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

Started by gimmepie February 28th, 2020 5:50 PM
  • 30 replies


Age 25
Seen 1 Hour Ago
Posted 1 Hour Ago

Final Fantasy: Alternate
The world of Midiri is fantastical, full of magic and monsters and is keeping hidden within it many secrets. It is a land of wonders, inhabited by many different races, with much to explore and experience.

Midiri is far from paradise though. Separated by a river, the northern nation of Othon and the southern nation of Kestria have a long history of war and violence between them. For many years now, tensions have been on the rise between the countries again. In a last ditch effort to prevent open warfare between the two powerful countries, the smaller nation of Ascana in the east is hosting the leaders of both for peace negotiations.

You may not expect it, but soon you will be caught up in a dispute between superpowers and the fate of Midiri may well rest in your hands.

Chapter List

Chapter One: The Plaza (Estryn)
Chapter Two: Wrecked (Titan Shrooms)
Chapter Three: Collection (Delice)

Chapter One
The city of Estryn is bustling, airships occupy every dock and the magic platform lifts that take people from the Estryn Villages below up into the main city are in constant occupation. The cobblestone streets are crowded with people; humans, bestials, sylvans, demi-humans, moogles and more, from all over Midiri have gathered in the golden city to see history be made.

Everywhere you go, you can hear the whispers. For the first time in centuries, King Zephon Othon is to meet with members of the Kestrian Council to negotiate peace. They say that Princess Rachel has mellowed out the prideful king a lot, that the Kestrians are so desperate for Othonese aid in reigning in the Void Hole and its corruption that they are prepared to make great concessions and they say that all this is possible because the wise King Cid VII of Ascana invited both countries to his neutral table.

At precisely 12:00pm, an important event is being held in Estryn’s central plaza. It is there that King Zephon, King Cid and High Priest Sigmund, representative for the Kestrian Council will convene and, with grand speeches and much fanfare, publicly declare the opening of peace proceedings.

Chapter Objective: Whatever your reasons for being in Estryn at this time, you need to find your way into the central plaza in time for the event to begin. How and why you get there, and whatever detours you make along the way, are up to you.

- Potion (50G)
- Antidote (50G)
- Eye Drops (50G)
- Memory Sphere (1000G) - Learn Scan.

Staff Anime Villain Collab • Petelgeuse Romanee-Conti • My brain trembles!


Believe in the you that believes in cheese

Age 26
Seen 1 Day Ago
Posted December 30th, 2020
1,318 posts
10 Years

How to Nail Your First Day


--=-- 19 =--= Ascanian Mandolin =--= Bub's Whistle =--= 2,700 Gil worth of tradeable cargo: Practical goods =--= Gil: -1,700 (300 Gil on hand, 2,000 Gil of debt) --=--

“Fine, fine! The song went well, my customers were happy and ordered plenty more drinks, so I won’t charge you for the secure storage. But you’re paying The room fee, I saw those fools throwing enough Gil at you to cover it even if you were dirt broke before you came in!” The Innkeep, Barkeep and some might say: Tavern Owner of The Cackling Cactuar insisted, jabbing a finger just shy of the face of a young sylvan man, who raised his hands in surrender.

“Yes, yes sir, of course! I would never try to take advantage of a hard working man’s generosity.” Adair spread some coins on the bar and held in the sigh threatening to escape his mouth. He was so glad the people enjoyed his impromptu performance enough to pay but...coincidentally he’d been thrown just enough Gil to cover his room and food. Just like that, right from a nice little early profit straight to breaking even. Biggest day of recent history in one of the most bustling cities of Midiri, and here I am with 300 Gil to my name, a pittance a pauper would laugh at.

There was still a fair bit of time before the ceremony, but not as much as he’d like. Time to hustle. Adair bid the gruff barkeep adieu and left the Cackling Cactuar, whereupon his traveling companion, mount, beast of burden and best (only) friend Bub the black chocobo began to follow him. The burly bird refused to ever stay and watch the stock unless they were camping outside of civilization, otherwise the beleaguered bard was always forced to find a safe place to keep their things while he and his birdyguard went about their business. Bub was still making himself useful, however. Adair tied a hefty sack with samples of each of the goods he’d brought in bulk to the city with him to the chocobo’s saddle. One can’t try to sell someone they can’t take a look at for themselves, any salesman worth his salt will test the quality of anything he even considers spending money on.

Ascana doesn’t exactly have a general store on every corner. In fact, there’s nothing ‘general’ about the city in general. That makes it a place where more basic goods can be quite valuable, relatively… but it also makes it a place where not many people are looking to buy or sell such things. The first few stores Adair checked had no interest, but one of them did point him in a hopefully better direction. The city had one particularly big shopping district with a construction company’s headquarters in it. Even in the heart of Ascana construction still meant a lot of elbow grease and a lot of raw materials. The nails, at least, should interest them. It took everything he had to ignore all the stores he passed and the wonderful shopping opportunities they presented, but he held until he saw a particularly solid looking building with a nice front facade and a sign that read
Entoril Construction
Best Builders of Ascana
A delightfully straightforward and earnest declaration, if a bit lacking in flair. Adair made his way in and straight to the receptionist in the back of the lobby. “Excuse me, are any agents or management available? I’ve business to offer.”

The “receptionist”, an older sylvan woman with silvery hair, looked up at Adair and scowled.

“Well, I’m just the owner, so I guess I’ll have to do. What do you want?” Her tone made it evident she was tired of this scenario occurring.

“Sorry for any misunderstanding on my part.” His nerves held for a moment. “It may be surprising that the owner of a company as respected as I’ve been told yours is would be receiving visitors right in the lobby, but it’s refreshing more than anything else. Blunt and to the point, much like your sign. I like it.” He lightly bounced the sack he’d taken off Bub before he came in on his shoulder once. “I’ll get straight to the point as well. I’ve got nails for sale, from Kestria, no less. I doubt I need to explain to you how hard working their craftsmen are, even if they’re not very creative. I’m sure you’ll be getting a lot of new work after the peace talks. Succeed or fail, such a thing warrants construction, aye?”

“Nails are nails,” the woman replied, continuing to scowl at the person who had invaded her business. “What makes Kestrian nails any better than Othonese or Ascanian and why should I care?”

Adair’s nose wrinkled for a moment, but he persevered. “Consistency. The very best Kestrian nails are no better than Ascana’s best, but the average ones?” He pulled a few out of the bag and set them on her desk for inspection. “Much better than any other nation’s average. Kestria has access to much more raw ore for iron and steel - as well as much more mundane industry than Ascana. They’re also very organized in said industry thanks to the governmental oversight and the unity brought from their shared beliefs. Othonese craftsmanship for things as small and precise as nails pales in comparison, they’re much more concerned with tools of war. Take a look, they speak for themselves.”

The owner took one of the nails, turning it over in her hand and examining it. She looked back at Adair, then sighed.

“You’re a good salesman. I hate it. How many have you got?”

“A hundred on hand right now, four hundred more at the Cackling Cactuar if you have somebody who can come pick them up later.”

“I’ll give you two hundred and fifty for the lot. One of my employees can pick them up. I know where the Cackling Cactuar is.”

“I have to say 800 would be a lot more reasonable a starting point, that’s still less than getting the same amount shipped to you from a bigger supplier would cost.”

“I have been in this business since before your parents even met, I know what nails are worth,” the woman shot back, “That’s nearly double what five hundred is worth at the maximum and I’m not paying you the maximum. I’ve got a business to keep afloat.”

“Yes...that is nearly twice their value...in Kestria. How much harder is it to get them in bulk in Ascana? How often do you have to order them from far away? How many others in my place would spit your own rhetoric back at you? I won’t do that. I don’t have employees, I can give you a fair price. 800 would be ridiculous, but not as ridiculous as 250.” He smiled warmly. “You’ll have to at least give me their base value, plus the trouble I went to bringing them here to Estryn. 700 Gil.”

“That’s hardly any better that your last offer. I’ll give you six hundred and don’t you try to stiff me again. I’m seventy-three but I can still kick your ass.” The woman punctuated that sentence by jabbing a finger at Adair.

Adair offered her a nervous chuckle, really lamenting how he found someone that was utter anathema to his own disposition on his first day in Estrya. “You can pummel me all day, but there is one thing you can’t beat: my prices! 650 Gil for the bunch and I’ll throw in a free promise to sing and play anywhere or anywhen you ask at least once!”

The woman reached into a chest below the counter, rummaging for a minute before coming up with a hefty sack of coins.

“Take the six fifty and sing very far away from here.”

“Exactly what I wanted to hear!” Adair exclaimed, shaking her hand and setting the contract he’d prepared on the table, filling in the blank spot between “for the price of” and “Gil” with 650 before signing it and flipping it to face her.

The woman sighed incredulously, signing the paper and then holding out her hand for the nails Adair had present.

“Just give me the nails and go sing very far away from here.”

The Bard handed over his end of the bargain, took the coin purse and went straight for the door with a spring in his step…. and immediately after being out of the grumpy owner’s sight and earshot he slumped against the nearest wall and put his hand to his temple while Bub stared curiously. “Hooray...first sale… and I’m already thinking of a warm bath and a long nap…”

“Hey, you okay there? You look like absolute muk.”

“And I feel like it too… Huh?” Adair responded to the voice before he really even processed that he’d been spoken to. He released his forehead and looked up from his seat - such as it was.

Standing there, with an eyebrow raised and her hands on her hips was a young and very pale woman with neatly cropped black hair and icy blue eyes. She grinned widely at the remark.

“Well, I’m sure we can do something about that.”

"Ever looking forward, ever thinking back. Everywhere you've been, everyone you've met was another step on your path, shaping your future even as they become part of your past. One must never discount the pieces that have made up your journey until now but to lose yourself in them would be equally great folly, instead let them hoist you up, carry you on until you find the strength to walk for yourself. So it is that I continue towards that endless horizon. Ever thinking back, ever marching forward, inexorable as the history that brought me down this road. This Lonesome Road."


Age 30
Arizona, USA
Seen 1 Day Ago
Posted 5 Days Ago
1,526 posts
10.8 Years
Bestial | Male | 30 | White Mage

Chapter 1 - Setting Up

In his youth, Cho hadn't minded traveling. His people were nomads, traveling was just what they did. Mostly to avoid the places and people they'd pillaged, but that's not important. Nowadays, after spending over a decade living in the same area, it felt strange and inconvenient, even if traveling by airship was leagues above traveling by foot. Literally.

During the journey, it had been easy to forget why he was there, and mainly just relax in his cabin. But now that he was actually here, in Estryn, he remembered it like it was yesterday...

Although it was actually a week ago...


Cho was doing his chores, sweeping the porch of the church. The scent of grilled fish lingered in the air, making his stomach rumble. It was almost lunchtime, which was his favorite time of day, except for dinner time. Breakfast was pretty good too, come to think of it. Except breakfast meant he'd have to go to work soon, while dinner meant work was over for the day...

"Cho! Wake up!"

He was startled from his meandering thoughts by the sound of his name. Elder Aday, who was equal parts Cho's father, teacher, and boss, was trying to get his attention.

Cho bowed his head sheepishly. "Sorry 'bout that, Father. I was just-"

"I know what you were doing, Cho." Aday interrupted. "You were lost again. You're always in your head, or your stomach." He tapped his staff against the respective body parts as he spoke, then against the floor of the porch. "Instead of here, on where you are, on what you're doing."

Cho was silent, moving his broom from one hand to the other as he looked at the floor. Aday picked up on the Orc's discomfort, and his expression softened.

"The reason I'm here is to ask a favor of you, Cho." Cho's ears perked up at that. "You may have heard about the upcoming peace talks? They're being held in Ascana, in the town of Estryn. As it happens, there's a church of Kush being built in Estryn. It's been... a rough road for them, and they've put out a call for help. We've collected some money and some supplies to send them, but we need someone to deliver it to them. The other Elders and I discussed it, and we'd like it to be you, Cho."

Cho snorted, rubbing his neck in thought. "I don't know, Father... You sure I'm the best one fer the job? Plenty of others 'round here could do it same as me..."

Aday waved Cho's protests off. "Nonsense, my boy! This job is practically tailor made for you. And it might just sate some of that wanderlust in you." Cho didn't look convinced, so Aday played his trump card. "Please, Cho? Do it for me?"

Cho wrestled with that for a moment, then sighed. He nodded and let out a *skronk* of acquiescence. "Alright, I'll go. Should be a breeze for me, huh?"

Aday grinned and clapped a hand on Cho's back. "I had a feeling you'd agree with me. Now, we've collected almost five hundred Gil. You can use some if you need to on the journey, but only sparingly. It's for the church, remember..."

☆☆Back to the present...☆☆

After that, it had been a couple days by carriage to The Sprawl, and then onto the airship and into the skies. He carried the bag of Gil with him at all times, with the supplies in a blue wooden chest marked with the symbol of the Church of Kush and stored in the cargo hold.

Cho wasn't sure what to do next, and the sheer size of the city left him in awe. Luckily, he'd been given a map and directions, so renting a carriage was a simple enough task. The church was located near the vast market district, and Cho considered stopping for a bite to eat from one of the stalls.


A Princely Birb

Age 26
Seen 11 Hours Ago
Posted 21 Hours Ago
437 posts
5.1 Years

Vidar Highwind || Human Dragoon || 22 || ♂️

Ascana might as well be a different world entirely, at least as far as Vidar was concerned. There were probably more people on this single market street than the entirety of Emberbell, and the sound of loud haggling and feet on cobblestone were so overwhelming it nearly made him dizzy. The fact the air was so thin this high up wasn’t helping him catch his breath either. Who has this much magic and decides to build a flying city? It seemed excessive. Then again, everything here seemed excessive.

There it is, he actually felt dizzy now. Each breath felt dry and shallow thanks to this air and having to carry his armor-bag over his shoulder was throwing him further off balance. Spotting a small area off the side of the street without any loitering shoppers, he slowly navigated his way through the surge of travelers. After dropping the armor and giving his poor shoulder some relief, he sat and watched the crowd while getting a much-needed water break. A moogle on the street-corner announced the day’s news to a crowd of stopped onlookers, and even those passing usually craned their neck to look while walking. A bestial and sylvan appeared to be negotiating over some fruit he couldn’t even name, some of which cost more Gil than he’d ever seen in one place. Meanwhile a human manned a shop for magical items right next to him and few people even gave him a second look.

Monsters might as well not exist here. Nobody seemed worried, rather the air felt charged with optimism. The war was ending after all, this one bad chapter in Midiri was over soon. Kestria was giving up a lot, the uncomfortable feeling in his stomach wasn’t going to let him forget that, but everyone could finally address the ever-growing threat of monsters.

Speaking of which, that peace event was going to be happening soon. He had better get going if he was to get a good spot, he had come all this way to catch a glimpse at King Zephon and the last thing he wanted was a bad viewing angle. Climbing to his feet, he stretched his sore shoulder while eyeing the magic store’s stock beside him. Several delicate-looking items made of glass looked affordable with only a day or two’s earnings. An odd spherical object in particular stood out to him. There was a certain allure to magic. There were several times that a simple bit of white magic would have proved useful, not to mention that slinging fire and lighting had its own charm. If he were to reach out and grab one, could he make it react? Was magic worth all that trouble?

Nah, probably not. Nearly as soon as the idea arrived, it left. He’s impressed because it’s new to him, his time was probably better spent actually making money rather than chasing the fleeting fancy of bending the elements to his will. He felt the same way about his weapon when his father started teaching him, except he actually had someone to teach him and he was damn good at it too; if he was allowed to brag a little. There was an event to catch, and then it was probably time for a trip back home.

But first, a look at those whetstones.


Age 25
Seen 1 Hour Ago
Posted 1 Hour Ago
Ekha Pellere
Human | Male | 18 | Blue Mage


1. Capture: Ekha attempts to catch an enemies attack or spell in his Djinn Bottle. If it is successful, he can then increase its quantity by pushing his own mana into the bottle and then release that spell from the bottle indefinitely.
2. Aero: Releases a damaging gale of wind magic.
3. Aqua Breath: Releases a torrent of water from the bottle.
4. White Wind: A magical wind that is laced with healing energy. It affects Ekha and his allies but its effectiveness is based on Ekha’s own potential vitality.


Djinn Bottle

Chapter One - Part 1

“So, what brings you to Estryn?” the shopkeep asked Ekha over the counter as he browsed the store. “Although, I’ve been askin’ everyone who comes in ‘ere that question and the answer’s always the peace talks.”

“You got me,” Ekha said with an apologetic grin. The shopkeep was an older bestial man, eight feet tall and covered in deep orange fur streaked with grey, bearing savage feline features. Despite his appearance and uncomfortably deep voice though, he was really just a chatty, friendly clerk. “Sorry, but I can’t bring you any interesting conversation either it seems.”

“Ah well, that’s how it goes. You sound Othonese.”

Ekha wasn’t aware of any particularly distinct differences in the accents of the Kestrians and Othonese, but he knew well enough that a lot of bestials had far better hearing than humans did. He ran with it under the assumption of it being a subtle difference he wouldn’t be able to pick up.

“I’m from Othon, yeah,” he answered, “I’m not really particularly patriotic though. Not unless you include spending more time in Othon than Kestria. They aren’t exactly fond of Othonese people there so it’s easier to just minimise time spent in that country. Maybe that’s going to change now that we’re having these talks though.”

“A bit of an adventurer then are you?” The shopkeep asked, apparently in no real rush to make a sale.

“Something like that,” Ekha replied, “I’m not going off on quests to fight monsters or anything like that. I just like seeing new and exciting things. That’s why I’m here for the talks. It’s not every day you see history being made.”

“Not every day you meet an unpatriotic Othonese either,” the shopkeep responded with a gravelly chuckle. “You should probably head off soon though if you want ta make it to the plaza in time to hear those speeches though. It’s a fair walk from here.”

“You’re not going then?” Ekha asked, mildly surprised.

“No skin of my nose if the two big countries hate each other or not. I’ll just keep tending my shop, maybe run into some interesting conversation.”

“Fair enough,” Ekha replied, “I’ll just take two potions and an antidote and be on my way. Those come in handy when you don’t know where you’ll end up."
Staff Anime Villain Collab • Petelgeuse Romanee-Conti • My brain trembles!


jordan x casey x vera

Age 26
Seen 17 Hours Ago
Posted 1 Day Ago
4,367 posts
7.4 Years


The boat rocked gently as the first signs of land ahead came into view. Perched on the bow of the vessel, Lumi absentmindedly conjured small sparks of flame from her fingertips and flipped through the old, worn, tome Ezra gave her. As they sailed closer to their destination, she looked up to marvel the view.

"Oh! Look! I see something up ahead! Ahem," she cleared her throat, preparing to utter the phrase she had been looking forward to saying since she stepped on the boat. "Land, ho!" she hopped up to her feet and pointed up ahead. The woman steering the boat tsked, motioning for her to sit back down.

"Yes, I told you we would be arriving sometime today. Now, for the last time, child—please put that book away and stop casting those spells before you set my boat on fire."

"Relax, Agnis, I won't let that happen!" The Moogle laughed lightly. They had been sailing together for no more than two or three days, but she was already on a first-name basis with most of the crew and passengers aboard. "I mean, aye-aye, Captain," She obliged and tucked the tome away, if only because nautical terms are fun and she wanted to say aye-aye, Captain at least once on this trip. As she rooted around her bag, a small bottle of green liquid rolled into view. Lumi closed her fingers around it and cursed quietly. She quite literally had one job, but still somehow managed to forget about it; Lumi had, rather vehemently, offered to deliver this potion as soon as Grandpa mentioned the patient lived in the small, portside town of Saltstone. The girl had never travelled so far before and jumped on the opportunity to go sightseeing, but got a bit carried away as she explored the town.

Agnis' boat is a cargo vessel. It's not too big, but it does the job, and occasionally, they have extra room to slot a few paying passengers in between their goods. And that's exactly how Lumi ended up aboard. As she approached the docks of Saltstone, she had noticed Agnis and her crew offering to take on a few more travelers headed the same way they were, so what was she supposed to do—not jump on the first chance she could to sail for Ascana?

She shoved the vial back into her bag between some clothes. She felt a little bad, but it couldn't be helped now, in any case. "Out of sight, out of mind." she shrugged to herself.

"What was that?"

"Nothing, Agnis, some poor fool is just going to have to suffer with foot warts for a little longer."

✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦

Lumi gasped, and then giggled as the platform lift going from the villages into the capital of Estryn shot straight up. The Bangaa standing next to her gave her a strange look. "It's my first time going to Estryn!" she explained. The Bangaa nodded at her solemnly without a word, and they watched as the houses and fields beneath them became smaller and smaller, until they disappeared from view.

Stepping into the city was a different sort of magic. The architecture all around rivaled even the prettiest buildings in the northernmost parts of her own Alora. Shops and stalls lined the streets, and activity was bustling on every corner.

Lumi tried to listen in on the chatter around her, maybe a bit too eagerly, as a few Sylvan ladies looked at her disapprovingly, before moving away when she got too close and too nosy. Still, she caught bits and pieces of a big event that was supposed to take place sometime tomorrow.

"Don't wanna miss the speeches—"

"—meet up tomorrow so we can get a good spot in the plaza together?"

"...and I hear King Othon will be—"

To be honest, it sounded a bit boring, but everyone else seemed pretty excited for it, so she thought she would at least drop by to take a look when it happens.

But for now, she really wanted to find a tavern or something—the food they had on the boat was... difficult to enjoy, and she could do with a real meal. She walked up to the heavy, wooden doors of an establishment with a sign that had the words "Cackling Cactaur" painted on it. The name was inviting enough. Hopefully they have an inn, too; after all, she would definitely not be sailing back so soon after spending so little time here.

"I'm already out at least a day or so past curfew, what's another couple days?" she muttered to herself as she pushed open the doors to the Cackling Cactaur.


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.


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.



1-1: Wanderlust


Age 30
Arizona, USA
Seen 1 Day Ago
Posted 5 Days Ago
1,526 posts
10.8 Years
Bestial | Male | 30 | White Mage

Chapter 1 - Taking It to Church

Cho happily chowed down on some street food which the vendor had called dorayaki, a type of pancake stuffed with sweet bean paste, while dragging the blue chest behind him on a rented wagon. He followed the map he had been drawn, finding the newly erected Church of Kush on the edge of the marketplace. It was a small, humble building, not at all like the stone cathedral he was expecting. But the sign above the door depicted a cornucopia, the symbol of the Goddess of Food and Rest.

Confused, Cho entered the building, and a tiny wind chime *dingle*'d as the door opened. Immediately, two young demi-human girls sprinted in from the back room. They wore short red dresses and white aprons, looking more like waitresses than clerics. They were nearly identical, with the slightly pointed ears and high cheekbones of demi-sylvans. One had bright green hair and blue eyes, while the other had soft blue hair and green eyes.

"I'm Briar!" Greeted the green-haired one, "And I'm Bramble!" Her blue-haired counterpart exclaimed. In unison, they bowed and said, "And welcome to the Church of Kush!"

Cho was at a loss for words, having never met anyone so energetic, let alone two. "Uh, thank you kindly, little ladies..."

The girls did a double take once they actually looked at Cho, stepping back and wrapping their arms around each other in fright. "Sister, it's an Orc!" Briar cried.

"A big, scary Orc!" Bramble agreed.

"Now, hold on!" Cho complained, holding his hands up placatingly. This only served to scare the girls more.

"Sister, he's raising his hand against us!" Briar put herself between Cho and Bramble.

"Please, if you want food, just come back later! There's plenty for everyone!" Bramble pleaded over her sister's shoulder.

Cho's ears twitched in annoyance, then drooped in resignation. He clearly wasn't going to make any friends here. "I have a delivery from Father Aday. Gil and supplies." He stepped aside to gesture to the wagon outside, holding up the bag with his other hand.

Bramble's attitude changed immediately, and she pushed her sister aside to grab the bag. "You have Gil for us?!"

"And a box of stuff?!" Briar pushed Bramble aside to reach the chest, leaving Cho once again flabbergasted.

"Uh... yep." His nose twitched in confusion. Briar opened the blue chest, which let out a soft *froosh* as cold air was released. The box was lined with white crystals, keeping the chopped vegetables and wrapped meat inside cold with ice magic.

"Wait, I was haulin' a box of food this entire time?!" Cho pointed an accusatory finger at the chest.

"Well, yeah!" Briar laughed, trying to drag the wagon inside. "Kush provides food and shelter to all her followers!"

"And in exchange, we collect donations from the faithful!" Bramble grinned as she shook the bag. "We're hosting a charity luncheon during the peace talks, to spread the word and attract new followers!"

Cho helped Briar with the chest, bringing it inside while she just smiled and watched. "Wait... doesn't that just make this a restaurant?"

Bramble laughed at that. "Call it what you will, it's all in the service of our Lady."

"And it's a competitive market out there." Briar chimed in, taking the food into the kitchen. "Churches aren't very popular in this country, but everyone needs to eat!"

"We provide an essential service!" Bramble agreed.

"I guess that makes sense." Cho snorted and shrugged. "But... you probably shouldn't treat custo- uh, followers like that. You don't want to scare them away, do you?"

"You're right, we're sorry." Bramble bowed apologetically.

"Yes, very sorry." Briar nodded. "But we haven't seen any Orcs in Ascana before. There are other beastmen here, but they're mainly dogs and cats and bears from what we've seen."

"And they say that Orcs are always hungry!" Bramble explained. "You can understand why we'd be concerned for our food stores."

"But now that you're here, you'll help us, right?" Briar asked. "After all, you're a follower of Kush too, aren't you?"

Cho stared at the sisters in surprise. He hadn't heard anything about staying, and had planned on going home as soon as possible. "Uh, well... you see..."

"Oh, please stay, Brother Orc!" Bramble tried to hug him, but couldn't get her arms around his large stomach.

"Yes, please stay! We need all the help we can get!" Briar hugged him from the other side, looking up at him pleadingly.

You got that right... Cho thought, but couldn't turn them down. He sighed and nodded, gently pushing the demi-sylphs off of him. "Alright, alright... I'll stay and help."

The girls cheered and gave each other high fives. "Our first new recruit, Sister!" "Yes, and he's an Orc! We should send him to the market during the talks!" "Oh, I agree, Sister! He'll be sure to bring in droves of hungry followers!" "No one knows food better than a pig, right?"

Cho squealed indignantly at the slur, and the implication it carried. But the girls weren't paying much attention to him anymore, so he started putting the food away. It wouldn't be much different than life in Aru Village, just more colorful. And less quiet...


Believe in the you that believes in cheese

Age 26
Seen 1 Day Ago
Posted December 30th, 2020
1,318 posts
10 Years

Strange friends make for strange stories...But who ever said normal was fun?


--=-- 19 =--= Ascanian Mandolin =--= Bub's Whistle =--= 2,700 Gil worth of tradeable cargo: Practical goods =--= Gil: -1,700 (300 Gil on hand, 2,000 Gil of debt) --=--

“Is a hi-potion really that much better than a regular potion, anyway?” The young woman had dragged Adair along behind her, not really giving him the option of saying no. They were currently standing in a small shop while she examined two differently priced glass bottles, each filled with a liquid. “Well, not like I need this stuff anyway. Come on.”

She returned both items, to the wrong places, then turned and made her way back out the door and onto the street beyond.

“I said come on!” She called, sticking her head back in briefly when she realised Adair was not keeping up with her pace.

He quickly fixed the positions of the potions and smiled weakly at the shopkeeper before following her out. “Yes, right...Are we going somewhere specific?”

“What? Specific? Of course not. What’s the fun in that?” She immediately, and arbitrarily turned down another street, looking about for anything that might catch her eye. “You look better now. Kinda cute actually. So what was your deal before?”

“Fun...c-cute? Erm…” His brain was swirling trying to keep up, he hadn’t even known this girl an hour yet and she’d already thrown him for a loop multiple times. “I came here on business, I had just made my first sale when we met. I was successful but… that woman was such a handful, talking to her was a nightmare. So prickly I’m surprised she’s not the mascot of the Cackling Cactuar. I was worn out by the time it was over.”

“Prickly like a cactuar, that’s great.” The woman laughed with no restraint at that statement. “Still, you don’t exactly have the toughest constitution do you?”

Shame colored Adair’s face but he managed to nod his head.

“A voice meant for songs, not angry shouts

Won’t last very long against brutes and louts

So I strum my lute, and let my voice out

To express my thoughts and erase all my doubts.”

The short bit of song broke out of him with a will of its own, the frustration at his weakness escaping as thankfulness for the one thing that gave him strength.

“Not bad,” the woman acknowledged, stopping and turning to face Adair, “So… actually I don’t know your name, do I? Well, whatever. What else have you got?”

“Got? I know many songs. As you just heard, I’m not very good at making my own yet. I hope to find inspiration while I travel.” He blinked a few times, then remembered the point. “My name is Adair, what about you?”

“Rachel,” she replied, “I know, weird name. Try not to think too hard about it. Are you a local, Adair?” She turned and kept walking, eagerly looking about for the next interesting thing to explore, clearly expecting Adair to follow.

“To Ascana, but not Estryn. I grew up in a fairly small village, how about you?” Adair queried , more relaxed now.

“You see a lot of people this pale living in deserts?” Rachel responded, not looking back. “I’m from Othon. What brings you to the capital then?”

“Opportunities for fiscal advancement, of course. That and the peace talks, and the two are certainly not mutually exclusive.” Adair said.

“Is every ‘opportunity for fiscal advancement’ going to make you nearly pass out in the street?” Rachel stopped again, turning to face Adair and watching his reaction with a wicked grin plastered on her face.

The Bard winced and adjusted his hat to shade his face better. “I certainly hope not. Thankfully not many people can be like that woman. She’s a rare breed.”

“Mean people? You have met people, right?” Rachel remarked, “Was she really that much worse than any other grumpy merchant?”


“How so?”

“She hated me the moment I walked in. That is a woman with very little - if any joy in her life whose soul purpose each day is to get through life by just doing her job, and any hitch in that routine is an obstacle to be removed posthaste.”

“Oh yeah, I’ve met a few of those. Perks of the family business,” the Othonese woman replied.

“Family business?” Adair tilted his head enough for his hat to shift a bit and Bub following behind them both mimicked the action.

“Oh you know, this and that,” Rachel replied with a shrug. “I’ve never seen a black chocobo before you know, mostly I just see yellow or gold.”

Adair stopped for a moment to rub Bub’s head and smiled wide at the happy ‘Kweh’ It spawned. “Bub is the pride and joy of Windrunner’s Wake, best Chocobo Ranch in all of Ascana.” He puffed his chest out in a rare moment of pride and Bub matched his action. “I’ve been raising him since he was born. Looks like an adult, doesn’t he? But nope, he’s still growing.”

“I couldn’t tell you, I don’t know much about chocobo breeding.” Rachel paid little attention to the puffed up pride the pair were displaying, looking through a dusty shop window instead. “This hat looks kind of like yours. Maybe I should get one and be all suave-looking too.”

“That one’s way too expensive, not made of as good materials either. I could find you a better one for half the price.” Adair looked up at the brim of his hat. “Honestly, I didn’t buy this. My father made my clothes as my 18th birthday present. He’s not a man of many talents, but he’s a good tailor. I guess fixing his own clothes all the time on the road came in handy.

Rachel moved away from the window and over to where Adair was standing, examining his hat closely. She reached up, prodding at it a bit.

“No kidding,” she said, “That really is a nice hat. If your dad isn’t a tailor he probably should be. I could get him a job doing just that, very well-paying.”

Adair tried not to shy away from her poking as he replied. “He sells when he can, but I’m afraid he’s probably not for hire. I’ve never heard him explicitly say he wouldn’t get more professional at it, but he’s very much a homebody.” His eyes shifted to look up and to the side and he tapped his chin. “Athough… Perhaps now that I won’t be around anymore he’d do it, as long as he didn’t have to be away from mom for too long at a time.” He kept his curiosity in check. Rachel was clearly no ordinary girl, everything about her mannerisms and what few facts about herself she’d let slip made that clear, but tactless bards get kicked out of the best stories. Being a proper observer requires understanding good pacing - of stories and life itself.

Best thing he could do at this point was just keep up with her. Besides, she was fun.

“Probably not for him then, unless they both went, he’d have to move to Zholal. What’s this about not being around anymore? You’re not dying or anything are you?”

Zholal? No amount of money in the world would get Dad over there. “Yes, definitely not for him.” At her question Adair’s mind began swirling with all the different things that could go wrong on his journey and he felt himself get dizzy for a moment. Stay strong for the story! “I don’t intend to die, I’m not as helpless as I may look when it comes to survival. I’m simply not going back home anytime soon. Thanks to having Bub I can visit my parents easier than most travelers could, but those will just be visits. I’m my own man from now on, for better or worse.”

“That’s the spirit!” Rachel slapped Adair a little too hard on the back, “Be your own man!”

“Yes indeed. A rolling stone gathers no moss but a still stone gathers no stories.” Adair answered, glad he managed to keep his balance after the hearty smack. This girl was definitely Othonese, possibly the most Othonese girl in the world, if his suspicions were correct.

“So, you going to see the speeches? They should be starting soon.”

Adair, feeling much more at ease with her now was confident enough to take off his hat and wave it in an intentionally silly flourish as he responded. “Yes, indeed I am, would my savior care for this humble bard’s company at the big event of the day?”

“I can think of worse ways to spend my time,” Rachel giggled, “Besides, a wordsmith such as yourself could probably give some excellent feedback on the parts that I wrote. Shall we head there now?”

“Gladly, Bub will be our chaperone.” Adair smiled while he slipped his hat back into place and the chocobo ‘Kweh!’d his agreement.

"Ever looking forward, ever thinking back. Everywhere you've been, everyone you've met was another step on your path, shaping your future even as they become part of your past. One must never discount the pieces that have made up your journey until now but to lose yourself in them would be equally great folly, instead let them hoist you up, carry you on until you find the strength to walk for yourself. So it is that I continue towards that endless horizon. Ever thinking back, ever marching forward, inexorable as the history that brought me down this road. This Lonesome Road."


💖 Mikoto Misaka 💖

Age 21
Seen 39 Minutes Ago
Posted 12 Hours Ago
2,505 posts
4.8 Years

Rayen Blackthorn
Ranger • Demi-human • 26 • ♀

// Gil: 800

• Rayen's Shortbow

Analyze: using her demi-human abilities, Rayen focuses on her enemy to gain knowledge on its weak points, mana and overall strength.
Barrage: Rayen hits her enemy several times in a row, using mana to improve her own reload and aiming speed.
Nettle Sting: Rayen’s next shot will poison the target, dealing damage over time.
Critical Shot: Rayen concentrates, in order to hit her enemy in its weak point with a powered up shot. This attack will be less affected (if compared to a normal shot) by the enemy’s armor and magic defenses.
You are Rayen Blackthorn. A young Kestrian ranger with bug-like features who’s making her way to a distant, foreign land, in order to participate in the peace negotiations.

You’re well aware that you won’t have a say: the destiny of your homeland is in the hands of the Council, and you shall not doubt their decisions. But that didn’t stop you from leaving your town on a large airship, after many days spent planning and getting ready. After all, the decisions that will be made there will have a considerable impact on your life - you might even have to get a different job! Plus… you might be able to bring the instances of monster hunters like you to the table, and you’ll be able to at least say “I was there!” once you get back. You’re also going to see the Kingdom of Ascana with your own red eyes, and meet the people who live there!

You’re still trying to convince yourself that what you’ve done is right, aren’t you? Put it this way: this is your only chance to spice up your life now that you got into the army. And it likely won’t come again. All the money you had to spend, it was well worth it! All the monsters you won’t be there to kill, will die by the hand of someone else or be stopped through other ways - after all, the peace negotiations also revolve around the Void Hole.

This is your third day on the airship, and you’re very tired by now. The last two nights were nights to forget. Well, at first the airship was quite empty, and most of the travelers were soldiers like you: all you had to do was claim an entire, uhm, “dorm room” for yourself, and waste the time away out in the public areas. All fun until it was time to sleep: you just couldn’t find a comfortable position in those hard, small bunk “beds”, your antennas would just keep rubbing against the bottom of the ceiling or the other beds, and you just wouldn’t be able to get much rest.

By the second day, the airship had already picked up a lot of other people, especially in Alora and some other major Kestrian cities. It was filled to the brim with not just soldiers, but also merchants, priests, workers, even farmers… and lots of different goods that were about to be sold to Ascana. You could feel the airship moving through the air much more slowly, as you still tried to keep new people out of your room - most wouldn’t bother after meeting a grumpy, sleep-deprived demi-human, but some were way too determined. And so, the second night, you shared your bedroom with four or five other strangers, making it even harder to fall asleep.

Your thoughts and indecision still cloud your mind three days into the journey. You are now standing on the main deck, looking at the ocean all around you. Maybe that will make you realize there’s no going back, and will help you calm down. Or maybe seeing Ascana in the distance will fuel your enthusiasm one more time.

Speaking of which… you knew that Estryn, Ascana’s capital, was a rather peculiar place, but what you’re looking at blows your mind. “So… beautiful!” you exclaim, as someone in the distance replies: “But I don’t see anything!”
That’s because your eyes have already focused on the horizon and created a very clear image of Estryn, a floating city with grandiose buildings, from which large waterfalls come down into the ocean below. Just a couple more minutes, and the human standing close to you will see that with his eyes, too.

Some hours pass, and you start to get more worried. Back in your room, as you pack up all your stuff and make sure you don’t forget anything, you wonder why the airship hasn’t arrived to destination yet. You get on the deck one last time and watch the sunset as Estryn gets closer and closer, wait for the airship to get set up for docking, and, all trembling, get down the ship. You’d love to explore Estryn right away if only you weren’t so tired - which means you only have one job now: find a place to sleep before it’s too late.

You still aren’t used to ask around for information, so you look for something like a public board, a map, a sign of any kind. And there’s one that may help you right at the end of the harbor. You get closer and try to read… “Cackl- what? Weird name, but it’ll have to work.” you whisper, as you quickly make your way through the crowd and run towards the inn.

Hopefully you'll get there in time.

Paired with Ninetales and Fox 🌸 Moderator of Challenges and Writer's Lounge

Stinging Bea

Age 35
Seen 12 Hours Ago
Posted 4 Days Ago
847 posts
10.4 Years


A Heist Gone Awry

Away from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets of Estryn, a suspicious looking trio had gathered in the alleyway behind a nearby item shop. A series of mixed emotions graced upon their faces as they stood. In particular, a tiny Moogle looked as if he was about to have a panic attack. Wedge the Moogle could not have been anymore stressed out if he had tried. His tiny red pompom bounced as he constantly glanced up at the sun and back at the duo who accompanied him. Dressed in a green cloak and a matching bandana (all with holes punctured for his antenna and large, floppy ears) the Moogle shifted around nervously.

“Are… Are you sure this is a good idea, Azure?” Wedge finally spoke up, taking a look at his female companion. “The boss is gonna be absolutely livid if we’re late for our meetin’ spot.”

The girl in question glanced down at her Moogle companion with a soft smile gracing her lips. She knelt down to his level, white hair cascading over her shoulders as she did so, stopping only to put a reassuring head on the Moogle’s noggin. Her pale, blue eyes shined in the sunlight, offering Wedge some form of comfort through all of his worries. A faint blush graced the winged creatures cheeks, most likely a mixture from the extra attention being shown to him and a bit of embarrassment over the fact that he was being treated like a child by the girl.

“Relax Wedge… If we’re a second or two late, I’m sure da- I mean, the boss will look the other way,” Azure spoke calmly. “Don’t think of it as a distraction… Think of it more as… practice. You know, like a warm-up before we really go to work.”

“A warm-up…?” Wedge questioned. His eyes went wide as he quickly swatted Azure’s hand away. A look of annoyance quickly worked over his facial features. “We’re just gonna be pickin’ pockets of the nobles rollin’ into town! How does lootin’ a shop, in the middle of the day mind ya, help us out in any way?!”

Azure glanced away from Wedge, a small giggle escaping her lips. “Well, I mean… Okay, it’s not really practice… But if we’re able to pull off a heist like this, then we’ll be able to handle swiping the Gil off of some stuff-shirted nobles no problem, right?”

Wedge merely grumbled under his breath, crossing his tiny arms over his chest as he listened to Azure’s reasoning. It was clear that the Moogle was not pleased with the girl’s logic and immediately turned his focus to his other companion.

“Biggs, you don’t really agree with this do you?” Wedge questioned. “Don’t you remember what happened the last time we got into trouble with Azure? We were stuck on cleanin’ duty for a whole month!”

The man in question glanced down at the Moogle. A sly smile and a shrug was the only response the winged-creature received. “Look, if the little lady thinks there’s something here worth our time… well, I trust her!”

Wedge huffed. “You’re just saying that because you’re always willing to go along with a pretty lady!”

A smirk tugged up at Azure’s lips as she leaned forward towards the smallest member of the trio. “So… you think I’m pretty, Wedge…?”

The Moogle jumped staring up in shock at Azure. He began to fluster and fidget, his Moogle mind racing to try and think of a solution out of the mess he now found himself in. Thankfully his eyes happened to shoot back towards Biggs, which quickly gave him the out he needed.

“B-Biggs, quick! Is the coast clear? We need to get this show on the road, yeah?” Wedge questioned.

Biggs chuckled at the tiny’s Moogle’s quickness at changing the subject. Humorous as it was, the man knew he had a point. Shifting his gaze back towards the shop window, he noticed the merchant was busy talking to a brown-haired boy. The boy was clearly in the midst of making a purchase, something which seemed to take the merchant’s entire focus as he put on his best act to try and make a sale. Biggs turned back to his companions and nodded.

“Looks like the coast is clear,” BIggs stated. “If we’re gonna make a score here, we better get moving little lady!”

Azure smiled as she stood up once more, briskly making her way towards the backdoor of the item shop. With a simple turn, the knob twisted and the door opened softly. Azure couldn’t believe her luck. She had planned to have Wedge pick the lock so they could get in, however the door was actually unlocked. Either this merchant was very trusting of the citizens of the city or just stupid. Regardless of the reason for his folly, Azure was not about to waste this opportunity. She made her way inside of the shop’s storeroom, motioning for Biggs and Wedge to follow her inside.

“It’s too dark to make anything out in here,” Azure whispered quietly. She glanced down to Wedge. “How about a light?”

Wedge nodded silently in response. The Moogle closed his eyes, chanting a small spell, before a small spark of fire formed in his hands. While it did not offer a vast amount of illumination to the otherwise darkened storeroom, it did offer the three thieves enough light to make sure they didn’t go around tripping over their own feet.

Biggs stepped forward, his eyes narrowing as he examined the shelves lining the walls of the storeroom. There were various bottles containing a mixture of medical supplies, most of which he was able to determine were the likes of Potions and Eye Drops, as well as a few medical herbs most likely used to brew up Antidotes. None of the room’s contents really caught the older thief’s eyes as absolutely something they couldn’t do without for the time being.

“I ain’t really sure if you think we need the extra medical supplies or what,” Biggs mused. “But I ain’t seeing anything really important in here.”

“S-Shhhh… You’re gonna get us busted if ya don’t lower your voice!” Wedge lectured in a hushed, yet stern tone. He returned his vision towards Azure. “Ya heard Biggs, there’s nothin’ here worth grabbin’! N-Now, can we get outta here…?”

Wedge’s protests fell on deaf ears, however. As if on a mission, the white-haired thief merely brushed by her two companions, staring intently at the shelves surrounding them. Right to left and back again, her blue eyes darted about the room, slowly gazing upwards… until they began to shine in fascination.

“Right there!” Azure exclaimed, causing Wedge to flinch from the tone in her voice.

Wedge and Biggs both followed Azure’s pointing finger and gaze. A knowing smile and chuckle escaped Biggs’ mouth, while Wedge rolled his eyes at the sight before them. The Moogle honestly couldn’t believe what it was that made Azure so insistent on robbing the item shop in the middle of broad daylight like this.

“A Memory Sphere…? Are you serious?” Wedge questioned.

“Of course I am,” Azure replied bluntly. “I saw the thing being marketed when we first came into town. There was no way I was going to pass a memory sphere up!”

“Pipe down!” Wedge snapped. The Moogle huffed, crossing his arms over his chest. “If an item merchant is just sellin’ out in the open like this is gonna be worth anythin’ major!”

“That’s not the point!” Azure argued back. “You know I don’t pass on these Memory Spheres!”

“Guys… you’re gonna get us caught if you keep yelling at each other like this,” Biggs spoke up. He shot a nervous glance towards the door leading out to the shop proper. It was honestly amazing that the two bickering thieves hadn’t attracted any unwanted attention yet. “Little lady, you want this thing right? Then let’s just swipe it and go.”

Azure smiled brightly at Biggs’ reasoning. Without waiting for further delay, albeit not without sticking her tongue out at Wedge, the female thief made her way towards the shelf. A frown quickly graced her lips as she stood on her tiptoes, attempting to stretch and reach the orb, only to naturally come up short.

“Biggs, come here and give me a boost,” Azure ordered.

The male thief nodded and made his way over towards Azure. He quietly got on his hands and knees, acting as a stepstool of sorts for the girl to climb up on. Azure was careful, taking her time to make sure she didn’t hurt Biggs as she climbed on his backside. That said, even with the added height she was still unable to actually reach the Memory Sphere.

“Wedge, are you waiting for a special invitation? Come on and help out,” Azure all but snapped.

The Moogle in question huffed, but knew better than to argue at this point. He quickly fluttered his way forward, placing himself on top of Azure’s shoulders. WIth this, the trio was now at the perfect height to reach the Memory Sphere. Wedge glanced at the Memory Sphere in his hands and then back towards Azure.

“...So, we’re done now…?” he questioned.

Azure ignored the Moogle, instead greedily grabbing the Memory Sphere he was holding onto. Her eyes shined in the reflective, blue sphere’s soft light. “It’s so beautiful… an absolute treasure…”

“G-Guys…?” Biggs called out from beneath the duo.

“It’s a waste of time is what it is,” Wedge pouted. “The boss is gonna have our heads for this!”

“M-My b-balance… Please…?”

Azure huffed. “Will you stop worrying about the old man? We’ve got plenty of time to make it, Wedge!”

“I c-can’t hold out f-for…”

“Whatever, let’s just go already!” Wedge snapped.

“D-Damn it!”

Azure and Wedge glanced down just in time to see Biggs’s arms begin to shake and tremble. Before the female thief and Moogle could even react, Biggs’ balance gave out from underneath them. Biggs fell flat on his face, while Wedge toppled off of Azure’s shoulders in surprise. Azure on the other hand, hastily grabbed hold of the shelf in front of her. The petite female quickly found herself dangling from the storeroom shelf with one hand, while the Memory Sphere was clutched tightly in the other. Azure sighed in relief… until the shelf slowly started tipping forward… and a large crash went echoing out through the store thereafter.

Stinging Bea

Age 35
Seen 12 Hours Ago
Posted 4 Days Ago
847 posts
10.4 Years


The Chase featuring Ekha Pellere

Ekha was just about to turn and leave when suddenly a resounding crash rang out through the shop, the sound emanating from the door behind the shop owner.

“What the hell was that?” The shopkeeper grumbled.

“Sounded like something fell over,” Ekha replied, “Maybe a shelf wasn’t packed quite right?”

“Not packed right? Not in my store, kid.” The bestial turned around and, barely crossing any distance, flung open the door. The rather dramatic movement revealed the sad and sorry sight of two humans, one male and the other female, and a moogle buried under a toppled shelf and a mound of broken merchandise. “Just what do you think you’re doin’ in my back room?”

Both Biggs and Wedge managed to glance down towards each other, before looking towards Azure for an answer. The girl in question was still clutching the Memory Sphere tightly, a smile of satisfaction still on her lips. It was only when Biggs nudged the white haired girl did she happen to notice the sight of the bestial shop merchant and the brown-haired boy staring at them.

"...Oglops! We were hired by the city to take care of that nasty Oglop infestation going on in the city! Looks like your shop is pest free, thanks to us!" Azure exclaimed.

"Oglops…?" Wedge questioned in a whisper, to which Azure responded with a sharp elbow in his side.

“Oglops?” Ekha also echoed. He hadn’t seen anything even resembling one since arriving in Estryn.

“Is that so?” the shopkeeper chuckled. “I’ve lived in Estryn for over forty years and I have rarely seen an Oglop up here, let alone an infestation. Certainly not in my shop. That’s quite the surprise. Since you’ve done such a civic service though, I suppose I can forgive you for destroying some of my merchandise. If you’ll just leave that sphere you’re holding behind, you can be on your way.”

Ekha watched the bestial’s lip curl back slightly, revealing sharp fangs. He felt rather awkward standing there watching the strange confrontation. Despite this though, he wasn't really sure if this was a moment he was meant to leave or not.

Azure glanced down at the sphere in her hand, her grip tightening around it as she slowly climbed to her feet. Biggs and Wedge followed, keeping their eyes on their companion all the while.

"Sphere…? Oh this? We gotta… We need to make sure this thing isn't contaminated…" Azure reasoned. She quickly began to shuffle her way towards the backdoor. "So… We'll just be on our way! Come on, boys!"

“Put the sphere down. I wasn’t askin’” The shopkeeper menanced, Taking a step forward toward the trio.

"Wedge, escape plan P!" Azure quickly called out to her moogle comrade.

The moogle offered a quick nod, conjuring up another ball of fire that he launched in the direction of the shopkeeper and his customer. Instinctively, Ekha interjected, opening his Djinn Bottle as using it to shoot a torrent of water into the flames. The fire ball exploded into a wave of steam, but the diversion was effective. Azure smirked at the distraction caused, briskly dashing out the door with Wedge and Biggs right behind.

"Split up!" Azure called out. "Biggs take Wedge and head for the meetup spot! I'll meet up with you guys later!"

"You sure about this, little lady?" Biggs questioned, concern evident in his eyes.

Azure waved off the man's worry. "No problem, now go!"

Biggs nodded and grabbed hold of Wedge, carrying the moogle under his arms. The moogle wiggled and squirmed, but he wasn't able to even remotely pry himself out of the human's grasp. The duo ran off to the left, leaving Azure to duck off towards the right. The white-haired girl quickly dipped behind a nearby barrel, kneeling down to hide out of sight.

“Don’t just stand there lookin’ pleased with yourself, go after them!” The shopkeeper growled.

“What?” Ekha gaped.


Ekha wasn’t entirely sure why he did it, but he obeyed the instruction. He hopped the counter and dashed out of the shop just in time to see the two males go one way and the girl the other. He didn’t much fancy a two on one situation, so he took off after the girl.

“This would be easier if you just accepted you got caught and played nice!” he called after her. He lost sight of her a moment later, but she couldn’t have gotten far away, she had to be hiding somewhere nearby. “I know you’re here somewhere. Can we please just do this the easy way? I don’t even know why I agreed to chase you.”

“The easy way…? Please, you’re walking around with a jar. Anyway for me this is the easy way,” Azure thought with a smirk.

The girl grabbed hold of the hilt of her rapier. There was no need to inflict any sort of lethal injuries on the boy. Just scare him away with a bit of swordplay and make off like… well, a bandit. How hard could it be? Without a further moment of delay, the white-haired thief suddenly dashed out from behind the barrel she was lurking behind, attempting to thrust at her pursuiter with the tip of her rapier to scare him off.

The sound of movement caused Ekha to turn around, coming face to face with a rapier being thrust at him. He yelped, stumbling back into another crate behind him, opening the bottle again as he tripped and unleashing a gale of wind into the alley.

Eyes widened, Azure stumbled back as the sudden burst of wind was enough to cause her to lose balance. The thief glanced around in amazement, her eyes falling to the bottle by the boy’s side. Did he just make that wind shoot out of that bottle? Just what kind of jar was that? She bet that it would fetch a pretty nice price…

“I dunno what kinda attack that was, but I’m guessing it came from that jar?” Azure questioned, if only to confirm her suspicions.

“It does if you’re a Blue Mage,” Ekha responded hastily scooping up the bottle before climbing back up to his feet. “That was a pretty sad Aero though… normally it’s better. Can we please just stop this and just give the guy back his memory sphere now?”

Azure’s grip on the sphere tightened, the girl clinging onto it as if her very life depended on it. “Hey! I found this sphere fair and square! Besides, it’s not like he was all that concerned about it! These things are priceless and he was just giving it away!”

“Pretty sure he was selling it, not giving it away. So just buy it.” Ekha sighed.

Azure’s shoulders slumped. “I… I guess you have a point…”

“Thank you.” Ekha corked the bottle again, relaxing ever so slightly.

Azure extended her hand forward, holding out the sphere for Ekha to come and take. The Blue Mage approached cautiously, keeping his bottle carefully out of reach of the thief as he reached out to take the sphere. He stopped just short of touching the sphere. “Wait… why am I coming over here to take it if you’re going to go back and buy it?”

Before Ekha could get his answer, the thief suddenly placed her hand in front of the blue mage’s face. A cheeky grin stretched across her face as a flash of light and noise erupted around the brown-haired boy, which was quickly followed by the girl pulling the sphere back close and laughing with glee. The thief all, but pushed the boy down to the ground as she ran past him, her laugh echoing out through the alley.

“I can’t believe you were actually that gullible!” Azure exclaimed. She paused just long enough to glance over her shoulder. “I told ya, I found it! I’m keeping it! See ya around!”

Ekha remained laying on the floor, staring upwards and questioning his life choices.

“Not so much gullible as cautiously optimistic.” Ekha got back up and made his way back to the shop so he could inform the unfortunate shopkeeper that the thief had gotten away.

Stinging Bea

Age 35
Seen 12 Hours Ago
Posted 4 Days Ago
847 posts
10.4 Years


A Chance Meeting

Azure slowly glanced over her shoulder, taking the time to see if the boy with the magic bottle had been following her. There was not a soul behind her, nor in front of her for that matter. It was a sight that brought relief to the white-haired thief as she reverted her attention back to the memory sphere in the palm of her hand. Her eyes stared almost hypnotically at the cool, icy-blue surface, as if it was the single greatest treasure she had ever seen in her life.

“A little bit rougher than I would have liked,” Azure mused, slowly lowering herself to sit on the ground. The thief rested her back against a nearby wall, her breath still a bit short from the running she had done to try and get as far away from the shop as she could. “All in all though, I would call this a success…”

Of course, the heist didn’t really end exactly as she planned. Azure had no idea where Wedge and Biggs were now. Come to think of it, she really had no idea where she was now. Her eyes darted around, trying her best to see if she could somehow manage to recognize all the sights around her. Perhaps there was a chance that she and the boys had passed through this street on the way towards the item shop. It was a nice hope, but a fleeting one at best. Still, Azure didn’t let the fact that she was now lost in this massive city get her down. She was sure that someone from the Crimson Zuu would find her eventually. Sure, the boss would be mad… but she knew she could work out those wrinkles later.

“You know, you couldn’t really look more conspicuous right now if you tried.” The voice came from right beside Azure, from a human man with blond hair and blue eyes. He wasn’t exactly the most inconspicuous looking person himself, he wore a green jacket with one sleeve much longer than the other, ending in a floral veil around his hand and under that a tight blue turtleneck that pulled up over his face into a mask. Yet, he had managed to sneak up on the sneak.

Azure jumped at the sound of the voice, her hand immediately making its way to the hilt of her rapier as she turned to face the owner. All the while, the grip on her newly acquired memory sphere tightened. Her eyes narrowed as she examined the man, trying her best to look intimidating despite the obvious size difference between the two.

“Says the guy looking like he’s about to go sneaking off to do his own thieving… What’s it to you, anyways?” Azure asked. “If you think you’re gonna be swiping any of my stuff, you got another thing coming.”

“Oh, if I wanted to swipe your stuff, I could,” he commented, “I don’t do much of that these days though. Actually, I’m mostly just killing time by giving a novice some advice. Like, not admitting openly you were just thieving or getting lost during your getaway.”

Azure blinked slowly, her grip on her rapier loosening slightly in the process. “Wait, how did…?” She paused, realizing what she was about to admit to. The white-haired thief clicked her tongue, shooting the stranger a rather sharp glare. “I’m not lost… Besides that, I don’t recall asking for your advice, anyways.”

The man laughed somewhat mockingly. “You ran out of that alley, promptly realised you have no idea where you are or where your two friends went and then sank to the floor. You’re lost and I don’t recall asking your permission before giving you advice. Also, you’ve probably got about ten minutes before Estryn guards start searching the area for a company of thieves who might disrupt the speeches.”

“This guy is giving me some serious creepy vibes…” Azure thought, slowly taking a step backwards. Her brain was practically screaming at her to make tracks away from this man, but the thief’s curiosity to how he knew so much about what had just been transpiring was too strong for the girl to ignore. “...How do you know all of this? Were you following me or something?”

“Pretty much.” He shrugged, “People in the know tend to take notice when the Crimson Zuu comes to visit. Especially at such an important time. As it turns out, I am part of people in the know. So, want some more advice or are you going to just run around in circles and hope you find your friends before the guards find you?”

More questions were racing through the white-haired thief’s mind now. Still, Azure cautiously proceeded forward, pushing them to the back of her mind for the time being. “...Sure.”

“Well for starters, the basic idea of hiding is to go to the last place people would expect you to be. The second is that skulking around always looks more suspicious than just doing what everyone else is doing. So right now you should be casually making your way to the speeches, blending in with every other person in this city. Stay there until they’re over, then casually make your way to wherever your meeting place is.”

Azure closed her eyes as she listened. It was… sound advice. “I don’t know where… there is. Wherever the speeches are, that is. You said it yourself, I’m lost. So, how do I get there… from here?”

“You come with me obviously.”

“...You’re kinda shady, you know...” Azure bluntly stated.

“You will be astonished to discover that this is not the first time I’ve been told that.”

Coming from a thief, that was quite possibly something of a low blow. Given the circumstances though, she had very little options otherwise. Wandering around the backstreets aimlessly was not something the white-haired girl really wanted to do. Plus, this stranger had a lot more knowledge of things going on in this city than she would have thought. At this point, Azure realized she would be mainly picking the lesser of two evils. She slowly released the grip on her rapier and then tucked her new memory sphere into a pouch on her hip for safe keeping.

“Alright… It’s not like I have much of a choice at this point. You could at least tell me your name though, right?” she inquired.

“I’m Quill, pleasure to meet you,” the man replied. “This way then.” He moved off at a leisurely walk, heading towards the centre of the city.


💖 Mikoto Misaka 💖

Age 21
Seen 39 Minutes Ago
Posted 12 Hours Ago
2,505 posts
4.8 Years

Rayen Blackthorn
Ranger • Demi-human • 26 • ♀ • Joint post with Juno (as Lumi)

Gil: 650 (Rayen); 650 (Lumi)

• Rayen's Shortbow
• 2 Eye Drops
• 1 Potion
• 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.

Analyze: using her demi-human abilities, Rayen focuses on her enemy to gain knowledge on its weak points, mana and overall strength.
Barrage: Rayen hits her enemy several times in a row, using mana to improve her own reload and aiming speed.
Nettle Sting: Rayen’s next shot will poison the target, dealing damage over time.
Critical Shot: Rayen concentrates, in order to hit her enemy in its weak point with a powered up shot. This attack will be less affected (if compared to a normal shot) by the enemy’s armor and magic defenses.

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.
Luckily the Cackling Cactuar wasn’t that far from the docks. It took Rayen about ten minutes of walking around the harbor area, plus five more in the little side streets further away from the sea… and overall it was a good result, considering the things she was carrying with her, but not perfect. Especially in a day like this, just five minutes can make a difference… she sighed, entering the inn and heading straight for the desk.

Luckily - once again - not many people were actually in the queue there, and she was able to talk to the host without waiting much. But the sight of all the other guests, chatting and having fun in the hall, spoke volumes. “N-no… rooms at all?” she muttered, shuddering at the thought that most of the other inns in Estryn would definitely be in the same condition. “But I need help! I had to come here all the way from Kestria and on my way here I couldn’t sleep at all! See these eye-bags?” she continued, trying to keep a straight face as her antennas twitched nervously.

The host just wouldn’t have it, and soon the two found themselves arguing. Rayen knew that she was the one in the wrong, but kept going, driven by desperation. How many chances would she have to find an open inn with a free room by then? On the other hand, the host was getting more and more fired up by someone who came off to him as entitled and immature.

They were in a bit of a stalemate, but before the situation could escalate, a small, white Moogle skipped down the stairs. She did a quick double-take as her eyes landed on Rayen, but smiled nervously before tossing a few Gil on the counter and addressing the barkeep. “Another apple juice, please.”

Rayen was too busy quarreling to notice the Moogle, and kept trudging on. “You just don’t want a hornet girl in your inn, admit it. And I thought Ascanians were open minded. And for what reason anyways? Think I’m not gonna pay you?”

It was about at that point that she heard the words “Apple Juice”. One of her favorite drinks from when she was a kid. “At least make me another apple juice, ok?” she asked, reaching for the gil pouch on her belt.

Now that she got the host busy, it was probably better to look around the inn and see from whose mouth those words came out. Whoever that was, she was definitely close enough to the bar to hear her rambling… and either help out Rayen, or make things more difficult. Better to keep an eye out.

So, who ordered the first juice? The Moogle, of course. She turned to take one more glance at her, and instinctively made the first move. “Well, you heard it all, didn’t you? I need a room to sleep for tonight and still can’t find one… I’m so desperate! Is there anything left I can do?” she muttered, trying to pull on her heartstrings.

The Moogle’s expression softened slightly, but her body language showed she was still a bit guarded. On the bright side, she did not seem all too bothered by her interaction with the barkeep, but was mostly staring at her antennae. “Y-yeah, I’m sorry to hear that. Seems I got a bit lucky, huh? Must be because of those speeches that are supposed to happen tomorrow, but I think I got one of the last rooms they have here before the inn here filled up. Something about the King and the Council, you know?” She sipped her juice, swinging her short legs from the bar stool she sat on. “I don’t know too much about it myself, personally—never really cared too much about politics. Suppose I’ll still go check it out tomorrow for the festivities anyway, though.” It seemed that the more she chattered on, the more comfortable she looked, and she sounded almost cheerful. She quickly glanced over at Rayen again, and the young woman’s forlorn expression seemed to halt her ramblings and remind her of the predicament. “Oh, right. I’m sorry. Um. Best of luck to you!” The Moogle gave a wave, before hopping off the bar stool.

“Of course you’re here for the speeches...” Rayen sighed, but this time with a different plan coming up in her mind. She chuckled at the thought of a little Moogle taking up an entire bed that was meant for humans, or even Bestials.

She deserved that room way more than the Moogle in front of her! She was a Kestrian soldier, after all. She should have evicted the Moogle and taken the room for herself… no, that was too much, she would have never got away with doing something like that. Sharing the room seemed like a better option, as both of them could have probably fit in the same bed.

“Before you go back upstairs… one more thing before you go?” she said, sipping on her own apple juice. She kept her red eyes fixed on the Moogle until she turned back and settled back into her seat, and as soon as she did, Rayen struck again. “What about sharing the room for the night? I can cover the entire cost of the room for you if you accept.”

The girl’s expression was contemplative - the idea of a free room seemed enticing, but she looked a bit reluctant still as she considered the request, and understandably so—they were, after all, complete strangers. “I don’t know,” she pondered, fidgeting with the rim of her drink. “Lady, you seem alright and I’d love to help, but I don’t even know anything about you yet, so…” her voice trailed off as she looked at Rayen apologetically.

On one hand, telling the Moogle more about herself was the right way to earn her trust, but on the other, she was herself reluctant to do so. Being still in the wrong, all she really desired was for the Moogle to forget her completely the next morning… so she played it safe. “First, nice to meet you, I’m… Bryony. As I told the barkeep, I came here all the way from Kestria, as you can see from this brooch. Are you from there too?”

Her conversation partner’s fluffy, white ears twitched slightly, as she looked at the emblem fastened to her lapel. “Wh- yes! I am Kestrian. From Alora!” She sat up a little straighter. “How did you know? Weird. I’ve never seen anyone like you before, and I’ve lived there my whole life! Were you born there? Where are you originally from?” The child was quite unabashed with her comments, as she hit Rayen with a barrage of questions.

Rayen tried to focus down on the questions. The Moogle was quite the curious type, and answering her was necessary to not throw everything out of the window. “So, I lived in Kestria my entire life. I’ve never been to Alora though. And this is why!” she explained, touching her antennas.
Rayen was actually starting to like her smaller interlocutor by then. Curious and talkative, once you break the ice. Now, time to impress her even more. “Oh, and… recently I moved to the Western border, fighting off the monsters from the Void Hole.”

The Moogle’s eyes were glued to her as she listened, and in particular seemed interested in the detail about fighting monsters. “Oh, that’s so cool! I’ve never been even close to that side of Kestria. Tried to sneak off a few times but the journey’s too far to make on foot, and my Grandpa always keeps hauling me back. He doesn’t know I came out this way this time, though.” she glanced over her shoulders, as if her Grandpa would have followed her all the way to Ascana and suddenly pop out to take her home. “What do you fight with? Do you know magic?”

“Well no, just normal weaponry.” Rayen shrugged. “That aside, you should be more careful. The Void Hole is dangerous.” she couldn’t help but add. It was something deeply ingrained in her mind.
“Oh, I’d be fine! Can’t be that bad.” She waved off her concerns a bit too casually. “I actually know a bit of Black magic, wanna see?” Before Rayen could respond, the Moogle excitedly generated a small flame in her hands. “Although I’ve never really fought anything or anyone before, really… kinda why I wanted to head west, or just go anywhere away from home for a bit, find some monsters to spar with and hone my powers on.” she mused as she admired the fire. The barkeep shot her a look, and she quickly ceased her magic, before turning her attention back to Rayen. “Say! Maybe you can teach me how to actually target and strike opponents. We have different tools at our disposal, but I’m sure that part’s similar. Probably.”

Rayen looked intently at the flame, amazed and worried at the same time. She didn’t quite expect the Moogle to be that passionate about fighting, especially because she had the chance to avoid danger and live a sheltered life, while Rayen didn’t. But still, her determination to improve her magic was admirable. “You know what? I like your spirit. I’m up to help you, but I’m afraid to say this is not a free service.” the hornet girl announced, finally having found an excuse to go back to her plan. “Then again, sharing the room with me tonight would be enough. What do you say?”

“Wow, thank you! And yeah, of course!” In the mere minutes they chatted, the Moogle already seemed a lot more comfortable in Rayen’s presence, and this time, accepted her request without hesitation. “We can talk about this more later. Oh! How rude of me. My name’s Lumi, by the way. It’s really nice to meet you, Bryony.”

Rayen couldn’t help but let out a sigh of relief. She couldn’t quite believe it yet, and definitely didn’t think about the purely practical side of things, but she had just secured herself a bed! “Alright, thanks Lumi.” she smiled, before taking the last sip of her juice. “And yes, we can keep talking over dinner.”

Lumi was small, but that didn’t make sharing a bed with her any easier; the little Moogle flailed around in her sleep all night, occasionally talking in her sleep, too. Rayen should have definitely expected something like this to happen, and should have prepared for the worst, but tried to look at the positives. Yes, it took a whole lot of lying, and even coming up with a new plan to evade the barkeep’s fiery eyes, but she was finally stretching out her body on an actual bed and could get under some proper blankets… well, when Lumi didn’t just pull them away.

Alright, this wasn’t worth it in hindsight, but I still got it better than people who’re camping in the open just to see these speeches, I guess. Rayen thought, trying to cheer herself up.

According to her plan, she was just going to separate from Lumi the next morning and go on her merry way, hopefully never seeing her again and hoping she’d forget about everything. The hornet girl wasn’t so keen on fulfilling her end of the deal either… bringing it up in the first place was just her way of keeping the steering wheel of the conversation. She was the one who would save people for glory and wealth - so the more harmless other people were, the better it was for her.

The next morning, though, was different from how she had imagined it. Rayen had just managed to get used to her roommate’s antics, and started to feel more and more drowsy. So when Lumi actually woke up and jumped out of the bed, the young woman took the chance to sleep for real! Now that she really had that wonderful bed all for herself, she curled under the blankets, not caring in the slightest about the sun rays coming in from the window.

“Hey. Hey, Bryony.” She said softly at first, but when Rayen didn’t respond, she lightly poked her antenna and raised her voice slightly. “Rise and shine, Bryony!”

“ow… that hurt! My antennas!" Rayen immediately sprung up, now sitting on the bed ready to fight back. But it was only Lumi.
Rayen tried to fall back asleep and enjoy her bed some more, but could never accomplish that. The damage was done.

“Bed’s surprisingly comfy here, huh?” Lumi continued, ignoring “Bryony’s” attempt to fall back asleep. She sat down on the edge of the bed and bounced lightly. “I thought I wouldn’t be able to sleep much, in a foreign place and all, but I feel really rested!” She jumped off the bed and looked out the window. “I think people are starting to move towards the plaza for the speeches though. You wanted to go too, right? Let’s go together and get a good spot.”

"Ngh… right, the conference… I need to…" mumbled Rayen, still trying to recover. She eventually did, however, and got ready for the day in front of an already dressed up Lumi. Nothing could make her miss those peace negotiations after all the trouble she'd gone through to see them - not even a chronic lack of sleep. A quick breakfast later, another quick distraction to keep the host's eyes off Rayen, and the two Kestrians were on their way to the plaza.

Down in the streets, Lumi merrily dragged a tired, grumpy Rayen through the crowd. Thankfully there was still some time before the speeches started, since the Moogle was quite easily distracted by random shops and stalls, stopping every few steps to browse wares on display.

While Lumi was so busy looking at all the shops, Rayen only cared about one thing. And when she finally found a shop that would sell it, she tried to sneak in without Lumi noticing. It was just a matter of waiting for her to be distracted, the hornet girl thought. When the time was right, Rayen quickly entered and went straight for the main desk. "Hello, I would like some eye drops, please." Especially after noticing how dry was Ascana compared to the other continents, and just how tired her eyes were, the young woman wanted to make sure to stock up. "Oh and a Potion too?"

"I don't have much anymore" the clerk replied, as if her work day had begun hours ago. "2 Eye drops and one Potion, alright?"
This time Rayen couldn't quite complain, especially as she planned to come another time to this shop to restock. "Alright, that'll do for today!" she replied, paying for her provisions.

Overall happy with her purchases, Rayen left the shop and scanned the area, only to see that the Moogle she thought she had left behind had been standing right outside the store. “Ah, there you are. Thought I saw you go into one of these shops. What’d you get?” she peered into her bag curiously, but her attention shifted again before Rayen could respond. “Oh! We really need to get going, or I’m gonna have to stand on your shoulders or something if I want to see anything. Come on!” Without another word, Lumi grabbed Rayen’s arm and started pulling her through the crowd.

At this point, "Bryony" had no choice but to comply with the Moogle's decisions. "Ok ok, I'm coming!" she grinned, following Lumi - and hoping that her lying would get her through all this for a bit longer.

Paired with Ninetales and Fox 🌸 Moderator of Challenges and Writer's Lounge


Age 25
Seen 1 Hour Ago
Posted 1 Hour Ago
Full Party

The Beginning

The large plaza was already quickly filling with people, all finding places for themselves on one side of a rope barrier that had been erected to cordon off a sort of “stage” where the various leaders would be speaking from.

The leaders themselves were already present, sitting patiently on comfortable ornate chairs that had been moved from somewhere expensive and indoors. Sitting in the centre throne was Cid VII, the sylvan king of Ascana. His longer silvery hair was tied behind his head in a ponytail and his features were sharp, even by the standards of the sylvan. Despite being much shorter than the men on either side of him, he managed to maintain a very regal appearance.

To Cid’s right, King Zephon Othon sat. He was a tall and imposing man with icy, pale skin, neatly cropped dark black hair and vividly blue eyes. Unlike the others, he had the look of a warrior. It was clear that even as king, he didn’t slack off on his training regimine. If Cid was regal, Zephon was intimidating.

On the sylvan’s left was a second human. Slightly withered-looking, older than either of the others by some margin and dressed in robes of white and gold, an ornate golden clover dangling from his neck. Cardinal Sigmund Ariss looked very much like the old, wise leader you might imagine when thinking of a Kestrian councillor.

It was this scene that Ekha arrived at, squeezing in to the already rapidly growing crowd. An energy was buzzing through the assembled onlookers, an excitement that wouldn’t be hampered by the stern demeanours of the men at the centre of it all. To Ekha, the excitement was infectious and any residual grumpiness he’d developed as a result of his encounter with the thief earlier was quick to fade away. It was hard to believe he was about to watch first hand a moment that would be recorded in the history books. He waited patiently as the time for the speeches to begin drew ever closer.

Rachel grabbed Adair by his wrist and dragged him forward, unabashedly shoving her way past other irritated spectators until they managed to get to a spot right near the front. “We have to have a good spot for this, after all.”

“Yes indeed, can’t miss the show, not with all this fuss over it.” He agreed, despite the apologies he’d offered to people they passed along the way.

“The bit I wrote is right in the middle, I expect a full report on its merits after.” Rachel elbowed Adair’s ribs playfully, just a little too hard.

Quill led his new companion through the edges of the crowd with purpose, looking for just the right spot to be in for the events to come. He eventually came to a stop right near the front of the crowds, having slipped easily through a mass of bodies to get there, coming to a halt between a pale young woman and a man that looked both far too tall to be a sylvan and far too pointy-eared to be human.

“See, now we just wait for the show to begin. They’ll never look for you here,” he whispered to the girl at his side.

Azure gave the man a curious glance. “What’s so important about this gathering, anyway? Aside from just another hiding spot, I don’t see how me being here is gonna benefit me any…”

Quill sighed. “The gathering is important because it may well represent the beginning of the first time Othon and Kestria have been on speaking terms in centuries. The talks themselves are a historic moment just because this is the first time in recent history they’ve even tried. It benefits you because nobody is going to be looking for a petty thief in the middle of such a big, important event.”

“Oh…” Azure responded, the white-haired thief not even sounding remotely interested in the significance of the event.

The girl had never really had much need to pay attention to matters of political and diplomatic nature. After all, it wasn’t as if her career path really offered her much of a need to worry about them in the first place. Thieves always just sort of lived by their own laws and codes, moving in the shadows away from such concerns… and the Crimson Zuu were no different. Still, Quill seemed to be a bit more interested in the going ons of this sort…

Azure glanced back towards her current companion. “Are you into this sort of stuff, Quill? Not exactly the type of thing I’d take someone like you to be interested in… No offense.”

“I’m hardly an expert,” he replied, “but I’ve certainly got some interest in this event. History is about to be made after all.”

“Excuse me! Sorry!” Lumi shamelessly pushed her way through the crowd, with Rayen in tow. Stopping a few steps behind a pair of Nu Mou that she couldn’t squirm past, she scrambled up the base of a nearby statue and turned back to look at her companion. “Well, I think this is as close as we’re gonna get. Not too bad. I can kinda see the stage. Hey! That’s one of our councillors, right? Who is that… Ivan…? Simon…?” She shook her head. “I forget their name.”

“That is… Cardinal Sigmund!” Rayen replied proudly. She knew the faces of almost every member of the Council, and even if she was not in her best shape, she still was confident enough that hers was the right answer.

The Moogle craned her neck and squinted. “Hm. Sounds about right, I’ll take your word for it.” Hearing Lumi’s reply, Rayen couldn’t help but chuckle slightly. She kept her eyes fixed on the three leaders: for now, the effects of her lack of sleep were still nothing but a mild nuisance.

"Who's hungry in here? I bet you are, sir!" Cho stood on the sidelines, handing out hand drawn fliers with a crude map drawn on them. The crowd was understandably wary, but surprisingly accommodating of him. "Once the speeches are over, you're gonna want some food! We got plenty of it over at the Church of Kush, located on the southern side of the market! Othonese grown, but locally prepared! A portion of proceeds goes to charity! You wanna support a good cause, don't you? Did I mention our friendly staff? Our serving girls are just cute as a button! Tell your friends! We have good food! Church of Kush!"

By the time Vidar arrived, a rather large crowd had already gathered in the plaza. Too many interruptions getting through the market had cost him his ideal spot. An area on the western side of the plaza looked the least populated, but an entire sea of bodies stood between him and his destination. Gritting his teeth and clutching his gear as close to him as he could to take up the least amount of space possible, he began to weave his way through any free pockets in the crowd in a drunken zigzag.

“Sorry! I am so sorry!” The dragoon pushed his way through a particularly small gap, almost knocking over a sylvan he couldn’t see over his bag. Although he couldn’t see her as he hurried away from the scene, he could hear her shouting at him and ducked his head down. He was almost to his destination when his foot suddenly got caught on something, a foot or a loose stone, he couldn’t tell. Unable to catch himself with the weight of his bags, Vidar fell ingloriously face-forward; his face only spared from contact with the hard plaza flooring by the very bags that sealed his doom.

“Whoa son, are you doing okay?” An older-sounding voice reached out a hand to assist Vidar up. Taking his hand, Vidar pulled himself to his feet, head still slightly spinning from the fall and the crowd. “I think you should head over where there’s less people and catch your breath,” the man said, pointing towards the very spot Vidar was looking to move to. “No need to hurt yourself trying to get close.”

“Thank you,” Vidar said, picking up his bags. He stood back up to speak to the man who helped him up, but he had already disappeared into the crowd without the dragoon managing to catch a glimpse of his face. Shrugging his shoulders, he moved back towards his intended spot.

Dropping his bag and climbing atop it, he actually had a pretty good view of the event. The rulers felt mismatched, even though he would have a hard time denying any of them carried the aura of authority around them. King Cid looked the most like he would expect a king to look, regal and almost as if they came from a different world entirely. King Othon had a different kind of presence, however. The air around him looked heavy and tense, the same kind of feeling he got watching his father in the deep haze of combat. Vidar found himself clenching the wrapped bundle containing his polearm he was using to balance while watching.

Unconsciously he felt towards his belt, only to find his coin purse was gone. Dammit. That was all the money he had with him. Did the man steal it? Did someone grab it while he was moving through the crowd? He turned his head towards the crowd and considered searching for his Gil, but he had no suspect and the faces in the crowd were all blurring together.

With a resigned sigh, he stayed in place. It cost him 200 Gil to get here, he might as well enjoy it.

King Cid got to his feet and walked forward, waving the audience down as they began to cheer and celebrate. Despite his small size, the authority he held was evident by the way a wave of silence seemed to wash through the crowd.

“Citizens of Ascana and guests from Othon and Kestria,” he began, his voice smooth both by nature and by practice, “We have gathered here today to make history. For the first time since long before any of us were born, Othon and Kestria seek to lay down arms, forget past tensions and right wrongs. It is an honour for us of Ascana to play host to such an occasion and bear witness to the forging of new bonds between former enemies.”

There was another uprising of applause. This time, Cid chose to let it run its course, resuming speaking only when it had mostly died down.

“With these proceedings now officially begun, I welcome King Zephon Othon and will stand aside so he may address you.”

Cid retreated to the central seat, a moment later, Zephon slowly rose and moved to the forefront of the roped off area. He stood silently for a moment, then spoke to the crowd.

“Othon and Kestria have been enemies for as long as Othon has existed,” he said, surprising many with the softness of his tone. Despite this though, his voice carried in a way that even Cid’s had not. Anyone who had only been half paying attention had now focused in full on the speaker. “I will not attempt to hide that I myself have fought and killed Kestrian soldiers, nor that I do not regret actions taken in defense of my country. However, even I recognise that it is time for peace. I may stand by the decisions I have made in the past, but that doesn’t mean that I should ignore the atrocities Othon has committed in war against Kestria, or seek to leave behind a world where they may reoccur -”

“We’re nearly there,” Rachel said eagerly, nudging Adair again. “You better be paying attention.” The crowd began to applaud something Zephon said.

"My quill is ready for a scathing or raving review as necessary~" Adair assured her in a singsong voice, tapping the feather in his hat.

“Well,” Quill said, leaning in slightly to make sure Azure could hear him whispering, “It’s looking like it’s about time for the real show to begin. Don’t you think?”

Azure gave a curious glance towards Quill. “Real show…? I thought this was the real show? You mean there’s something else for us to see?”

“This,” Quill responded. From the position he had very carefully leaned into, he gripped the hilt of Azure’s rapier and drew it quickly from its scabbard. Quill lunged forward with the stolen weapon and drove it through Rachel’s chest from behind her.

She let out an awful wet sputtering sound.

“Long live Kestria!” Quill shouted in a voice that wasn’t his own, pitched up to sound eerily similar to that of Azure.

In the stage area, Sigmund shot to his feet and stepped forward, raising a hand as Rachel slumped to the ground, the people next to her starting to scream.

After a moment frozen in horror Adair came to his senses and pulled the mandolin off of his back and swung at Rachel's attacker. "Murderer!"

Quill also raised his hand now and suddenly the crowd was engulfed in a blazing white light.

Staff Anime Villain Collab • Petelgeuse Romanee-Conti • My brain trembles!


Age 25
Seen 1 Hour Ago
Posted 1 Hour Ago
Full Party

The Aftermath

The screams of fear and rage quickly turned to howls of pain as the brilliant white light engulfed the crowd. Then, just as suddenly as the sounds had begun, there was just as deafening a silence.

Ekha’s eyes flickered open, but it took several more moments for his sight to show something more than whiteness. His body burned in a way entirely different to being exposed to flame and his head was swimming, his ears ringing. The ground was hard beneath him, but he had bigger concerns than comfort.

As though they were far away, he heard two men yelling and slightly quieter the groaning of hundreds of injured people. Slowly, as his vision returned, Ekha came to see the devastation that had been wrought. Bodies were all around him, many of them clearly dead. It was as a wave of revulsion washed over him that Ekha realised he couldn’t hear the men shouting anymore.

Slowly, Ekha began to struggle to his feet. Ahead of him, he could see the stage area. King Cid was laying half-conscious against his toppled throne. King Zephon was on his feet, a bloodied sword in his hand. At his feet was the body of Cardinal Sigmund.

“What just happened?” Ekha managed to wheeze out.

“What in Shermos’-” Vidar groaned and rolled over to face the destruction, his body feeling like he had been tossed off and stomped on by a particularly rowdy Chocobo. His armor bag was destroyed, like a lot of the- Don’t focus on that, just stand up. Thankfully his armor looked intact somehow, scattered around him but unbroken. A feeling of nausea rooted itself in his stomach, half from the people and probably half from the beating he just took as well. Pulling himself up with his now-unwrapped halberd, he struggled to his feet and took a clumsy step towards the stage. “Zephon...”

Still perched on the base of the statue she had been watching the ceremony from, Lumi looked around her frantically, as the fleeing civilians swarmed past in all directions. She had lost sight of her companion. “B-Bryony? Bryony!” The Moogle’s shouts fell on deaf ears. What do I do? I have to get out of this plaza! But Bryony…

Cautiously, she tried to climb back down, but as she dangled from the statue, a portly older woman who was also trying to escape the crowd knocked her to the ground. Panicked, Lumi scooted backwards until she felt someone’s boot or... hoof right behind her. “Oh, god, please don’t stab me!” she held up her arms in defense before she looked up at who she had bumped into.

Cho looked down at the little Moogle, sighing at her words. "I'm not gonna stab you! I don't even have a knife! Here, I'll help you up." He offered the scared girl his hand. The Moogle peeked at him through her arms and did not appear any less frightened by the large, burly figure looming over her. “S-stay back, beast! I know what you are, I’ll set you on fire if you come any closer, I swear-”

Cho lowered his hand, but didn't step back. "Okay, sorry, I won't hurt you. Just didn't want you to get stepped on…" Despite the confusion and panic, most people were keeping their distance from Cho, and by extension Lumi.

She continued to leer at him suspiciously, but the Orc’s mild-mannered demeanor put her at a little more ease. She got to her feet and peered around him. “Thanks, I guess. I’m sorry, too, you just… startled me a bit.”

The young sylvan man at ground zero twitched in place for nearly a minute after others began to rise before he shakily staggered to his feet, It only took a second of looking around himself to be so horrified that he forgot his surprise at being alive, as well as his own pain. Adair’s eyes locked onto the body beside him, the first one of the catastrophe… and filled up with tears. “No...no, no no. Everything was finally going to….why? What kind of monster?”

The grief and confusion nearly rendered him catatonic, but his rattled brain kept working, and after he saw Zephon, those feelings overpowered his fear and made him do something very stupid. Adair lifted Rachel off the ground and began to slowly and stumbily carry her towards who he now knew beyond a shadow of a doubt to be her father. Before he was even close enough for anyone to hear him he was already mumbling. “I’m sorry… so sorry, I couldn’t… do...anything.”

Azure sat on her knees, her body trembling as she stared blankly at the sight before her. Everything had happened so suddenly, she didn’t have any chance to react. Now that it was all over, the white-haired thief could hardly even begin to process it all. Slowly, her eyes trailed the ground until they happened upon her rapier. The tip was covered in blood, a sight that caused her eyes to widen as her hand shakily reached out to take the blade back.

“Quill…” Azure whispered silently.

Her head shot up, the thief looking around in an attempt to find some trace of the man who had guided her to the event. Quill wasn’t anywhere to be seen, however. She shook the thoughts and questions she had forming about her short-lived companion aside. Right now, she had other things to worry about. Were Biggs, Wedge, and the other members of the Zuu in the crowd? What if they were harmed in the chaos?

“I… I better go find them…” Azure determined. The thief began to pull herself up to her feet, but her shaking legs were enough to send her tumbling right back down to the dirt beneath her. “D-Damn it…”

Zephon continued just staring at the corpse of the man he’d stabbed for several moments before he realised someone had approached him. His eyes widened as he saw the man clutching the body of his daughter. He heard Adair saying something, but the words just washed over him as though they held no meaning.

“Rachel…” he said, his voice oddly monotone. He repeated the girl’s name several more times, but of course she didn’t respond. He looked back and forth between his dead daughter and the man who held her several times, as though his brain was trying to compute what he was seeing. Then, a crazed look overtook him as he seemed to reach some sort of conclusion.

With a wordless scream he lunged forward, swinging his blade at Adair’s head.

Before everything went white, Rayen could understand just one word, “Kestria”. But that alone wasn’t enough to let her grasp what was really happening. Pain did, instead.
The hornet girl couldn’t have picked a worse moment to wear her golden brooch: now, because of it, people were targeting her, punching and screaming. Instinctively, she reached for her dagger and blindly swung it at some of them, failing to realize that doing so would have likely put her in an even more dire situation.

Injuring those people, if anything, gave her just a bit more time to get out of there and try to come up with a plan. First of all, as most people were leaving the area, she switched from her dagger to her bow, which would have worked better if only a few people would have lunged at her and was definitely more scary from the point of view of her attackers. And second, she tried to find someone who would cover her shoulders. Her eyes didn’t fail her - for now - and spotted a large, towering figure standing still in the plaza. She ran towards him, her bow still in tension with an arrow ready to be used. “You, help me!” she yelled, trying to catch the Bestial’s attention.

Third point was trying to compute what happened. Many people had already left the area, giving her a clear view of the three leaders… or, better, two. Sigmund was laying on the ground, probably dead, as the king of Othon was about to swing his blade at a random civilian. Or at least, that’s what she understood. Probably not realizing who the dead girl was, Rayen shot her arrow towards the king in a fit of rage, luckily without causing more damage - the projectile just flew by Zephon and hit the ground somewhere near the three thrones.

Zephon felt the breeze as the arrow sailed past him, instinctively twisting out the way. Then with renewed fury swung for Adair twice as hard.

The king of Othon's blade cut empty air as Adair was flung up above it by a large head covered in black feathers. He landed on the chocobo's head, Rachel still in his arms and dipped his head to Zephon, eyes still glistening. "She was a wonderful person and a good friend, I could see that in a single afternoon. I know it won't ease your loss, warrior-king, but I would have taken the blade if I could. Please take her and give her a proper burial."

Bub "Kweh"d confidently, eyeing Zephon in case he needed to bolt away. No human could catch him.

Wordlessly, Zephon walked up to the bard and chocobo pair, reaching out and taking Rachel’s body from them. He walked back, laying her down near where his seat had been. Then he stood, turning back to what was left of the audience. He looked quite deranged as he looked at the last few who were on their feet.

He stepped away from Rachel’s body, towards the crowd, and as he did so flames began to run over the blade of his sword. He twirled the weapon around in his hand, spinning deftly with his fingers like a baton.

Ekha watched, unsure what was happening, but fairly sure it wasn’t likely to be good given the fate met by Sigmund, nearly met by the man with the Chocobo. He uncorked his bottle, fumbling a little with shaking fingers, and a light breeze flowed out of it over the ground, carrying within it shimmering white particles. It wouldn’t be a lot, given his current state, but he was hoping it would at least ease people’s pain if they were about to have to run for their lives.

Rayen should have expected this. She tried her best to hide behind Cho, trying to conceal her bow but with no satisfactory results. Without even noticing Lumi standing beside him, she just ordered “Check my back.” before trying her best to bail. She just ran in the opposite direction, trying to leave Cho right between her and the King, without thinking about where she was going. Not knowing how things really went, she still thought of being in the right - but that would have meant nothing when Zephon would have cut her in half.

With everything happening at once, Cho was confused, but the demihuman girl who hid behind him sounded so confident that he just followed her instructions. "Stay safe, little lady." Lumi was so short he could barely reach her antenna, but he patted her bauble in the same way one would tousle someone's hair. "Good luck!" He turned and lumbered after Rayen, trying to keep up.

The Moogle flinched slightly at his touch, but looked around as the Orc left, only just now noticing his presence alone warded off a lot of the crowd. In front of him, she also saw... “I- hey, wait up, guys! I’m coming, too!”

Azure wasn’t sure how or what exactly had happened, but she was suddenly feeling at the very least steady enough to be able to walk on her own two legs again. Climbing back up onto her feet, the white-haired thief shot a somewhat pitiful glance towards Zephon. She couldn’t even begin to imagine the pain the man must have been feeling at the moment. That said, she also knew that she really couldn’t afford the time to attempt to either. She wasn’t sure just what kind of bond that the man shared with the now… deceased girl he had been holding onto just a moment ago, but she could at least tell it was close enough to apparently drive the man into a fit of rage.

“And that’s my cue to leave…” Azure mumbled.

The thief quickly placed her rapier back into its sheath on her hip. As she did so, she took in sight of the beastial and the orc who happened to be fleeing the scene as well. Azure’s sense of direction in this city was already a mess to begin with, but with this chaos she knew she was better following after others fleeing the scene as opposed to trying to wander off on her own. Without any further hesitation, Azure quickly scrambled after the retreating duo.

The cool feeling of steel felt calming as Vidar slid his helmet on. He’d lost a lot of time putting even this much of his armor on, but charging someone as trained as Zephon without covering at least his vitals was suicide. Some survivor with a bow at least bought enough time for the Sylvan to escape before running themselves, which gave him more time to put on armor. They unintentionally bought enough time for him to put on all of his armor, spare a few auxiliary pieces. Now he could at least buy them enough time to get away in return. Gritting his teeth and his halberd, he charged forward, adrenaline overtaking the soreness in his legs.

Zephon finished spinning his sword, now holding the flaming weapon in a reverse grip. He dropped to one knee and jammed the blade into the ground. From the tip of the weapon, a strand of fire snaked forward several feet, curving out and then back in on itself until it created a circle at the end of the trail.

The circle exploded upwards, becoming a pillar of furious fire. Within, a figure began to take shape. A very large figure. The flames exploded out, dissipating in shower of embers, revealing a hulking, beast-like creature with brown, leathery skin, curved horns and fearsome claws and fangs. The aeon half-howled, half-roared and began moving towards the survivors.

Zephon laughed, quietly, maniacally. “Kill them all.”

And suddenly the whole “buying time” mission became suicide itself. Vidar didn’t fancy his chances against the Orthonese King, but he felt he could at least hold him off. An aeon probably wouldn’t even have to slow down to tear through him, armor be damned. Using his halberd to pivot his path, he changed course to follow after the fleeing people. “Don’t look back,” he shouted, sprinting faster than he ever had in his life to close the gap between them. “Just run! I’ll cover the rear!”

“Running is good!” Ekha yelled in agreement, taking off after the armoured man. Unfortunately, it seemed like the aeon had a similar thought. The massive beast leapt into action, charging after the fleeing survivors. It spat a fireball in the direction, the attack sailing over Ekha and the man with armour and exploding somewhere up ahead. “Running is definitely good! But where are we running to?!

Adair stared at the destruction around him as the others fled, silently cursing whoever did this one last time. He spared one last mournful look at Rachel before looking into her father’s burning eyes, seeing nothing but pain and hate. “It was clear in just an afternoon how full of life Rachel was, and that she wanted people around her to be happy. She must have really cared about her country too, from what she told me of her help with your speech… You spit on her memory by burning a city that only wanted to help you find peace. I pray that either you or I will find who is responsible for this and punish them. But most of all, I hope you find your sanity again when this is over. Nobody mourns a mad king.” With his piece said, the bard clicked his tongue loudly and Bub shot down the city streets after the Aeon’s other targets.

Up in the lead, though, Rayen had no idea where to go. Her judgment was very, very clouded at that point: the spine-chilling roar she heard, the immense energy she sensed with her antennas, the fireball exploding way too close to her. A fireball! She just kept going forward and forward without looking back for a while, hoping that her brain would reboot soon.

And when it did, she finally turned around to see that… for some reason, more people were following her. Now seems like a good time to scatter! You can stop following me... she thought, without actually yelling those words to not waste her breath. She did, however, make a sudden turn into a narrower, slightly downhill road, nearly stumbling in the process.

From behind the group, the aeon unleashed several more fireballs, each of them crashing around the fleeing people, either narrowly missing or forcing them to dodge out the way lest they be burned to cinders.

Cho wasn't able to make the turn as quickly as Rayen had, stumbling and falling as a fireball exploded near his head. He got back to his feet, noticing Lumi rushing to catch up, and Azure behind her. "This way, I guess! Down here!" He didn't like the thought of staying put, but he liked the idea of leaving these people on their own even less. He could see Vidar and Ekha further back, and he encouraged them to hurry.

Unfortunately, Rayen was already starting to lose her stamina. Lack of sleep, probably. Damn Lumi for being so annoying, and damn her too for that stupid plan she came up with. And, on second thought, also damn Zephon, damn the idiots in the plaza who hurt her, damn everything. She decided to keep zig-zagging through different alleys - if anything, aiming fireballs would have been harder for whatever was doing that - and started to recognize the area she’d got herself in, as if she already saw it before. The docks…? She looked back once again, pleasantly noticing that no more fireballs were headed her way. But the orc and some more people were still going after her. If you’re still chasing me… you’re not trying to lynch me again, right? she thought as she kept running.

Ekha followed the people ahead of him through a winding maze of alleyways, noticing a distinct lack of fireballs coming behind him for a moment. He allowed himself a second of relief before he heard the sounds of something very large landing on top of a roof not far behind him.

“I really hope that’s not what I think it is.” Ekha continued his sprint, eventually skidding out onto the airship docks with the rest of the group he’d found himself attached to. “Well, this can’t be good. It’s on the rooftops behind us, and this is a dead end.”

By the time he did, Rayen had already loaded her bow once again. She knew she couldn’t have kept running for a long time, and she didn’t have many escape routes available at that point (beside running in a circle around the coast, probably). Plus, the weird sounds coming from the rooftops made her even more uneasy. Her eyes still scanned the area restlessly, trying to catch any harm coming her way before it was too late.

"Did we lose it?" Cho looked around warily, then allowed himself to relax. "I think we lost it." This declaration was immediately met with the sound of the aeon landing on a nearby roof and growling.

“Apparently not,” Ekha groaned.

“That thing has a nose for hunting us down… Maybe we can use something to throw it off the trail?” Azure mused. Almost on cue, the Moogle that had been scurrying behind the Orc finally caught up with the group, collapsing in front of her, wheezing for her breath.

When the aeon finally showed itself on the rooftops, looking down at Rayen, there was no questioning which was the biggest danger. She took one more glance at the group of people who was following her and realized that, even if they meant harm, they would have to escape from Ifrit first, just like her. Plus, she even seemed to notice a familiar face amongst them… she let go of the tension on her bow and lowered it.

Now what, though? Rayen stood still for a moment, trying to recover and catch her breath.

"Well… we could always use something as a decoy? Maybe something or someone small enough to send that thing hunting in a different direction!" Azure suggested, her eyes drifting down towards Lumi as she spoke.

The Moogle’s eyes met hers as she regained her posture, quickly clueing in on Azure’s intentions. “Wh— how dare— I never—” she spluttered indignantly. She regarded the girl’s stature. “You don’t look that tall yourself, maybe we oughta send you flying instead, since you’re so down with a sacrifice! Hey, Orc, throw her! Throw her!”

Cho stepped up between the two, nervously tapping his fingers together. "Uh… I'd rather not throw either of you ladies… Can't we think of another way?"

First that face, and now that voice… That was most certainly- “Is that...” Rayen thought out loud, after a moment of hesitation. “It’s not over.”

“No, nothing is over until we leave this place. We’d better be quick, the longer that spirit chases us the more of the city will be destroyed.” The loud thump and voice that interrupted Rayen and Lumi’s reunion came from the man on the Chocobo, as he landed from a nearby rooftop. “Ascana has been through enough today.”

“We’re kind of trapped in a flying city though,” Vidar said, watching the rooftop the growling came from. His halberd was at the ready, his muscles primed to thrust the spearhead forward at first sign of the aeon moving. “Unless your chocobo can somehow carry all of us I don’t think we can make it to the ground fast enough to avoid the aeon creating a new street in the city.”

“We could always just “borrow” an airship and ride out in style…” Azure suggested, though not without sending a quick glare in the direction of the moogle that was among them. “In a city this big, I’m sure there’s one or two just sittin’ around.”

"Whatever we're doing, we should do it fast." Cho glanced up at the aeon briefly before returning his attention to the women at his sides. "But can I just say, it's nice to be part of a group."

“Uh… guys,” Ekha interjected.

The aeon had just produced a very large fireball, holding it over its head. A moment later, it heaved it at the assembled group.

“Airship!” Ekha yelped, diving out of the way.

Cho grabbed Azure and Lumi, pulling them close as he turned his back to the fireball. The force of the blast made him stagger, but he used his body as a shield to protect the pair from the flames. Taking Ekha's advice, he quickly cast Haste on himself and sprinted for the nearest airship, still carrying Lumi and Azure.

Rayen quickly dodged the fireball, tumbling on the side, before getting back up and running after Cho - who somehow she was struggling to even get close to. Now that she thought about it, the airship plan was actually great! How come she didn’t think of this sooner?

Ekha scrambled to hit feet and took off after Cho, his passengers and Rayen. Dashing for the nearest airship as another fireball exploded behind him. Vidar wasted no time rushing into the dust after Ekha, once the heat of the fireball dissipated of course. Debris falling on him was better than being Ifrit food in a can.

Bub wasted no time shooting past Ekha and Vidar, slowing down when he caught up to Cho and was solidly in the center of the formation - if it could be called such - and matching everyone else’s pace. Adair hefted his mandolin and began to pluck it. The tune was aimless, meandering, but even though it spoke to nothing specific, everyone who heard it felt themselves reinvigorated, able to run with fresh stamina and eased aches.
Staff Anime Villain Collab • Petelgeuse Romanee-Conti • My brain trembles!


Age 25
Seen 1 Hour Ago
Posted 1 Hour Ago
Full Party

The Escape

As the fireballs continued to rain down behind them, the group made a mad dash for the nearest airship. Eventually, they found their way on to a small and thankfully empty vessel. An explosion of fire just off the airship however made for a reminder that they weren’t out of the woods yet and that time was a commodity they had little of.

Cho set Lumi and Azure down on the deck, hoping they were at least somewhat safe on this ship. "I have no idea how to fly this thing! Does anyone here know how to sail?"

“Just leave that to me,” Azure chimed up, taking a moment to straighten out her outfit from being carried like some kind of luggage by the large orc. The white-haired thief had a broad grin on her face as she stepped forward to face the oddly assembled group. “I’ve flown a ship or two in my time, and this one doesn’t look to be anywhere near as complex as the Falcon! Just leave it to me!”

“I suggest we take off then,” Vidar said, carefully peeking over the side to watch for the aeon. “I don’t fancy testing how sturdy or flammable this thing is.”

“I second that,” Ekha added. “It’s not going to be long before that thing finds us and I really don’t like our chances of not being dead much longer if it does.”

“Alright!” echoed Rayen, moving closer to the edge of the deck. “I’ll cut the mooring ropes so we can fly away.” She pulled out her dagger and looked for anything that would keep the airship tied to the harbor.

With a little help from Cho, Lumi scrambled up the bow of the airship, eagerly peering ahead. Another fireball grazed the aircraft as she attempted to settle into her seat, the impact nearly sending her off the edge of the vessel. She didn’t seem too fazed. “Where to?” she asked excitedly, as if they were on a family vacation, rather than escaping a fire-breathing aeon.

“Anywhere but here,” Ekha said, watching as a second fireball followed, skimming the top of the airship.

“And all the ropes are gone! Move up move up!” Rayen shouted from the main deck, having finally cut anything that kept the airship tied to Estryn and having dodged another fireball. At least the ship was still afloat, rather than falling down into the sea below, but for how much longer?

Adair stared back at Estryn, watching the pockets of it that burned. He was no longer playing any music and had drifted around the ship without so much as looking at any of the other passengers since boarding. "And so, peace perishes in perdition…"

Meanwhile, Azure scrambled towards the pilot’s room on the airship. Her eyes widened as she stepped inside, mouth agape as she took in the sight before her. The controls on this ship were certainly much different than those on the Falcon. Some of them looked to be a tad rusty and stiff from age, and she was fairly certain she had never seen some of the gizmos and buttons around the steering wheel. Still, the thief was not about to let such a vast difference in controls get her down. She briskly made her way to the steering wheel and began to look around.

“Let’s see… On the Falcon, it’s a big red lever that gets the gears and wheelie-majigs turning, so…” Azure mused as her eyes scanned the controls.

A bright smile quickly came to her lips as she spotted the lever she was looking for. Without a moment’s delay, the young woman grabbed the lever and began to pull on it. It took a bit of effort, almost as if the ship had not been activated in years, but after enough grunts and groans Azure managed to get the lever to come down. The ship suddenly shook violently. A loud, yet dull roar echoed throughout the vessel as the gears began to turn and whirl, with the propellers back on the deck slowly beginning to spin.

“Ah! No sweat!” Azure exclaimed with delight.

Outside of the ship, on the deck, the rest of the group were treated to a much less uplifting sight. The aeon was back in view, but it had yet to attack. Instead, something arguably more alarming was happening; a vortex of flame was beginning to swirl violently around the beast, rapidly growing in size and intensity.

“Uh… what is that?!” Ekha exclaimed.

Ekha’s question went unanswered. The ship slowly began to lift off as the flaming vortex grew in intensity. The ship’s engine roared as the propellers began to spin faster. All the while the ship began to creak and groan louder with each passing second.

“Now, let’s see… We go forward with… this one, I think!” Azure exclaimed.

The white-haired girl pressed a bright, red button on the controls of the airship. On the bottom of the flying vessel, two small propellers were suddenly ejected out. Both of them began to spin quickly, suddenly causing the ship to propel forward and away from the fire beast.

“Hey, are we actually…” Rayen raised her head once again, after expecting the worst. “Who cares what that is, as long as it can’t reach us!” she spoke with defiance, gesturing a V sign towards Ifrit. “Not today, not today!” she kept yelling: it wasn’t just sarcasm in her mind, but also a way to cheer herself up and feel stronger. And that is dealt with for now, I guess…?

Vidar leaned against the railing of the airship deck and eased himself into a sitting position. He removed his helmet and set it aside before shaking his cramping hands. “Can anyone explain what just happened? There’s a flash of light, everyone is dead, and I’m sure the whole peace thing is off.”

Vidar didn’t get his answer, not in any sense he was hoping for. The swirl of flame suddenly exploded outward, becoming a dome of twisting, rotating flames. A wall of hellfire rushed for the airship.

The airship continued to move forward as the flames closed in on it. There was a wave of heat as the back of the airship was caught by the forceful attack, some part of the ship's rear catching flame as the entirety of the vehicle shuddered.

But it made it through. Just.
Staff Anime Villain Collab • Petelgeuse Romanee-Conti • My brain trembles!


Age 25
Seen 1 Hour Ago
Posted 1 Hour Ago
Full Party


Despite having celebrated just a bit too soon, Rayen’s biggest problem was now sorted out for good. But there was still a different issue that needed some sort of… supervision, at least. To recap, she had been distracted for a brief moment only to be engulfed in light. Then, she fought off a bunch of people, fired an arrow at the King of Othon himself, ran for her life after a close encounter with a certain Aeon, and ended up on an airship with a bunch of people who…

Well, at first these people appeared to be on the hunt for her, but then they even seemed to be helpful. There even seemed to be a familiar presence amongst them, for better or worse. But now she had to look for confirmation - and now that the entirety of them stood right in front of her, the moment had arrived. Rayen though didn’t speak first: she just tried to plan what to say, her eyes jumping erratically from one person to another.

“So… before we were rudely engulfed in fire, what exactly happened?” Ekha asked the others, completely ignorant to Rayen’s plight.

"It can't have been anything less than a terrorist attack aimed directly at ruining the peace talks." Adair claimed, finally dismounting the chocobo. Upon hitting the floor the bard learned that his legs had turned to jelly as they promptly collapsed under his weight. He sat there, shaking all over and voice now as unsteady as his legs. "That monster murdered R-R - the princess of Othon in cold blood, shouting a cheer for Kestria to spark Zephon's ire even further...I can only imagine that terrifying spell was for his escape. It's all like some cruel joke ripped from an old warmongering ballad. "

“He did what? How did I miss-” Rayen instinctively spat out words, before collecting herself. According to her plan, she wasn’t supposed to talk yet! There was another weird detail, though. Even the Sylvan who had just spoken looked somewhat familiar to her, just enough to fuel more questions and doubts. She couldn’t help herself, so she asked him: “But what happened then?”

Cho helped Adair to his feet, steadying the young Sylvan lest he fall again. "Speaking from experience, that was definitely some White Magic. But it was like nothing I've experienced before, probably some high tier Holy spell." He waved half-heartedly at the assembled group. "I'm Cho, by the way. Yes, I'm an Orc, and no, I'm not going to eat you."

"People who think an Orc will eat them read all the wrong stories." Adair said, patting Cho's shoulder.

“Yeah, about that - sorry again for my… outburst earlier. And thank you for your help,” the Moogle popped into view next to the Orc, addressing him with a light jab of her elbow, before turning to the group. She leered curiously at a certain individual in the mix for a moment, but piped up again shortly afterwards. “I guess we’re doing introductions now? We’re probably gonna be on this airship together for a bit, so might as well. I’m Lumi!”

“I’m Ekha,” the blue mage introduced himself, “I’d say that it’s pleasant to meet you all but that’s not exactly the word for these circumstances.”

Ekha stopped speaking for a few moments. It was a lot to take in. He had definitely heard the cry for Kestria before the attack and if Cho was correct, Holy magic further implicated a nation led primarily by a church. “So, just to get this straight, Kestria sabotaged the peace talks? Or a Kestrian terrorist at least. On top of that, we survived and fled from King Othon, stealing an airship in the process. So, we look guilty. Lovely.”

“I dunno… Even without all that some of ya look pretty shifty to begin with,” Azure chimed in, her eyes staring straight ahead as she continued to fly the ship. “I mean, a big orc walkin’ along the streets are going to naturally think something’s weird… uh, no offense big guy. Plus, who knows what else bottle boy’s packing inside that thing. It’s not exactly natural, you know?”

“Didn’t we meet earlier during a robbery you were committing?” Ekha replied.

"Liberating," Azure corrected. "Azure is not just some pretty thief. I gave that memory sphere a much happier home."

Adair shook his head at Ekha's idea, though he honestly would prefer to agree with it. "I have a hard time imagining any loyal Kestrian - even a radical one acting out an attack like this one. It should be obvious to anyone with the slightest bit of sense who the strongest man at that event was. Attacking and not trying to kill Zephon in the first place makes very little sense for Kestria, let alone angering him and then fleeing so he can slaughter one of their holy leaders."

The bard looked at the floor, clenching and unclenching his fists, torn between anger at what had happened and fear for what was still to come, but managed to continue. "Kestria gained nothing and never stood to gain anything from such an attack, someone else must have been seeking war...but who? Why?"

"Sorry to interrupt the investigation, but I think we should decide where exactly we're going." Vidar chimed in from the back, keeping a careful distance from the sides of the ship. He was finally free of his armor and undid the tie in his hair before running his fingers through the sweaty mess. "Miss pilot is right, we do look shifty. That tyrant and who knows how many citizens also got a damn good look at your guy's faces and my armor."

While Rayen had remained quiet, trying at least now to avoid the spotlight, her eyes showed she was getting more worried and uneasy by the second. Realizing the full extent of what happened, and just how shifty she and the others looked now overwhelmed her.
“Uhm…” Rayen mumbled, finally trying to come up with something to say. “If it makes you feel any better, I’ve always heard that Kestria was ready to make a lot of concessions to Othon, and I’ve never liked that. But killing… Zephon’s daughter - right? I can’t see how that would make things better. That’s only more fuel for another war, as we all saw. Hell, random people have even started to attack me as soon as they heard that one guy shouting ‘Kestria’. And then… whatever, I don’t wanna think about it.” The demi-human shuddered.

“Well, like it or not,” Ekha began, “You’re going to have to think about it anyway because this is your life now. Personally, I’m starting to think we should steer toward Kestria. We’re going to be wanted by the Othonese if they think we have anything to do with this and we just stole an Ascanian airship with no idea what they’re making of all this. So maybe we fly to Kestria and see if we can find out more about what’s going on. Maybe we can pass on some information, didn’t some of you say you saw the guy responsible?”

“Quill…” Azure replied. “He called himself Quill.”

"Sounds to me like this guy had something to gain by keeping the war going." Cho stroked his chin in thought before letting out a frustrated snort. "Doubt he's working for either side, then. But who would profit from a war, and hurting all those innocent people?"

"Scum…" Adair muttered. "Only pure scum would do that to poor Rachel…"

“If we want to pass a message without getting caught I recommend we head for Kulna then,” Vidar said. “Small enough that no one would check there any time soon, but it’s near a major road. Also gets enough travellers that a bunch of strangers showing up in town shouldn’t raise too many questions. Well…” his eyes wandered over to Cho and Rayen, “most of us wouldn’t be too out of place.”

Lumi hummed in agreement. She seemed to have checked out during the political discussion, but the mention of ‘Kulna’ got her attention. “I know where that is, my grandpa took me there when he was visiting a patient once.” She invited herself to sit down next to Azure. “Need a navigator?”

“That sounds like a good plan, and I’ve been there a couple times already!” Rayen chimed in, fixing her eyes on Vidar - but only not to be face to face with Lumi. She then wondered if people from that town would still remember her after all this time… and couldn’t help but think about what their reaction would be.

"Sounds like a plan. I'll go see how stocked this boat is, maybe get some snacks for the journey." Cho made his way past the others, looking for storage, or the galley, or whatever the nautical term for food storage would be.

"I'll help the big guy, if you guys don't mind." Vidar followed after Cho without waiting for a response, eager for the chance to forget how high up he was.

“I guess I’ll head to the back and keep an eye out in case anyone comes after us,” Ekha said, moving off a moment later.

"I…" Adair's eyes widened. My wagon… "... Need to think on some things. I'm not sure how I could be of any help with the ship, but if I'm needed I'll be in the lower deck." He walked away looking deflated and defeated, with the chocobo following behind.
Staff Anime Villain Collab • Petelgeuse Romanee-Conti • My brain trembles!


Age 25
Seen 1 Hour Ago
Posted 1 Hour Ago
Ekha Pellere
Human | Male | 18 | Blue Mage


1. Capture: Ekha attempts to catch an enemies attack or spell in his Djinn Bottle. If it is successful, he can then increase its quantity by pushing his own mana into the bottle and then release that spell from the bottle indefinitely.
2. Aero: Releases a damaging gale of wind magic.
3. Aqua Breath: Releases a torrent of water from the bottle.
4. White Wind: A magical wind that is laced with healing energy. It affects Ekha and his allies but its effectiveness is based on Ekha’s own potential vitality.


Djinn Bottle

Chapter One - It Can Always Get Worse

Ekha leaned against the cabin of the airship, watching the sky behind them. The old vehicle's flight was a bit wobbly, but it seemed Azure was a capable enough pilot because she kept it steady enough regardless. It struck Ekha at that point that, despite her dubious nature, it was lucky she had been a part of the fleeing group since she appeared to be the only one of them who knew how to fly the contraption.

As the hours began to tick by, Ekha relaxed somewhat, continuing to see no sign of pursuit. He slumped to the floor and allowed all of his clenched muscles to finally relax. Closing his eyes, he took the time to properly process the situation.

He was surprised to find that despite his tenseness, he wasn’t in a state of panic. Things were definitely bad, but they could have gone a lot worse with King Zephon’s aeon chasing after them. Now all they could do was take each day as they came. Once a situation became your reality, there wasn’t much you could do but accept that and make the best of it you could.

Slowly, a sense of uneasy calm washed over Ekha and he began to feel the exhaustion from their escape hit him. The dull thrumming produced by the airship and the sounds of its other passengers sometimes coming out onto the deck and moving about were oddly soothing. Soon, Ekha was struggling to keep his eyes open.

Ekha’s eyes flew open with a jolt. He was pretty sure that he hadn’t properly fallen asleep and that only minutes had past, but he felt foolish nonetheless. He stood up, intending to find one of the others and have them take over his watch so he could rest. However, he noticed as he stood up that the ship seemed to be wobbling a little more than usual. An instant later, he caught sight of a plume of smoke billowing off the back.


“Looks like we took more damage than I thought,” Ekha said to nobody in particular, “I should make sure our pilot knows about this.”

Ekha began to make his way towards the door to the cabin when there was an awful grinding noise that seemed to vibrate through his entire body. Then, the ship lurched violently and began to list to the side.

Ekha was thrown off balance, stumbling and only narrowly managing to catch himself before he fell over. He glanced back behind him and saw that the smoke plume had thickened and darkened.

Deciding that a casual pace was no longer an option, Ekha broke into a run. He quickly reached the door and pulled it open. “Hey, we’ve got a problem!”

The words were barely out of his mouth when there was a loud bang. The ship suddenly dropped several feet, tilting to one side. Ekha lost his balance for real this time and tumbled down the incline, smashing his head into the wooden railing of the ship.

His vision blurred and his head began to spin as he climbed to his feet. A not insignificant chunk of the back of the ship was now missing and smoke and flames seemed to have taken its place.

“Oh no,” Ekha said, realising both what was happening and that he could do nothing to stop it in the same moment. “I think we’re going down!”

There was a second bang and the ship dropped several feet once more. Ekha was thrown off his feet again and tumbled down the deck of the ship before bouncing up and over the railing. He caught the edge, holding on for dear life as the entirety of the airship began to rattle uncontrollably.

Wincing at the effort, Ekha pulled himself back over the edge of the ship and flopped onto the heavily vibrating ground. Then the third explosion happened.
Staff Anime Villain Collab • Petelgeuse Romanee-Conti • My brain trembles!


Age 25
Seen 1 Hour Ago
Posted 1 Hour Ago
Chapter Two
As the airship plummets toward the north east, it gradually breaks up eventually detonating off the coast. Pieces of the ship flew off in all directions, flying into the landscape ahead or into the waters below.

You come to in the aftermath of the explosion. Some of you find yourselves washing up on a narrow stretch of yellow-sanded beach, others awake to find yourselves surrounded by gigantic mushrooms, many much taller than any building you have seen before.

This is Titan Shrooms, one of two mushroom forests in the east of Othon - the larger of the pair. As far as the eye can see, gigantic mushrooms of all sorts of different colours, shapes and patterns make up a strange, fantastical skyline. Meanwhile, the ground is bathed in shadow by the canopies of the monstrous mushrooms and the murky ground level is covered in smaller kinds of fungi, some of which emanate a luminescent glow.

In some places, the air becomes thick with clouds of spores. Some of these are toxic, but most are benign. More troublesome is the large numbers of insectoid monsters that call Titan Shrooms home.

Chapter Objective: Find each other and regroup.

Cure Shrooms (Small white mushrooms that glow faintly. They have minor healing capabilities and are an ingredient in healing potions.)
Gyashl Greens (Rare. Carrot-looking plants that cure Berserk.)
Chitin (Strips of Chitin that can be harvested from certain mushrooms or insect enemies. Can be collected and used to create armour.)
Poison Fangs (Uncommon. Can be collected from some insects and used to augment weapons or used to poison other enemies in a one-off attack.)
Memory Sphere (Only One. Teaches Dark Attack. Held by a skeleton.)

Staff Anime Villain Collab • Petelgeuse Romanee-Conti • My brain trembles!


💖 Mikoto Misaka 💖

Age 21
Seen 39 Minutes Ago
Posted 12 Hours Ago
2,505 posts
4.8 Years

Rayen Blackthorn
Ranger • Demi-human • 26 • ♀

// Gil: 650

• Rayen's Shortbow
• 2 Eye Drops
• 1 Potion

Analyze: using her demi-human abilities, Rayen focuses on her enemy to gain knowledge on its weak points, mana and overall strength.
Barrage: Rayen hits her enemy several times in a row, using mana to improve her own reload and aiming speed.
Nettle Sting: Rayen’s next shot will poison the target, dealing damage over time.
Critical Shot: Rayen concentrates, in order to hit her enemy in its weak point with a powered up shot. This attack will be less affected (if compared to a normal shot) by the enemy’s armor and magic defenses.

You are trying to get some hours of well deserved sleep, tucked away in the corner of a small room, but you find it difficult to just lay your head down and rest. Yes, it’s obviously uncomfortable, but you figured you could sleep on anything by this point - the problem is, you can’t shake off your mind everything that happened that day.

You’ve just went through a couple near-death experiences, witnessed one of your nation’s leaders being beheaded, and escaped on this old freight airship alongside a very peculiar cast - including a certain Moogle you just couldn’t get rid of. And once you feel like you’re finally about to give in…

Yes, that’s when you hear explosions and start panicking. You can’t see much of the damage from where you are, not until the whole ship disintegrates into countless pieces of wood and metal. You fail to grab your stuff in time, as it falls somewhere in the sea below. Meanwhile, you and the first wooden beam you’ve managed to hug also plummet down at incredible speed.

What would you do in this situation? What are your thoughts? Do you even keep a glimpse of reason? No need to answer. You’d never know.

After all, some things can only happen to me, Rayen Blackthorn.

Not like I know what to do either. For the whole time I am in the air, I just panic, holding onto that piece of wood. And even after the impact with the cold water, all I can do is keep myself glued to what once was the floor of that little room.

Only when I wash up on the nearest shore (surprisingly soon, I have to admit), I can say “I survived this as well” and finally make sense of the situation. I promptly let go of the beam and stand up on the beach, a tiny strip of sand between the ocean and a towering forest, oversized mushrooms already sprouting from in between the trees. I’d never been in a place like this, and I know for sure there aren’t mushrooms this large anywhere in Kestria, but…

A chill goes down my spine as I realize, I am now in Othon! A nation that I actually would never bother visiting, given how I am basically still an enemy. And now, all alone, with nothing but my small dagger, in a foreign and unsafe land… I really feel defeated and done for. I can’t help but sit back down and cry. All is permitted if no one’s watching you, right?

I don’t know how much time I’ve spent with my head in my hands, but as I lift it up again and take a look around, a pleasant surprise awaits me. The sea has brought here, on the beach, my bag and a few other items I’ve failed to grab before. I run towards them and find nearly everything, including my bow and a few arrows. I probably should’ve expected that, given that both me and my stuff have simply followed the same current, but obviously I had no time to think about it. And case in point, I can’t help but feel lucky, as if I was blessed by the sea itself. I’m more hopeful too, so to speak.

I try out my bow, happy to see it’s still in good conditions despite being wet, and I can rely on it. That’s one problem solved, I tell myself, trying to move on to something else. Easy, since I’m in Othon I’ll just hide my brooch and lie if needed! I think, and promptly take off that jewel before hiding it… how? Probably just attaching the brooch to the inside of my soaked jacket will do.

Third point, I need to regroup with the others who were on the airship. It’s just the most reasonable thing to do, isn’t it? Even if it means meeting Lumi again, I’ll just have to accept it. I try to rebuild the list of people who were on the airship as I walk back and forth on the beach, trying to spot someone and at the same time dry my clothes some more. No giving up now, I keep telling myself.

Of course, it could never be that easy. Not a single soul was on the beach, or if it was, it was too far from where I was. Hopeless, I just turned around to face the forest and went in. I have no idea what to expect, other than big weird mushrooms that only seem to grow even bigger the further away from the sea I get. I recognize a few plants and flowers here and there, but they’re very scarce and small due to the mushrooms and trees taking away the sunlight from them.

Soon enough the whole forest turns very dark and confusing, even for someone like me who has good eyesight and antennas. I crawl through, trying not to trip and fall, going further away from the ocean shore, realizing only too late that I haven’t picked any reference that can help me get back to where I was. Not like I’d need to, I reassure myself as I keep going in the same direction.

Eventually, the strongest source of light is no longer the sun, but the faint glow of many mushrooms laying around the forest. I try to pick up one or two small white ones, pleasantly noticing that they still glow afterwards, and eventually hear some sounds, some signs of life. Too bad it’s not people.

I look above and only see dark silhouettes moving around the place erratically, but can’t discern what they actually are. The noise I hear, as I said, is my only clue - and it sounds like insect wings… So far, no one has come down for me, and I can only hope this “truce” continues.
I know that being partially human hasn’t spared me from other humans’ judgment, but what if this was a different story? Maybe these insects - or at least, I think they’re insects - will not bother me because there’s something insect-like in me.

As long as they won’t prove me wrong, I want to believe this. Even if it implies that these insectoid monsters are better than humans.

With these thoughts in my head, I keep walking around the forest, picking up what I can find along the way, always trying to stay aware of my surroundings. It’s true, I wasted some time crying my heart out, but even then… how far from me has everyone else travelled?

Paired with Ninetales and Fox 🌸 Moderator of Challenges and Writer's Lounge


Age 25
Seen 1 Hour Ago
Posted 1 Hour Ago
Ekha Pellere
Human | Male | 18 | Blue Mage


1. Capture: Ekha attempts to catch an enemies attack or spell in his Djinn Bottle. If it is successful, he can then increase its quantity by pushing his own mana into the bottle and then release that spell from the bottle indefinitely.
2. Aero: Releases a damaging gale of wind magic.
3. Aqua Breath: Releases a torrent of water from the bottle.
4. White Wind: A magical wind that is laced with healing energy. It affects Ekha and his allies but its effectiveness is based on Ekha’s own potential vitality.

Inventory (Currently Missing)

Djinn Bottle
Potion X2

Chapter Two - Welcome to Titan Shrooms

Ekha’s eyes slowly fluttered open and he rolled onto his back to find himself looking up at a rapidly darkening sky, bathed in ribbons of purple and orange as the sun began to set in the west. It was late afternoon when the ship started to explode, so he’d probably been out for several hours.

He laid still for several more minutes, his body heavy with exhaustion and aching all over. It was a miracle that he was still alive, something he suspected had a lot to do with the ship’s descent before it fully exploded. Still, he had no idea where he was. His sense of confusion only made greater by the strange rubbery feeling underneath him.

With a groan from the exertion, Ekha forced himself up into a sitting position and almost immediately nearly fell back down as the shock of his predicament hit him. He was surrounded by the tops of gigantic mushrooms, he himself apparently having been laying on top of the cap of another. The forest of gigantic fungi stretched almost all the way to the ocean in the east, and was just about all he could see in every other direction. It was a lot to take in for all kinds of reasons.

“There’s no mushroom forests in Kestria,” he said out loud to himself, hearing the strain in his voice. That meant that the ship had veered so far to the right that they had ended up in Othon, the last place on Midiri that they wanted to be. The first question this raised for Ekha, was if he was in Tower Shrooms or if they had, by some awful twist of fate, veered so far to the north that they had ended up crashing in Titan Shrooms. The second was the question of what had happened to his fellow escapees. The third was how he was going to get down.

Ekha checked to make sure his stuff had survived the explosion. His Djinn bottle and coin pouch were still at his side, but his bag was nowhere to be seen. That meant he had no access to his camping gear or his medicinal supplies. If he was lucky, they’d have survived the crash.

With no small effort, Ekha crawled to the edge of the mushroom’s cap and looked down. He was incredibly high above the ground, only the caps of a few shorter mushrooms between him at hard earth. “I guess just jumping straight down isn’t an option then.”

Ekha rolled onto his back again with a sigh and shut his eyes. Another wave of pain washed over him as he did so. He grit his teeth and waited for the throbbing and burning to subside a little, holding his breath as he did so. Only when the pain had dulled did he exhale.

“How did you even end up in this situation?” Ekha said to himself, “You were just in Estryn to see some people give some speeches. Next thing you know, you’re getting into fights with thieves, witnessing a terror attack, mistaken for one of the terrorists and then fleeing, with the earlier thief, on an airship that then explodes. Who has days like that?!”

Ekha let out a wordless, frustrated growl at his situation. Then, abruptly, shot back up into a sitting position, swaying heavily as his body regretted that action long before his mind did. Slower, he then pushed himself into a standing position. “Well, you’re here now, aren’t you?”

He uncorked his Djinn Bottle, the glittering breeze of his White Wind spell flowing over him, its healing magic lessening the aches he felt. It wasn’t a huge amount, not nearly as good as a healing potion would have been, but it did the job well enough. The next part was going be more problematic.

Ekha steeled himself and several slow, deep breaths. Then he took a run up and leapt off the cap of his mushroom, aiming for one of the shorter ones below. He plummeted through the air for several nerve-wracking seconds, then landed hard on the rubbery surface of the next mushroom, rolling to reduce his momentum.

“Ow,” he commented, climbing back up to his feet. The mushroom was a softer landing than he’d been expecting, but a cushion it was not. He walked over to the edge of the mushroom and looked down, it was going to take a few more mushrooms before he could reach the ground. “Wonderful.”

Ekha took several steps back and then made another running leap for the next mushroom down. Then, everything went wrong. He was suddenly deafened by then a loud buzzing sound anda second later he felt something large slam into his side, knocking the air from his lungs. It took a moment to process what was going on, but it became clear as his head stopped swimming that he’d just been rammed into by a large flying insect and was now gripped between its legs.

“Really?!” Ekha yelled, struggling against the monstrous bug.
Staff Anime Villain Collab • Petelgeuse Romanee-Conti • My brain trembles!


💖 Mikoto Misaka 💖

Age 21
Seen 39 Minutes Ago
Posted 12 Hours Ago
2,505 posts
4.8 Years

Rayen Blackthorn
Ranger • Demi-human • 26 • ♀ • Joint post with Gimmepie (as Ekha)

// Gil: 650 (Rayen), 300 (Ekha)

• Rayen's Shortbow
• 2 Eye Drops
• 1 Potion

Ekha (currently missing):
• Djinn Bottle
• 2 Potions
• Antidote

Analyze: using her demi-human abilities, Rayen focuses on her enemy to gain knowledge on its weak points, mana and overall strength.
Barrage: Rayen hits her enemy several times in a row, using mana to improve her own reload and aiming speed.
Nettle Sting: Rayen’s next shot will poison the target, dealing damage over time.
Critical Shot: Rayen concentrates, in order to hit her enemy in its weak point with a powered up shot. This attack will be less affected (if compared to a normal shot) by the enemy’s armor and magic defenses.

🟄 Capture: Ekha attempts to catch an enemies attack or spell in his Djinn Bottle. If it is successful, he can then increase its quantity by pushing his own mana into the bottle and then release that spell from the bottle indefinitely.
🟄 Aero: Releases a damaging gale of wind magic.
🟄 Aqua Breath: Releases a torrent of water from the bottle.
🟄 White Wind: A magical wind that is laced with healing energy. It affects Ekha and his allies but its effectiveness is based on Ekha’s own potential vitality.

Ekha struggled against the grip of the insect, the sound of its wingbeats deafening as it droned in his ears. He had given up yelling and was now focused entirely on escaping the creature, feeling himself slipping slightly from its grip only to have it latch on tighter a moment later. He was vaguely aware of the bug’s flight getting more erratic, but this was hardly his focus. At least, not until they slammed into the stalk of a mushroom and he was thrown from its grasp, dropping several feet to the ground and tumbling through the dirt.

Rayen was just close enough to hear the sound of the impact, and that definitely caught her off guard. But, at the same time, it made her at least a bit curious. Now that she was essentially on the hunt of her “companions”, her mind would just immediately jump back to them, and blame even the smallest thing on their presence.

It still was a surprise for her to see, however, that her mind actually didn’t fail her. On the ground, next to her, stood… a somewhat familiar face. “Uhm, you ok? What’s going on here?” she looked around nervously, her antennas twitching. She still hadn’t fully realized who else was there, other than Ekha.

“Oh, fantastic.” Ekha groaned, stumbling back to his feet for what felt like the fiftieth time that day. “I’m wanted for terrorism, we crashed in the wrong country and a giant bug is trying to eat me. Couldn’t possibly want more. It’s nice to see at least one more of us made it though.”

“I know rii-” Rayen replied immediately, only to stop just as abruptly. “What kinda bug? Where is it? I thought they wouldn’t bother but…” she asked hastily, looking even more nervous. Sadly, the low light and the large amount of spores raining down on her didn’t help her eyes or her antennas to do their job.

At this moment, an enormous, orange wasp-like creature with a sting almost half as long as Ekha was tall rocketed out of the cloud of spores, swooping over the pair and forcing them to dive out the way in opposite directions.

“That kind!” Ekha yelled over the sound of the wasp’s wings.

Rayen, driven by instinct at that point, quickly picked up her bow and loaded the first arrow, fiddling with her weapon to get the best tension even if it still had not dried up. “Why'd you do this…” she muttered, just slightly disappointed that a wasp would attack her, a hornet girl, like that. She then tried to Analyze her new enemy, fixing her aim one more time and bracing for a new attack.
What was the wasp’s weak point, she would have tried to find out very soon.

The wasp swung back around, aiming to spear Ekha with its stinger. Ekha uncorked his bottle as the wasp shot toward him, releasing a powerful gust of wind with his Aero spell. The attack kept the wasp at bay as it continued to struggle towards him.

It was at that point that Rayen shot her first arrow, and hit somewhere in the abdomen of the monster. While it wasn’t exactly the point Rayen had aimed for, it still seemed to be quite effective… but of course, that hit also drew the wasp’s attention.

The hornet girl knew that, no matter how hidden she stayed, shooting an arrow always acted as a give away… but even knowing that, she wasn’t fast enough to get another arrow ready. Wet feathers or whatever, things had just gone wrong. She had to once again jump aside, and was now relatively defenseless, with her back against a giant mushroom stem.

The wasp, making an unpleasant, pained shrieking noise now, wheeled around in the air. Once again it launched itself at Rayen, now deeming the demi-human the bigger threat.

Ekha took this chance to attack it again, shooting a torrent of water from his bottle that slammed into the Wasp’s back with enough force to send its flight out of control. He watched as the wasp spiralled past Rayen, missing her widely as it righted itself and turned towards them again.

“T-thanks!” Rayen yelled, noticing how they were already doing alright as a team. Yes, the cold water coming from the mage’s spell wasn’t that pleasant to get hit with, but it was for a better good! This was also a great moment to finally get a second arrow onto the wasp’s abdomen - something that she did as soon as she got back up on her feet.

The creature was clearly wounded, bleeding an awful blue-green goo from its abdomen where Rayen’s arrows had pierced it. Its flight had grown erratic and unsteady, but it almost seemed more dangerous in its agony and rage. It dove for Rayen again, stinger pushed forward with the intent to run it through her like a javelin.

Ekha moved forward slightly, calling forth another Aero from his bottle. The gust he released buffeted the wasp, knocking it off-kilter and forcing it back so Rayen could get another shot in.

And this time, she didn’t fail. She did just what she was supposed to, and landed another arrow in the wasp’s… abdomen, again. Yes, the wet bowstring hampered the reach of the arrows, but it still seemed to work! And that was what Rayen wanted to see: a monster she could finally measure up against - a good change of pace from the nearly invincible Ifrit she’d met that very morning.

“That looks like poison…” Rayen warned Ekha after her attack. “But we’ll still manage, ‘cause I’m the better wasp!”

The wasp was sagging in the air now, struggling to stay in the air after the damage it had sustained. Ekha was glad for this, because he was sore, thoroughly exhausted and his pool of mana was pretty much empty. “I’m inclined to agree with you. Time to put it out of its misery I think.”

Rayen didn’t waste any more time and shot the last arrow of the fight into the target, this time finally succeeding to aim just a bit higher, and knocking down the wasp for good.

“Yes!” she rejoiced, getting maybe a bit too close to her enemy. The wasp was nearly defenseless by then, but still alive.

“Yay,” Ekha agreed dryly, not able to muster the enthusiasm. He trudged over to the nearest mushroom stalk and slumped against it, sliding down into a seated position. “I need to rest for a minute. I’ve been doing a lot of casting without much down time today. After that, we should see if we can find the others. If we made it, I don’t see why they couldn’t have. It’d be nice if we could find my stuff along the way too. I have medical supplies in my bag wherever it is.”

Rayen didn’t really pay attention to the boy’s words though, as she was slowly approaching the wasp, this time with her dagger out. All she said was: “Ok, ok, just give me a minute here.”

As the wasp was still fighting death, Rayen sealed the deal with a stab on the point where the abdomen and the thorax joined. From there, it was relatively easy to basically cut the creature in half. Being part wasp myself, I’d know what your weak point is! Rayen thought.

After dying, it was only a matter of time before the wasp’s body would stop moving, and Rayen could get close once more to retrieve her arrows: a resource-saving tactic she’d learned at a young age, but that could have been quite difficult here because of the poison. The hornet girl, in the meantime, just got close to Ekha.

“We made it because we found each other… we can only hope the others grouped up as well. But…” she whispered, “I’m not going anywhere either without some rest.” In the background, the wasp’s wings were still providing a weird, unpleasant background noise.

“Sure, but I was alone for a while before we ran into each other. I had the bad luck of landing on top of one of the taller mushrooms. I hope the others were spared that misfortune at least.” Ekha replied, shifting his weight to get a bit more comfortable.

“If you couldn’t see it already, I just fell into the sea. But I didn’t find anyone’s traces near me! If I had to guess, we should keep going further away from the coast to find someone else.” Rayen explained, before noticing that the wasp’s body wasn’t moving anymore. “Time to scavenge…”

The hornet girl got close to her monster omologue once again, jumping all around it to locate her arrows before carefully pulling them out. One was broken and unusable, but the other three were still in passable conditions - if not for the fact that they were drenched in poison. This could be hard to deal with but I need these arrows! she thought, already expecting not to leave the forest for a long time. She then proceeded to harvest some more materials from the wasp’s body parts.

“All done!” she then declared, walking back to Ekha and sitting down beside him.

“Lovely,” Ekha commented, “Well, just a bit longer and then let’s get looking for the others before it’s impossible to see anything that’s not within a foot of a glowing mushroom.”

“I second that, I just need some time to recover…” Rayen sighed. While she wasn’t heavily wounded, she couldn’t deny she was tired after so many sleepless days - the last of which being so damn wild - and her mind needed to regain focus.

“I wanted to believe otherwise but…” she continued, almost talking to herself, “Just like being part human doesn’t stop humans from looking down on you, being part insect doesn’t stop insect monsters from attacking you. I’ll just have to stay aware, even here…”

“Well,” Ekha replied, “Insects have never been above eating other bugs.”

“What did I expect, right?” Rayen immediately answered, shrugging. “That’s what I get for being who I am… that’s what I get for being the better wasp, uh?” she continued, reminiscing what she said before - her face looking half smiling, half pensive.

“Honestly, I don’t think it much cared what you are,” Ekha said, “Other than a potential dinner anyway.” He laughed a little at that end comment.

Rayen chuckled as well, releasing tension. “Yeah, you’re right! And to make things worse, it could have actually happened. Well, the same can be said about you I suppose…”

“I don’t make a habit of eating sapient beings,” Ekha responded, climbing back up to his feet. “So shall we get a move on uh… I didn’t catch your name.”

“Oh, I-”

My name uh? What else do you know about me… Rayen thought, trying to buy some time with some heavy breathing and intercalary. I guess I saved you and fought by your side, so might as well risk it.

“My name’s Rayen.”

“Nice name,” Ekha said, “Hopefully neither it nor mine will end up on tombstones in the near future.”

“Thanks! And you… Ekha, right?” the young woman brushed the tip of her antenna.


“Ok, then, shall we?” Rayen stood up as well. “Let’s just be careful not to run in circles. Actually…” she kneeled for a moment. “Isn’t there a way to mark where we’ve been? Maybe we can pick up these mushrooms.”

“Good idea, but why not just carve something into a stalk instead?”

“Oh, well, we can do both.” Rayen laughed, pulling out her dagger.

Paired with Ninetales and Fox 🌸 Moderator of Challenges and Writer's Lounge


A Princely Birb

Age 26
Seen 11 Hours Ago
Posted 21 Hours Ago
437 posts
5.1 Years

Adair / Cho / Vidar
A JP with Sephear and Groc

Adair's Song of the Day

The sky was a beautiful shade of blue, the towering mushrooms above him kept the sun from his eyes, and every muscle in Vidar’s body ached like hell. As his eyes began to focus, he could notice several signs of something heavy impacting the tree-like mushrooms, leaving several craters and ruptured areas where various insects now gathered to take advantage of the exposed softer flesh. A few seconds later, Vidar realized that it was probably him who did that. Or at least his body in free fall.

Exactly how he came to crash into these mushrooms began to come to him in bits and pieces. There was an airship he was on. That airship later exploded for reasons not entirely clear to him. Whether those reasons are unknown to him because he is not an airship mechanic or because he has a serious concussion is also unclear. He was also probably a wanted criminal in at least one country because he has no idea who that airship belongs (well, belonged) to. There’s also a war probably reigniting at this very second too. Yesterday was… eventful.

I should probably make sure everyone is okay after that. His mind suggested, although his body had other thoughts. He didn’t have any broken bones, at least from what he could tell, but the stinging pain that accompanied movement caused difficulty in even sitting up. He surveyed his surroundings while waiting for his body to acclimate to the pain; his armor bag wasn’t that far from him and his halberd was thankfully intact, just wedged in the ground. With the shaking in his arms gone, he grit his teeth and pushed himself back onto his feet.

The ringing in Vidar’s ears redoubled and his vision blurred as he took his first few, cautious steps. His knee buckled for a second and sent him stumbling before he was able to catch himself with one of the massive mushroom stalks. A plume of smoke caught his attention while resting to catch his breath, the first sign of someone else from the airship being nearby.

The halberd made for a passable walking stick, especially when faced with carrying it and the armor across the entire forest with no support. He was prepared to head towards the source of the smoke before he noticed a small outcropping of white, slightly luminescent mushrooms. If he was not mistaken, and Shermos help him he hoped he was not, then these mushrooms were edible. He ignored the protest in his leg muscles as he gathered them in the hopes that whoever he would meet at that fire would be able to confirm what they were.

Stuffing his newfound bounty in his helmet for safe keeping, Vidar set off down the forest path towards the smoke.

Cho bolted upright with a startled snort. He looked around in panic, not sure where he was, exactly. The last thing he remembered was the airship, an explosion, casting Protect on himself as he fell…

And now he was in a forest? No… these were no trees, but massive mushrooms. He sniffed at the air, but all he could smell was more fungus and a faint whiff of smoke. He plucked a white mushroom from the dirt beside him, giving it a wary smell, but he didn't detect any poison. He popped it into his mouth, and it was good.

He slowly got to his hooves, finding that everything hurt. But it was a good hurt, meant he was still alive. He bowed his head and placed a hand to his chest. "Lady Kush, Provider and Protector, heal my body and rest my soul so I may continue to do my work. Cure." His hand glowed momentarily green, and he sighed as the healing warmth spread through his body.

Walking around was simpler after healing himself, so he slowly turned in a circle, smelling the air. He caught a faint whiff of something… not smoke, or the giant mushrooms around him, but something else. He dropped to his knees, following the scent, and rooted around with his hands before digging up some much smaller brown mushrooms. He gasped in delight at his discovery. "Truffles! Definitely keeping some of you for later…"

Part of him considered searching for the others, but he sullenly doubted any of them were looking for him. So, he decided to follow his nose, see what else he could dig up. Maybe a friendly face, or maybe something else tasty. It was better than just sitting around…

“No, no, I couldn’t possibly have another roasted cheese curd! Hey, keep it away from Bubbers, he’s lactose-intolerant!” Adair shouted desperately at his father only for the dream to be interrupted by a loud crash. His eyes shot open just in time to see a silhouette blur past his vision. He shot upright and looked around himself, quirking an eyebrow. A forest? Not one I’ve ever passed through. Just where did we - Crash! That’s right! His scanning stopped when he found what must have been the thing he saw upon awakening, a wasp almost the size of a man, slammed into a tree so hard it was stuck there.

A loud squawk brought Adair’s attention to the void of companionship he was currently experiencing and he immediately ran in the direction of the noise. “Bub! Where are you, buddy?!” Another squawk, another crash. After a short sprint the Bard finally broke through a dense thicket and into a large clearing, only to gasp in horror. Backing up to the center of the clearing was the prized chocobo of Windrunner Ranch, surrounded by monstrous wasps! Birds tend to do well against bugs and Bub is no different, he’d already taken down several of the pests but there were so many more, Adair felt his knees wobble just looking at them.

When the gap from the last felled foe closed the Bard was forced to gulp down his fear and step forward. Adair held his mandolin like a club and the instrument became coated in a wispy magenta energy. A few of the wasps broke off from the main group upon noticing the interloper and flew his way. The mandolin waved in the air frantically, trying to keep up with the trio of bugs. It was all Adair could do just to keep them away, but finally he got a solid hit on one, then the other, and finally the third. They were far from down and out, but they began to buzz in strange, confused patterns.

Just like Adair hoped, the wasps he’d hit flew back towards the main pack and crashed into some of their fellows, starting a gaggle of infighting within the swarm. Adair ran through the path made by the confusion and caught Bub’s attention, swinging onto his back and locking into the stirrups of his saddle all in one fluid motion with the grace of a prime coward. “Run!” And so Bub did.

Vidar trudged on through eerily smooth ground. The sheer height of the mushroom stalks reminded him so much of trees, but the “forest” floor lacked the tangle of roots and fallen branches that made travelling through forests of similar density such a pain. Not that he was complaining; it was less to trip over.

The local fauna didn’t seem to mind him too much either. A beetle with a dangerous looking horn and a tough, blue-tinted carapace the size of a large dog lazily crawled across the forest floor feeding on small plants, but paid no mind to him. That had been the story of his entire hike so far; giant insect after giant insect, but none seemed to really care about the human crossing their territory.

The pain had subsided somewhat, but that would probably only last until he stopped moving. Perhaps more worrying, his hunger was starting to grow and compound the feeling of weakness in his legs. The mushrooms he had gathered tempted him with some form of relief, but he did not fancy having to purge his body of poison should he have been mistaken.

Still, he pushed towards the smoke with a singular determination. If he was going to collapse and become bug food, he at least wanted to see what the smoke was about first.

A distant sound drew his attention. It didn’t sound anything like the sounds he heard from these insects (the few sounds they did make), nor did it really sound like conversation. He cautiously moved his halberd in front of him, slowly walking towards the sound of the noise. It might not be friendly, but it was something, and that was more than he was finding out here on his own.
As he drew closer the sound became more familiar. He heard it all the time around pig farms and when hunting wild boars… something was sniffing about very loudly. Shermos, there aren’t any boars here… He silently prayed. A boar could very well kill him in his state should he intrude on their territory. It’s not like there were any pig farms around either… Unless...

“Hey, Big Guy?” He shouted through the “treeline”, tightening the grip on his weapon.

There was a sharp squeal, like a surprised pig, followed by a very human voice. "Who's there?!" Something came blundering and crashing through the undergrowth, revealing itself to be a slightly dirty and very surprised Cho.

"Hey!" The big orc rushed over to Vidar, grinning happily and opening his arms for a hug. "You're not dead! I was worried for everyone. You're not hurt, are you?"

“Nothing too serious,” he understated, “I’m going to have some pretty bad bruises, but nothing broken or missing.” He dropped his bag, creating a loud, metallic clang, and slowly lowered himself to sit on it. The dragoon reached inside and retrieved his helmet, partially wrapped in a cloth to keep his recent find safe.

“Saying that, I think I’ll need some rest and food before I’m going to be too useful.” Vidar undid the simple knot on the cloth and withdrew one of the small, white mushrooms inside and held it up for the orc to see. “Long shot, but I found these and think they might be edible. You know anything about them?”

Cho took the mushroom, sniffing it delicately. "Very subtle aroma… firm, so it's in good shape…" Without asking, he popped the whole thing into his mouth and chewed thoughtfully. "Mild flavor, just a hint of a peppery aftertaste… these should be just fine!" He gave the tired dragoon a grin and a thumbs up.

He placed a hand on Vidar’s shoulder, muttering a quick spell under his breath. His hand glowed green and Vidar felt warmth spread through his body, soothing his aches and leaving him feeling better. "That should do for a quick pick-me-up. An airship crash is nothing to just shrug off."

“How the hell,“ Vidar muttered, stretching his previously battered muscles. The pain wasn’t entirely gone, but he was feeling more like he had a rough workout and less like walking death. “I’m going to guess that whatever you just did was not an orc thing. I think that was magic? No offense, but I didn’t take you as the magical sort.”

Loud rustles followed by a crashing noise in some nearby foliage signaled that the travelers may not be ready to have a restful snack just yet. After a tense moment they heard a loud Kweh! and knew at least it was no monster just before Adair and Bub shot out from a dense clump of trees. The bard was looking behind him and didn’t even notice the pair until Bub came to such a sudden stop in front of them that Adair tumbled to the ground in a heap. “Don’t tell me they somehow managed to cut us off?! There’s no way they’re fast enough - tell me it isn’t so!” His panicked words were accompanied by equally frantic swinging of his head until his eyes met those of the dragoon and the orc priest. He froze, blinked a few times, then let out a huge breath and allowed himself to slump flat against the ground.

“Oh thank every sort of divine entity and benevolent shepherd of travelers and their fates! Finally a friendly face. Two, even!” Bub nudged Adair with his beak, then gave up when he didn’t immediately move and stared at Cho and Vidar with his head cocked.

"Hey, you made it!" Cho made sure to keep away from Bub's claws and beak as he leaned in to check on Adair. "You okay, buddy? Need a hand?"
“Just taking a moment to breathe.” Adair assured the orc with a wave. “A horde of nasty bugs were attacking Bub when I woke up. I believe they may have spotted me when I was unconscious and forced him to protect me. He’s of a much more...fortified constitution than I.”

Vidar pushed himself off his armor bag with his weapon before bending over to retrieve his helmet again. He dumped the small pile of glowing mushrooms on the ground next to his bag, moving a couple wayward members closer to the pile with his foot. Donning his helmet, he rolled his shoulder to loosen it up before walking to the front of the newly formed group. “They weren’t still following you,” he said, moving his hands to a fighting grip and watching the tree line, “were they?”

Adair sat up and twisted his back to look nervously from whence he came, then breathed a sigh of relief. “I don’t think so, I stopped hearing their buzzing a while ago and I never heard about giant wasps being good trackers...But I can’t be certain so we shouldn’t drag our feet. If they showed up now Bub wouldn’t be able to carry all three of us, he’s far too tired, more than we could make up for with just a few Gysahl Greens.”

"Well, I can't do much about that." Cho snorted, but placed a hand on Bub's neck regardless, casting Cure again. "But this should help you feel a little better. Maybe it's better if we move on, though. We could try to find the others, or I could keep following that delicious mushroom scent…" The chocobo kweh’d happily and gave Cho’s shoulder a friendly headbutt.

“Probably best we keep searching for the others.” Vidar relaxed, walking back to his pack and crouching down to pick up the mushrooms again. “If we waste too much time, they might leave the area. Who knows if we can find them if that happens.”

The mushrooms secured in his helmet once more, Vidar stashed said helmet and wandered over to the stalk of a particularly large mushroom. He ran a hand along it’s surface and shook his head. “This thing would be a pain to climb, I don’t think we’re going to get a good point to try and navigate here. I think we should just look at leaving the forest entirely, too easy to get lost here. Not to mention the giant wasps.” He turned to Cho, struck by a sudden idea. “Can you smell anything that doesn’t smell like the forest?”

Cho sniffed at the air, slowly turning in a circle. "There's a bit of smoke coming from that direction, but other than that it's just mushrooms."

“I’m just a simple bard, no mechanic or engineer, but I do believe things like crashed airships tend to make a lot of smoke.” Adair pointed out rhetorically with a big sigh of relief. “Shall we see to our companions? We could even forage some more food along the way.” Bub kweh’d his agreement.

"I'm all for foraging more food." Cho heartily agreed, leading the way. "And the others might need our help."

Vidar, now with his bag packed and ready to go, nodded in agreement. “Just lead the way, I’ll keep an eye behind us for any bug that might follow.”

“I’ll stay in the middle and keep our spirits and energy up!” Adair announced, readying his lute while Bubbers fell in line beside him.


Age 25
Seen 1 Hour Ago
Posted 1 Hour Ago
Ekha, Rayen, Cho, Adair & Vidar


Ekha bent down and opened the pack, looking inside to see that, remarkably, almost none of his supplies had been particularly badly damaged. Incredibly miraculously, the potions he’d bought earlier were still within their bottles, the glass unshattered.

He immediately downed one of his healing potions, putting the empty bottle back in the bag for later use. He turned back to Rayen. “I’ve got one more of those if you want to heal up before we keep looking for the others… not that we have much more time left for that. It’s getting pretty late.”

The sun’s light was almost completely gone now, only the faintest traces of colour remaining in the sky. At this point, most of their search was being conducted using the light put out by some of the mushrooms.

“Hm, I’d appreciate the Potion, thanks.” Rayen muttered, reaching out for the glass bottle despite having one of her own. “Makes it easier to keep going, at least.”

Ekha passed her the bottle. “No worries. Don’t want you dying on me now.”

The demihuman quickly drank the Potion before giving back the empty bottle to her companion. “These empty flasks are useful, we can store various stuff in there. Like…” She kneeled down to pick up a small glowing mushroom. “Doesn’t this one heal you a bit? Should be helpful.”

“Maybe. I think so. I don’t know much about mushrooms,” Ekha replied, putting the empty bottle back in his pack before he shouldered it.

Off in the distance the pair heard the sound of music. A lively, lilting melody that brought to mind a long, relaxing walk through idyllic scenery drifted towards them through the trees. As the sounds drew closer they began to feel their fatigue and aches fade away even further, Ekha could clearly feel the flow of magic in the music.

"Who's there?" Rayen whispered to Ekha, gesturing to keep quiet and hear the music more clearly as her antennas twitched as well, sensing some more magic nearby. "That sounds oddly familiar."

“It’s probably the guy with the Chocobo… Adair, I think he said. He was playing music as we ran away from the Aeon too. Let’s head in that direction.” Ekha began making his way toward the music, one hand on his bottle, just in case.

Vidar yawned from the back of the group, shifting his pack and rolling his sore shoulders. He occasionally looked around the mushroom treeline, but the bugs had given up the chase long ago and there was no sign of anything else coming to antagonize them. Thanks to this lull he was free to focus his eyes more on the sky for the past hour or so, watching clouds or the more the more docile wildlife buzzing through the air.

“It’ll be getting pitch black soon,” He said, having to speak up a little to be heard over Adair’s song. “We’ll get to the crash before dark, but we should probably start looking for a safe place to sleep.”

"If we're lucky, we can take shelter inside the airship." Cho rose after gathering some more mushrooms and putting them in his bag. "Otherwise we'll have to try and make something out of mud and fungus."

“We could have eaten like lords if I still had my wagon.” Adair complained without pausing his song, sounding like he was holding back tears just thinking about it.

“At least food is taken care of, so long as Cho’s nose still works,” Vidar shifted his bag again. “Wild mushroom stew isn’t bad. Not having transport is the hard part. May not have liked it, but the ship beat walking.”

As they approached the sound of the music, Ekha and Rayen found that they could hear familiar voices undercut by the rousing tone’s of Adair’s music. Although, they were still far enough away and in enough darkness that Ekha was unable to see the other fugitives yet, nor could he quite make out what they were saying.

“That’s definitely them,” he said, “I can’t see them or make out what they’re saying, but we must be pretty close now. Should we risk calling out to them, do you think?”

Rayen had just introduced herself… properly to Ekha, but she didn’t feel quite ready to do the same with Adair, Cho and Vidar, even if their magic abilities (and Vidar’s prowess with weapons) definitely enticed her. Was it really needed to reveal herself? “And then what? No need to call them out, but I’ll keep an antenna on them.” She muttered, trying to buy some time more than anything.

“Why wouldn’t we?” Ekha asked, “We’re wanted in the middle of dangerous territory. The more allies we have the better.”

His companion just shrugged at his words. “Just a bit more time, alright?”

Cho brought up a hand to stall the group. "Hang on… I smell something different…" He sniffed cautiously at the air, although the ever-present fungus scent threw him off a little. "It's probably one of the others… smells kinda human, but also… a little buggy?"

“One of the people who escaped with us was part-bestial, of the insect variety, right?” Adair questioned.

"Yeah," Vidar answered, moving his weapon to a fighting position and walking closer to Adair and Cho. He shifted, ready to throw his pack to the ground at a moment's notice while eyeing the treeline suspiciously. "Can you tell if it's a different kind of bug or anything? Not ready to rule out smart bug-people in this forest."

“Please let them be nice, if they are.”

“That doesn’t make any sense,” Ekha objected, slowing his pace but continuing to walk forward towards the sound of the other survivors. “They’re on the run with us, it’s not like they’re about to attack us. Right now, we need all the help we can get. Come on.”

“You know… fine.” Rayen nodded, somewhat unsettled by Vidar’s reaction, but also by the thought of losing him and the others once again. “Let’s do this.”

“Hey there, it’s Hornet-Girl from the airship.” She announced herself once she walked a bit closer, waving her hand in which she held a glowing mushroom. Ekha followed behind.

"Hey! You guys made it!" Cho gently pushed past Vidar to run over to Ekha and Rayen and pull them into a hug. "How are you guys holding up? Not too hurt, I hope?"

Rayen still looked at Cho warily, not because of his appearance but simply because of everything that happened in Ascana. And still, everyone really seemed to have put it all aside. The orc even hugged her! She smiled and breathed in. “So we fought this enormous poisonous wasp with a stinger this long and somehow still managed to kill it, but it left us wounded and desperate and in apprehension for what’s to come.”

"I can take care of wounded, and you should be less desperate with all of us here." Cho put a hand on Rayen and Ekha's shoulders, casting Cure on both of them. "Maybe the apprehension is smart, though."

“More importantly, there aren’t any more of those wasps around here, right?” Vidar stared at the magic coming from the orc’s hand for a moment, before he went back to watching the treeline. “We had our own run in with some, and I don’t want to stumble into any more.”

"I don't sense any nearby! Don't know about further away though." Rayen replied with a dry smile.

Vidar visibly relaxed after hearing that, his shoulders dropping and his weapon returned to an upright position. He turned to face the group properly, cracking a small smile in return. "That works for me. Save for some very angry wildlife, I don't suppose you guys have found anything noteworthy out here?"

“Do glowing mushrooms count as noteworthy?” Ekha asked, gesturing at the fungus still in Rayen’s hand. “We thought these ones might be medicinal but we’re not sure.”

All at once Adair perked up and zoomed straight up to Rayen, looking closely at her hand. “Hold on, now that I look at it up close...that’s a cure shroom… and it’s the same kind we’ve been finding! Oh what luck! We should gather each one we can, we could sell these to any apothecary, and even some general stores and vegetable mongers!” He truly seemed to have come back to life. “Once we find civilization we can be more than poor vagabonds! We won’t even need to eat them to help with any wounds we sustain thanks to our priest’s and - to a lesser extent- my magic! As long as they aren’t the only edible thing we find out here, I suppose. They may have to do. For tonight, at least.”

Bubbers was listening acutely to his rider’s words. Though, instead of following Adair, he began to nudge Vidar’s helmet with his beak, hoping to knock a morsel loose so he could eat it. Feeling the motion of his bag, Vidar pulled out one of the mushrooms he gathered and quietly offered it to the chocobo. Bubbers happily snapped up the treat and rubbed his head against Vidar’s shoulder with a kweh of thanks.

Rayen giggled at that. “There’s got to be more than just mushrooms… but it won’t be as easy to find now that it’s dark. Tomorrow though… it’s doable. Let’s just find a shelter while we still can, what do you say?”

“As far as shelter goes,” Ekha said, “I don’t think we’re going to get much better than crowding under some big mushrooms.”

“I could have provided tents for us, but all my camping supplies were in my wagon.” Adair complained. “Still, we’re not in too dire of straits to make due for a night. What about the airship? Is it possible there’s enough of it left to help?”

"I imagine there's wood spread out over the entire forest from the explosion." Vidar said, eyeing the tops of the mushrooms disapprovingly. He was obviously not a fan of the thought of sleeping under them. "We can probably find enough to get something over our heads. I didn't see rain clouds, but we're so close to the ocean that I'm not going to rule it out. Not to mention something like that wasp finding us while we sleep."

“We should get to searching soon then,” Ekha said, “Which way?”

“Uhm, I barely know where I am going! I don’t know where anything is anymore, especially after that one fight. But in case you do…” Rayen started placing a few pieces of the puzzle together, trying to recall the moments after the explosion. She was probably closer to the back of the ship, so she fell right in the ocean, but everyone else apparently did not, meaning… the front of the ship probably fell much further away from the coast, and was easier to retrieve bits and pieces from, too. “Maybe away from the coast? Do you remember which way that is?”

“Yeah,” Ekha replied, “Pretty sure that means the opposite way than we were just heading.”
Staff Anime Villain Collab • Petelgeuse Romanee-Conti • My brain trembles!


Age 25
Seen 1 Hour Ago
Posted 1 Hour Ago
Ekha, Rayen, Cho, Adair & Vidar

Fear the Shroom

The group, having turned away from the coast, headed deeper into the forest again as the sun continued to fade from view, soon leaving the scene illuminated by nothing but the faint glowing of some of the more conspicuous mushrooms.

As they walked, it was true that they managed to find small chunks of wood that had been flung from the airship, or the occasional metal bar or gear. Every now and then, the destroyed remains of meagre cabin furnishings showed up instead.

They collected what they could as they walked, but it was getting progressively harder to find anything of note. As it were, they soon found themselves in another clearing where a few wooden beams and scraps of cabin linen had been scattered.

“Honestly,” Ekha spoke up, “I feel like this is as good a place as any to put what we have to use and set up some sort of camp. It’s pitch black anywhere those weird glowing mushrooms aren’t glowing and I doubt we’re going to find much more… and frankly I’m exhausted.”

"Same…" Cho dropped the pile of wood he'd been carrying. "And I'm sick of the mushroom smell. Almost. Still makes me hungry, though…"

Vidar looked over the wreckage and nodded to himself. “It’ll work. We can plant the beams and lean them against one of the mushrooms. We then hopefully have enough cloth to form some kind of covering. Like a big tent.”

Rayen walked closer as well, bringing her own - admittedly much smaller - pile of wreckage. "Seems like a good plan!" She nodded, trying to hide her frustration for ending up in that situation to begin with.

Cho picked up a beam, looking around for a mushroom to lean it against. A faint smell caught his attention, and he set the beam back down, getting closer to the ground. "Truffles…"

“What?” Ekha asked, in the process of trying to jam an awkwardly damaged plank of wood into the ground at a good angle. “Uh… Cho? What are you doing?”

The big orc slowly crawled away from the others, fervently sniffing at the ground. "I'm gathering food. I can smell 'em, it's getting stronger! Means I'm getting closer…"

“Uhm…?” Rayen questioned, looking at the Bestial. “We have a shelter to build first!”

Without further ado, Bubbers followed the orc, sniffing alongside him, though the Chocobo’s nose was more attuned to a different delicacy. Adair sighed at the pair’s one-track minds but shook his head at Rayen. “Leave them to it, they’ve both spent a lot of energy making sure others were okay since we crashed. Let them take a bit of a break, we’ll need something to eat after some work anyways.” His smile returned quickly enough when he caught up to Bubbers and pulled off the big bundle of salvage he’d been hauling before he got too far. “If we set a good pace we’ll have ourselves a proper camp in no time!”

“Maybe you could set up a fire while we finish setting up this shelter?” Ekha added, looking over his shoulder at Rayen as he returned to his work. “Might have been hard if we hadn’t picked up any smaller lumber since there’s not really a lot of wood around.”

Fire, uh? Rayen shuddered as the memory of Ifrit came back to haunt her, but still complied, and slowly created a little pile of sticks and wooden scrap to use as fuel. “Alright, this should work!”

Vidar hummed to himself as he worked, tying the pieces of wood meant to hold the canvas to those meant for support. He gave the beam a small shove to make sure it was in place after completing the knot before stepping back to wipe his face. “So… uh…” He started, unsure quite how to broach the subject. “You think the other two are okay? The night has me admittedly a little concerned for them.”

“There’s not much we can do about it now either way,” Ekha replied, “If we try and search for them in the darkness like this, we’re just going to be making ourselves fodder too. For what it’s worth though, that Azure girl can handle herself. I can personally vouch for that.”

“Agreed, they’re both quite capable.” Rayen chimed in. Leaving the camp now to look for Lumi of all people didn’t really sound enticing, and even while her safety wasn’t guaranteed, the thought of having her stay with Azure somehow dampened her worries.

The conversation was interrupted by a porcine squeal of surprise and an alarmed "WARK!" from Bubbers. Cho's search for food had led him toward mushrooms of a different calibre. This one towered over even the big orc, with massive arms and stumpy legs. It was currently trying to drag Cho into the gaping maw below its cap, utterly silent and taciturn in this endeavor.

“Guys!” Rayen quickly called out, her antennas twitching frantically as she finally realized what was happening. She ran towards her bow and quiver, which she left on the ground as she tried to start the campfire, and loaded an arrow, ready to shoot. But even after locating the enemy, she hesitated.

Not being in a close-knit team of other hunters was probably what made her less focused. She had to keep an eye on all the others, and this time they were four people - not just Ekha - whose minds she couldn’t really get inside. And so, she just walked close enough to Scan the sentient mushroom with her antennas, hoping that they’d do their job without her getting hurt.

Vidar had no such hesitation, and after a quick scramble to grab his weapon charged the fungus before he could make a meal of the orc. Using the full force of his charge, the dragoon shoved the spearpoint of his halberd into the creature, pushing the weapon with all his might to shove the creature away from Cho. The gambit worked in clearing about a foot and a half for Cho to escape, while Vidar kept the speartip aimed at his foe, watching like a coiled snake.

The enormous fungal creature was held back, but only briefly. It shunted Vidar out the way with a swipe of one of its appendages and began to move towards Rayen, its movements strange and alien as all of its various mushroom-like stalks beyond the central one with its ravenous mouth seemed to be usable for the purpose of locomotion.

“What is that?!” Ekha shouted, opening his Djinn Bottle and blasting the mushroom creature with an Aero. The monster was pushed back again but seemed unperturbed, continuing its crawl towards Rayen.

In the meantime, the hornet girl caught onto Ekha's antics and shot her arrow, hoping that the strategy that worked so well against the big wasp would prove effective again. She then backpedaled quickly, almost stumbling onto the roots and twigs on the ground, as she tried to make her way back to the campfire. "Near the fire!" She called out, hoping that the monster would at least think twice before getting too close to it.

A certain Ascanian Mandolin thunked off of the mushbeast’s hide, pummelling it with magical impacts until it turned its attention from Rayen. As soon as it did, it laid eyes on an Adair who shrank back, desperately wishing to be anywhere else. A stray stalk swung down towards him, but he sidestepped it and began to pluck at his instrument. As more and more attacks came, the Bard’s frantic dodging became more like a defensive dance, and his music picked up in pitch as well as tempo. The song filled his allies with a battle fervor and despite his fear, he even looked like he was having fun playing and prancing around the strikes.

With the creature more or less held in place by the bard’s dance, Vidar saw a perfect opportunity to land a solid hit on the beast. He ran a large circle around the bizarre duel, lining the fungoid beast up with the campfire behind it. Comfortable with his angle of attack, he charged the creature to try and knock it into the fire.

At least that’s what he hoped Rayen was signalling. With no time to think, lest the bard’s luck finally run out, he slammed the butt of his halberd into the ground and hauled himself into the air. It wasn’t a particularly high jump, more a low and fast angle for a bit of last minute momentum. The dragoon straightened out his body as he jumped, going full horizontal for a powerful kick to the creature’s shoulder. Vidar crashed unceremoniously onto his side as the creature stumbled back towards the campfire, its stumpy legs struggling to get footing.

I meant us, not… it! Rayen yelled… in her head. She had to stay focused on the group’s common enemy and, really, she couldn’t really blame her companions for not understanding. It would’ve been a while before she’d get used to them and vice versa. All she could do was strafe around the Mushroom and shoot another arrow, this time focusing enough so that it could become a Critical Shot.

The mushroom monster, surprisingly, roared in fury at the hefty impact from behind it, a sound that only grew in intensity as the arrow pierced deep into its rubbery flesh. Whatever this creature was, it evidently felt pain.

It took several more swiped at random around it in a blind rage, forcing all nearby to duck and dive around the attacks.

Cho approached Rayen from the side, staying out of her line of fire. "Your arrows are hurting it! Keep it up!" He put a hand on her shoulder, casting Haste on her. From her perspective, everything seemed to slow down except herself.

From behind the creature, having positioned himself during the commotion, Ekha unleashed an Aero from his bottle, the torrent of compressed air slamming into the monster and pushing it ever closer towards the fire, although it still wasn’t enough to move the powerful creature the whole way.

The creature retaliated again, an explosion of yellow-grey spores rushing out from its body in all directions.

Cho was helping Vidar back to his feet when the spores burst. He pulled the armored man closer to himself, using his large porcine body as a shield. He cast Protect on Vidar, mystical armor layering itself upon his regular armor.

Rayen nodded appreciatively, thanking Cho for the pleasant yet unexpected boost, but kept her eyes - and antennas - on the mushroom creature. She waited until Ekha’s Aero was done before shooting again, and had to wait even more because of all the spores that forced her to backpedal. Luckily, the added speed made it much easier to reposition herself and made her feel much safer and in control.

And so, once she was ready, she cast out Barrage, using her mana to shoot faster than she could ever do normally. Combined with the effect of Haste, the galvanized hornet girl fired off nearly all of her arrows at a speed that made them almost invisible. Maybe a single hit wasn’t that effective, but more of them all in the same place were surely going to hurt… and while she definitely couldn’t defeat the mushroom by herself, she was still happy that she could contribute. As long as she could retrieve her arrows, obviously.

“Thank you,” Vidar said to his protector once he was solidly on his feet. He looked over the creature, which seemed furious at the rangers prodding of the same point. He prepared his weapon for a second charge. “If he’s hurt, then I’m going to really piss it off.”

He advanced cautiously, fast enough to close the gap but with enough accuracy to weave between the gaps in the spores. It wasn’t fast enough to Jump, but he did manage to get within striking distance of the enraged creature. The creature noticed his approach, turning to face the Dragoon and shield its wounded back. Regardless, Vidar pressed on with the attack, converting the last of his momentum into an explosive Lancet aimed at the creature’s center of gravity. The spear-point of the halberd pierced the mush-beast’s stomach, continuing its loss of ground towards the fire as it stumbled from the effects of the blow. Vidar did not pursue, falling back to Arm’s Length as his muscles felt surprisingly refreshed from the motion.

Ekha followed up on the offense, blasting the creature with another Aero, the powerful gust pushing the creature back even further as the cloud of spores around it was blown away from the general direction of the group.

The creature roared as more arrows buried themselves in its body and it swung wildly again, but it was now clear that the wounds were taking a toll and it was right by the fire now. All they had to do was give it one more push and then keep it in place.

“Nearly there!” Ekha called to the others.

Cho rushed forward as the mush-beast was distracted by his companions. Forgoing weapons of any kind, he simply threw himself forward, putting all of his weight on the creature and knocking it into the fire.

The mushroom monster roared in pain, swinging about wildly as, now completely on fire, it slowly moved back out, setting its sights on Cho. The flames were clearly killing it, but it seemed determined to fight until it had been burned down to cinders.

A shadow crossed over several of the fighters alongside the sound of an uproarious squawk and none other than Sir Reginald Bubbers Windrunner came crashing down from on high, slamming both of his massive feet claws-first into the mushroom monster.

Cho barely had time to cast Protect on himself before one if the wild swings smacked him aside. His spell cushioned him from the impact, but the beast was still deceptively strong for a fungus. "Careful, Bubbers! Now it's on fire, too!"

Rayen looked from afar as her companions kept fighting, trying to find better chances to attack but also afraid to end up with no more arrows left - the ones she was able to find after the airship’s explosion were no more than two dozens, barely sufficient for one or two battles such as this one. The fire didn’t help her with that, and so her only option was to watch the Mushroom slowly burn to death. At least dodging was made easier by Haste, though.

Bub leaped away from each attack of the beast gracefully, darting back in each time he saw an opening to deliver another sharp kick, squawking trashtalk only he understood the entire time.

Eventually, Rayen decided to act again. It was time to end this - she just had enough of having that thing around, and one more arrow was definitely worth it. She gathered all the energy she had left to land another Critical Shot, right in the center of the monster’s stalk.

The monster continued struggling forward, burned and still-burning chunks of its body sloughing off of it as it did so. It’s movements got slower and slower, to the point that nobody was even bothering to flee anymore. It rounded on Bubbers, stretching out an appendage that then also fell from its body. Then the rest of it crumpled into a heap in the middle of the camp.

“I think we got it,” Ekha said.

Thanks to Haste’s effects still lingering, Rayen was the first to get close to what was left of the monster. Disappointed, for the fire made scavenging the body essentially impossible, she recovered no more than two arrows and looked at her surroundings. “Are you all good?” She called out then. “We couldn’t have asked for a better campfire.”

“Yeah, all good,” Ekha replied, “But I’d very much like to go to sleep.”
Staff Anime Villain Collab • Petelgeuse Romanee-Conti • My brain trembles!