Other FULL Final Fantasy: Alternate [M][IC] Page 2

Started by gimmepie February 28th, 2020 5:50 PM
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Juno

jordan x casey x vera

Age 26
Female
Seen 12 Hours Ago
Posted 2 Days Ago
4,383 posts
7.5 Years


LOST (AND FOUND?)


🍄 Titan Shrooms ft. Azure

Lumi felt a gentle poking and prodding in her midsection. She squeezed her eyes together tighter, trying to ignore the disturbance and shifting groggily in her sleep. Ow, my neck. Did I fall asleep weirdly…?

“Mmmfive more minutes, Grandpa.”

As she spoke, she felt something else strange. Her mouth was dry. And gritty. Really gritty. For that matter, instead of hearing her Grandpa’s voice in response, a chittering noise greeted her. What… where am I?

She finally opened her eyes. Or at least tried to, but found herself face-down in some sand. Sitting up spluttering and trying to get the sand out of her mouth, she looked around and quickly returned to reality. The airship! Oh- She glanced around quickly for the others, but all she could see was yellow sand around her, and something like a forest in the distance.

The prodding sensation had gone away when she sat up, but in her periphery, she saw something move. Her heart leapt. Was it someone from the airship? As she rubbed her eyes and struggled to get a closer look, she saw that it was… her bag. It was moving away from her. Quickly.

“What!” she exclaimed in surprise. Standing up and fully alert now, she ran after it. As she ran down the narrow stretch of beach towards the forest, she saw something else familiar. Her long, white hair was obscuring her face as she slumped against a tree, but it was unmistakably the pilot-thief girl.

“H-hey! Stop my bag!” Lumi called out to her. The girl stirred from the noise, but did not react quickly enough to Lumi’s confusing demand, and the bag quickly slipped into the forest behind her. “Oh-!” The Moogle stopped next to the tree. For a split-second she considered running into the forest after it, but she had to check on the girl. “Hey, are you alright?”

Azure’s eyes fluttered open, a pained groan slipping out of her lips as she slowly lifted her head. “What… who…?”

Her vision slowly began to come back to her. In particular, the sight of the small moogle looking up at her with concern brought back memories of everything that had happened. The shaking and rocking of the airship was now fresh in her minds as she slowly pulled herself up to her feet, legs shaking all the while.

“Well… At least we’re alive…” Azure finally said. She took a look around, noticing a distinct lack of the boy with the bottle, the big orc, the man in the armor, and all the others. “Well… at least we are, anyways.”

“Yeah, I didn’t see anyone else on my way here. I mean, I’ve only been up for a few minutes myself, but- ah!” Not that finding the others wasn’t important, but Lumi didn’t want her current task at hand to slip away. Literally. “My bag- kind of… ran into the forest,” she tried her best to explain without sounding like she hit her head when she landed. “You mind helping me…?” she gestured towards the dark forest behind them.

Azure glanced in the direction Lumi pointed. It was very dark inside… definitely not somewhere the thief really wanted to go wandering around aimlessly in. Then again, there wasn’t much the duo had going for them outside for that matter.

“Yeah… Yeah, let’s try and make it quick though,” Azure replied. She gazed up towards the sky, quickly taking in the sight of the setting sun. “It’s gonna be dark soon, so I really don’t wanna be wandering around in there at night.”

“Of course, thank you!” The moogle had already taken several steps into the forest as soon as Azure had said ‘yeah’. “It’ll be alright, I’m sure - tons of forests where I’m from, my sister and I go exploring in ‘em all the time, I’m sure this is no different…” she shivered a little as she said that, though, a light breeze gently swaying the foliage around them. “And I’ve been told I’m pretty good at magic, so I’m sure everything will be fine.”

"A mage, huh? Well, then lead on Miss Wizard. I'm right behind ya," Azure confirmed as she drew her rapier in the event of someone or something decided to try and get the drop on the duo.

The forest was unlike any that Lumi had ever seen near her home; there was some foliage she was familiar with, but mostly, instead of tall trees, canopies of giant mushrooms shielded them from any sunlight that may have still peeked through at this hour, as they moved further in. Not that she would have been afraid to be alone in here, Lumi still glanced back periodically to see if the strange girl was still nearby.

As she tripped over another raised root, the Moogle let out a frustrated sigh. “Okay, I think we need a little bit of light in here. Give me a second,” stooping down, Lumi picked up a small, deadened log of some sort, and held it upright, with her left hand at the base. She clasped her right hand over the top of the branch and let the Black magic flow through her. Within a few seconds, a bright burst of flame ignited the top half of the log and bathed the area in a warm, golden light. She held it out like a torch between them.

“Not too shabby,” Azure replied as a look of relief seemed to overtake her features. “You’re much more handy with that fire magic than another Moogle I know…”

"Sounds like there's a story to tell there-" Lumi began, but her eyes, now adjusting to the newly-lit forest around them, shifted to something behind Azure. "but that's gonna have to wait. Looks like we have company!"

The sudden brightness seemed to have upset some of the residents of the forest, and what appeared to be just a cluster of vegetation in low lighting was now wriggling to life.

"Watch out, Mralbro!" Lumi called out. "M-Marlboro? I can never pronounce it but, oh, this is not the time for-" without further hesitation, she hurled the flaming log in her hand at the appendage reaching for her companion. The beast let out an echoing shriek, as the fire spreaded up its limb. It was enough to injure the creature, but not defeat it. And it was angry now.

Azure gripped her rapier tightly, her eyes widening as she watched the plant-like creature take a swing at Lumi with its vine-like arms. Quickly, the white-haired thief dashed forward and jabbed her rapier into Malboro.

“What in the world is a Malboro doing here? We aren’t that far away from the city, right?!” the thief questioned.

“Does it look like there’s any civilization nearby?!” Lumi yelped and jumped away as a viney limb smacked the ground near her. Too close. “Alright, okay. This is fine. We can do this. It’s two against one, we’re gonna be fine.”

As soon as she saw an opening, the Moogle conjured a small flame in the palms of each hand, hurling them towards the giant creature.

The Malboro let out a deep roar. While Azure’s rapier stabs seemed to be doing little more than making the creature angry, the fire from the tiny Moogle mage was having a great deal stronger effect. The gigantic, green creature slammed its tentacles into the ground, before whipping them around and thrashing one right into Azure. The white-haired girl let out a surprised grunt before flying back, just barely managing to land on her feet.

“Looks like he’s a mad boy now,” she taunted, before glancing over at her companion. She readied her rapier and charged in again. “Keep up the fire, Lumi!”

“R-right, on it!” The glow of the fire danced in her eyes as Lumi summoned a larger ball of flame. She released it just before it got big enough to burn herself, throwing it at the aggravated monster in front of them. The fire caught on to one of its smaller appendages, and it let out another horrible cry as the tentacle burned off. “Do you think we can actually kill it, or…?” The Moogle shouted out over the shrieking Malboro.

“No idea,” Azure replied, smiling as she hopped back in an attempt to dodge another swing of the tentacle. “I’ve heard these things are supposed to be super tough to handle. Like, deadly even! Something about…”

As if it had been rehearsed, the Malboro let out one more roar before suddenly taking in a deep breath. Azure took a slow step back, watching as the putrid creature’s cheeks (if it really even had those) suddenly began to puff out. It began to grunt and groan, before its monstrous lips suddenly opened wide. A deep, echoing belch rang out through the air, causing the leaves of the nearby trees to rustle, with cawing and squawking of nesting birds to follow up in a chorus of sorts before taking off in fear and surprise. Azure froze on the spot, the white-haired thief’s brain racing to process what she had just witnessed. She didn’t have much of a chance to put it all together, however. A foul stench began to fill the air around her, one that made her feel sick to her stomach. The forest surrounding her and Lumi began to spin, making her feel dizzy as she stumbled over, just barely managing to catch her balance before falling right down to her knees.

“I… I think I’m gonna…” she gagged, trying her best to keep from losing whatever contents were in her stomach.

“Oh, g- what in Shermos’ name is that?” The moogle exclaimed, as she put an arm over her nose and reached out for Azure’s shoulder with the other. “Hey, are you okay?”

Azure slowly looked up towards Lumi, her eyes looking glazed over before she narrowed in an attempt to focus on the Moogle speaking to her. Suddenly she gasped and fell onto her backside, grip on rapier tightening before she pointed it out in fear at Lumi.

“A g-goblin?! Double teaming me! Not on your life, pal!” Azure declared, quickly jumping up and thrusting her blade in the Moogle mage’s direction.

Goblin? What are you talking about, where?” Lumi sprang to the side, narrowly avoiding the jab. Her eyes darted around suspiciously, before realizing where the girl was pointing. “Well, that’s not very nice. I smell a lot better than- oh.” Arm still over her face, she suddenly figured out what the awful stench was. “No, no, no, we don’t have time for this! Come-”

She let out a sharp squeal and jumped back as a tentacle suddenly slammed down between them. “Azure, let’s go!”

“Not on your life, you lanky-armed goon!” she took another stab towards Lumi, barely missing before stumbling over her own feet. The girl began to giggle as she fell face down in the dirt, before turning back to the Malboro with a goofy grin. “A bit tipsy, your highness! But I’ll save you from this menace!”

"Alright, come on, you crazy oaf." Lumi removed her arm from her face as the smell subsided and grabbed the girl by her ankle, as she tugged her out of the way of another attack. She sighed. "Oh, why didn't I learn any White Magic? You better get up - I'm doing my best, but I'm not dying here because of you."

Just then, a loud “WARK!” startled Lumi into dropping Azure’s ankle. It was… “A Chocobo…?” She looked around. This sure didn’t look like the kind of forest they would be native to. It sounded fairly close by, though. Could it be…?

“I-I’m going to get help, wait right here! You just… try to stay alive.” Distracted by the antics of the confused Azure, the Malboro did not notice as Lumi quietly slipped through the tall, mushroom trees, moving towards the sound of the squawking.

Inventory (currently missing)

650 Gil

Ezra's Tome: An old, worn tome given to Lumi by the old mage in the woods that taught her Black Magic. It is a beginner's spell tome and contains a few basic elemental spells. Scribbles and notes made by Lumi fill the margins.

Foot Wart Potion: A potion brewed by Mercer for a patient in Saltstone Town and handed to Lumi for delivery. She seems to have forgotten to deliver it.

Skills

Lumi does not have a staff or weapon yet, but she can cast spells without the use of one, just rather weakly. She uses these spells regularly for fun with no real intent to harm, as she has not had the need to use them offensively yet.

Thunder: A small jolt of lightning is conjured and shot through a target.

Blizzard: Conjures a storm within a small radius where the target is pelted with bits of hail. Can be used to freeze small amounts of water.

Water: Conjures a wave of water that rushes towards target(s).

Fira: Intermediate fire magic. Conjures flames to engulf target(s), or can be thrown at a target. Lumi is able to control the size of her flames within her power, ie. she can still cast minor fire magic.


gimmepie

Age 25
Male
Australia
Seen 4 Hours Ago
Posted 4 Hours Ago
23,083 posts
9.1 Years
Full Party

Confusion


The gang was not going to be able to rest. Not yet, at least.

Before they caught their breaths from the battle, a rustling noise alerted them to another possible danger. A small, pale creature ran into the campsite before falling to her knees, panting. Her light-colored fur was a little matted, and there were a few rips in her tunic, but otherwise, she looked unharmed.

It was Lumi.

"Oh, what is that?" When she collected herself, she looked up at the felled Mushbeast and scrambled backwards, poking it with her foot to confirm it was not getting back up, before continuing. "Nevermind, we need help!"

"LUMI!" Cho charged in, scooping up the little Moogle and pulling her into a big hug. "I wasn't sure if you'd made it out okay! I'm so glad you're safe! Are you hurt? Wait… what do you mean, you 'need help'?"

She managed to get out a muffled “I’m fine,” from Cho’s arms, hugging the large orc back as best as she could. She hadn’t known these people long, but boy, was it good to see them again. And Bubbers.

“Not sure how much good I’ll be,” Ekha replied, “But I guess this is just what our lives are now. Lead the way.”

“Thank you!” Lumi breathed out as Cho gently set her back down. “It’s uh, it’s this way.” She spun around, finding her bearings again. “We ran into a Malboro, of all things…” The Moogle launched into a breakdown of events as she led the group back to where the confused Azure was. “Hope she’s still alive. Let’s hurry.”

"Can this forest stop trying to kill us for a few hours?" Vidar grumbled, fastening the last few latches on his armor for the third time today. He followed Lumi closely, but watched the mushrooms around them more than the path ahead. "I don't think I've ever actually ran into one, anyone know what to expect?"

“Big, ugly smelly monster that’s annoyingly hard to kill,” Ekkha responded, following along with Lumi and Vidar. “Pretty much on par with the rest of our luck lately.”

"Pretty much." Lumi nodded, wading deeper into the forest. "Oh, speaking of smelly - it does this... this thing where it opens its mouth and it smells so bad you think you're gonna die. I covered my face to shield from it but I think that's what's got Azure. Something's not right with her right now, you'll see..."

Rayen kept quiet the whole time, annoyed at Lumi’s presence but not enough to wish for more harm coming her way. One more time, thoughts of leaving the group behind started to come up again, especially because if she didn’t, one more monster to fight was waiting for her. But of course, it also didn’t take long for her to realize that she needed the group’s protection more than ever, now that she used up most of her arrows for the Mushroom creature. A couple sighs were the only indication of her mental state though - she didn’t say anything else.

The party pressed onward, coming to a small clearing that Lumi had fled from not long ago. The sight that befell them was one that would raise several eyebrows, whether full context was given or not. The giant and putrid Malboro that Lumi had described stood in the middle of the clearing. A foul stench emanated from the beast, one that would cause even the strongest of stomachs to churn in repulsion. A feral and slobbery growl echoed out from the creature, the monster blind to the oncomers for something much more tantalizing.

A single tentacle was currently wrapped around the ankle of Azure. The white-haired thief was hanging upside down in the creature’s grasp, seemingly oblivious to the peril she was currently in. Swinging back and forth, a faint giggle could be heard from the girl. It seemed as though she was actually enjoying her current plight.

“M-My my, princess… You’re too kind!” Azure exclaimed, hiccuping and slurring her speech as if she was intoxicated on some very strong liquor. “But you n-needn't be so jolly… I was just doing my duty!”

The Malboro brought the thief closer to its presence. A massive, slimy tongue slipping out of its grotesque mouth, dripping with drool and other substances that no one would dare want to diagnose. Without warning, the giant tongue slurped up the hanging thief’s form, causing her body to shiver and squirm, despite her obvious delusions to the situation she found herself in.

“P-Princess! Not before the royal court! People will talk!” Azure exclaimed and pointed to the rest of her party. All the while, a deep, crimson blush worked its way to her cheeks as she spoke.

“Great. Was hoping it would have worn off by now, but at least she’s alive, I guess,” Lumi muttered under her breath. Her voice was muffled as she buried her face in her arms again to avoid the stench. “What do we do? Do we… shoot her down? Can we shoot her down?”

Cho ran forward, knowing his plan was bad, but it was the first thought he had. He cast Haste, upon himself this time, charging in and smacking the Malboro with his hammer. "Hey, ugly!" He taunted the tentacled beast, slapping his own rump mockingly. "Why go for a scrawny girl like her when you could have some plump, juicy orc?"

Rayen nodded in approval at Cho’s move, but still remained in the back of the group and tried to find a safe spot to perch herself onto. Possibly away from that stench…

She still did not forget about that other way she could make herself useful, though. With her antennas, she Scanned the enemy, ready to report their findings to the rest of the group… and watch them do nearly all the work.

Vidar took off after the orc once he realized that was the full extent of Cho's plan, his armor clanking with each step. "Like the enthusiasm," he shouted as he approached, "we need to talk about the follow up though." The dragoon fell in line next to the orc, threatening the monster with the spear end of his weapon.

He changed his grip to one more suited for rapid thrusts and accurate strikes to better keep the Marlboro at bay. It wasn't much of a deterrent, but it was better than offering up the only one of them who appeared to have competency with White Magic as bait. His stomach didn't appreciate his proximity to the creature though, and he felt it churn just standing next to it.

"Someone please just shoot our paramour down and let Cho catch her before we start puking please!"

Ekha watched on with concern as the monstrosity smacked Cho and Vidar away with its writhing tentacles as though they were made of paper, dangling Azure towards its cavernous mouth with another. He was painfully aware at that moment that there was little he could do to act on Vidar’s suggestion, so he settled for drawing its attention with a feeble blast of water from his bottle. “Rayen, sounds like a job for you!”

She was late, but at least she still acted on Ekha’s suggestion. Once her bow was ready, she let go a Critical Shot one more time, trying to hit the one tentacle that was holding Azure. In between the heavy breaths that followed, she tried to count the arrows that were still left in her quiver - really not many - and ran her fingers through the sheath of her dagger, before finally letting the group know about the scan. "We need fire again! And Haste too…"

Even as the words left Rayen’s lips, the arrow struck home. The Marllboro’s tendril was pierced and it dropped Azure with a gurgling scream. In a fury, it started to crawl towards Rayen, swatting aside those foolish enough to get in its way.

In his Hasted state, Cho managed to catch Azure before she hit the ground. He swiftly retreated from the foul-smelling beast, carrying Azure over one shoulder to free up his hand as he approached Lumi. "Fire's your thing, right? I've got the Haste!" He lightly touched Lumi’s head as he cast Haste upon her. She perked up, giddy from the spell. “Right!” Without another word, she zipped away from the group, looking for an opening to attack.

"Oh my… what's a tall drink of water like yourself doing in a place like this…?" Azure suddenly inquired. She shifted in Cho's grasp, leaning forward with squinted eyes as the whole forest seemed to be spinning. "You fancy a drink, handsome? I know a good place by the docks."

Vidar rolled after getting shoved over by the Marlboro, managing to land on one knee. He pushed himself back to his feet and sprinted after the creature. He started to catch up to the creature and pulled his arms back and prepared a swing of his weapon. “Don’t take your eyes off me,” he shouted as he slammed the axe-head into the creature’s side, throwing all his weight into the strike. The axe didn’t pierce particularly far into the creature’s main body, but it gouged deep cuts in several of the smaller tentacles across it’s rounded body. “Is there anything in this forest that actually bleeds? Would be a little helpful to me.”

“Just the bugs,” Ekha replied, ducking under a whipping tendril as the Marlboro roared and flailed in response to Vidar’s attack. That earned him a pout from Rayen, who was further away from the enemy already.

Suddenly, the roar turned into an ugly, much louder shriek as a ball of flame hit the creature in the back of its head. Lumi must have found the opening she was looking for, as the beast was pelted with a well-timed Fira that glowed especially bright in the shrouded, night forest. The power of her spell was still the same as before, but bolstered by Cho’s Haste, she was able to cast it two more times in quick succession before the Malboro could turn around. It swatted at the flames with its own burning appendages, spreading the fire around more. Lumi gazed up at the angry beast, whose attention was now solely on her. It was in pretty bad condition now, but that didn’t make it any less terrifying.

The screaming of the Malboro alerted Azure. The white-haired thief shot up in Cho's grasp, staring in a mix of shock and horror at the sight of the burning Malboro.

"My queen!" Azure cried out, starting to flail and squirm in the orc's grasp. "What are you beasts doing?! Fear not, your highness! I'm coming!" The thief made an attempt to pry herself further out of Cho's grasp. Her hand quickly dropping to the hilt of her rapier in the process. "Release me, scoundrel! Are you with these vile fiends?!"

Cho had to adjust Azure in his grip, hugging the squirming thief tightly to his chest. "Easy, Azure, easy! Let's keep this friendly, now!"

Ekha looked between Lumi and Cho, deciding quickly that the moogle was in the most danger. He made a dash towards Lumi and the screaming Marlboro inhaled deeply and started spewing out a noxious yellow-green cloud.

Holding his breath and pushing himself to his limits, Ekha placed himself between the Marlboro and Lumi, raising his open Djinn Bottle and channeling what was left of his mana into it. The fumes of the monster’s bad breath started flowing into the open receptacle, leaving Ekha and Lumi unharmed.

“Hit it again!” Ekha shouted over the monster’s growls.

“On it!” With the threat of its poison bottled, Lumi sprang up. She clambered onto Ekha’s shoulders for a bit of extra height, before jumping and aiming her Fira into the beast’s gaping maw. A sizzling noise could be heard from within as she dropped back down onto the loamy soil. The creature slumped backward, and it finally went silent.

“N-No!” Azure cried out. The white-haired thief finally managed to pry herself free from Cho’s grasp. She scrambled to the burning carcass of the defeated Marlboro, eyes wide with horror. “Your highness… I failed you…” Azure sniffled, her body shaking as she felt her anger flaring up. She grabbed the hilt of her blade, quickly jumping to her feet and drawing the rapier to point at Lumi and the rest of the party. “I’ll slay you all! On my dying breath, I will not stop until you monsters are nothing more than corpses, long forgotten in these woods!”

Lumi took a step back from the weapon, moving behind the large orc. “Cho, you’re a White Mage, right? Do something.” She whispered.

"Uh…" Cho slowly approached Azure, hands up in a placating gesture. "Easy, girl. We're all friends, right? Put the sword down…"

“Not like that! I meant something… White Mage-y. Do you know Esuna?”

While Azure is distracted, Cho quickly brought his oversized fist down on her head, knocking the poor girl silly. He quickly caught her, casting a Cure spell out of pity. "No… I know Cure, though."

Lumi poked the unconscious Azure. She gently checked for a pulse and shrugged. “...Well, she’s not dead. I’m sure she’ll be fine.”

RPWLA&MBattle ServerDaily

gimmepie

Age 25
Male
Australia
Seen 4 Hours Ago
Posted 4 Hours Ago
23,083 posts
9.1 Years
Chapter Three
Putting the nightmare of Titan Shrooms behind you, you manage to exit the fungal forest and enter Othon beyond. Over the next several days, you travel over grassy plains until eventually you see the first sight of civilization in the distance.

Rising up from the grasslands are numerous enormous cylindrical structures pressed up against one another. This is the city of Delice.

Delice is often regarded as the world capital for bestials and part-bestials. Those of bestial blood make up the vast majority of this city’s population and each of its large cylinders contains a specially maintained biome for the comfort of those within. Each is linked to the city’s main entrance via a portal, making the entrance a very busy location.

The people here primarily worship Kush, the goddess of food and shelter, and Aeis, the god of prosperity. Due to the tenements of these deities, the people of Delice have a reputation for being very friendly, welcoming and peaceful - although following these gods is not mandatory. Strangely though, people seem to be looking upon the group with distrust and even fear - especially Cho.

Chapter Objective: Gather information and supplies.

Loot:
Potion (100G)
Antidote (100G)
Eye Drops (100G)
Knuckles (300G)
Arrows (2G each or 15G for 20)
Rod (350G)
Fork (300G)
Flamberge Rapier (450G)
Ring (300G)
Bronze Plate Armour (400G)
Memory Sphere - Poisona (2000G)
Memory Sphere - Thundara (2500G)
Memory Sphere - Sinewy Etude (2000G)

RPWLA&MBattle ServerDaily

Juno

jordan x casey x vera

Age 26
Female
Seen 12 Hours Ago
Posted 2 Days Ago
4,383 posts
7.5 Years


STOWAWAY


🍄 Titan Shrooms

Lumi couldn't sleep.

No one else was awake to talk to her—the events of the last day must have had them all pretty pooped. She was kind of sleepy, too, but her mind was racing and she just could not rest yet, so she grabbed a small log from the firepit and decided to go for a little walk. Yes, in the death forest. What was the worst that could happen?

She didn't venture far from where the group was camping; at this distance, if another murderous Malboro or mushroom monster were about to attack them, they were going to make it into their campsite anyway. So she was kind of acting as a lookout, if anything. Lumi hummed quietly to herself as she looked around. She held up her light to the different flora in the vicinity; it was actually kind of a cool forest, when they weren't being chased down by grotesque creatures with foul breath. She walked up to a pretty, purple mushroom tree. It glowed faintly—not enough to light up the area around it, but it definitely caught her attention. On one of the smaller, fungal branches hung a dark lump that looked strangely familiar.

It was...

Her bag?

Oh, right! Her bag. No wonder it felt like she had been travelling lighter. With everything that had happened, she'd completely forgotten about that. Now that she recalled her and Azure's initial mission and why they stepped foot in here in the first place, Lumi also remembered the bizarre sight of the bag scurrying off without her when they first crash-landed. She approached it vigilantly, glancing around. It might be bewitched or something.

It did not move at all this time, as she inched closer. That was a good sign. She finally reached out with her free hand and snatched it up, and... nothing out of the ordinary happened. With a sigh of relief, she quickly threw the strap over her shoulder and hurried back to the relative safety of their campsite.

The fire crackled as she threw the log she borrowed back into the pit. Sitting near the warm flames, she opened her bag to check if all her stuff were still there. It was mostly Ezra's tome that she really cared about. What else did she have on her? Clothes? Money? That was all replaceable. Oh, right, and that accursed potion. She thought, as the sickly green bottle rolled into view to remind her what a terrible granddaughter she was. She pulled it out and set it aside with the rest of her belongings. As she felt around the bottom, she also pulled out some... leaves? Lumi didn't keep her bag super tidy, but there was more random debris in here than she remembered. Her fingers wrapped around something warm and wriggly, and then—

"Ow. Ow! What the—?" Something bit her. Lumi withdrew her hand and stuck her face closer to the opening of the bag. What she had grabbed appeared to be a long, bushy, grey tail. Beady, black eyes peered back up at her.

"Nutkin!" She hissed. "So you're the culprit!"

Squeaking angrily, the Nutkin made a grab for the bag's flap, in an attempt to close the door to its new "home", but Lumi held the bag open and tried to shake it out. It gripped onto the fabric tightly, and all she was able to throw out were some leaves and a few acorn caps.

"No, this is my bag! You get out!"

With a final shake, Lumi stood triumphantly over the small creature, who tumbled onto the ground. Now that it was out in the open, it looked... really scared and lost, actually. She felt a little bad. Holding on to the last of its acorn, it trembled slightly as it peered into the cold, dark forest. It turned back to Lumi and stared up with pleading eyes. Lumi sighed, opening her bag back up and shaping it into a bed-like form as best as she could.

"Fine. You can stay in here for the night. We're leaving this forest first thing tomorrow, though. So we are parting ways..." The Nutkin's eyes shone as she mentioned 'leaving'. She supposed this kind of forest didn't really look like a place Nutkins would be native to.

"...This isn't your home, is it?" The Nutkin shook its head. "Okay, you can come along with me. Until we get somewhere safer." She pulled another stray leaf out of her bag. "You can't keep garbage in here, though."



Art by chiizuki

Nutkin has joined the party!


Inventory

650 Gil

Ezra's Tome: An old, worn tome given to Lumi by the old mage in the woods that taught her Black Magic. It is a beginner's spell tome and contains a few basic elemental spells. Scribbles and notes made by Lumi fill the margins.

Foot Wart Potion: A potion brewed by Mercer for a patient in Saltstone Town and handed to Lumi for delivery. She seems to have forgotten to deliver it.

Skills

Lumi does not have a staff or weapon yet, but she can cast spells without the use of one, just rather weakly. She uses these spells regularly for fun with no real intent to harm, as she has not had the need to use them offensively yet.

Thunder: A small jolt of lightning is conjured and shot through a target.

Blizzard: Conjures a storm within a small radius where the target is pelted with bits of hail. Can be used to freeze small amounts of water.

Water: Conjures a wave of water that rushes towards target(s).

Fira: Intermediate fire magic. Conjures flames to engulf target(s), or can be thrown at a target. Lumi is able to control the size of her flames within her power, ie. she can still cast minor fire magic.


gimmepie

Age 25
Male
Australia
Seen 4 Hours Ago
Posted 4 Hours Ago
23,083 posts
9.1 Years
Full Party

Welcome to Delice


The group of fugitives approached Delice, entering the centremost of its cylinders through a large gate. They found themselves inside a surprisingly grand hall with an intricate marble floor depicting symbolism of Kush and Aeis. Above them, the midday sunlight filtered down from a stained glass ceiling of similar design, painting the room in shades of red, yellow and green. Around them, the walls of the room were covered with two rows of swirling portals contained within something resembling door frames. Each was large enough for a cart to pass through with ease. A curved ramp with an ornate rail led up to the second row. Upon closer inspection, those who moved closer to a portal could see each frame had the portal’s destination carved into it repeatedly in pretty cursive text.

Still, as awe-inspiring as the sight was to some, there was something wrong with the atmosphere. The hall was filled with bestials, part-bestials and the occasional human, passing through as they made their way from one of Delice’s biomes to the next via portals. A large number of them seemed to be eyeing the new arrivals with distrust and whispering under their breath to each other as they went about their business. A handful even stopped and stared. Stranger still, Cho seemed to be the one who was drawing most of their ire, even though by rights he should have been one of the least conspicuous of them in a city of bestials.

“Ugh… I’m so glad to finally be out of that forest. My feet feel like they’re about ready to fall off if I don’t get a chance to sit down and pry out of these boots soon...” Azure groaned as she trudged along with the rest of the party. Her snowy-white hair was currently sticking up in various directions. Dirt and mud covering her clothing and skin, which produced a rather unique odor that only seemed to amplify when mixing in with the rest of the group’s… musty odor they were carrying themselves. She cast an annoyed glare towards Ekha. “This is all your fault, Bottle-Boy. If you and the rest hadn’t gotten lost and left me and Lumi behind, we’d have gotten here so much sooner!”

“You’re right,” Ekha replied with a roll of his eyes, “Clearly I should have predicted that the airship would explode and dump us all over a forest.”

“You were the one who picked out that piece of junk…” Azure retorted, crossing her arms over her chest. “The important thing is we learned who not to let make the final call on important decisions like that.”

"To be fair, that aeon did a number on the poor ship." Cho put himself between the two. "Don't matter how quality it was, a fireball is still a fireball."

Lumi hummed in agreement, bouncing along next to Cho. She hadn't gotten out of her tattered tunic yet, but aside from that, she did not seem too bothered by recent events. "Oh, it's been days, let it go." She said airily, not fully paying attention to the content of their argument, but sensing one nonetheless.

She had her reservations about the current location they found themselves in, but at least she was surrounded by her companions. And her new friendship with the gentle beastman next to her had changed her opinion ever so slightly on bestials. Despite that, she couldn't help feeling something was off here. Lumi lowered her voice as she looked around. "Glad we finally found a city, but what's with the glares? And especially at you, Cho. Did you desecrate their temples in a past life or something?" She dropped her voice to a whisper as they continued to draw in hostile stares. "Or this one?"

A small, mischievous glint comes to Azure's eyes. "Maybe Cho is a bigtime wanted murderer… He lures people in with that friendly and easygoing attitude… and then when they least suspect it… He snaps into a bloody rage!"

“Currently we’re all wanted for murder,” Ekha added, also with a hushed voice. “Let’s just hope the looks don’t have anything to do with that.”

"I've never killed anyone!" Cho quietly complained. He was used to the odd looks and the general air of mistrust, but this was a step beyond the norm. "And I've never desecrated anything, neither! I actually worship Kush. Maybe I should get a pendant or something…"

“Didn’t expect Cho to be the one everyone is wary of…” Rayen whispered quietly, trying to stay under the radar of both the citizens of the city and the rest of her group. In her mind, it was a miracle that a certain member still hadn’t asked her some awkward questions after all those days. She took a good look around the city as she walked. One eye to find and remember the location of any shop that could’ve been useful, and the other on everyone else around her… for good measure.

Adair had been very quiet since the band of fugitives had regrouped, doing little more than following along and occasionally petting Bubbers. Since they entered Delice, however, he’d come back to life. The spritely sylvan was scanning all the people they passed, standing straight and proud as if he had a backbone and ready for the next opportunity to cross his path. “We should be on the lookout for any adventurer’s guilds, specialized equipment shops or niche restaurants.” He reminded them, patting one of the many bundles tied to the chocobo walking beside him. “We haven’t nearly burned through all the mushrooms we found yet and even if we had, there are people who’d pay for Marlboro and mush-monster bits.”

The merchant, in his dedication to recouping his losses, hadn’t allowed the group to move on after their big fight without collecting everything that might be of value and would not miss an opportunity to start selling them. Unfortunately, the spoils of war didn’t help with the party’s...less than fresh odor.

“Honestly,” Ekha said, “If you’re wanting to do that, that could be a good place to pick up some information. We’ve been out of the loop for the past few days and don’t really know what’s been said about what happened at Estryn. Maybe we should split up and try to piece together what’s been happening in that time. We could meet back here in a few hours?”

Vidar snapped out of his daze at the mention of an actual plan. He’d mostly been following the group, letting his guard down and just taking in the sights. His village had exactly one temple for Shermos and approximately zero beastfolk. Even when traveling they were rare in his corner of Kestria.

“I can hunt around for a smith geared towards the adventuring and mercenary type.” He suggested, secretly excited at the proposition of looking at weapons created for bestials. “I should probably have my stuff checked out after falling out of an airship. ‘Sides, in my experience the customers there like to talk about work on top of the weapons. Not the most reliable sort, but gives us an idea of what’s around.”

“Actually, that sounds good. Someone needs arrows, you know.” Rayen made herself heard for a brief moment, with one eye always fixed on Lumi.

Azure's ears perked up at the mention of Vidar's plan. An afternoon of browsing new things to outfit herself with? It was an ideal situation that she'd love to participate in.

"Oh, I'll come too!" Azure chimed in, a broad smile suddenly gracing her lips as she turned to face the dragoon. "I've got a keen eye on spotting good equipment and know how to make sure we get the best deals!"

“Is that what you call it? Finding a good deal?” Ekha remarked, keenly aware of the circumstances he’d first encountered Azure in and not entirely able to shake the old merchant-family distaste for thievery. “At least Vidar will be there to keep an eye on you I suppose.”

"Keep an eye on me?!" Azure exclaimed. The white-haired thief huffed, sending a glare at Ekha. "I'm handily capable of taking care of myself!"

“That is precisely what worries me,” Ekha replied. “Shall we head out then?”

"Probably should. I'll go find a temple, see what I can find out from one of them." Cho looked around the area. Some people stared at him, but immediately started moving when he made eye contact. "Maybe… I should go alone. Might cause you guys trouble if you're seen with me."

“I’ll come with you,” Ekha said, “I don’t mind being stared at, and I don’t like how these people keep looking at you.”

“Well, Ekha, you don’t have to if you conceal your appearance… a disguise would be cool, but a hood could do just fine.” Rayen chimes in from the back of the group. “Best of both worlds, right?” She can’t help but giggle slightly.

“I’m not sure how helpful that will be for hiding Cho once we get into areas with less bestials, but honestly grabbing some hoods if we see them isn’t a bad idea,” Ekha replied.

Lumi stopped looking around as she noticed the group starting to split off. She was a little worried about Cho too, but he should be fine with Ekha. And she just really wanted to find a weapon for herself, as well—she’d been practicing with no staff or rod for long enough, and was excited to see how one would take her skills to a new level. “Okay, so, buddy system. I wanna check out the shops, too—who does that leave me with?”

That was not the best move in hindsight. Actually, how did she screw up this bad? From the back of the group, Rayen tried to walk away unnoticed, just like the rest of her companions were doing but with one key difference - by herself: all in order to avoid any direct confrontation with Lumi, and having to fulfill the promise she made to her. But that would’ve been much easier by sticking with literally anyone else, and her last chance to do so was already slipping away.

“Adair’s going to be tied up doing his negotiations, so maybe you can stick with Rayen, Lumi.” Ekha had considered the idea of the young moogle running off on her own and while that seemed safer than Azure doing the same… it didn’t fill him with confidence.

Of course that was going to happen. Rayen rolled her eyes, but at least understood Ekha’s point.

Rayen, Rayen... Lumi studied the bug-lady's face and was sure the last time they'd spoken, she went by a different name. And she was distinct-looking enough that the moogle was pretty sure Rayen was, in fact, Bryony, though this bestial had been largely keeping to herself the whole time they were all traveling together, so they did not have much of a chance to interact. Maybe bestials of her kind have more than one name, maybe Lumi was being racist and this is a different person entirely, but either way, she supposed it was a good time to clear things up.

“Okay! Well, let’s see…” Lumi eagerly leaned in to inspect one of the portal frames. “Let’s go find some shops, too - I wanna buy a rod or a staff or something. And we can look at bows and stuff after as well, of course.” She quickly added.

With that, the group began to split off, finding their way through different portals and into Delice proper.

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gimmepie

Age 25
Male
Australia
Seen 4 Hours Ago
Posted 4 Hours Ago
23,083 posts
9.1 Years
Ekha and Cho

Orc in a Hard Place


Cho and Ekha passed through a portal on the far side of the main chamber and found themselves in a wide open space with very few buildings. The exception to this was a large stone chapel-like structure with an ornate symbol of Kush laid into the stonework. Extending outward from the church building were numerous shallow pools of slightly murky water, vibrant green stalks growing from them identifying them as rice paddies.

While some of the rice fields were left alone, several of them were being tended to by a mix of bestials and part-bestials. This resulted in a never-ending cycle of rice being carted into the church building as more farmers filed out to return to the harvest.

As the unlikely pair approached, several of the workers stopped and stared or started whispering harshly under their breaths to each other. It was eerily like what had happened in the main chamber and, again, their attention seemed to be strangely focused on Cho.

“So, what’s the plan?” Ekha asked his companion, “And what are all the dirty looks and whispering about? Are you sure you’ve never been here.”

"Yeah, I'm sure. Look, it's not me, it's… well, it's not who I am, it's what I am." Cho gestured to a farmer in the rice fields. "You see that? Orcs don't do that. Orcs don't farm. They just eat."

He sighed, looking up at the symbol of Kush on the church. "You've heard the stories, right? Orcs are nothing but marauders, raiding and pillaging everywhere they go? That's not entirely correct, but it's not far off. Orcs are nomads, we don't stay in one place. We come to a place, hunt what we want, eat what we can, and move on when pickings get slim. Don't usually leave much for the people left in our wake."

“Sure,” Ekha replied, “I’m originally from the Sprawl in the west. We didn’t see a lot of orcs there since there’s not a lot of raw resources for the taking in the desert, but everyone in Othon has heard how orcs refuse to abandon the old tribal systems. I don’t know if that’s enough reason for this though, especially here of all places. You’re a single orc in the presence of some very not-Orc looking people. That’s not much of a raiding party.”

Cho paused on the steps. "Yeah, that's true… Maybe there's more to it?"

“Has to be, right?” Ekha said, “Maybe we can ask about it while we’re here. It could be relevant to what happened in Estryn.”

Ekha and Cho walked into the chapel building, finding that the inside looked more like a storehouse than a church. Instead of pews, most of the structure was full of containers and bags full of food. Only a small area was left empty for actual prayer.

There wasn’t much time to take all that in though, because the second their presence was noted an elderly part-bestial man screamed at them with a mix of anger and fear. “No! It’s too soon! You just came! What are you doing back here?”

"I've never been here before! Honest!" Cho raised his hands, looking between Ekha and the old man. "I haven't done anything…"

“We just g-” Ekha started, but the man cut him off, the furred ears on top of his head bristling.

“I don’t want to hear it!” He continued glaring at Cho, “We like to think we’re a pretty accepting people here, but even Kush herself wouldn’t greet you with open arms! You and your kind have been taking our food and goods for over a month and every time you come back it’s sooner than before! You were just here the day before yesterday! I’m not standing for this damnit! We’ll have nothing left!”

“What are you talking about?! We’ve never been here!” Ekha interjected again, louder this time.

The part-bestial turned to see Ekha, apparently for the first time. “And just who in Kush’s name are you?!”

“My name’s Ekha, and I can vouch for Cho. He was definitely not here the day before yesterday. He was with me and the rest of our… group.”

“He was?! The Orc?!” Even when he’d calmed down a bit, it seemed yelling was the elder’s only volume setting.

"Yes, I was." Cho didn't want to threaten the old priest, but he was aware of how intimidating he could be simply by virtue of being three times the man's size. So he didn't raise his voice, he simply loomed over the priest and explained himself calmly. "We're traveling together, mostly been moving goods. We had a bit of trouble with our ship recently, and had to walk to this fine city. And for the record, I'm not part of any Orc tribe. Haven't been for years. So I'd appreciate if you'd check your assumptions and tell my friend here whatever he wants to know!"

The part-human man gulped and took a deep breath to calm himself down. “Sorry! I’ll explain. For about a month-and-a-half now, an Orc tribe has been coming into the city and demanding supplies. At first, it was fine, we helped them out in accordance with the teachings but they kept coming back and the demands keep getting greater. If we don’t give them enough they start destroying everything and the few guards we have can’t handle them! We’ve petitioned the capital for aid but we haven’t got any. We’re at our wits end!”

To Ekha’s amazement, some of the demi-bestial’s sentences had been at an almost normal volume. What he was saying was concerning though. If the orcs came from the south, they could present a problem with their attempts to reach Kestria. “Where do they come from?”

“They have a camp to the south of here.” The elder replied.

That was not what Ekha wanted to hear. He looked up at Cho. “What do you think?”

Cho stepped back from the priest with a disgruntled snort. "I don't like it. They won't move on until they stop getting what they want. Town like this, that could take a while, and they'll make life hell for the people living here the whole time. That, and they're sitting right in our path."

He sighed, his shoulders slumped with resignation. "This ain't our fight, and I don't wanna start one, but I don't like the thought of leaving these people like this. One way or another, we gotta deal with this problem."

“Yeah, I was thinking more or less the same.” Ekha sighed, “I guess nothing gets to be easy anymore. Should we go meetup with the others?”

"Yeah, probably should. Least we know a little more now. Have a direction to go in, know why I'm getting the evil eye. Actually…" He looked back over to the old demihuman priest.

"Sorry for being so short with you, Elder. I'm used to a certain degree of hostility on account of my species, but it's been a little extra since I arrived. Actually, the reason I came here is because I myself follow the Lady Kush. Could I borrow an amulet or an emblem, perhaps? Some kind of symbol to show I'm associated with the faith, and not just a hungry raider looking for a handout?"

“Oh uh…” He thought for a moment before pulling off his own amulet and handing it to Cho. “That should do it, and if anyone complains tell them A’nuz can vouch for you. Now it sounds like you’re going to do something about this problem of ours… if you do we might be able to arrange some sort of reward.”

"Thank you kindly, Elder." Cho accepted the holy symbol, pinning it to the front of his vest as it wouldn't fit around his thick porcine neck. "And yes, I think we'll have to deal with these Orcs. I can't in good conscience allow them to harass you folks, and it looks like we're headed that direction anyway. As for a reward… uh…" Lost, he looked to Ekha for help. "What exactly do we need, Ekha?"

“It sounds terrible,” Ekha replied, “But we’re going to need money and provisions after the… ship incident since our current occupation won’t allow us to take on much in the way of official extra work.”

A’nuz grinned at the fugitives. “Well, you deal with the raiders and I’ll see what I can wrangle up in the meantime. I’m sure plenty will be willing to make donations.”

"Sounds like a plan." Cho bowed to A'nuz, cupping his hands in the traditional Kush prayer gesture. "Good day and good rest to you, Elder."
The elder bowed back, reciprocating the gesture. “To you also!”
RPWLA&MBattle ServerDaily

Juno

jordan x casey x vera

Age 26
Female
Seen 12 Hours Ago
Posted 2 Days Ago
4,383 posts
7.5 Years


SINCERITY & SUPPLIES


🌀 Delice ft. Briony Rayen

Lumi peeked into her bag. Nestled next to her coin purse was a small, grey lump, fast asleep. She tried to withdraw her money without disturbing it. Slow, steady...

"Ow! You little- I just want to count my Gil!" She whined, as the startled nutkin chomped down on her fingers yet again. Unconcerned by the moogle's protests, the small creature yawned and curled back around her coin purse, as it tried to fall back asleep. Lumi snatched the cloth pouch back up before it could fully settle in. "It is not a pillow." She snapped.

She counted her coins as she turned to her bestial companion. "So... 80, 90, 100... which portal do you think we should try first?"

“Well… not the cold ones. That’s all I ask for.”

How did she not bring up the elephant in the room, or even look concerned about it? Humans were always ready to point out all of the fallacies in her lies and machinations, and did so mercilessly as soon as they had the occasion. But Lumi… well, she was a moogle, so there’s that.

"Hm." The moogle looked around, trying to find the least hostile-looking person they could talk to. She ended up tugging on the sleeve of a young, bestial woman possessing similar qualities to herself, hoping the likeness would make her kinder. She, too, had long, fluffy ears, but was much, much taller, and her sinewy legs made her look like she could dropkick Lumi clean through one of these portals with ease. She did not look mean, though. "Excuse me! Do you know where I could find a shop that sells magical wares, like staves and wands?"

The woman spun around and looked down, clearly not used to being addressed by someone so small. "Oh. Ah, you can try the Aldergrove? Not a lot of magic users out here, but there's a small community of 'em through that portal and to the west, maybe they can help you." She pointed to a portal in the second row above them, and disappeared through a nearby frame without another word.

"Thank- oh. Well, wanna check that out, Br-ayen?" Lumi craned her neck to look at the upper portals. "Which name do you want to be called, by the way?"

Oh, so she did not forget. “What do you mean? I’m Rayen, that’s… my name.” And Briony was just… not yet.

“Oh. Okay,” Lumi shrugged, when the girl did not elaborate. “So, Aldergrove then, Rayen?” Distracted by the prospect of magical goods past the portal she was pointed towards, she briskly started making her way up the steps before Rayen could respond.

The demihuman had no choice but to follow the Moogle, entering the portal right after her. She was quite puzzled by Lumi’s behavior, but that was only one more reason to stick around her.

Past the ornate portal frame, they found themselves in a beautiful, lush green landscape. Enormous trees towered over them everywhere they looked, and all the shops, homes and any other structures were built right in them, nestling into the gigantic trunks.

“West, West…” Lumi repeated the directions she was given, trying to find her bearings. “I think we are going this way. Do you know where West is?”

“This way, surely!” Rayen attempted a smile.

“Alrighty!” They walked in silence for a few beats. Now that her initial excitement of finding their way to the shop was being satisfied, the question that had been floating in the back of her mind surfaced. “Oh yeah, so why did you lie about your name?”

“I did what? No!” Rayen replied instinctively, forcing her to wait a few seconds before continuing. “I have many… well… sisters that look all like me. Maybe you met one of them?”

Lumi looked up at her companion, scrutinizing her face. That was certainly... possible? She wasn’t sure if she wanted to press on, lest her people do look this similar and she just couldn’t tell them apart. And acted the same. And talked the same. But her eyes fell on the dagger attached to her belt, and she carried on without further thought. “But that’s the same dagger from before. I remember you had it at the inn. And your bow...”

“They were all… uh, made by the same arti-artisans.” Rayen has some trouble answering this time, and somehow stutters. Not one of her best performances! Is Lumi really giving her so much trouble?

Maybe telling the truth is a better idea - as long as her storytelling is on point, Lumi will surely understand all of her struggles and her difficulties, and will stop being a thorn in her side! She waits for a response as she tries to cook up a good story.

The Moogle’s eyes flickered between the flustered bestial and her familiar equipment. This was weird. She felt like the more she explained, the less believable everything she said was. Lumi was not overly invested when she first asked about her name - it was more of a conversational point, but now she felt like she needed to find out. “I dunno, do you all wear the same clothes, too? Your voice is also very famil-”

"No, it's all wrong…" Rayen barked, interrupting Lumi, but that was the least convincing she's sounded in ages. "Well. You know what, guess I'll tell you. Do you still remember the day of the conference?"

“Um, yeah, of course.” Lumi responded tentatively, a little thrown off by her sudden forcefulness, but eager to listen, nonetheless.

“Yeah, well. Whatever happened there was just me going undercover and acting sneaky. I kinda had to, if I wanted to get to Estryn safely and be there for the conference - plus what I did at the tavern was not something I’m proud of - but, given the situation…” Rayen took a heavy, long breath.

The skeptical look in Lumi's eyes lingered, but at least she admitted she and “Briony” were one and the same.

“Given the situation, it’s useless to keep this up. We’re all criminals now, but we’re in it together.”

Rayen’s face looked like a weird mixture of hopeful and angry, ready to snap at any moment. She had always acted by the notion that, in doubt, she was better off lying… but now she’d gone way over the limit, and realizing that only now made her very scared. Especially now that she was part of this so-called group, who could have accepted her as a nice battle asset, just like Ekha did, or just thrown her aside only to blame everything that happened solely on her.

“I’m right, Lumi… am I not?” The demihuman looked intensely at the Moogle’s eyes from above.

“Oh.” That was still pretty foreign for Lumi to hear. They had talked about their status as ‘criminals’ earlier with the group, but something about the grave look on Rayen’s face made her take the assertion a bit more seriously. Cool. She couldn’t help thinking to herself.

...Just a bit more seriously.

“Um, yeah, I guess you’re right.” She responded, not really sure where Rayen was going with this, as she pondered her new status as a hardened criminal.

"I know neither of us meant for this to happen, in fact I still shudder about it to this day, but now… we got each other, right? And…" Rayen had to resort to that one word, even though it was pretty hard to say. "Sorry."

Lumi nodded. She was a little surprised by the apology, but appreciated it all the same - not that she felt like Rayen really owed her anything. But she was right, about her and everyone else they came with. They have to stick together. “Yeah! Don’t worry about it, it really doesn’t matter what I call you or what I called you, or why… we’re in this together now, Rayen. If that’s your real name,” she added jokingly with a small nudge.

"Doesn't even matter anymore. Not like you needed to know it to find out it was me all along!" Rayen eventually smiled, trying to collect herself and relax a bit. "And now, let's go and find some weapons!"

🌲 Delice - Aldergrove

As the lady they asked for directions mentioned earlier, tucked away in the western corner of the shopping district, was, indeed, a small community of magic users, and the few magical apparatus shops that existed in this biome were all here. It seemed only one of these shops specialized in weapons for mages, and as Rayen had her own supplies to gather, Lumi pushed open the heavy doors on her own.

The store was larger on the inside than it looked on the outside, but still had a cozy feel to it; the dark, wooden walls and cluttered shelves definitely made it more homey. She was the only one here at the moment, aside from the shopkeep - a hulking, bestial man with bear-like features sitting behind the counter, reading. He didn't look like he was built to be a magic user, and from physical appearance alone, Lumi could not begin to guess how old he was. From his mannerisms and how he moved, though, he reminded her of her Grandpa a bit. In a good way. His presence was comforting. She felt a slight pang of guilt thinking about her Grandpa, but quickly brushed it aside. Lumi stepped up and cleared her throat.

"Excuse me, sir! I am looking to purchase a staff or rod."

The old man peered over the counter and smiled kindly at her, before closing the tome in his hands.

"Why, of course, miss! We have a wide selection of magical weapons available - I am sure we will be able to find something for you today. We'll help you walk out of here with something suited to your needs and skills. Now, let me start with a simple question; what kind of spells do you know?"

"Thank you! Let's see, I am a big fan of fire. Not, like, generally, but I mean that Fira is my best spell. I can also cast Thunder, Blizzard, Water..." She ticked them off her fingers as she listed her proficiencies.

"Ah, a Black Mage, then! Give me one moment - I have just the rod for you."

Opening one of the wood and glass cases behind him, Lumi pressed herself up against the front counter as she eagerly watched his hands hover over a selection of ornate wands resting on red satin. He passed a silver and sapphire rod, reaching slightly towards a beautiful wand with a golden claw gripping a bright, red gem at the top - that one! - she privately thought to herself. But he reached past that and retrieved... a plain, wooden rod. It was also topped with a gem, but the stone at the top was anything but brilliant, with almost a yellowy-brown lustre to it.

"Here you are!" The old man turned back around, presenting the dingy, old rod as Lumi tried to hide her disappointment.

"Oh... thank you, but I'd like to... look around a bit more, if you don't mind. Um, what about that one?" Lumi asked, pointing to the pretty, gold wand she had her eyes on.

The shopkeep looked back, before turning to her with a knowing smile. "I think that one will be perfect for you... after a certain amount of training. But in the meantime..." He tapped the rod in front of them.

"I have money," Lumi countered stubbornly, pushing her coin purse onto the counter. She felt a kick coming from inside her bag.

"I understand, but Miss," He started, not unkindly, but definitely firmly. "I did say you will be walking out of here with something suited to your needs and skills. My shop would not be the oldest and most well-known seller of magical wares in Delice, had I let every young hopeful walk out with any staff or rod they like. People are not just paying for my wares, but also my expertise. So please, trust me on this one. I understand it is not the most beautiful rod, but at least give it a try before dismissing it."

Defeated, Lumi hesitantly reached out and took the rod from the shop owner’s outstretched hands. The stone glowed dimly as she held it, and the rod felt pleasantly warm, in a way that she would not have expected plain wood to feel. Interesting. She turned it in her hands a few times, before brandishing it at the empty space around her.

"Now, this is a polished citrine stone, imbued with the power of Fire magic. You will find that it gives you an edge with spells of that element, but, of course, all of your other Black magic will be enhanced as w-"

A large jet of fire emerged from the wand, engulfing a small stool and knocking it back with so much force it crashed loudly into the shelf behind it.

"Oh, my- I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I didn’t mean to do that - just wanted to get a feel for-”

"That's quite alright,” The old man chuckled surprisingly calmly, as he reached into his robe and pulled out a solid silver wand. With a flick of his wrist, a stream of water emerged from the wand, putting out the fire and dissipating before it splashed onto the carpet below. Lumi watched in awe. It was a simple display of power, but his very controlled and precise use of magic was impressive. “But now I hope you see why it is important to match the rod with the user. You will adjust to this one fairly quickly, and as your skill increases, you will be able to hone your powers alongside rods and staves imbued with even stronger powers."

Lumi nodded. "I understand, thank you, sir.” She beamed, looking at the rod in her hand in a new light. Her first use of magic with it was slightly disastrous, but also more powerful for the level of effort she had put into that than she’d ever felt. Lumi was excited to see what she could do in a real battle. “I think I will take it. How much do I owe you?"

"You are very welcome, dear." He checked the price tag on the empty spot the rod had previously sat on. Lumi could see it priced for 450 Gil, and began counting out her coins. "You can have this one for 350 Gil."

“A-are you sure?” She looked up mid-count, stunned by the kindness and generosity, especially after what she’d done.

“Uhhh… Lumi, what was that?” Rayen’s voice was heard right at that moment, unceremoniously interrupting the transaction. “You alright? I was just buying arrows at the next stand over and…”

“Oh! Uh, yeah, all good. Just... trying out my new wand here.” Lumi giggled, glancing at the singed stool. The man nodded at Rayen with a smile, but did not elaborate further on the accident, which Lumi appreciated. He turned back to the moogle.

“Yes, 350 Gil will do. I love helping young mages find their passion for magic, and I see a promising fire in you; excuse the pun.” He chortled. “You have a talent, and I hope you will continue to hone and improve it with this.”

They completed the transaction and Lumi thanked the kind man once more, before leaving with Rayen. Looking at her new weapon, the moogle hummed merrily as she skipped down the street. After a few paces, she glanced back at her companion, pointing to the arrows in her hand and quiver. “You still gotta pay for those?”

"Oh, I already did! It's a lot of arrows to carry but I don't wanna run out again." The moogle nodded absently in response, but those arrows were nothing out of the ordinary for Rayen to use - the rod that Lumi was holding, that was a different story. Despite what Rayen might have thought of her back at the inn in Estryn, her companion was gonna go places.

Inventory

300 Gil (-350 Gil)

Ezra's Tome: An old, worn tome given to Lumi by the old mage in the woods that taught her Black Magic. It is a beginner's spell tome and contains a few basic elemental spells. Scribbles and notes made by Lumi fill the margins.

Foot Wart Potion: A potion brewed by Mercer for a patient in Saltstone Town and handed to Lumi for delivery. She seems to have forgotten to deliver it.

Rod: A plain-looking wooden rod set with a citrine stone. Not incredibly powerful, but substantially better than nothing.

Skills

Lumi does not have a staff or weapon yet, but she can cast spells without the use of one, just rather weakly. She uses these spells regularly for fun with no real intent to harm, as she has not had the need to use them offensively yet.

Thunder: A small jolt of lightning is conjured and shot through a target.

Blizzard: Conjures a storm within a small radius where the target is pelted with bits of hail. Can be used to freeze small amounts of water.

Water: Conjures a wave of water that rushes towards target(s).

Fira: Intermediate fire magic. Conjures flames to engulf target(s), or can be thrown at a target. Lumi is able to control the size of her flames within her power, ie. she can still cast minor fire magic.