No announcement yet.


  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Ejospike
    Re: Zi'tah

    long, but nice. good use of words this is a really good story ^^ you making anymore?

    Leave a comment:

  • Irisjir Callard
    Re: Zi'tah

    It was the stump of a tree, a fallen giant even for this forest of giants, probably a tree as ancient and old as the bohoyada tree, or at least nearly so. It rose a little higher than it was wide, with the ragged broken top supporting a peaked shingle roof that seemed to have been draped right over the broken edge, perhaps three times as tall as the woman beside her. Opaquely dark windows stared back at Isandi from two different heights, indicating the structure had a second floor, as well as a fireplace of some sort, because of the rough chimney that leaked a trail of smoke almost the exact hue of the fog. Behind the house, the ambiguous dark shape of the rest of the tree stretched into the hovering fog, dissapearing after a distance across the forest floor. Small white flowers grew in neatly-planted circles around the other trees, and twin patches of small forest violets framed the recessed door. Off to one side, a slatted fence contained what seemed to be a garden of some sort.
    While Isandi stared in amazement at the house, which so neatly blended in with the woods around it, the unknown woman had walked up to the house, and the black chocobo, apparently free to roam at large, wandered over to the fence that surrounded the garden, and tried to get at some of the plants growing inside. After a squawk of irritation at being unable to, a pair of other chocobos appeared, unremarkable yellow creatures who shied away as soon as thy spotted Isandi and dissapeared back into the fog.
    "Hey. Are you coming inside, or what?" the woman was saying in a sharp voice.
    "Yes, I'm quite sorry, I was just watching the chocobos," Isandi blurted, and scampered through the door, past the shadowed hume who was holding it open.
    It was suprisingly dark inside the house, and she stood for a moment, waiting for her eyes to acclimate. There were sounds around her, footsteps as the hume moved about, a swooshing noise as she opened curtains, letting a little of the watery gray daylight into the house. Most of the light, however, came when she crossed over to a stone fireplace where a few embers glowed a deep, rich cherry color. There was the rustle of tinder, and a warm yellow light bloomed outwards, showing the blinde hume crouched over the fireplace with kindling and logs, stacking them particularly around the fat yellow flames until she was satisfied. Leaving the flickering little fire, she ambled over to one of the counters in what Isandi could see was a kitchen of sorts, and started fussing with what looked like a teapot. Left apparently to herself, Isandi ambled over to the rock floor around the fireplace and crouched infront of it, extending her hands to the warmth as the kindling caught, and finally the logs themselves started to burn with a warm, bright fire that snapped pleasantly and filled the silence.
    "I take it you're not an adventurer, then?" she finally said to the hume, to break the silence.
    "Why do you say that?" Crossing the room yet again, the hume rested the teapot on a black iron hook and swung it over the fireplace to boil.
    "Well...just, adventurers live in the cities..." Isandi shuffled her toes on the ground, and rubbed her fingers together away from the flames, which had become rather hot.
    "They do?" The hume sounded shocked, and gave Isandi a clearly skeptical look, one eyebrow raised far higher than the other one.
    "How odd. I heard they spent almost all their time outside the city walls."
    Isandi felt herself starting to blush as though she had been caught in a lie. "Well yes, but their houses are inside the cities...and when they move around they rent other rooms from the other cities..."
    "I thought the cities had inns?"
    "Well yes but those are for non-adventurer travellers," Isandi said sheepishly.
    "Hmm." The hume turned back to the fire. "I wonder why they do that...the adventurers, I mean, letting themselves be tracked so easily by the governments."
    "I....uhh...never really thought about it," Isandi confessed. "I guess...that they don't think about it that way."
    The hume snorted a laugh, and stretched, before collapsing into a heavily-stuffed armchair and starting to, one by one, pop the joints in her fingers.
    "It's more than that," Isandi finally said, determined not to let go of the issue so easily, starting to get angry at the woman's contented silence. "You make friends with the beastmen. No adventurer would ever do such a thing. The beastmen are the enemy of all people. And you...share their food...drink their liquor...and gamble with them for slaves!"
    "The enemy of all people?" The hume finally leaned forwards and picked up a fireplace poker, starting to rearrange the logs carefully, making a nice neat pile before she picked up another log from a basket beside her chair and tossing it into the stone enclosure, doing the work of arranging it with the partially-burnt logs with the hooked poker. "Ahh...I suppose you're too new at the adventuring thing to have gotten to Jeuno. Some of the stores there are run by goblins, as amicably as anyone could wish. I actually have a wonderful outfit crafted by a tailor in that shop...not to mention their cooking is superb. I wouldn't call them an enemy. And I don't suppose you know that to this day, Bastok requires their musketeers to go into the mines periodically and destroy the nests the Quadav lay, trying to exterminate their entire race by preventing them from reproducing."
    Isandi stared at her feet, abashed and ashamed by the undisguised sadness of the hume's voice as she began to recount tales that bespoke experience on a far wider scale than Isandi had dreamed, of goblins who died in the name of peace, of friends made across the boundaries of race, of times in the woman's life where her days would have been ended save for assistance that came from the most unlikely quarters.
    "Did you know," the hume finally said, "That Tzee Xicu of the yagudo herself was raised in Windurst?"
    "Surely not!"
    "She was indeed. She sang at the raised stage in the back of the Timbre Timbers frequently."
    "But..." Isandi paused in confusion. "That can't possibly be true! She's the general of the Yagudo armies! The incarnation of their god! It's not possible...that she could be a city....!" she burst out, clapping her hands against her thighs and lashing her tail angrily. "You're lying!"
    "It's not exactly public knowledge, but it is true nonetheless. She was raised in windurst and later escaped to rejoin the yagudo. I haven't the details of how it all happened, but...that it did happen is an undisputed fact." Rather than be angered by her guest's outburst, the hume merely turned back to the teapot, and swung it out from over the fire. For the first time, Isandi noticed the smell, a strangely musky and alluring smell, not like tea at all.
    "What is that?" she asked, gesturing to the dark black-looking liquid her host was pouring into a white china cup etched with delicate pink flowers.
    "Coffee. A little treat I picked up in the Near East. I take it you've never had it before?"
    "No...only powerful and reputable adventurers are permitted to travel to the near east." Isandi stared hard at her guest.
    "Or smugglers with ties to beastman armies," the hume said casually, and gave Isandi a wink, setting down her own cup and taking another one, somewhat thicker and studier, with blue and green triangles around the rim, and filling it about halfway with the dark liquid. "Here, give it a try. It's very hot, so don't burn your tongue."
    She took the cup warily, cupping her hands around it, sniffing the dark liquid skeptically as her host slowly drank her own. Up-close, the smell was hot and faintly acrid, although the hot, delicious musky odor that Isandi had noticed earlier was still present. She blew away the faint steam that drifted up from the surface, until it stopped re-forming, and took a cautious sip.
    "Hot! And it's bitter!" she exclaimed suddenly.
    "Many put milk and sugar in to migitate the taste somewhat," the hume said, smiling around the cup as she took another sip.
    Isandi coughed as she took a few more sips, then finally shook her head, setting the cup down, having decided the drink might not taste so foully strong after it had cooled down a little bit. "I'm sorry but I don't think I like it."
    "I don't either, but it does a good subsitute for a night's sleep!" With a laugh, the hume drained the last from her cup, before standing up and swishing it in a bucket of water and setting it upside-down on the window-sill to dry.
    "So you really did stay up all night having a drunken revel with a pack of goblins."
    "Correction. I stayed up all night taking advantage of a bunch of drunken goblins's inability to gamble levelheadedly, and made a tidy profit to spend on little fancy things for myself."
    "I see." Isandi stood up as well, and straightened the edges of her tunic, wishing she had thought to bring a change of clothing. "Are you going to take me to Irisjir?"
    "Is that the name of the whitemage you're looking for?" The hume straightened a few items on the windowsill, picking up some other teacups that had been sitting there and taking them over to a cupboard, where she put them away.
    "Well...yes, I believe it is."
    "How interesting." The hume's voice was dry and flat, a thin veneer of politeness that threatened to crack open and reveal something much like sarcasm.
    "Are you quite sure you know where she is?"
    "Oh, well, if she's a whitemage, she's prone to moving around, rapidly crossing the continents, from crag to crag as the whim takes her. So knowing where she IS? That's a difficult question to answer. But if she comes here you claim...well, I know this forest, I just have to keep an eye open for her."
    "But that could take months!"
    "My dear, when something moves much faster than you do, you can't catch it by chasing after its dust cloud."
    "Fine." Isandi crossed her arms and scowled at the hume. "But I've no spare clothing or supplies with me."
    "Well then I'll let you borrow some of my old duds later. In the mean-time, I have chores that need doing. Come along."
    "I said to follow me." With a creak, the hume opened the door of her home again, and was standing in it, an orange-lit silhouette against the gray-green outside.
    " said..."
    "Do you expect me to simply let you stay here, drink my coffee, eat my food, wear my clothing, and sit on my chair and twiddle your fingers, while I put forth all the work and effort required to keep the house in which you shelter secure?"
    "Um...I....guess not." Isandi was abashed again, and stood up, shuffling out the door after the hume. It closed with a bang behind her, and for a moment Isandi jumped, fearing her tail had been caught in the aperture, but the hume had put her pinkie fingers in her mouth, and emitted an ear-shatteringly piercing whistle. Isandi flinched for a moment, then watched as the three chocobos that the woman seemed to own thudded up and came to a stop in a ragged row infront of the house door. She swung up what almost looked like a collar for a chocoharness onto the black, and hung four battered iron buckets from the hooks that Isandi expected would be connected to straps and reins. The black warked and bounced a little, impatiently, as the hume repeated the process for the larger of the yellow birds, then the smaller. Moving back to the big black bird, she gestured to Isandi, who approached the bird timidly. It gave her a skeptical glare from one big, glassy brown eye, before making a snorting noise and turning it's head away. It wasn't until the woman pulled down on the feathers of it's head that it settled into the obliging crouch, and Isandi mounted warily.
    "He knows the way to a freshwater pond. When he arrives there, dismount and fill up the buckets for each chocobo, then come back."
    "What if something attacks me?"
    "Just stay on his back till you get to the pond. Nothing'll attack in the pond's area." The hume slapped the big black on the thigh lightly, and he warked, before leaping out into a swift run through the forest.

    "What a kook," Isandi muttered to herself. Now that she was away from the hume, a lot of the things the woman had told her seemed less real and vivid. "Friends with the beastmen indeed! She's probably just delusonal from living alone so long. This is why adventurers keep their homes inside the cities! So they don't go crazy like this one. I should get out of here. What does she think, making me stay here, anyway? Even if I can't find that woman, I have other things to do in town!" Angrily, she kicked at the side of the big black chocobo, intending to turn it.
    Instead of turning, though, the animal shifted its wings, nearly unseating her, and continued on, which prompted Isandi to growl an epithet at it, and dig her heel more firmly into the chocobo's side, kicking at it as hard as she could while still remaining seated on the slick black feathers.
    Warking angrily, the bird bounded ahead for several bounds, then abruptly turned a full hundrd and eighty degrees and reared up almost vertically, quite effectively throwing Isandi off with a tumbling motion. She braced for impact with hard ground and rocks, and landed with an enourmous splash in a good two feet of water. She gagged and choked as she inhaled it, and floundered her way up to the surface, sitting on the bottom and lookng upwards angrily.
    All three chocobos stood in a circle around her, staring downwards with what Isandi only guessed had to be the most dissapproving expression chocobo faces could wear, staring her back down into the water.

    Leave a comment:

  • Irisjir Callard
    started a topic Zi'tah


    Opaque dank fog clung to the ground and wrapped itself sinuously around the heavy trunks of garangutan trees. Luxuriating in the foul weather, large animate fungi plopped fatly from place, in search of decaying plant matter to eat. Silent feline entities stared down from high perches on the piled heaps of rock that made their dens. Above the low-hanging mist, bats flicked and flitted, avoiding the scattered and green-hued shafts of sunlight that found their way in through the occasional holes in the high canopy that had been left when the giant trees occasionally fell.
    Rising up sporadically from the leaf litter that thickly carpeted the damp ground, the chilly, silent shapes of hard-edged dark crystals, most of them long cold and dead. However, from a scattered few, a pulsing lavender glow indicated that an energy source of some form still persevered within the angular crystals. Even the solitary lights of the distant outpost were dim and lost in the undulating sea of white fog.

    Amidst the pristine dimness, a brown-robed figure riding a big yellow bird threaded between the trees and rocks, and turned a cloaked head to and fro, and sighed and spat in frustration, tugging at reins and turning the chocobo's head a different direction, before kicking lightly against the heavy thighs of the flightless bird. It squawked a protest, then trotted on into the mist that had become more pearl than white, an ashy color that seemed to be darkening. The slanting rays of sunlight had taken on a more extreme angle, and now, pink-tinted, they faded into the same lavender hue as the glowing crystals and vanished alltogether, leaving only darkness thickened by the everpresent fog, with the solitary traveler accompanied only by the sound of chocobo feet hitting the ground, a dull, empty and repetitious thud.
    But the rider shifted and clucked the tired bird on, kicking it again, for there was more in the air than just mist...the distinct tang of damp firewood burning, smoke, and, from some distance, an occasional burst of muffled laughter and cheering.

    The sound was abrupt, wet, thick, garbled, and came from right under the chocobo's feet. The sudden startle was too much for the tired, abused animal to tolerate, and, spreading short wings, it reared up in a leap, ducked, sidestepped, and in the midst of this, managed to unseat the none-too-skilled rider, turning on one clawed foot and dashing off into the opaque gloom of the forest, intent on the warmth of it's home stable and the meal waiting there.

    Sitting up on the damp forest floor where she had fallen, the young mithra stared in something like stunned horror at the squat, earthtoned figure that stood before her on crooked knees, with bent shoulders and long drooping greenish ears that framed the round silhouette. Remembering that such creatures were prone to equate sitting or lying down with resting and weakness, the mithra scrambled to her feet, at the same time knowing it was a useless effort. The leather armor was tough, sweatstained, marked by blades, the gleaming point of an actual knife, not some rusted hand-me-down shone in the light. A professional goblin, if there was such a opposed to the delinquent juveniles that wandered close to the cities seking shelter from the bullying thugs like these.
    "Mithwa gowts a pwetty taiwl." A flicker of the sharpened edge as the goblin gestured towards a point in the darkness where the fog was lit not in a hue of lavender, but a more yellow-orangey hue. "Wawlk."
    Shivering, trembling, the mithra looked at the signs of the campfire concealed within a ring of boulders, the birthpoint of the smoke she had been following, and nodded inanely before forcing herself forwards on quivering legs. The knife-point jabbed her cruelly in the small of the back, and she quickened her gait slightly, tempted to break into a sprint, knowing that goblin bolts from their stout crossbows traveled faster than her feet ever would.

    "Well. Well, what have we here, now?" A voice with no trace of the goblinic accent, but the mithra was too afraid to look up and see what spoke so clearly and with such a drawl. The only beastmen that spoke with no accent, when they spoke, were the Kindred, known as demons among even the other beastmen.
    "Mithwa gowts a pwetty taiwl." A knobby hand closed around the appendage mentioned and yanked it, turning the mithra around to face away from the warm fire and present her tail, apparently prized to the goblins.
    "A nice un she do have."
    "But what to do to the rest of the mithra!?"
    She squeezed her eyes closed, prayed that whatever would be done would happen soon and be done with, hands held protectively over her bottom as though in anticipation of the pain that would come with a less-than-surgical removal of one of her extremeties.
    "Mithwa taiwl mihn! Me gamble wit iht."
    "Hah! Gamble who, you halfpint fool!"
    "Gamble Boggnix! Mithwa taiwl agintht...hurrm...hish ruby!"
    "You itjit..."
    "Iffen ee wantss to gamble it let im gamble it! Is is capture!"
    "Pass the die then!"
    Rattling and clattering, like pebbles thrown into a tin cup and shaken around briskly.
    "Bets! Bets!"
    "Twuh aights!"
    "Tew eieits an a five!"
    "Twuh aights and twuh faur's!"
    "Tew eieits an a a two!"
    A brisk shake, a discordiant clatter as the die were thrown, a chorus of 'ooooo' noises.
    "Ye foo! Now offin wit eer tail!"
    The first voice to have spoken finally made a reappearance after a long lapse of silence, another comment, and the accent was just as different from the disparate pitch and garbled noises that comprised goblin tongue as it had been before, but this time less mocking, more...human sounding. The mithra tried to peek at the source without being seen, but the edges of her hood were in the way.
    "Let's not be hasty now. You wouldn't want to be caught peddling damaged merchandise now, would you?" A slightly chilly laugh.
    "Whet's ees now, humee?"
    "Oh, only that I may be interested in tossing the dies myself for that particular mithra tail...but I'd not have it bloodied and messy."
    "Hah! You wanting to gamble with Bloggnix now, too?"
    "I'll throw my die in the cup if he's not afraid to lose to a hume," the response came in a cool, unruffled tone of voice. "And I'll put up a fat stake too." A heavy clinking thump.
    The mithra suddenly became interested enough in the proceedings to dare a look up and glance around warily, wondering intently if salvation of some form might be at hand. Sitting with crossed legs among the rocks the goblins were perched on, was a blond hume of some presumably mercenary sort, apparently at ease. The gold firelight painted the female...even stranger a person to find out here...a more or less uniform color of gold, skin, hair, even her clothing was orange and brown, warm, rich earthy tones. Her face seemed to be utterly bland, and as the mithra studied her, the hume did not turn to return the appraising gaze, merely sat and stared at one of the goblin clan, fingering the mouth of a draw-sack that was flattened like heavy coins against the rock she had dropped it onto.
    Truth be told, the mithra Isandi thought to herself, this stranger didn't exactly look like a better fate than the goblins. She didn't look like much of anything at all, in fact, which slightly worried her in a way the goblins hadn't. On the other hand, anything was better than having one's tail rudely chopped off at the base, surely, and the stranger WAS another woman.
    "Would you rather I withdraw my stake?" the sack was lifted, tantalizingly slowly, coins resounding as tension came into the leather pouch.
    "Now! Less nat be hastee!"
    A cup was produced quickly, and passed around, each member of the group putting a die into it as their turn came, the whole being shaken and rattled.
    "Bets! Bets!"
    "Tew aights an a fivve serv't wel las ime!"
    "I bet four fours."
    "Eee lies!"
    "Four fours eight."
    "Ye's a liar, hume!"
    "Place your bet, then."
    There was a silent, awkwards shuffling as goblin and hume stared at each other, the soft rattling tempo of the can of dice underscoring the quietness.
    "Thro' ee dies!"
    Muttering, the clatter of thrown dies, a sharp sound as tensions broke and a sound that was not quite a sigh passed through the group.
    "Ye cheet!"
    Isandi couldn't see the dies, but she could tell by the leader's reaction what the outcome had been...and a moment later, she was unceremoniously shoved over against one of the packs that was leaned up against the rocky enclosure the camp was taking place in, and almost missed the woman's response.
    "So do you."
    Another taut moment, before a nervous sort of shuffling laughter rippled through the group, and then another matter was introduced as someone suddenly growled something and, quite suddenly, goblins and hume alike turned to the fire, picking at the flaming logs and moving them, one at a time, flicking coals back with sticks as Isandi watched, amazed, to discover a pot had been buried in the center of the flames, and the campfire was being quite literally moved off of it. The pot was fetched out onto a central rock, while an assemblage of wooden and earthenware bowls and tin plates was produced. The hume blew ash and grit off the lid of the pot before lifting it off with the heavy leather gauntlets she was wearing, inhaling appreciatively at the curls of steam that rose up, before grabbing a ladle from someone and apparently serving herself first, the other goblins jostling and arguing in snuffly voices as she relinquished the ladle and sat back, blowing at the food on her plate to cool it before she caught Isandi's eye.
    "Help yourself if you want any, kitty."
    Isandi shook her head, not terribly enticed by the smell from the pot, or comfortable enough around the goblins to eat anything, preferring to stare as the hume took everything in stride, jostling, threats, insults, and boasts. A green glass bottle was brought out and passed around, which the hume sniffed at and passed on.
    "Don't tell me you don't' have any yagudo brew with you, Bloggnix."
    "Peh! Birdmen! Too sweet, too sweet for goblin tongues!"
    "Liar. Give it or I'll gamble you again."
    More muttering, and then a rope-wrapped jug was produced and passed to the hume, who drank long and deep, giving a faint sigh as she picked at the stew-like meal with her fingers, the same as the goblins were doing, sorting through the pale, sticky lumps that comprised the rather nauseating-looking substance and eating daintily only a few at a time. Setting the jug down before herself, she tilted the plate up and licked at the thick gravy-like substance, before continuing on with her meal, jesting with the goblins. Isandi lumped down against the rock beside the pack, apparently just another possession for now, eyelids growing heavy as the moon rose, apparently forgotten. The plates were emptied and set aside, the bottles and jugs tipped back again, and more wood went on the fire, voices spoke louder, got rougher. An ill-timed jest provoked a kick, which provoked a punch, and reeling fistfight evolved and devolved just as quickly. A harp of some sort was produced, as well as set of pipes, and some wooden spoons and tin pots, and the band set about convincing each other that the resultant racket was musical. Isandi, lulled by the heat of the fire and the relative comfort of sitting down on something soft, drifted in and out of awareness, unsure at times if the luridly detailed and bizzare encounter was some kind of dream-nightmare, or otherwise.

    She came sharply to awareness at some point in time after the fire had turned into a low red glow, roused by a hard hand on her shoulder and a brisk shake. She looked up, blinking, rubbing her knuckles across the back of her eyes as she yawned, and shivering. Without the fire or a blanket, it was cold and, she could see by the faint rose tint to the everpresent fog above the ring of boulders, dawn must be coming. Scrambling hastily to her feet, she watched the hume female stand up, then lift a rather large pack similar to the goblin's packs and sling it onto her own back. Around them, it seemed the drunken revel had wound to an end, and, inspite of the mussed and lurid fighting and singing of hours before, each member of the band as well as the hume appeared sober as the rocks that surrounded them.
    "Time to get up and go," she said in a gruff voice, before straightening, pursing her lips, and whistling most piercingly, with a sound that seemed to stab through the mist like a lance. A regular thud-thudding came in answer, with the moments-later appearance of a very large, very black chocobo, devoid of a saddle or harness. A moment later, gauntleted hands had clamped around Isandi's waist, and there was a grunt of effort as she was swung up onto the back of the very wild-looking chocobo, which had crouched oblingingly down. A moment later, another grunt of effort, and the hume had swung a leg over the chocobo's back behind Isandi. The creature stood, and, with a soft tsk-tsk noise from the hume, cantered off into the mist.

    "Thank you for saving my tail," Isandi said, to break the silence.
    "What were you doing out here, anyway?" The hume was riding easily, legs tight against the chocobo's sides, hands resting on her thighs, shoulders moving in time to the thudding feet. Isandi could feel the woman's relaxation through her buttocks, balanced against the thighs of the stranger, and wished she could be as much at ease where she sat, trying desperately to resist the urge to fling her arms around the bird's neck, seeking a more sure balance than her own precarious one.
    "Looking...for someone..."
    "Out here?" It seemed the regular beats of chocobo feet against the ground slowed down, betraying more than a casual interest in the question, and Isandi fancied that the course changed slightly.
    "Yes...well...sort of. A white mage native to Windurst. Supposedly she comes here often."
    "Ah-ah." Now there was definitely a change in direction, one of the woman's legs shifting as her heels pressed against the animal's sides transmitted a command to turn, and perhaps one to speed up again.
    "You know where she is? Will you take me to her?" the mithra said, ears perking up.
    "Mmmm, yes, I think I shall." There was a chuckle in the voice, as the chocobo arched in a wide circle and cantered off into the mist on its new heading.

    They came upon the house quite suddenly, it seemed to Isandi, although she had been paying more attention to the woods around them than that infront of them, and when she glanced up at her savior's expression, it was distant and unreadable, carefully blanked out. She hadn't noticed the home until the chocobo had stopped before it, crouching down, and in the next moment, the hume was sliding off, and Isandi tumbled rather disgracefully after her once the source of her balance was removed, falling in a heap on the forest floor once again.
    "You really ought to learn a more comfortable way of dismounting a chocobo," the woman stated with a laugh.
    "I do just fine with a saddle," Isandi said defensively, brushing leaves and dirt off her tunic, although, she thought disparagingly, there really wasn't much point in doing so by now. After two falls off chocobos, a capture by goblins, and falling asleep leaning against a moss-covered rock, it was pretty much filthy. She pulled the hood back, staring up at the 'house' as she brushed fingers through her orangey hair.