The Storm - 08/28/20


It was a dark and uneventful night in the Mists. The stars above sparkles as ever, radiant and beautiful. The crisp air blew through the district with a pleasant feeling. Nestled higher up and in the back of the district, Luna's doors stood open as she conversed with a Yellowjacket. It was clear that she had been awoken abruptly, still in her slumber wear. Their conversation had been ongoing for quite some time now and she was handed a parchment of information which she looked at as the man bowed and departed.

She grumbled in displeasure, rolling up the paper for now and returning upstairs, changing into some light armor and looking towards the other bedroom for a moment. She exhales and mutters to herself about how it may be nothing, and then heads down the stairs, going outside and locking the door behind her. Her sword jangles on her belt as she steps into the yard, exhaling again and putting a finger to her ear and initiating her linkpearl.

(Enter Gairo)

“Gair, I apologize for bothering you so late but there… may have been a situation. I have received information about a burning ship out in the sea west of La Noscea. Normally I am not privy to such things, yet they found it relevant and for good reason. It would appear that it matches the description of a ship owned by Hilda and Zirndoen Wright - Miss Lucatiel's parentage.”


Surprisingly, Gair wasn't off in some watering hole drinking or rousing rabble, rather: he was off in La Noscea, enjoying a quieter Costa Del Sol in the wake of the Moonfire Faire having ended. Surrounding a fire with his family, the only head in the circle to not have fluffy ears poking straight up. A'Thasri, A'tera, Gair, A'natha, A'nala and A'naya with the only other male among them zonked out on a blanket beside A'tera. A boy of seven turns with raven unlike his mother and sister's blonde, lacking a tail.

“I'm tellin' ya, he had six arms and was tall as a cottage!” Gair comes to a stand and stomps around the stand to pantomime a great beast.

“Yeah, right!” - “R-really?!” - “Next you'll tell us you fought Titan!”, Jeers and surprise at his story come from around the fire. A'thasri in particular covers her mouth and giggles at the sight, while A'tera covers the boy's ears to stay a grumpy boy's rude awakening. He is only briefly roused, glaring balefully down the line with mossy greens before drifting back to sleep.

Suddenly, a buzz from his linkpearl, Luna? Gair freezes in his steps, in his story and says loud enough for the fire and Luna on the other side to hear. “Just a moment.” He holds up a finger and pads a few steps away from the fire, his back to it as he answers his friend now. “A burnin' ship? Shouldn't the Storm navy be all over somethin' like that?”


Luna nods even though no one would see. “That is what they are indeed doing. They intend to sail out and haul it back. If it truly is the Wright's ship, they were working under the Maelstorm's guise to exchange goods with the New World, so they have a vested interest. They are aware of my connection to the ship owner's and thought to inform me, as well as extend an invitation to sail with them and see it first hand. I would take that hand, that I may know what has happened for Miss Lucatiel's sake. Which comes to what I would ask of you.”


“I'll be right there and arm up,” Gair was quiet during the report from Luna, save for the sounds of him already dressing down and readying himself for a fight. Not a heavy fight, swimming in plate steel is not one of his skills. Leathers, and bereft of a sword, A'thasri and A'tera look up at him knowingly. The former holds up her foci, an oaken cane for Gair to take.

“You said west, aye? I'll find you in Aleport, then.” In the spirit of haste, Gair runs down the beach side to Costa Del Sol's resort proper. A hand extended for the brilliant aetheryte that contrasts the night sky, to charter a ferry would take too long, he thought. He closes his eyes and lowers his head…


“Nay, I ask that you do not. I will be heading out by myself. I ask instead that you hold for now and prepare to retrieve the young Miss Lucatiel should it turn out to be true. I will be riding with the ship back. By my reckonings I will be at the ship in a few bells. I will contact you again when I have definitive information. Be careful with her, if this is true… well…”


Gair's eyes open, still standing before the selfsame aetheryte for the moment, waiting for further instruction. “And where would you have me, your home, or somewhere else?”


There is a pause, and the sounds of grass crunching underfoot can be heard as she begins walking. “Just stay near La Noscea if you do not mind. I care not - just close enough to retrieve the girl if needed in some bells. I do apologize for the inconvenience, but I would not ask were I not under the assumption it was important.”


Ferry it is, Gair steps away from the aetheryte, he'd rather be in peak shape should something happen. “Understood, I ain't too far from the Mists, then- I'm with A'tera right now. She says 'hi'.” She didn't, but he imagines she would want to pass on well-wishes anyhow. He paces around the aetheryte for the moment, rolling the cane around in his grip as he talks to Luna via linkpearl.


Grass underfoot becomes stone and cobble being tread as Luna continues moving through The Mists. “Thank you Gair. I hope this is all for naught. I shall contact you soon.” The pearl hums as the call ends, the woman being too focused to have thought much of the false greeting by A'tera. The knightess picks up her pace, breaking into a jog as she heads for the Lominsan docks.


“May the Warden 'an the Traders be merciful,” Gair intones in parting and departs the center of Costa Del Sol, leaving a trail footprints to and from the aetheryte. A burnin' ship doesn't mean anythin' good, shit. The cane resting over his shoulder as he plods on back to their makeshift beach camp.

“No fight?” A'tera queries.

“If there was, the blows've since been traded…we'll be packin' it in for the mists.” Gair announces.


Two bells pass during the idyllic La Noscean night, and the boat Luna had boarded apprehensively was now nearing a large merchant ship adrift lightly in the ocean. Flames shot to the sky from everywhere on the craft and the sails were tattered and filled with holes where they were not singed or burned. The Maelstrom ship came to a halt as men armed with the best in Eorzean flame suppression came running onto deck. It took quite some time for the fire to be doused enough to hook to the other ship, and bereft of flickering flame the ship condition was truly visible. There were many shattered holes amongst the hull, and deep cuts and gouges amongst the wood where fights had broken out.

Despite harboring a deep dislike for such watercraft, Luna boarded the cindership and began looking around. She quickly headed below deck, and found herself a bit surprised. It was as if an explosion had occurred, as nearly everything was damaged or broken. Tables, chairs, chests. There was silverware strewn on the floor, ledgers and various papers ripped and torn from their bindings and tossed haphazardly. Torn bits of fine cloth littered the floor nearby walls painted with a curved swath of blood, evidence of an unblocked slice. As the woman walked over to one such discarded page, she noticed the window to be shattered - a window leading directly to the side of the craft and only fulms above the waves of the ocean.

She bends down to read the page, and her heart sinks. A love letter, from one Baldric to one Hilda. There is surely more than one Hilda in this world, and I remember no connection to a Baldric. She picks up another page and the pit in her stomach grows. Another love letter, once again mentioning a Baldric but in relation to one man filling a gap left by him. To one Hilda, from one Zirndoen.

She presses a finger to her ear and makes the call, her tone ice. “Gair. I am afraid it is the Wright's ship.” She pauses before speaking further. “Collect Miss Lucatiel. I will meet the both of you at the Lominsan docks, I am afraid. We are towing the ship so that she can confirm.”


Since the, Gair and company have decided to instead occupy Luna's yard: going from the half-assed camping trip on the beach to completely assing it within the bounds of civilization. A tent has been pitched and a bonfire has been erected, like some sort of tribal pack sojourning through the Mists. As the midmorning bell tolls, it's Gair presiding over the cat pile. Eyes fixated on the crackling fire, an acoustic in his lap, plucking out a melody and singing to the crisp open air.

“Your hands upon a dead man's sword, And you're lookin' down the blade, Your heart is worn, and the seams're torn, And they've…they've given you a reason to fight.”

Distracted by the sudden buzzing in his ear, the notes halt abruptly as he lays his palm over the strings. He's quiet for a good thirty seconds, looking to the front door of Luna's house. Great. Luna would be able to hear Gair exhale a long, drawn out sigh. “On it.” Is all he says, this wasn't something he really wanted to do.

Having a key of his own to invade the Neaucant residence, Gair invites himself inside and announces his presence. “It's Gair!” Before he marches on up the stairs to seek out Lucatiel. Just what the hell am I gonna tell this girl?

[Luna and Luca]

Luna waits on the line with Gair as he contemplates the news, the connection filled with the gnawing dread of dead air. As he responds, she issues a concerned 'thank you', and ends the call. It would be a couple more bells before she arrived at the docks, and she was determined to appease her uneasy sea legs by continuing to investigate the wrecked ship, the sound of water splashing and the occasional overheard conversation through the broken windows being the only things penetrating into this veritable eerie scene of implied destruction.

Meanwhile in the woman's home, Gair's entrance does not go unnoticed by a resident. Unable to open doors itself, the young girl's Carbuncle was now alert at the foot of her bed, staring unerringly at the doorway readied for an intruder. Lucatiel herself was happily asleep in a loose shirt and shorts and messily cloaked by a sheet, face down against her pillow with her right arm hanging off the bed as her body rose and sank with her gentle breaths. The excess of imitative Carbuncle lamps that had, through one means or another, invaded the homespace had been thinned a bit with a lamp on the girl's table lording over her makeup and cosmetics, and some odd lamps on her shelves content to add their unblinking eyes to the girl's night time vigil.


Gair came to the foot of the door as he made way upstairs, there was little pretense to mask his presence. His boots clipped loudly on the wooden floor, his spurs jangled with every step. And he knew better than to barge into a girl's room, I really hope they're just lost at sea. His knuckles rap heavily on the door frame of Lucatiel's room, one, two, three. Echoing off the halls of the double-time home and tavern.

“Lucca, hey, uhhh- I need you get up and get ready. Something might have happened.”


There is a lengthsome pause before anything can be heard from inside aside from the girl stirring. “Whu– Huuuuuuuh?” she groans as she comes to, looking at the door through bleary eyes and rubbing them. “Somethin… Did Luna get… get locked outside again?” she asks, barely aware of what she was asking.


“If she was, I could just let her in- couldn't I?” Gair raps his knuckle on the door again to reaffirm that he isn't some figment of her dreams. How do I do this gently, or right, for that matter? He reaches out to jangle the handle on the door lightly and open it barely even a crack to call through, seeing only the brightness of the Carbuncle lamps on her table. “Get dressed 'an get ready, we need to go into town now.”


The Carbuncle looks poised to strike as the door opens, but upon seeing Gair it stands down. Lucatiel looks up at the man inhabiting her doorway and slowly blinks a bit before nodding. “Gair..? O-okay, I'll be right out…” she says, sluggishly coming to a stand and sauntering over to the door, shutting it and locking it for a moment as she begins to change. It takes a few minutes, some of which is definitely spent waking up and brushing her hair, but she eventually unlocks the door again and presents herself. “Umm… R-ready…” she says, now dressed in her usual light dress. There's still an air of slowness to her, but she's ready to follow.


Gair had taken to leaning up against the bannister, arms crossed, gaze fixated on the wood floor beneath him. He was drained of body and spirit, being up this late, uncertain just how this night is gonna go for this young woman. It'd be cruel to dump it on her in La Noscea, better to temper expectations now. “You might wanna sit down, or brace yourself.” He warns, waits and levels his mossy gaze on her, heavy as an oak. “There was some sorta accident or attack, a ship burnin' out west. 'An it resembles your ma and pa's vessel, so Luna's havin' me collect you'ta take a look at it.”


The girl sits in one of the chairs on the landing, looking up at Gair with her innocent eyes. She blinks as he explains, paused for just a moment. “Oh, that's okay! There's a bunch of ships that look like that! It's probably just some poor guy's trading boat! But we should be sure!” she says, nodding and standing back up. Completely in denial and as chipper as ever.


Gair squints and shrugs as Lucatiel is seemingly chipper about it, he pushes away from the bannister and gestures her to follow him down the stairs. “Just had'ta let you know, I wasn't about to let you go in blind.” She might be used to this, burnin' ships and the like are probably common'n shite. He leads the way outside, showing the impromptu campsite that has overtaken Luna's front yard. A fire crackling, a tent up, and Miqo'te in varying states of consciousness that blearily acknowledge Gair and Lucatiel's passage. The intended journey would be a trip to the Mistgate's stables to retrieve Gust and ride for Limsa Lominsa.


The girl follows Gair without much question, the Carbuncle keeping close to her as they move. The thought that it had truly happened, that her parents had been attacked, was as far from her mind as possible - locked away in a corner. She looks at the campsite as they go through the yard, thoroughly confused but figuring it better not to ask at the moment. She's still somewhat slumber-logged, and does not talk much on their way.


The ride would be uneventful, quiet and cold in the middle of the night. He was a lot like a truck driver on autopilot as Gust did every bit of the work plodding on down on bounding steps. Only when the Admiral's city began to show in the horizon did he begin to rouse from his ride-induced stupor. He grunts, grumbles and rubs at his eyes as they make their way across the large La Noscean bridge into the town proper. Taking advantage of the lack of bustle to traverse the pathways from chocobo back.

“We're here…I think we're headin' for the docks?”

[Luca and Luna]

The girl had been latched on to the man, not particularly adept at riding bocoback. She had fallen asleep on the ride, gently snoring against Gair's back until they arrived, roused by the man speaking as well as the lights. “Wuhh… The docks? Uhhmm… O-oh, right. The ship.” She quickly comes to. “The ship that looks a lot like my parent's ship but it's not theirs!” she corrects herself.

Meanwhile, indeed the Malestrom craft had towed the cindership into port, leaving it moored at the dock while they went to debrief. Luna was still aboard the merchant ship, standing on the bobbing edge of the deck now and watching into the city proper. She had already extended out the gangplank, but chose to remain on the ship itself while deep in thought.


Gair guides Gust to a halt outside the Fisher's guild and dismounts, opting to use a roadsign as an improvised hitch for the chocobo. He extends his hands up to lower Lucatiel down, setting her down on the cobbles below. “Here we go…” He exhales out a breath, let's do this. He plods down onto the docks and eyes the smouldering ship from the distance at first.

“LUNA!” He shouts to the night sky and lets out a piercing whistle.

[Luca and Luna]

The girl lets herself be lowered readily, stumbling slightly out of a lack of balance and general sluggishness at the moment.

Luna herself shouts back at the pair, able to see them though a small distance away. “OVER HERE!”

Lucatiel turns her head around, following the woman's voice and her eyes lock on the cindership. Her arms fall to her side and she begins walking towards it, completely disconnected from the world at the moment. “That… That sure looks like…” she says absently as she walks. Her Carbuncle hops from a pouch on the side of Gust, bouncing onto the ground and cautiously following her. It's clear by it's movements as well that it senses something amiss.


Gair follows the voice and the cinders, fixated on the smoke trail into the firmament. He glances back down at the carbuncle, you too, you creepy fucker? A drawn out sigh is exhaled and he just shakes his head. He waves Luna down on his approach, a few steps in front of Lucatiel now. “All we can do is hope they ain't passed through Thal's gate.” His thumbs hook into his sword belt bereft of steel this very moment.

[Luca and Luna]

As the girl nears closer to the derelict craft, her eyes widen more. Luna makes her way down the gangplank to meet her, a few notes in hand. As she comes close, she notices the girl's legs wobbling in place, and she steps far to close the gap. She grabs Lucatiel firmly yet cautiously by the shoulders, helping steady her. “Miss Lucatiel… I am eternally apologetic. But, these notes, these journal fragments.”

Lucatiel barely lets her eyes drift from the ship to the notes, barely processing the woman's presence. She takes one and reads it, her hands beginning to shake as she does. Finally, she finds some words as she finishes. “Where are they!? Are they hiding below deck!?” she asks, her voice raised as her eyes dart from the ship to Luna once more.

The knightess speaks softly, her icy demeanor shed for a moment. “They are not aboard. They were nowhere to be found when the ship wa–”

“WHERE ARE THEY!?” The girl is shouting now, ilms away from Luna and only slightly farther still from Gair. “They're on the ship! THEY HAVE TO BE!” she adds, beginning to push and pull from the knightess's grasp.

“Miss Lucatiel, please!” Luna asks, holding her grasp. The movements cease after a moment, and a few seconds later so too does the hold stop. “I know this is very difficult, bu–”

Lucatiel darts forward from next to the woman, practically sprinting full stop towards the gang-plank. “MOM! DAD! COME OUT!” she yells. Luna haphazardly turns on the spot to pursue, luckily finding the girl to stop in the middle of the deck, looking around like a girl possessed. “Come out! This isn't funny! PLEASE COME OUT!” she yells, her voice beginning to crack as the usual cheer is replaced by frantic panic.

There is absolutely nothing audible in the night air aside from the gentle waves lapping at the docks and ships, and the panicked breathing of a young girl.


That confirms who the ship belongs to. Gair stares on at Lucatiel, hardened and impassive at the passion brought to bare. But if there aren't any bodies, that means they could be alive. “Lucatiel, listen to me.” He utters firmly and follows the pair onto the middle deck, bounding from the gangplank almong the potentially dangerous wreckage. “That they haven't found them yet means they could still be fine, you have to calm down.”

He turns his gaze to Luna, I guess it's time to put that damnable imbalance to work. “Did you look in the hotter parts, anything you passed over cause of the fires?” He retreats a step back, ready to seek the middle and lower decks.

[Luca and Luna]

“NO!” She shouts directly at Gair, running around on the above deck and checking. “They have to be here! It's just a mean joke!” she adds. However, at the man's advice, she snaps to. WIthout a word, she rushes down into the lower decks, her shouting now echoed. “MOM! DAD!”.

Luna gives Gair a look torn between pity and confusion before taking off after the girl, trying to keep nearby yet not right on her. “Miss Lucatiel, please do be careful! There are parts of the ship yet plagued by small flame and cinder!” she warns. Her usual tone has broken down completely at this point, and is replaced fully with deep concern.

The girl continues searching frantically, yelling for her parents as she does. She thrusts open cabin doors to check inside until one does not budge. She grabs the knob with both hands, pulling and pushing violently. “OPEN UP! COME ON, THEY'RE IN THIS ROOM! LUNA HELP!” she demands.

The woman runs over and removes the girls hands quickly, feeling the intense heat from the door knob. She uses her own gauntleted hand to attempt to open the door to no avail. Lucatiel continues shouting as if it were a life and death situation. “LUNA PLEASE! THEY'RE IN THERE, TRAPPED! I NEED TO GET TO THEM!” The woman is easily persuaded by the girl, taking a step back and aiming her boot for the door. It takes a few tries, but she succeeds in breaking the door open, and a strong gust of hot wind assails the two, but there is nothing of note inside. Just glowing hot embers strewn about.

The girl rushes in, but Luna grabs her by the waist, pulling her back. “Miss Lucatiel, it is not safe in there! There yet remains the leftovers of flame and cinder. And besides.” She quickly grabs the girl's hands, forcing them open which causes a yelp from the girl. The palms of her hands are now heavily burned, and they twitch in pain. “You are hurting yourself!”

“LET ME GO! I HAVE TO FIND THEM!” Lucatiel shouts, fighting against Luna's strength feebly.


Gair trails in behind, watching the pitiful scene of a desperate Lucatiel harm herself to force open a door at her own peril. Even if they are in here, she can't be allowed to see the charred bodies in this state. “Luna, get her out of here.” He would lay a hand on the Paladin's shoulder, eyeing the number of cabins. His head kept low and by now, he'd dipped his usual headband overboard and wrapped it over his face. He was ready to do his part to search the ship.

He quite pointedly lays his hand on the knob of a door that should be blistering to the touch, but where flesh would sizzle from prolonged exposure, no sound comes. There was no way he was going to search the cabins or the lower deck with Lucatiel down here. Please let us be doing Nald's work, not Thal. Please. And so he waits to throw his weight against one such door and brave the fires.

Heat resistance, honhon

[Luca and Luna]

Luna nods at Gair's advice as she finished applying some bandages to Lucatiel's hands. “Forgive me, Miss Lucatiel.” And with that, she scoops the girl up in a fireman carry with relative ease. There is a pause as the girl processes what happened, and Luna starts walking back above deck. “Do not harm yourself Gair, we–”

“NOOOOOOOOO LET GO OF ME!” Lucatiel begins to scream, thrashing in Luna's hold causing the woman to stumble for a second and then throw her over her shoulder. The continues to thrash, practically slamming her burned fists against the woman from her carried position, to no avail. Tears have begun to well up in the girl's eyes, and she continues to scream as if Luna is dragging her away from her parents. The pair disappear above deck and out of Gair's sight, but the screaming continues.

As Gair busts down the door relatively easily, he'd find little of note. The cabin was messy, and had an open window, as well as countless foodstuffs strewn about the floor, largely burnt. However, of particular note was a large axe lodged in the side of the wall. The handle would be coated in spattered blood. While the axe itself would be hot to the touch as expected, Gair may notice a large amount of stained blood on the impact site which was falling downwards and pooled up on the floor. There was also a noticeable amount of hair and skin, as well as a large cleaved chunk of flesh hanging where the axe meets the wall. Clearly it had seen some use.

It would be noticeable by now that there was silence above deck. But it would not be long to last. Luna could be heard talking to Lucatiel, attempting to soothe her, but it was cut off soon there-after as the sound of running could be heard, moving from the middle of the deck to the edge. As the running sound ends, Luna could be heard practically screaming, “LUCATIEL!” There is a hurried rush from the knight, distinctly different, and then a loud thump against the side of the ship. Gair would not know it yet, but when he ventured above he would discover that Lucatiel had thrown herself from the ship and Luna had only just caught her by the arms, the girl now dangling against over the side by a couple fulms and Luna belly down on the edge of the ship holding her. “GAIR! QUICKLY!” she would shout.

Lucatiel, meanwhile, began to scream again. “NO, LET GO! I HAVE TO GO TO THEM! MOM DAD! I'M COMING! LET GO!”


Signs of a struggle, bloody axe, burning ship…pirates, or there was a snake among the crew. Gair grunts and retreats from the smoldering cabin, there were limits to his tolerance of fire and extreme heat and he was reaching it rather quickly. With him he brought the bloody axe and let the flesh it had lodged fall to the burning floor. His walking became a brisk run through the halls as the yells for his name were made. He was confused by the sight: Luna holding onto something for dear life off the side of the ship. It took him a good moment to even recognize what was going on.

“Seven hells…” He utters under his breath and paces across the deck and with a swing, lodges the bloody axe into wooden floor beneath him. “Listen, I know this ain't easy- but this ain't helpin'!” He kneels down, takes Luna by the belt and yanks her back like a length of Yeti rope. Intent on fishing the pair of women back on the ship. “You need to get off this ship or you're gonna get hurt, your ma and pa wouldn't want that. So move your arse!”

[Luca and Luna]

The woman is pulled up, still holding on to Lucatiel's arm who is basically dragged across the deck. “Thank you, Gair.” Luna says as she comes to a stand, pulling the girl up with her. No sooner does the girl gain her own footing than she tries to dash away again, but Luna holds on and pulls her closer, forcing her into a deep hug. The woman's arms cross over the girl's back and she stands there, holding her. “Lucatiel…” There is a flash of a look from Luna to Gair, a thankful gaze that lasts but seconds and is noticeable by the man alone, before she looks down at her ward, holding her tight.

“LET ME GO PLEASE LUNA! I NEED TO GO TO THEM! I NEED… Please! They're… out there!” She continues to scream into the woman's chest, though through one reason or another it slowly calms. She continues to beg, but the screaming turns into bawling after some moments. Her bandaged fists pound pathetically against Luna in a depressing display, until a few minutes in silence pass and the girl basically goes limp against the woman. Her sobs continue as her body rises and falls in a sad huff, but she stops resisting the embrace.

Luna meanwhile continues to hold her, a hand moving to the back of the girl's head to gently press it against her. “I am… so sorry, Mi–…. Lucatiel. I know not what to say…” Her tone is hushed and sharing the girl's anguish.


Gair quietly steps up to the duo amid their embrace and places his hand at Lucatiel's back. Offering what solace he can, being only what he could have divined from the scene below deck. “I'm sorry, I didn't see nothin' of your ma and pa down there.” No promises, don't promise her shit you dumb fucker. “I can't promise nothin', but that we'll search for 'im. That they ain't on board is a good sign.” He looks back to the quickly smouldering middle deck, a thought twisting around in his head. The decision to rummage the deck for a wooden bucket and some rope came easy.

[Luca and Luna]

The girl continues her sobs, muffled by Luna. “Gair…” she chokes out. “What if… what if they're… lost at sea…” she continues, not turning around but addressing the pair. As Gair mentions searching for them, she finally turns around to look at the man. Her makeup has run and seeped down her cheeks and what isn't coated in black is instead covered with tears. Her eyes well as she looks up at the man as Luna's arms cover her in an embrace similar to Hilda's. “Do you… do you mean it? They're…. they're not…” Her eyes well up further and she looks down at the deck for a moment. “…Dead?”

Luna pulls the girl closer but does not force her to turn back around, only pressing her against herself as she had seen the girl's mother do. “Gair has much he has to do in his own life, but I am sure he will help you where he can. And I will do everything in my power to help you find them. I promise you, Lucatiel.” She pats the girl's head re-assuringly as she speaks.


“There was a fight below deck,” Gair tells Lucatiel bluntly. “But no bodies, so that means they ain't lost at sea. Someone has them.” It wasn't his place to comfort this girl, sitting there to offer platitudes or words of reassurance weren't going to do anything about this itch he could feel at the bottom of his heart. So he scratched it in the only way he knew how: action, of some kind. There were burning portions of the ship, so he filled the myriad of bailing buckets aboard the merchant vessel until sweat was beading down his forehead. Like a one man brigade fighting a Thanalan brush fire. We might very well need this ship.

“And we'll find 'em, even if we have to sail this rickety piece'a shit out and kill the fuckers who done it.”

[Luca and Luna]

The girl continues sobbing, pausing just for a moment to speak. “So they sniffle so they might be…. sniff okay?” Her crying continues, though it is considerably quieter as Luna keeps petting her head gently. The girl nods at Gair, still snuffling.

Luna's mothering instincts crop up yet again as she retrieves a cloth from her person and brings it up to Lucatiel's face, wiping her tears cautiously. “You see? We will find them. No matter what it takes. And until then, you need to be strong for them Lucatiel. That you may aid in their rescue.” She holds the girl close, petting her still.

Lucatiel sniffles before breaking into more tears. “They're… they're gone aren't they? sniffle Even if they didn't… didn't die…. sniffle They're gone…”


“I'm sayin' there's a chance, not that they're okay,” Gair is firm but gentle with his words, his gaze flits to the stairs leading below deck and he lifts up two large buckets of water. Don't promise her anything, don't promise her anything. “If they were taken by folk, it means we're in for a prolonged search at sea…” He trails off and makes to descend the more smouldert decks below once more. “Now bugger off the ship, it ain't safe.” He would go about the laborious progress of trying to spare the ship being burned to cinders and sinking to the bottom of the harbor.

[Luca and Luna]

Though it reduces the girl's cries, she is far from placated. She sniffles and hangs her head, but Luna pats her gently and begins to lead her away. “Come along, Lucatiel. Let us allow Gair to work without getting in his way.” The girl sniffles loudly and nods, not resisting the guidance. As they begin to leave the deck, Luna puts a hand on Gair's shoulder where available. “Thank you Gair.” she says simply before bringing Lucatiel off the ship and on to the dock. The pair begin making their way out of the city slowly, with Lucatiel looking out towards the ship as she does, clearly still lost in thought.

There is a heavy sorrow upon the air as the duo quietly return to Luna's home. The girl continues to cry and sniffle, but there are no more dramatics for now. Once home, Luna personally brings Lucatiel to her room and makes sure she is comfortable, opting to sit at the edge of the bed in silence. There is much heavy sighing and glances towards the girl to check on her, but of course after a bell or more, there is little change - Just silent thought and the occasional sob. The woman departs from the room temporarily and returns with a blanket and pillow, setting up a makeshift bedding on the floor in the hopes that remaining with the girl would provide some small amount of comfort.

Luna manages to find slumber after another bell, and awakes midday to find the girl clearly passed out against her will, slumped over and snoring uneasily. The woman comes to a stand and begins to busy herself, taking care of the house and preparing a lunch. Once downstairs, she pauses for a moment in thought. She places a finger to her ear, pinging the linkpearl of one @Ziddar. “I do apologize for the sudden intrusion Ser Vinalo. I am afraid tragedy has struck Miss Lucatiel, and I feel you may be one of the people she counts highest amongst her companions. Would you be able to perhaps see her some time soon?”


There's a brief bit of rustling sounds before the familiar voice pipes up.

“Luna? Is that you?” they respond as they put the linkpearl to their ear.

Vinalo had just finished their light lunch when they heard the signature ping of their linkpearl. Not being contacted often this way, they answered quickly. Luna's words about Lucatiel put them to worrying.

“Tragedy… Is Lucatiel hurt? What happened?” Vinalo asked, already moving to get dressed proper enough to head out.


There is a brief pause before the woman speaks again. “Indeed, it is I. As for Miss Lucatiel, she is mostly unharmed though she did burn her hands. More to the point, her parents are missing. The Maelstrom found their ship adrift and aflame, with no one on board and signs of a struggle. I am afraid it does not look good. Again, I apologize for the sudden nature of my call, but I am hoping you might be able to speak to her where I lack the skills.” The woman's tone was unusual for her, the ice and stone replaced with the sounds of genuine worry.


Vinalo listened carefully to Luna's story as they moved about their apartment. They let out a small sigh of relief hearing that Lucatiel was (mostly) unharmed, though the news about her parents was very worrisome. A fire and a struggle at sea? There were several ways this could end up, none of them good. Luna's tone of voice seemed to reveal her thoughts were probably the same.

“Please, don't worry about it! I'll head over as soon as I get my things together,” they said. Vinalo paused for a moment. “Should I be prepared anything more, uhm… 'intensive' than being at your house?”


There is a pause before Luna speaks. “Her burns are bandaged for now, but at one point during the night, she attempted to throw herself off the ship citing that her parents needed her. I fear her mind is in a very dark place currently. However, I have no intentions of allowing her to harm herself in mine home.” she explains, thinking of various safety measures she might need to undergo.


“…Then I'll be there soon, Luna. We'll talk more once I get there. Try and keep things calm until then,” Vinalo replied, ending the link. The image of Lucatiel trying to throw herself into the sea out of desperation sat in their mind. They shook their head and focused on making sure they had everything they'd need.

Several minutes later, Vinalo was dressed and supplied for an outing. As they locked up their apartment, the idea of a seriously distressed Lucatiel kept blinking into their mind. She'd pouted before, and cried when she hit herself with her own spell, but… this was something entirely different. 'I'll have to do my best with this, and try and keep hope, too,' they thought to themself.

Stepping out into the shaded paths of the Lavender Beds, the Lalafell took a deep breath of the forest breeze they felt so close to, and focused on Luna's home. It was times like this they thanked the Twelve that they had a potent enough anima to use the aetheryte network. A brief flash, and Vinalo was off to give whatever support they could.

[Luna and Luca]

As Vinalo began their short trek, Luna had gone back upstairs and roused Lucatiel. The girl looked and seemed like a shell of her former self, lost in thought and absolutely brooding. Gone was the vibrant energy and cheer she usually exuded. The woman found herself at a loss, standing next to her as the girl sat in bed, staring blankly ahead. Luna held the girl gently, patting her head as it had seemed an effective cure before, but found it to do little but seem comforting. She moved back downstairs and prepared a soup and a glass of water for the girl, breaking out a nearly unused bed-tray for it and bringing it upstairs, setting it in front of Lucatiel. It felt like this was all she knew to do in such a situation, and she began to curse herself for being so cold.

Lucatiel continues to stare ahead, but after a while she looks down at the heated soup and picks up the spoon, sluggishly eating. It was more due to the hunger in her stomach than feeling comforted, but it was something. Even the girl's Carbuncle was dull and seemingly anemic, opting to 'sleep' at the end of the bed.

Assuming Vinalo would arrive shortly, Luna would answer the door with the girl's Carbuncle-decorated brush in hand, her usual stone face replaced by one of worry.


A brief rush and Vinalo found themself in front of Luna's home in the Mist district. It was strange to be here not to drink tea and talk the night away with friends, but to help a certain young woman however they could. Trauma wasn't their usual area, but they were here as a friend, not a healer.

Vinalo gazed up at the midday sun for a time, hearing the crashing of waves in the distance. They took a deep breath and walked up to the front door. knock knock

[Luna and Luca]

The door opens, and as predicted Luna stands in the opening, Carbuncle brush held in her left and doorknob in her right. Not usually a woman with any sort of 'maintenance', she looked a bit worn - small bags under her eyes and askew hair here and there. But more startling was her expression. Where usually was a solid wall of neutrality and even frost, now was graced by a more human look of worry and concern. “Ah, Ser Vinalo.” she speaks after a moment, greeting them. “Once more, I do apologize so for calling you on such short notice. If you would be so kind. I…” She holds up the brush in her hand, as if it had just appeared. “She is in bed, awake but not wishing to get up. I have brought her lunch to her room and I… I was going to do my utmost to brush her hair for her. I… I have no clue if that is something she would like, but…” She exhales, clearly out of her element but trying as much as she could.


The Luna that stood tall in front of Vinalo was not one they'd seen before. Glimpses, maybe. Many moons ago ('Had it been that long already?' they thought) her vulnerable side was seen briefly when they saw her in their old company clinic. And the tone of her voice over the linkpearl already spoke volumes. But, to see her like this was unexpected. Vinalo's brow raised and they frowned slightly.

“Oh, Luna…” they simply said, voice taking on a distinctly sympathetic tone. “I… I'm sure she'd appreciate it. We'll just have to do what we can.”

The Lalafell tried to smile on those last words, nodding and taking steps to come in.


The woman shuts the door behind Vinalo, turning back and walking over. “If you feel comfortable doing so, you may head up without me. I would prepare you a cup of tea for your troubles and I shall join you and Miss Lucatiel shortly. Elsewise feel free to wait on me, I shall not tarry.” And with that, she pushes open the door to the kitchen, setting the brush down on the front counter and beginning the tea, busying herself with cleaning the already clean counters and cookware.


“I think I'll do that. Maybe… maybe another face'll help,” Vinalo said, watching Luna go into the routine. “And no rush on the tea, Luna. It's no trouble to help a friend.”

Vinalo slowly made their way up the stairs. They'd only been up here twice before, and thankfully both times involved someone coming out of a room that wasn't Lucatiel's. The Lalafell took a deep breath and made their way to the remaining door. A light knock.

“Lucatiel? It's me, Vinalo. Luna told me that you might need some good company today,” they said, trying not to sound too negative. “If you don't want me to come in, we can talk like this, too.”


There is no response, but the door slowly nudges open. After a few moments, when it's just open enough to fit inside, the girl's Carbuncle can be seen having pushed it with it's head, now staring up at Vinalo. It's color faded and lacking sparkles, but it remained all the same. Inside, Lucatiel was sat against the wall in bed, looking at the door. The joy in her eyes snuffed for now, her hair a mess and tangled in places. She was still in her night clothes, a messy tank top. The tray of soup sat over her lap, some splashes of it's contents on the bed here and there. Her arms lay at her sides, motionless. She just watched Vinalo as they would enter.


Vinalo glanced down at Carby as it opened the door; they weren't expecting this either. They quietly walked in and stopped just a few steps past the doorway. Their heart sunk once they saw Lucatiel sitting silently against the wall, disheveled and distressed. They knew that look. Felt it before. The feeling of numbness when there was nothing left inside to scream out.

“Do you want to talk at all? I'll listen to whatever you want to say, I promise,” Vinalo said quietly and calmly. “If not, I can just sit here with you, if you'd like.”


The girl slowly moves her head in a faint nod. She opens her mouth, but is silent for several seconds as if finding her voice. “Mom and Dad… They're gone…” she says simply, tears welling up in her eyes again. “They left me… Left their ship behind… They had to go in the ocean…” she says, a bit nonsensically. Her shoulders rise and fall as gentle sobs come from her. “I wanted to go with them… But they left me behind…”


“Lucatiel… I'm so sorry.”

It was all Vinalo was able to get out at the moment. Walking up to the bed, they slipped their boots off and pulled themself onto it, settling near the edge to give Lucatiel plenty of room. A moment of silence as Vinalo tried to think of what to say next.

“Luna… She told me what happened. And… it's a good thing you weren't with them, no matter how bad it feels,” they tried to assure her. “And… and we can't assume the worst right now.”

Vinalo knew very well that even the best case for her parents was dire, but they wanted to stay hopeful. It's something that's always given them strength. Lucatiel needed them right now, so that hope had to stay alive, no matter what happens in the end. Vinalo saw her growing sobs and gave a tiny bit of a sympathetic smile and nod.

“Let it all out if you have to, I'll be right here.”

[Luca and Luna]

The girl looks at Vinalo silently for a moment before replying. “I should have been on that ship! I should have been there! Then at least I would have died with them!” she says, sorrowful pain in her tone. “Or maybe… Maybe I could have saved them! With… With me and… and Carbie…” Her gaze falls to her own lap before her hands rise on to her covered legs, occupying her sight. They were bandaged, and what little skin that could be seen was visibly burned. Blessedly lightly so, it seemed to be first-degree at most. She flexes her hands into a fist and releases, noticeably wincing and tearing up with an audible “Aa-aah” of pain. “I… I could have saved them… You taught me healing, and I wasted it!” Her head hangs low and stares down, her hair falling and obscuring her features, but it is easy to see teardrops sent for the bed.

Seemingly brought on by the girl's pained sound, footfalls from Luna can be heard ascending the stairs rather quickly.


Vinalo starts shaking their head at Lucatiel's words, looking increasingly worried. They scooted a bit closer.

“No… no, don't say that! Please, don't ever say you should've died!” they pleaded. “It's… it's not your fault. You… we don't know what happened to them, how many or how strong… But you're alive here, and… that's important!”

Their attention is briefly taken by the audible steps, and they glanced towards the door.

[Luca and Luna]

The girl continues sobbing, squeezing her hands into a shaky fist and pounding them softly against her legs, crying out in pain again. “aAAaah! No! I want to die! So I can be with them again!”

The door opens to reveal Luna carefully holding a tray with a few cups of tea - One for each of them. She sets it down on the table in the room, quickly moving over to the girl's side. “Lucatiel, are you alright? I heard you in pain and I–”

“Let me die Luna!” she shouts in a sudden burst of emotion, looking up at the woman with a face that might be kindly described as 'distraught'. “LET ME DIE! I WANT TO BE WITH THEM!” she adds louder, pounding her burned hands against Luna's midsection pathetically, yelping in pain as she does.

The woman immediately looks absolutely aghast, any semblance of emotional resilience stripped. “WHAT!? Lucatiel, no!” she gently grabs the girl's arm to stop her from the pathetic assault, bending down to be closer to the girl's level. She looks as if she wants to say something, but she is clearly having immense difficulty in doing so, either due to not having the words or trying to process what the girl has said.


Vinalo scooted back a bit from the young woman's outburst, but remained focused on her. Her outward anguish made their heart sink again. This was all too much for Lucatiel to bear. 'Something to say, something to say…' they thought to themself. Luna's stunned silence made the situation even more tense.

“Lucatiel, please… we don't know if they're dead. They both could still be out there! You… you can't give up hope!”

They looked to Luna, hoping that speaking up could help her find her own words.

[Luca and Luna]

Lucatiel quiets for the moment, sobbing. She looks from Vinalo back to Luna, unsure of what to say herself. Her thoughts and emotions a swirling whirlpool of despair and near-suicidal ideation. She didn't want to actually die, but the thought of never seeing her family again was too much.

Luna turns from Vinalo now, looking back at the girl. “Lucatiel, you must not allow yourself to succumb to such thoughts. Do you not wish to live your life to the fullest?” she asks, her own voice showing the faintest hint or breaking. Seeing the girl like this was absolutely heart-breaking for her. She pulls herself closer to the girl, resting her head gently on the girl's shoulder and wrapping her own arms around. She had no idea if this was effective, but she had seen other people do it before.

The girl just continues her crying, stuffing her face against Luna's shoulder and letting her tears pour down.


A long sigh. Thoughts swirled around in Vinalo's head as they watched Luna embrace the sobbing Lucatiel. They wanted to believe. They wanted to help. They weren't sure what the right thing to say was. Maybe, maybe….

Vinalo flexed their fingers for a moment, and scooted close to the pair. Slowly and gently, Vinalo reached up and put their hand on part of Lucatiel's back that Luna's arms weren't currently occupying. They tentatively move their around hand a bit, trying to impart some sort of comfort. Maybe words could wait for now.

[Luca and Luna]

There was a small change in the room's atmosphere. Perhaps Vinalo's comfort was the needed curative, or maybe it was the combined efforts of knight and healer. Lucatiel's demeanor underwent a slight change, and her anguish became less self-destructive and more of an outlet for her emotion. Her arms pressed up against Luna, leaning into the embrace rather than signifying protest. Her tears softened ever so noticeably, and the uneasiness in her cries steadied a bit.

“Lucatiel… You have much yet to experience in life, and I would do my utmost to support you in your endeavors. Be it the simple niceties of daily life, or rescuing your parents… Or bringing flowers with your to their resting place. I will strive to be by your side.”

The girl sniffles, evidently feeling some small comfort from her words. “Really? Are you sure?” she asks, her face unseeably scrunched into one of more pitiable sadness rather than out and out torment.

Luna pulls her head back and pushes Lucatiel slightly forward, looking into her eyes. “I do, Lucatiel. You are my ward, and more than that… And I would ensure you are possessed of the most joyous life you may lead, though it shall be filled with it's share of sorrow. You have those you may lean on, and when all else fails, you may retreat into my arms. I make not the best comfort, but I will try unspeakably hard to do what I can.” With that, she presses the girl's forehead against her mouth and gives her a light kiss, following what she understood to be her best attempt at comfort for what was, in a sense, a daughter.


The Lalafell pulled back and scooted away to give the pair some room. Seeing the easing tension, and the effect Luna's kind words seemed to have on Lucatiel, Vinalo couldn't help but let out a sigh of relief. A small smile formed on their face, and they waited before saying anything further.

[Luca and Luna]

Lucatiel leans into the comfort, sniffling. She nods against the woman's kiss. “That helps a little…” she says. She sniffles for a few moments as Luna gently strokes her head. “I'm… I'm really scared… What do I do if they're… if they're gone?” she asks, looking up at Luna and pulling away a bit.

The woman takes a deep breath and exhales, continuing to pet the girl. “If that is the case… Then I will aid you in dealing with it. In setting up the burial, in acclimating to life without them, in honoring them. Whatever it takes. You will survive this, and they shall look upon you from the heavens smiling that you overcame. They would wish you to grieve over them and then move on, as we all must do when such an inevitable day arrives. Many of us are either estranged or bereft of parentage, but we continued ever onward. You too shall do so, and I will be there to lift you up to such heights, Lucatiel.”

The girl looks towards Vinalo as Luna mentions estranged parents, and then back at the woman. “But what about when I miss them? I… I already miss them a lot…”

Luna pauses in thought for a moment before speaking. “You will miss them, it is true. You must choose to think upon the delights and joys of your time with them, rather than focus on their departure. I would not lie to you Lucatiel, it will hurt. Your heart will feel heavy and sullen. It is natural. Then, especially, must you ruminate on the happy days you had with them.”

The girl sniffles and nods slowly, understanding a bit more.


“…Luna's right, Lucatiel,” Vinalo finally added. “There'll be days where you want to scream and days where you'll want to say nothing at all. But… you'll make it through it all, I'm sure of it. And like Luna said, you won't be alone.”

Vinalo smiles at Lucatiel, nodding as if they were affirming their own words. One might notice they being a bit misty-eyed if they looked closely enough.

“I might not be able to lift you up much…” they paused to lightly chuckle at the physical feat, “But I promise I'll be around, too. Could never leave my friend when they needed me, after all.”

[Luca and Luna]

The girl looks over at Vinalo, her head pivoting slowly. She offers them a weak smile through her tears, nodding. “Thank you Vinalo… If I don't have to be sad by myself… It'll be a little easier.” She does not laugh at the Lalafell's joke at their own expense, but she does smile with her eyes some at it. “Ohh Vinalo! I'm glad you're my friend!” she says with a surge of emotion. She almost instinctively reaches out to hug them clumsily, but Luna stops the girl by grabbing her shoulders gently.

“Lucatiel, you know Vinalo does not like to be touched so suddenly. Do not be rude.” Luna speaks not in her usual admonishing tone, for now actually displaying some emotion and levity with a small chuckle. She brings the girl back in another embrace, her own head resting on the girl's shoulder. She closes her eyes, only visible to Vinalo, and silently there come some small amount of tears now streaming down the woman's face, and dropping to the bed sheet.

The girl feels some small comfort from the embrace once more, but feels something different about it this time. “Umm…. Luna? What's…?” she stops, curious. The woman does not reply.


Vinalo watched Luna embrace the young woman once again. Luna's tears told them all they needed to know about how she felt. Instead of saying anything more at the moment, they simply wiped their eyes on their sleeve and smiled at the display of love in front of them.

[Luca and Luna] The embrace would hold for some time, the girl not fully understanding why the woman was so silent or why this hug felt more comforting. After some minutes, Luna would pull back and come to a stand, smiling down at Lucatiel before beginning to serve the tea she brought. A cup given to Vinalo firstly, one to Lucatiel, and finally one for herself. The girl was far from cured and cheerful, but her mood was improving and the solace of a close friend as well as her caretaker was doing much to aid. The two would make idle small talk with each other and Vinalo, content to spend some time together and forget their troubles for a bit.

[Vinalo] As Vinalo sipped tea and chatted about this and that, it was almost possible to forget the tragedy that brought them to the house that day. Without a doubt, the days and weeks ahead would be difficult for Lucatiel, but the healer knew that her inner strength would shine through. They've seen it, even if others doubt her.

In one of the moments where the knightess and her ward were occupied with each other, Vinalo simply sat with their teacup and silently thanked the Twelve that their path allowed them to be here today. No bones mended; no cuts stitched back together. Just being the good company that was needed. For now, that was enough.

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