping glance. You watch her remain ever so quiet and observant, but as your eyes lock for but a moment. A fleeting chance offers a quick meeting between you and her. Crimson and yellow beads locked in a distant gaze between you and her, only to pry away as swiftly as you met.
The woman's posture speaks for herself. Standing just half a head taller than the average xaela woman. Her expression masks a decisiveness and purpose to her every action. Or was it just the varying tools strapped on her belt? Or the large caliber firearm slung lazily behind her chair. Imposing as most armed adventurers go, but oddly curt as she sits far from the limelight of the foreground, uninterested by those around her. Nonexistent to the many coming and going through the establishment... Yet she pays it no mind. Rather, you seem to think she prefers it that way.
You find your feet oddly directing you towards her. Some subconscious wave of curiosity convincing you to simply walk past her, stealing a glance towards the woman whenever you can. The common eye would see a lazed mercenary having a drink in the corner. But you yourself cannot sense a single hint of intimidation about the girl.
Again, she peers up from her book to glance at the din of the crowd. Eyes gazing out into the bustling bar without so much a hint of happiness nor resentment. But as your shadow seems to loom ever closer, you feel her sharp gaze glancing back to you once more. Heralding your arrival with a furrowed brow, a slight annoyance. While a brief pause passes before you could apologize. She speaks up, clear and concise. Her voice was subtle, but echoed a direct sense of purpose. And what her lips would not convey, her eyes would carry on. Greeting you with an indifferent, yet respectful expression. A silent language swept up from underneath, like a ripple hidden beneath the wave of crowd's noise echoing about you.
But this time, your focus seems much clearer. As if the white noise in your head had ceased to deafen you. Perception reinvigorated as the sounds of the crowd begin to muffle out of focus. Concentrated now on this xaela's overarching attention as you stand at a slight loss for words before attempting introducing yourself. Not realizing that, again, she had spoken up first. Faced with a now irritated woman before you, she drops her tome to the table before repeating herself a second time.
"I said, can I help you?"
Lsael Elswer (Pronunciation: /Leh-Sail Else-Wher/)
How does one spend their "Happily Ever After?"
All throughout her life, Lsael had clawed her way up from a world that shows no mercy to lonesome little girls. Yet even trudging through some of the darkest days she'd come to know, this lonesome Au Ra continued to move forward. Often gazing up enviously to the sky.
Birds that flocked overhead, the glint of an airship soaring behind the clouds, or the stars that shimmered throughout the night sky. All unreachable, like many one hopes and dreams she would entertain whilst growing up.
Wanting nothing else than that sense of freedom in its purest form. When this wanderlust sell-sword found herself with a substantial amount of gil. A lifetime of struggles seemed to disappear from her shoulder. Coming to no surprise as she exchanged her blade for a set of wings. Taking the opportunity to a buy herself new manacutter. A manacutter that would grow along with her ambitions, and would eventually transform into her own cruiser.
And like the world that turned it's back to her, she flew upwards. Unbounded by her past, soaring with the same cold, and lonesome determination that saw her cast aside. And not once did she look back on her choice.
As a self-taught engineer and repurposer of war machina. Lsael traverses the world by airship. Working as a skilled pilot, mechanic, and contractor. Her history is welded against the hull of her ship, growing and improving upon each new experience she comes across. Her past trailing behind her like each set of books she collects in her travels. Amassing an unending collection that continues to expand even now. She cast aside everything about her past. Leaving her burdens grounded as the clouds took her to the life she'd always dreamed of.
Made to choose between two lives. One of comfort and stability, with friends and loved ones to stand by your side until your final days... Or that of a long, lonely rode. Spending the rest of your days soaring above the clouds with naught by your side. Freedom in it's purest form.
For someone like Lsael, the answer was obvious... Enough so that she'll fight tooth and scale to keep it that way.
Lsael is a young adult Xaela appearing around her mid-to-late twenties. Standing at 5 fulms, 7 ilms. She's noticeably taller than the average female Au Ra. But compared to the other races, it's a difference that isn't too noteworthy. She used to sport a lithe, and toned athletic figure, having ran around in full plate mail during her free-paladin years. But thanks to a new, healthier, and more relaxed lifestyle. Her jagged physique would balance out to it's now slender, more buxom form. Keeping her natural fair-skin protected throughout years of rough use. Lsael also sports a darker set of scales.
She has short black hair with feint red highlights, too dark to make it out unless you were standing within arm's length. Preferring to keep it short, her hair will occasionally grow out due to laziness. Often her bangs would grow long enough to cover parts of her face. A habit she hadn't minded when she started as a sell-sword. As glamour wasn't as important to a young Lsael, poor maintenance will only see it grow so long. Eventually her mounting frustrations would have the girl reach for the closest pair of scissors. But once in a blue moon however, she may grow it out long enough to warrant a pony tail. As friends of the pilot will note that the length of her hair coincides with the little amount of free time she lends herself. As notable workaholic in her own right, teasing her or compliment her new look will promptly force the self-conscious xaela's to prioritize shortening it once more.
Lsael also has hetero-chromatic eyes. Her left eye she'd describe as it's natural crimson red. And her right eye, more recently changed, is a bright crystal yellow. The color may seem... familiar to the well travelled. Still, both are enclosed within black limbal rings, those being her natural born trait.
Most of her early life was spent in long periods devoid of any meaningful social connections. Lsael's refusal to admit to her own shyness, self-consciousness, combined with a surprisingly docile persona has made her a silent and reticent character. She's the type that could go for months on end without any sort of conversation, and be perfectly content with such a fate. Despite this lonesome persona, those who manage to catch Lsael's attention would find it difficult to describe her as asocial, brooding or gloomy.
In fact, reservations aside, Lsael is quite adept in socializing and holding a conversation given a meaningful topic. Her pragmatism and practical approach in all topics of life lets her walk a fine line between being a soft-spoken apathetic and rather curious conversationalist. More often than not however, she can come across as rude, insensitive, and even politically incorrect. Lsael has little care about worldly ideals and politics unless such topics directly concerns herself, yet oddly well mannered despite no formal sort of education or upbringing. Though stubborn in her ideals, as long as her addressee initiates a conversation with some degree of respect. That sense of respect and trust is guaranteed to be reciprocated in turn.
She absolutely despises those who think they are above others. Blind racists, the pretentious high-born, politicians and radical religious zealots alike. Having grown up with her own set of struggles, Lsael could easily relate to those less fortunate. Even giving away what little change she could afford if the feeling ever occurs to her. But that's not to say she's the most kind-hearted person around. Having lost hope in herself at one point. Lsael values the absolute, almost blindly tenacious sensibility which she helped her claw her way out of her old life. So she will often seek the same out of others. Believing the individual can't be helped if they're unwilling to help themselves. If introduced to a person who expects pity or empathy with their plight instead of confronting their own problems. Lsael won't find much value in one's existence, and will not hesitate to leave them to their fate.
Trust, after all, is earned to some degree. Her pragmatism and social tendencies often leaves the xaela distrustful and wary of everyone she encounters. While Lsael does enjoy hooking up with the occasional stranger for a nightly romp inbetween cities. There isn't much hope for a romantic connection to be had with the woman. Lsael will often feign interest for the sake of enjoyment.
What little friends Lsael HAS come to trust however, would describe her at a radically different sense than the usual persona among strangers. Lsael is much as more talkative, akin to that of an unhinged older sister often explaining the circumstances in a chastising manner. Often letting her limsan accent shine through as friends are treated to a rather a blunt and straight-forward way of thinking from Lsael. Underlying cynicism's are common place, showcasing her penchant for dark humor. As she doesn't shy from the truth of the conversation when talking among friends. Whether this is charming or rude to her friends is dependent on the thickness of their skin. An odd trait that seldom see's the xaela telling lies to close acquaintances, seeing no point in their deception.
Outside of other's influences however, Lsael is still pretty much a lonesome individual. Years of strife and solitary work has tempered her body and mind. On occasion, she may become eerily silent. With a motionless calm and apathetic focus in her surroundings. in her eyes. Lsael has lost her fair share of fights and brawls growing up, knowing fully well the consequences that awaits the loser, especially to women. This silence is a testament to that, and her focus is the reinforced resolve in which she carries herself through those faults.
Her Education :: In terms of education, Lsael is self taught and remains a very quick learner. Often picking up instructions and guides on the spot. Her hand-writing leaves much to be desired however, with her own notes incomprehensible to none other than herself. But given her penchant for reading, she's grown to be surprisingly versed in worldly subjects. Despite what her personality more often would incline one to believe.
Her Books :: Instead of keeping a diary, Lsael tends to collect books as keepsakes from events or jobs. When she was teenager, she would often take up high-quality tomes as payment instead of gil. A habit that was taken up while living as an orphaned child wandering Limsa Lominsa. Hiding away in libraries, a source of rest and gentle respite to the rowdiness of the lower decks. With a maze of towering shelves about her, the tiny girl would often gather books around a designated corner. Hiding away and sleeping the nights off whilst feigning innocence when inquired about her nonexistent parents.And so, being around books have come to make her feel safe. Which is probably why wherever there is an overabundance of them within a certain area. Odds are this well-read xaela is probably close by.
From children's picture books, scholastic grimoires to long lost allagan transcripts. Her travels have left her far and wide throughout Eorzea, and each book in her possession is a testament to her lifelong experiences. Brandishing enough tomes to start her own small library. One may be surprised to know that she's practically read (or skimmed through) most (or if not) all of them at some point.
Her Tomo :: While she hadn't known ANYTHING about what or how dangerous a Necrologos was. A younger Lsael decided to offer her assistance tp an adventurer's party in hopes of attaining the infamous book for herself. From one faithful incident to another. The culmination of their troubles would find Lsael looming over a buried coffer. One that happened to contain a rather docile, pink friend within. Consuming her satchel of crystals at the time, the creature has never left the xaela's side since. Dubbed "Tomo" the atrophied atomos would spend it's days gobbling up whatever she would offer it. Whether it be scrap metal, food, or just general trash. In exchange as acting as her personal floating trashcan, Lsael found some much needed company for her long travels. The xaela would bless it with colorful nicknames such as "Cheeky Lil' Bastard" or use it's stretchy body as a makeshift pillow. But "Tomo the Atomos" stuck through with her ever since that faithful encounter. And so Tomo will often accompany it's owner, floating nearby as Lsael tends to shoot it a gale in order to keep away from trouble. Tomo tends to bite when spoiled, or lock on to any sort of overaspected crystal which remains free for the taking.
Her... Habits :: Having been raised around pirates and Roegadyns all her life, she's grown to have a high tolerance towards liquor. Thus, Lsael is often caught with several hard bottles of beer or whiskey while drinking the nights away. Notably spiking her own booze with a special tonic gifted to her by idylshire's resident goblins. While it's name slips away from her memory, Lsael would describe the fluid as a form of industrial grade alcohol. When normal booze just doesn't give her the right kick anymore, this little vial is one alternative she'll always bring up to spice up the night. That said, sober Lsael doesn't exactly speak for drunk Lsael in any capacity. Completely unhinged and relaxed from a hard day's work. This is more often how the xaela makes her friends, as many would note just how 'pure' and 'approachable' the tipsy xaela can be. Unburdened by any need to uphold her usual rigid persona, Drunk Lsael is like staring into a cleaner side of a dirt-stained coin. Friendly and thoughtful, with a sense of cheerfulness that seems to radiate throughout the rest of her party. While it may be difficult to provide her with the ample liquor to get the woman this far shit-faced. Many consider it worth the trouble, as they may come to see the girl for what she truly is.
Her Unknown Origins :: Due to the circumstances of her arrival to Eorzea, Lsael doesn't actually know where her original birth place or home country is. Though a recent hint had come to pass in the last few years. When a large score of Doman refugees began moving into Mor Dhona. A handful of which seemed to openly approached the clueless Xaela in their native tongue. From what she can only discern as simple greetings, to inquiries for general directions. It seemed like those who hail from Far East mistake enough of her facial features and mannerisms to a far eastern origin. Meanwhile Lsael had taken the strangers' assumptions as pointless, finding their customs and traditions to be quite queer even to herself. Eastern books about the xaelic tribes of the steppes had often kept a young Lsael up at night, wondering of which of the many tribes would have been her home in the past. Maybe the Qalli could explain her affinity for a song? Or the Dorthal may give insight to her exceeding prowess in a fight? One thing remains is certain though. As Lsael continued to grow up to the woman she is today. She's become less interested in her origins, and more keen towards her next destination.
Her Grand Company Affiliation :: Presently, Lsael is inducted as a Caption under the Maelstrom. Specifically under the Trade Sails division, her endeavors following the War for Ala Mhigo had caught the eye of the Chief Admiral. Offering to purchase her services along with Lsael's small-time free-company to be requisitioned for logistics and requisition contracts. With a somewhat reliable source of income, and a bit more leeway in terms of war-time levy's. Lsael would use this new-found extra freedom to expand her little group far beyond what they were originally capable off. Picking up more strays for her free-company to bolster their new-found need for more manpower to help finish their more lucrative contracts.
Lsael also once served proudly as an auxiliary member of the Maelstrom in the past. Having been discharged following her brother and commanding officer's demise in the Calamity. Her rank at the time was nothing more than a mascot rank, as she was still well below the required age for enlistment. With her old crew and family having perished in the fallout of Bahamut's rage, she was let go. And with her loved ones dead, she figured she had little reason to stay anyways.
Her Home :: Recognized as a Lominsan citizen only recently, following the Dragonsong War. Lsael had taken up an apartment at the Topmast, just recently bought her own cottage estate. Her free-company, located just below her own home, also rests in a cottage plot. The building having been re-purposed for her business uses after purchasing it from the original owners. Built as an observatory for an Ishgardian scholastic family, she'd struck a deal with the owners to help dismantle their enormous astranomical telescope. Seeing as how the object was worth more than the plot, and just so was it she was the only specialist preset to dismantle it in a moment's notice. What amounted to a week's worth of services now opened up a brand new business opportunity for the fledgling pilot. Using the automatic gates of the observatory like gates to a makeshift hangar. The newfound space opening more flexibility for her ships, which in turn affected the profit in which she could generate as a pilot.
Her Name :: While unsure how she was named herself, as it seems to follow no naming convention. In truth her full name was derived from stepfather's rather thick accent.
Rescued from Garlean captivity. Her full name was first uttered in a sentence, after her stepfather's discovery of human cargo during his final privateering run. Being among the few bloodied survivors, he would cradle the tiny girl in his arms as they set the ship ablaze. Returning to his ship, only to briefly regain consciousness and hear him uttering the words: "Let's set sail elsewhere, I've enough of this place"
Attempting to repeat after him whilst half conscious, the small girl could only speak the first two words. But through the Roegadyns long history of drinking, the man's accent had become somewhat difficult to discern. More so as the child repeated quietly after him, with her future stepfather leaning forward to hear what she had to say. Mistaking the child's mumbling as her attempting to introduce herself and her name. "Leshse Shale... Else...Where"
No child of his would ever grow scales, let alone a set of small horns. Knowing that giving her his own last name may bring trouble, and how "elsewhere" wouldn't make much sense. On paper, he wrote his daughter's name after an imaginary wife of his. "Elilswyr", a combination of the old Sea Wolf words meaning 'Exiled/Foreign' and 'Big'. It would remain as a pet name to the tiny au ra. And a reminder on how he first encountered the feisty young child jumping onto a garlean soldier and trying to stab him with his own knife. With her tomboyish personality, he joked about how a male's naming convention fit her perfectly. But his tiny ray of sunshine didn't seem to mind, even if he seemed to mispronounce her name with his drunken slurring. While one can expect a small child to write their own name, the young xaela never seemed to follow the spelling her father laid out for her. Sadly, he'd never gotten the chance to correct the girl before leaving her to fend for herself. And that's how the lone pilot took up her name as 'Lsael Elswer'.
Her Ship :: Her airship serves as custom-made cruiser. Built ontop of the manacutter framework by the Skysteel Manufactory and Garlond Ironworks. Over the years, several hull expansion and extra iterations had the ship grow alongside it's pilot's needs. Modified to the extent that it's become nigh unrecognizable as a manacutter, but a fully fledged airship.
- Though about the same length of a standard freight airship, the cruiser stands at nearly half of the width. It's silhouette more akin to that of an oversized manacutter, hailing to it's roots. Heavily modified, and built over the years from spare Garlean, Sky Pirate, Ironworks, and Skysteel parts alike. The chassis was built the remnants of a downed Imperial Hypersonic Assault Craft. The hull was scrapped and cleaned to serve as the base. Utilizing two propeller based corrupted crystal engines to power the turbines at regular flight levels (with sufficient aethercurrents within the area). As well as the addition of two ceruleum powered jet turbines to facilitate high altitude flight without the depending on latent aether. The four engines required the abundantly larger chassis. As well as the extra space for sensitive freight carry and the specialized parts that remained unique to Lsael's craft.
Ice-resistant materia have been melded onto the joints and moving parts to prevent locking. Fire resistant materia melded in compartmentalized pockets within the ship's frame to isolate and contain any fires or damage the ship takes. Lightning materia running parallel to major wiring to prevent lightning damage and short circuiting. And wind-resistant materia melded into the outer layer of the hull to maintain structural integrity during high wind currents at cruising speed.
A Ship's Armament :: Situated throughout it's hull are ejectable black powder canisters that will launch behind the ship during flight. While highly combustible, their semi-open and spinning nature spreads the powder over a wide radius immediately after being launched. With the maneuver requiring a great amount of care not to blow one's self up. Four air anchors, a pair on both top and underbelly of the hull, also jut ever so slightly out of the ship's silhouette. Locked against the main support of the hull, utilizing them requires a floating solid target to swing of off. While incredible situational, they provide new windows of evasion when the need arises.
But Lsael isn't officially in the War Sails, so an armed airship flying about isn't exactly a green flag to Limsan officials. So other than explosive air anchor chains, the cruiser has little offensive capabilities. And neither was it built to take punishment from small arms fire or anti-air attacks.
But it does allow for a surprising defensive capability. Especially with it boasting a top cruising altitude as high as 40 thousand fulms when flying above or near relevant aethercurrents. Without them, Lsael's ship can reach up to 60 thousand fulms on her ceruleum engines, but would she would never allow herself to go up that high up unless given a good reason... But for reasons of profit however, are a different story.
A Ship's Automation :: One specialization to note is the remnants of a magitek vanguard chassis that is mounted around the middle of the hull. Placed just between the separated pilot and passenger's seat (it's a two-seated airship). Taking inspiration from the Castrum battle and the Scion's ingenious use of magitek reapers. Lsael had commissioned the goldsmith's guild to meld a modified mammet's core onto the broken, original vanguard core. Once it was done, she had it linked to most of the primary functions and flight controls of the airship. As well as syncing up basic controls and automatic tracking onto her aetherotransformer.
If she manages to fall out of the cockpit mid-flight, this would allow her ship to dive under autopilot and track her descent path. An emergency autopilot rescuing her, and voiding the reason to bring a harness or parachute. This modification also allows her to put the manacutter in a hands-free auto-pilot. Allowing for a brief time to sit back and relax, or do some mid-flight repairs.
A Ship's Dedication :: With the staggering amount of modifications and changes to the ship, the maintenance and repair cycles remain arduous and lengthy. It isn't rare for Lsael to be grounded for a week or so at times. And being privately owned and built, she must see to the repairs all by herself. But to the lone pilot, it's all worth it in the end.
In the past, Lsael would never imagine herself leading her own crew. Let alone needing one to begin with as the solitary pilot's work seemed to never end. Initially pulled in at the prospect of reduced trade taxes for her work, ended up stringing together a group of strays she had picked up on her travels. All looking for a roof over their heads and maybe some quick, extra cash. Each has their own reason in joining under her ranks, though they seldom seem to operate like a cohesive unit. As many an individual seems to prefer to do their own thing. But with Lsael bringing in a stack of possible work contracts every now and then, the misshapen crew of the <404> will almost always gather at the prospect of a paycheck at the end of the day.
Content with keeper her hands solely to herself, when faced with an unyielding aggressor however, she finds it hard to see a a reason to hold back her full might. The first hint comes at the silent, still-watered glare which the xaela employs. Often followed with an unrelenting brutality that would see her foe preemptively put down with no chance in countering her assault.
Her past had taught her harsh lessons, especially what becomes of a lone girl caught in the losing end of a fight. Defeat, and the humiliation that follows all but tempered the notion of losing as an unacceptable outcome for the xaela. Since then, she addresses almost all of her problems with a preemptive aggressiveness that at best, may come to be described as attempted manslaughter. Lsael will not hesitate to swing the hilt of her blade or put a bullet in a stranger's stomach, often with little given warning
Lsael's confidence lies mainly on sheer force of will, or stubbornness as her old friend would come to describe her. While not one for endurance, her tenacity in a losing fight is unbridled and defiant. With each engagement, win or lose, culminating in years of lessons and experience before being drilled into her sword hand. While is very much an amazing close-quarters fighter, Lsael has since then moved on to firearms as her main source of martial prowess. But one shouldn't underestimate her now rusted sword arm. As even on rare occasions it will rise once again, demonstrating the sum of her hard-work and the blind resolution to better oneself.
Despite her martial prowess, Lsael is very much considered average or below median when accounted for her magical and arcane skills. While her endurance, tenacity, strength and quick reactions are well accounted for. Her mental fortitude is also not up to par. Those who have readily teamed up with her in the past have noticed she was much more susceptible to certain mental debuffs when caught in them (such as Charms, Confusions, Fears).
Though given a familiarity to attach herself to, she seems quite capable when Lsael is able to apply herself. For example, her Red Mage skills are above par in comparison to any other magic/arcane-based class she has picked up. But seemingly only her rapier skills have seen improvement as of late. The woman still can't seem to perfect Vercure for the life of her...
As a child, she grew up with her father's stories of graceful fighters doing flips and turns mid-combat. Though now, as a grown woman and competent fighter herself, she quickly realized this just wasn't feasible in full plate armor while engaged in rough terrain.
Rather, throughout her work in Ul'dah as well as her experience as a privateer at one point. Lsael has developed a minimalist style of fighting. Inspired by the thaumaturge's guild upon watching the mages practice "stutter stepping". Her fighting style is has grown to be a hybrid of accurate brute force and minimalist evasion. Revolving around just barely evading an opponent's attacks, or if need be, parrying such acts with an immediate counter.
Stand your ground, press forward, anticipate and punish. Her high spatial awareness, combined with short skips and dashes allows her to maintain the proper striking distance while returning blows with concentrated efficiency. This style proved widely successful throughout her days in the gladiator's guild and as a free paladin, and has proven it's worth to this day.
While this technique placed her in some vary dangerous positions. Her scrupulous thinking and quick reactions made sure the risk was often worth the reward, and helped set her apart early on from the rest of the fighters. Even now, she still continues this fighting style out of habit. Working as a machinist, and even with the advantage of ranged attacks. Lsael prefers to remain in close-quarters. Allowing her to utilize the full potential the arsenal she had grown to master over years of experience.