Alt: Dreams of memories.

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Alt: Dreams of memories.

Post by Sphinx on Thu May 15, 2008 6:05 am

The night outside was beautiful beyond compare, the serenity of sarutabaruta well downplayed all the dangers within. The red glow of ifrit's moon in it's fullest shone it's light all across Vana'diel - standing sole witness to the two shapes carefully creeping their way across the walls of the nation of Windurst. The two mithra made their way down with expert skill using only a rope as their tool - a rope they left in place for when they'd later return.

Silently the pair slipped down, and fast made their way to what little cover the scenery provided. From such shelter to another they slipped in what shadows the moon granted them - though Njarra Tiahlee and Leh Nhacara had gone through this route a dozen times before it felt no less exhilarating today. Njarra Tiahlee - the elder of the two mithra - could attribute it to the moon, this excited sensation that washed over her.
Or maybe it was simply the sensation that came along with doing what everyone specifically forbid you from doing.
Carried by those words, the pair fast made their way to the foot of the cliff that was their goal, the specific spot concealed in part by a tree and tall grass.

The cliff in this light appeared intimidating at best. Sheer climb with rock slightly wet from the humid air, and shadowed in all the wrong places. Fast Njarra Tiahlee considered going around but faster still discarded this plan. The route would lead directly next to the outpost, and there was no way they wouldn't be detected. It was here or nowhere the mithra thought grimly, fitting her small hands to stone and starting her climb.

The first few meters of climbing came easy, which bestowed the mithra with confidence in what remained. Never glancing back was the ticket to success, as the pair made their way directly up, possessing some inhuman courage - or possibly stubborn - that kept them from looking back.
It wasn't until midway of their way up, when hesitation first reared it's ugly head.

"Njarrra..." the leader heard her friend's voice, whispering behind her as the two nimbly scaled the rock. "...Njarra I'm hungry."

Njarra Tiahlee sighed and rolled her eyes at her friend's carefree attitude. During a mission of highly important espionage to the Yagudo camps, even when scaling up the perilous cliffs of western sarutabaruta, the only thing Leh Nhacara's thoughts were on was her belly.

"Will you stifle yourrrself, Leh? Or do you want to let all the beastmen know where we are." She hissed, slightly angrier than she had wanted. Leh Nhacara groaned in chorus with her stomach, and Njarra Tiahlee was suddenly very sure her friend had had some training in making her belly complain. It couldn't just be a coincidense anymore. "rrr, fine, we'll stop to eat at the top of this cliff, okay? Forrr now though, both of you keep your noise down."

Instilled with courage by her friend's brave words, Leh Nhacara focused again on the top of the cliff, and how to get there.

Finally reaching the top of the steep cliff, the two mithra fast scurried to their hideout above - a camp long ago abandoned by beastmen lookouts. They had claimed the campfire from time and nature, after realizing how well the cliffs surrounding it concealed it from the world below. Even so... Njarra Tiahlee thought to herself; one can never be too cautious.
As the elder mithra surveyed the surrounding - perched atop a tall rock, her hand instinctively crept to the hilt of her trusty blade.

"Njarrra! That's Nhabi's best steak knife!" Leh Nhacara made an alarmed squeal, sending bits of the fish she was just now chewing on across the fireplace. "We'll be in trrrouble if she finds out..." Her voice turned to whine, as the fear of beastmen in the mind of her fast shifted into an image of Nhabi Tiahlee angry.
"...I don't want to be grounded again..." she continued, her voice broken by a promise of tears.
"Oh be quiet, Leh!" Came the retort, swiftly. "She won't find out, and we need to have weapons."
Njarra Tiahlee watched her friend swallow what food filled her mouth before nodding. "Listen, if she finds out we're even out here she'll tan both ourrr hides but good. So we might as well be here prrrepared, right?" The brave leader descended from her perch, taking a seat by her friend across the cold fireplace.
"I guess..." The mithra across from her bit her lip, glancing down at her half-eaten fish.
"Now finish yourrr food so we can get down to business." Njarra nodded, closing up the small baggy of food she'd lifted from the kitchen of Taajiji's mother.
Leh Nhacara nodded silently, her mind fast drifting to things less frightening. "Oh, are we going to fight something this time?"
"Who knows... There's lots of perrril in sarutabaruta." Njarra Tiahlee's responce managed to sound grim and foreboding enough to silence any further conversation between the children.

After a moment, the two bold mithra crept from their camp toward south. The goal of their mission was to study the beastmen guarding the horutoto ruins tower by the coastline. A mission of great importance, and one not intended to those faint of heart - their success would be of great assistance to the Mithran Mercenaries, quite possibly turning the tide of war in the region.
They'd be heralded as heroes back home, and the best mercenary regiments would compete over a chance to welcome them to their ranks - when they were but old enough to enlist.

Njarra Tiahlee allowed herself a small smile, letting her mind dwell on how proud her mother would be when she heard the news.

Silently they made their way to the edge of the cliff, to spy on the goblins holding camp below. There looked to be only three of the beastmen by the fire, seemingly in the business of cooking. Behind Njarra Tiahlee, her friend's quiet voice speculated what goblins even ate before making another claim at being hungry. She disregarded this - instead focusing on what lay before her, and noticed another pair of goblins just by the foot of the tower, doing a patrol of the area itself.

"Look Leh, look." Njarra Tiahlee whispered back to her friend, who crept in closer to spy right next to her. "Horrrdes of goblins, I knew there was something imporrrtant here."
"Oh... how did you know?" Leh Nhacara sounded on her usual absent tone, nearly managing to stifle a yawn.
"Bah, it's obvious when you have experrrience like mine." Njarra Tiahlee snorted in return, pointing a small finger toward the encampment.
"Look, it's the most rrremote tower of them all, right? If they were hiding anything, this'd be the perrrfect place for it right?" She fast explained.
"...yeah." Leh Nhacara nodded, growing more and more eager by the minute.
"Come on Leh, we need to get down and inside, I think I saw an opening thrrrough their patrol." Njarra started moving toward the edge of her cliff, alarming her friend again.
"Waiiit... we have to? Can't we go tell the grrrownups and make them come see?" Leh protested, even as she started to follow.
"You think they'd believe us? No, we need evidence, else our only rrreward is a sound spanking."
Leh Nhacara swallowed hard as the mental image of angry Nhabi Tiahlee returned, and hurried after her friend.

Egged on by visions of grandeur, the two would-be heroes fast scaled the cliff down before starting on creeping toward the tower itself, careful not to be spotted by goblins.
Njarra Tiahlee had been correct in her observations, for the goblin patrol kept slavish devotion to their patrol routine - not what one would expect at all.
It allowed the pair ease of movement however, and not a long moment later they slipped in to the tower itself, intent on locating the secret weapon of the Theomilitary that the goblins were guarding.

Surprisingly to Njarra Tiahlee, Leh Nhacara had grown rather able at stealth since their last excursion. The two moved inside the tower's darkness with no goblin the wiser, and fast snuck deeper inside, all the way down until they eluded even the moon's gaze. Darkness embraced them - though miraculously neither stumbled in their footing - but Njarra Tiahlee insisted they carry on.
Only several minutes of travelling later, Njarra Tiahlee stopped fast enough for her friend to stumble into her. With an angry hiss for silence, the elder mithra dug into her small knapsack for the bottle of fluoro-flora she'd borrowed from her aunt just for this occasion.

"I've rrread stories of this place..." she whispered in a dangerous tone, trying to rummage the light from her bag. "Stories of rrruins much older than the whole of Windurst..."
"Professor Naroro talked about them today, didn't sh-" Leh Nhacara started, before being cut off.
"Not those, Leh! Much older, like really rrreally old rrruins, deep below the ones she talked about." Njarra Tiahlee insisted, squinting her eyes at the darkness.
"Oh..." Leh also tried to peer ahead, and with as little success. "...it's really dark, too. You think it'd be brrrighter by day...?"
"No Leh, we can't come here by day because aunt would never let us and the goblins would see."
The younger mithra couldn't refuse the elder's logic, and instead moved her eyes toward the sound of rummaging.

Silence followed, and for a moment Njarra Tiahlee even forgot she was there. The dark became fast too heavy to breathe in, and the mithra grew desperate in trying to find what she was looking for. Her hand fast located the bottle and as quickly she pulled it out - wishing nothing as much as banishing this dark that tried to suffocate her.

But even with the light out, the darkness didn't part. There came a dry laughter Njarra Tiahlee couldn't quite place, but whose nature brought such dread to her that she immediately froze in place, unable to even breathe. What felt like minutes passed under the weight of those invisible eyes - the laughter she knew was aimed at her, until she managed a step ahead and an attempt of forcing out enough air from her throat to produce sound.

Instead the darkness lifted abruptly, and Njarra Tiahlee found herself standing in a room whose place eluded her, but that seemed of Windurstian making. Heavily decorated and reeking of bastokan incense, everything of the place was alien yet at the same time strangely familiar to her. Even the mithra seated on the bed - she could remember, if not identify.

Njarra Tiahlee blinked her surprise as the blonde mithra suddenly came wise of her presence and stood up with a start. Her expression turned delighted if surprised, as she rushed to embrace Njarra Tiahlee, who still couldn't place her. She hesitantly took her arms around the mithra only slightly shorter than herself, trying to gather her thoughts.
"Njarra, you're home!" The stranger exclaimed, and the flood of memories came rushing in, just as Njarra Tiahlee felt herself pass out, drawn out of whatever strange world she'd fallen into.


With a piercing scream Njarra Tiahlee shot up to sit on her bed, not yet realizing where she was. Cold sweat chilled her forehead and shoulders - she was too upset to even notice the other mithra rush in. When she became aware of the presence, she recognized Luahn Tiahlee as her mother, who'd heard the scream and came to see what was wrong.
The mercenary Major allowed her gaze sink before speaking out loud the question that the strange dream embedded burning in her mind.

"...I have a sister?"


Last edited by Sphinx on Thu May 15, 2008 8:59 am; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : Title. Also typoes and redundancy. ._.)
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Re: Alt: Dreams of memories.

Post by Sphinx on Sat May 17, 2008 2:47 pm

The mithra facing her possessed skill, this couldn't be argued Njarra Tiahlee thought grimly, bringing up her left arm to parry.

The shortsword came as expected, and Njarra used the swing's momentum to lock the weapon momentarily in place with her sai, using the second she bought to bring her right kabutowari to aim Rin into the opponent's abdomen. Without a surprise to either party the opponent took a step leftwise, evading the blade form with routine.

The dance she made was impeccable; every step followed a pattern that Njarra knew all too well. Frustratingly enough her opponent was none the slower, matching each move she made with equal ability.
Worse still, after what felt like hours into their exchange Njarra Tiahlee was starting to feel exchaustion creep into her limbs while her opponent showed no emotion. Her coalblack skin showed no reflection of strain, and the strange embers of her eyes only burned determination.

Her opponent's appearance raised in Njarra many questions but their dance was so perfect - so elemental in nature, that it felt nothing short of blasphemy to ruin it with something as trivial as words.

Another attack - the dagger this time - distracted Njarra Tiahlee from her thoughts, and she instinctively realized she had no time to parry. On another reflex she decided to sidestep instead, to keep both her hands free to deliver a double-bladed Chi form into her foe.

The opponent dodged her form as expected, but the nature of the Chi form required her build distance between the two. Njarra used this time she bought to reach into her waistpouch, slide her fingers inside to draw out the origami needed, and begun the quick and well-rehearsed utsusemi chant.

The opponent's ember eyes flashed in anger as she launched another offensive. Her hand went back to start a weaponskill Njarra well recognized - the advantage of experimenting with so many fields, and knew she'd have to make the seconds count. Her left hand slid into another pouch by her belt, drawing out a bundled parchment she opened and launched at her enemy at the end of her kurayami chant.
Njarra's attack missed, the blinding powder avoided by the opponent's maneuver an instant before her cyclone blew away what magicmade shadows remained.

Balancing on the stone proved impossibly slippery, and foreseeing the onslaught from the eyes of her opponent helped little. Each attack was masterfully executed and skillfully avoided, but each came as a swing, instead of a stab. This forced Njarra to parry instead of evade, which in turn bound both her hands and allowed the opponent dictate the direction of their movement.

The cave's floor led the pair down a sloping corridor, sound of footsteps drowned under the voice of light blades clashing against light blades. The noise annoyed Njarra Tiahlee, even though it was very unlikely anyone was around to hear it. Likewise what annoyed her was the position she was in. While many wouldn't think her as capable without her heavy plate as with it, she was. But prolonged combat without wearing it always gave her concern. The point of mobility was to get in and out of combat as fast as possible - which was something this opponent didn't grant her. While the coalskinned mithra was in no better position armorwise, the notion of her not seeming worried in the slightest troubled Njarra. The creature was almost inhuman, machinelike in the ritual she fought with.

The onslaught of blades finally came to an end - the opponent mistook a swing that Njarra saw no need for parry, which allowed her to get an offensive in with her sai. The attack made was feeble - barely enough to wound, but the coalskinned mithra took the bait on reflex and the fight took a more level turn.

The other mithra easily parried the sai, but Njarra was quick to follow up with a quick stab that'd force her opponent a step to the right. This allowed Njarra slip toward her left, sliding quickly past her opponent and taking the higher ground, already holding both blades up in full parry against the attack she knew was coming.
The shortsword was easily parried by the combination of Njarra's katanas, before she moved the cross in a fashion to make a follow-up with the dagger impossible to hit. In a swift and slightly too agressive movement Njarra released the lock on her weapons and both combatants were back to square one.

Without three seconds to pause - with not a single sound, the coalskinned mithra attacked again, bringing her shortsword down in a wide arc that was made to be parried. The dagger soon followed, which Njarra nimbly evaded.

Yet Njarra was growing increasingly concerned over the fact her opponent showed no signs of strain. She appeared in as fit a shape as they had started with, while the Mercenary Major was fast running out of strength. How long had they been fighting now, she couldn't even guess anymore.
From somewhere she couldn't tell, soft light emanated into the tunnel and created a minor relief to the otherwise deep darkness. Likewise the burning eyes of her adversary granted Njarra a slight illumination to work with. But she had no way of telling time from either, and doubted it would matter.
For the first time since the fight began, Njarra Tiahlee started to truly doubt her ability to survive this.

If not the dagger that demanded it, then atleast the reflex parry she made brought Njarra back from her thoughts again. If she was going to lose this fight, it wouldn't be because of idiotic musings distracting her.

Yet her strength waning was a fact she could no longer ignore. In a desperate gamble, she used the next parry to tie the shortsword with her sai again, and opted to risk catching the knife with a quick stab inside the one her opponent made - Njarra expected to feel pain from the stabwound flare across her rightside abdomen not one second later, causing the battle to end if not at loss then to a draw.
...yet surprisingly the dagger had missed. Maybe the coalskinned mithra considered Njarra's attempt too rookie to belong into their dance, or maybe she was simply unlucky.

Elated by this small victory, Njarra didn't wait to press the charge. She didn't pause a breath's length in taking the sai still binding the shortsword down in a fierce angle, hoping the wound caught her opponent enough off her guard to not pay attention to her swordarm. This likewise worked and with her opponent holding only one weapon, Njarra quickly spun to the left in an attempt to avoid the dagger's reparté, making a sideways slash with her kabutowari to tear open the wound it rested in.

The seemingly endless fight was over in seconds, evidenced by the sound of the dagger hitting the cave's floor, followed shortly after by the coalskinned mithra who dropped to her knees holding her stomach.
The yellow light once burning fierce in her eyes flickered and died as the opponent's voice sounded in the cave for the first time, echoing hollow anger and despair at the same time.
"Njarra..."

The Mercenary Major was shocked by the voice as she recognized it, and allowed her weapons drop on foolish reflex before crouching down by her fallen opponent. She had no idea what had happened, for what reason had it happened, or how the scene seemed so impossible yet so familiar at the same time, and she didn't care.
Tearful she took her arms to support her dead mother, whose eyes the light had long since left. The silence around her seemed to clamor worse than any voice could, and still she closed her eyes to better listen.

For somewhere in that silence there was laughter, and the Mercenary Major could only listen helplessly as the voice mocked her, the darkness showing her images of how her mother fell; joining dozens of others whose lives were stolen at the foot of Fort Karugo-Narugo. She watched the battle that never took place - couldn't have taken place, and the breach of Windurst afterwards. She saw the Theomilitary run rampant across Windurst waters, nothing standing in their way before-

The voice that interrupted her came from everywhere and nowhere all at once - nothing short of mocking with heavy laughter echoing beyond it's tone, to steal Njarra Tiahlee away from her confusion.
Oh, child, you think yourself fearless - that all which others fear you've braved and grown wise of.
Yet allow me teach you; in each soul lives fear. Beyond your sight but not past mine.
Never past mine.

And then laughing, the voice let her see.

And Njarra Tiahlee shot up to sit on her bed, covered in cold sweat and too terrified to even scream.
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