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Fandom Final Fantasy: The Age of Ophiuchus [Closed]

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I Could Tip You Like A Vintage Wine
“Mmm,” Reva hummed agreement with Kikiti’s question, confirming that Valenda was something of a resort town. A bit unusual for Elcid, from what Reva recalled of him, but not entirely so. He ran in interesting circles sometimes, and seemed to have friends in many places – like Cleon’s father. No doubt, he also knew much of Rozari nobility; perhaps that would be where his help came into play.

They would see soon enough.

Reva touched Kikiti’s shoulder lightly, “Many of those we know will be in higher society,” it was a gentle reminder not to draw more attention to it than need be. Given that Cleon was a…King…it should be expected that many of the people he knew were thus in fancy places, or of higher society. Drawing attention to it now, in this situation, didn’t seem…the best idea.

Didymus would be resentful.

And Cleon was likely uncomfortable in his own way, given he was currently on the run. It didn’t make his position a powerful one to be trying to treat with, and meet with, these sorts of people. If anything, it made it all the more precarious. Any one of these people could have turned to the Empire within this timeframe, and they’d know little about it.

They had to hope it wouldn’t be the case.

As she lifted her hand, she saw Didymus returning, now alone. He didn’t seem any worse for wear, though perhaps a little sadder to be without his sister. At least, he seemed to be back in his thoughts as he approached, and furrowed his brows a bit at the map.

“We were discussing which ports we may end up in,” Reva clarified before he could ask.

“Oh,” he nodded, “Okay.” He didn’t seem to have a great interest in that topic.


One Espresso Depresso
Kikiti blinked at Reva for a moment, not getting her meaning. Though, her lips parted and she gave a quiet, “Oh!” and nodded in agreement. She was right in making sure none of them drew attention to such a fact. She wondered if Cleon even had many allies who would come to his aid.

Cleon wondered the same. That would yet show. He could only Elcid could do what they could for them, and hadn’t been swayed by the Empire in any such way.

He turned his head to Didymus’ arrival, obviously without his sister Jagger, which he was unsure whether to be glad of or not. The teasing was something he wasn’t used to, even if he had a history of being victim to teasing. One never quite got used to it.

Even though Didymus didn’t seem all that interested in them looking at the map, Cleon thought to add, “And where we might go to find Elcid.”

Kikiti looked back to Didymus and smiled, asking, “Did your sister get back okay? Walking out here alone in the dark seems pretty scary…”


I Could Tip You Like A Vintage Wine
Didymus arched a brow at Cleon’s contribution, about to ask where they would find Elcid, before he was distracted by Kikiti’s query, “Uh, yeah,” he nodded, “I got her close to the town, and she can find her way from there,” he smiled, “She travels a lot, too, so she’ll be okay. I didn’t really need to walk her back, but…,” he shrugged.

He figured the sentimental part was enough, really. He would want to see her off, even if it wasn’t needed, because he didn’t know how long it would be until he saw her again. She absolutely wouldn’t be popping up randomly in Rozari, after all. Right? Right. Totally.

He came closer to the group and took a seat, “Where are we going to find Elcid?” This was information he could have used a while ago. Oh well.

“Valenda,” Reva said, and watched Didymus’s face for any reaction. It was there, in the way his nose wrinkled and the disgust that flared. He knew of it, then, which wasn’t a surprise if even Kikiti knew of it. Somehow, she would expect Didymus to be more informed of far off locales than Kikiti.

“So long as he lets us sleep on real beds, I guess I can’t complain,” except his tone sounded like a complaint, and he definitely sounded annoyed with the whole thing. Reva wouldn’t draw attention to it. There was no fixing that…and they could all use some sleep on a real bed. She wasn’t worried about herself, but she didn’t think it was good for the humans to be sleeping on the ground this much.

Certainly their backs had to hurt.


One Espresso Depresso
Kikiti nodded at Didymus’s explanation and she smiled. “That’s good. As long as she got back to the town safe and she knows how to find her way back,” she resolved. “And it’s nice of you to say goodbye to her before she left.” She could understand how important goodbyes were. A shame she never got to do that before she left Ucantis for her parents.

Then again, she never thought she would have left the city.

She groaned then, rubbing at her back dramatically. “A real bed…imagine! And some proper blankets to sleep with! And imagine how great the weather would be over there…” The weather wasn’t terrible here. But it would be so much warmer in Rozari. Almost tropical!

Cleon chuckled a little. He had taken a large warm bed for granted. He had realised he took a lot of things for granted, in his time so far being on the run. He hoped though that they wouldn’t have to camp all the time. The novelty of lying on his back and staring up at the stars had worn off.

“A proper hot bath wouldn’t go amiss either…” He murmured, rubbing at the hair at the back of his head. Those browning locks of his had grown matted nor was it as silky to the touch as it had always been. Really, this would have been more reason to cut off his hair…but stubborn as he was, and as horrible as it was starting to look, he would try his hardest not to cut it.

At least Kikiti had an abundance of hair ties that would help keep it out of the way.


I Could Tip You Like A Vintage Wine
Reva chuckled a little at the complaints, more lighthearted than before, but no less sincere for that. “A proper bath would be nice,” Reva sighed, thinking of it. Her own hair had seen better days, too, though at least it was more accustomed to this than poor Cleon’s hair. It would need a lot of extra attention, sooner than later, if he intended to keep the length.

Which, Reva knew, he did.

“Yeah,” Didymus agreed, “Though we may be able to use some tubs on the boat,” he noted, “and get cleaned up there,” it’d be a bit better than bathing in rivers. They’d have a greater supply of soap, and ways to heat up the water, so it’d be nice. “Not the best, but…it’s more than what we’ve had so far.”

Which wasn’t saying a lot, really.

“Well, we will all get there soon,” Reva said, “we should begin to head to bed. I can take first watch tonight.” She volunteered, thinking it might be wiser to do so. She was not tired, and was still wary after Jagger’s visit. “Then in the morning we will all be ready for the trip into town.” Rested, and prepared.

Perhaps even a little excited.


One Espresso Depresso
Cleon looked to Didymus, thoughtful for a moment. He supposed that was better than nothing. Much better than a cold river, with who knew what was in it. He met tiny frogs on his last trip down to a river to wash himself. "That's true..." Count your blessings. That was what his mother usually advised.

Cleon looked to Reva and nodded. "That sounds like a good idea." He looked to both Kikiti and Didymus, asking, "Do either of you want to take a later shift?" He was thinking the two of them, after the events of today, would have tired them out.

Kikiti was about to answer, though, her answer was stifled with a yawn. She rubbed at her eye with one hand. "Maybe that would be for the best..." She murmured. Some good food - better spread than usual, given their circumstances - and a busy day, had led to a sleepy Lalafell.

"Sounds like it," Cleon suggested. He wouldn't mind taking an earlier shift if it meant Kikiti got some more rest.

He didn't want to see any of them grumpy, in the morning. Especially the Lalafell.


I Could Tip You Like A Vintage Wine
Didymus laughed a bit to himself at Kikiti’s answer, following her yawn, “I can take second or third shift, it’s not a problem,” he told Cleon. Either shift seemed the worst of the lot, but he’d deal with it in either case. Tomorrow, there was much to look forward to, at least. Reva was right on that.

Soon they’d be in Rozari.

With any luck, soon he’d also know how he was going to lean in this situation, if Jagger could figure out what the Empire was up to. How he’d explain that to these guys, if he chose their side, was another matter all together, but he could set that aside for now. It’d be more problematic if he didn’t pick their side, in the end.

But he didn’t want to think about that.

“Ah, I’ll just take third shift,” he said, before Cleon could decide for him, and he got up, stretching, “Night night,” and walked over to where his makeshift tent was, knowing he’d probably be joined soon enough by Cleon. And get even less sleep when Cleon was woken up for his shift.

Oh well.

Reva did not protest the arrangement. In fact, she found she was more comfortable with Didymus having a later shift, and so was willing to accept it, "Good night, Didymus," and then, "Good night, Kikiti," her smile was a touch more fond for the lalafell who should be marching off to her own tent, "Good night, Cleon." Him, as well, for that matter.


One Espresso Depresso
Cleon was about to suggest a shift, though, Didymus beat him to the punch. And rather...happily too. Or well, without much begrudging. Either way, he wasn’t going to complain about getting second shift. “Second shift for me then,” he finalised to himself.

Kikiti, after going and putting her sewing items away, turned and stretched. “Goodnight Diddy...Reva...Cle...awn...” She smacked her lips together before walking to her tent, waving to her other companions. It wouldn’t be long until she hit they hay and started that snoring of hers.

How something so small could make that much noise bewildered Cleon.
Cleon turned his gaze to Reva, whose tone was subtly insistent that he also head to bed, and chuckled a little. “Goodnight, Reva.” Even now, being so much older, that subtleness of hers still would send him to bed with no argument. She was always very convincing that way.

Eventually, he quietly made his way into the tent, and it wasn’t long before he had started to settle down to sleep, if only for a little while. For once it seemed as if things were starting to work out. Cleon had tried to allow for some positivity, seeing as he hadn’t much reason to be over the past few days.

He could only hope that Elcid was who they expected him to be. That he knew who he was. And he hoped they would find him where he was supposed to be.


I Could Tip You Like A Vintage Wine
The night passed with no problems. No one came looking for them from the nearby city, and eventually, the sun was up, and it was high time to get moving so they wouldn’t miss their ship – although Didymus did his best to change and try to look more presentable. Sleeping in the wet and dirty clothes yesterday hadn’t been his smartest decision, and he looked it. Nonetheless, it wouldn’t take them long to get prepared with what they had, and they were able to set out all together into the town.

Reva kept her hood up, of course, not that it did much for her. The ears were still fairly noticeable underneath the hood, as they held it up more. She was debating investing in pins or something to hold her ears down in situations like this; she would consider it more seriously in Rozari.

Didymus did rush off to sell the chocobos on his own, and came back with a decent amount of gil. From there, they were able to move on.

Thanks to Didymus’s navigation, they were able to get to the trading post without causing a stir of any Imperials that might be in the city. They reached the same trading booth as before, and before Didymus could so much as ring the bell, the woman from the other day was greeting them with a smile. “Welcome ba—oh!” She was startled at the sight of the viera, but quickly composed herself.

Was it so odd to have half-lalafell children and a viera in the same place?

Yes, but moving on.

“You must be Marden’s business associates, it’s good to meet you,” she said, “I have the four passes made up, you’re just going to want to find the boat named Famfrit, okay?” She offered out the passes, and Didymus took them, quickly handing them out to the others.

“Okay,” he agreed, figuring Kikiti could interject if there was more they should be asking.


One Espresso Depresso
Cleon, contrastingly to the night before, felt his stomach churning at the thought of walking into a port town. He had almost become so used to staying outside of crowded towns and cities that he was almost afraid of going back into them. Pessimistic as he usually was, he expected them to get rounded up when they arrived in the town, but thankfully, that hadn’t seemed to be the case when they arrived in.

Of course, Cleon’s hood worked a little better than Reva’s did for her. Kikiti’s work was handy, though, with Reva’s ears, there was little unfortunately that could be done for that. At least it was enough to cover them both, at least. They had Kikiti, once again, to thank for her services. And Didymus too, in keeping them fed.

Once Didymus had returned with the gil earned from selling the chocobos, and with Kikiti’s direction, they arrived at the trading booth that the two had gone to the day previously. Cleon had stiffened at the surprise on the woman’s face, believing their ruse had been found out at first. Though, as she continued, he let the relief slowly slide from his expression, and gave a nod. How did one give a professional or business-like nod?

Each took their passes and noted the name Famfrit. Kikiti looked at her pass and nodded before looking up to the woman. “I forgot to ask, but what port in Rozari are we docking at? So we can plan our journey to my papa, of course.”

“The last I checked…” The woman started, though, paused to inspect some list she had. “…Zaradrid. Much faster than the other ports, plus, plenty of stuff to be delivered there. Marden meeting you all at the port? I’m sure a few of us would be eager to catch up with him.”

Kikiti shook her head, almost as if it was deeply unfortunate. “No, he’s making us travel a little further out to one of the towns he’s doing business in.”

The woman clicked her tongue, “Shame. Well, you give our regards to him.”

Kikiti smiled and nodded.

“I mentioned to the crew about a few extras joining them. As long as you show them their passes, they’ll know you.” And, well, what to do with them. As in putting them to use as promised.

Before long, they parted with their gil as promised, and started making their way along the port. They were walking in a way that was a step before meandering, and a step below rushing.

As they looked out for the vessel, Kikiti mused, “Famfrit…I feel like I remember that from somewhere…” Probably the ‘frit’. Or maybe she hadn’t recognised it at all and simply wanted to break the silence on the way over there.


I Could Tip You Like A Vintage Wine
Didymus also sighed, for it was truly such a shame their dear father Marden wasn’t going to be there to greet them, and see all the people who helped them get there. Also just because traveling even more overland wasn’t looking like fun, which he was sure anyone understood. He didn’t voice that, but gave a grateful smile to the understanding, and information on the boat, and where they were going.

They were soon on their way to finding the ship, though Kikiti’s musing drew Didymus’s attention. “Maybe it’s an old boat yo—our father traveled on before?” He supposed it wouldn’t be good to break character. He had to pretend he understood Lalafell customs, and had a lalafell mother. This was going to be weird.

Probably not as weird as it should be, though.

“I do not know the name,” Reva noted, though that was probably no surprise; she wasn’t familiar with everything despite her long lifespan, and certainly not boats. “But there is something familiar about it.” Something that had stirred a thought within her, though a thought she did not believe to be her own.

Sometimes, it was hard to tell.

Leviathan could have such a quiet voice, and slight impact, on her, that her sense of déjà vu was sometimes just him, or even her intuition his directive that she could not identify as him in the moment.

In either case, they did come across a boat with the name printed in white upon the dark wood, and Didymus was quick to motion to the boat to get them all on it, making sure he was presentable enough – before coming to an abrupt halt, and ushering them all aside. “Hey, uh, so…we haven’t discussed fake names, and I’m pretty sure we can’t go to visit Marden with His Royal Highness as a trading partner,” he spoke in a low, hushed tone, but serious all the same. “Also I’m not sure if Didymus is, uh…a good name for…uh…me as your brother, Kikiti.”


One Espresso Depresso
“Hm…” Kikiti hummed, rubbing at her jaw thoughtfully. She did catch Didymus’s correction, and she’d have to be careful that they kept up that act. “Maybe it was something our father would have been on…though, he would have mentioned it, I’m sure…” Just like he mentioned just about everything else that went on in his life before Kikiti was a thought in their minds.

He reminisced quite a lot. Sometimes too much.

Cleon hadn’t really put much thought into it. He was more focused on getting on the boat more than pondering on its name. Perhaps he would do so on the journey over. That wouldn’t have been long, for Didymus spotted the boat and gestured for them to get on it…until he stopped them instead.

Before he could ask what the meaning of this was, Didymus explained his reasoning. Of course, they didn’t have any fake names. It would only put them in a lot more danger if they were to continue using their real ones.

Kikiti rubbed at her jaw again, “True. Well, we have two options, I guess,” she started. “You could take a Lalafell name, which might be odd sounding for a tall human like you, I guess, but works if you’re my brother. Something like…Idatu. Idatu Tochu. Else…” She shrugged, thinking the second choice was much simpler. “You could take a name similar enough to Marden, like, uh…Breydan! Or Jeran!”

Cleon did have to stifle a laugh at the Lalafell name that was up for grabs. It seemed so odd for Didymus to wear such a name.

“And you…”

Cleon paused, looking to Kikiti as she turned to him.

“You need something plain to take attention way from you. What about…Gus?”

Cleon’s nose wrinkled at the name. “Gus? It sounds so—”

“Plain! Which is what we need!” Kikiti insisted with a big smile. She did look to Reva, and tilted her head. “Do you know any other Viera names? It might help to stick to those naming conventions, if you have any.”


I Could Tip You Like A Vintage Wine
Kikiti at least had ideas for lalafell names, as well as regular names that were closer to what her father may have been called. He hummed, and gave Cleon an irritated look as he laughed over one of the options, before revenge was had in the form of the name Kikiti suggested, “Yeah, Gus, I think that name works great,” only because Cleon hated it, though.

As Reva was musing over names, he said, “I think I’ll go with Idatu,” he knew Cleon thought it was silly, but it was somehow better than the more ‘normal’ names she suggested. Maybe because he was already kind of used to melodic nickname in ‘Diddy’. Idatu just seemed a touch more natural.

Reva nodded, committing both to memory, and saying, “Our conventions are different, but a name that I believe is easy enough for humans is Javi,” she said.

“Javi,” Didymus repeated it, and nodded. That should be good enough, though he wondered then, “Is Reva your real name?”

“It is the name I bore under the wood, if that is what you are asking. There are other names that are common, like Mjrn and Arjm, which seem to be problematic for many humans to say.”

Didymus didn’t even try, just nodded his agreement. “Okay. I think I can remember that. Kikiti, Javi, Gus, and Idatu.” He repeated, and then straightened up, “All right, let’s get on our way, then!” To Rozari! To Elcid! Hopefully, to some answers about what was going on, “Uh, Kikiti, you handle this.”

It was probably better of the actual daughter of Marden went to get them on the ship.


One Espresso Depresso
Kikiti beamed at the chosen names and silently clapped her hands together. "Great, then it's all settled."

Cleon had opened his mouth, several times over the course of the conversations going on to protest the name Gus, but eventually sighed and relented. He only had to hope he wouldn't use the name Gus for long. But then the others had better names, and Kikiti got to use her own. He knew why she used her own, but he couldn't have said it was very fair, was it?

"Oh! Yes, right," Kikiti nodded, clearing her throat a little before walking forward. It would make sense that she would handle things, seeing as she knew much more about Marden than anyone else here alleged to. She gave a gesture for the others to follow behind as they approached the ship and its wooden plank. It wasn't long until a man walked down to meet them. He was tall, burly, much older judging by those dark circles under his eyes and the way the skin at his neck hung.

"Guessing yous are our stowaways?"

Cleon, at first, wasn't sure how he was meant to take that. Though, Kikiti just laughed before waving her ticket at him.

"Yes, sir! And certainly not stowaways if we're helping you out on deck."

The man chuckled, "Aye, that's Marden talk alright. Though, speaking of," he squinted, looking down at her. Kikiti prepared herself for what was coming next. "You're a little small, aren't you?"

Kikiti managed to fake a smile and pleasantries as she replied, "No thanks to my mama. But," she gestured back to Didymus. "Idatu here got our papa's height."

The man looked to Didymus, squinted for a moment too, before he nodded in some realisation, "Ah, yeah, there we go. You take after your old man, alright."

Kikiti was beginning to think the man had some sort of faulty eyesight but she wouldn't complain. She also gestured to both Cleon and Reva, "Papa's business associates are travelling with us too, Gus and Javi."

"A pleasure," he nodded to the two, and seeing as each of them had their passes, he didn't take them off their hands straight away. He turned slightly, starting to head up onto the ship again. "Let's get you four settled, eh? Trip'll take awhile as you probably know from your other business trips."


I Could Tip You Like A Vintage Wine
Didymus was able to detect some humor in that first query as well, and he chuckled along with the man’s assessment of his looks, “Yeah, I get that a lot,” he said sheepishly as he rubbed the back of his neck. He assumed it would be a normal thing for the sibling that got all the height, “She’s got all his acumen, though.”

He could feel Reva giving him a look, no doubt for the word.

Didymus knew how to blend when he needed to, and Kikiti had so far been an oddly good partner for all of that. If she was just a little bit more morally deficient, they might actually make a good team, along with Jagger.

So long as they didn’t have too many spiders to deal with.

They all followed along after the man, and down into the belly of the ship where they were given a single room with four beds, “We cleared up a room when we heard you all were joining us, and put in enough beds for ya. Hopefully that’ll do ya, sorry it’s a bit tight quarters.”

“It is enough, thank you,” Reva said, inclining her head slightly. It wasn’t ideal, but they were real beds, and they were going to have a stable place to stay for a while. That would be enjoyable.

“Once you all get settled, come on up to meet the Captain,” the man offered, “then we’ll get you settled into the rotation for chores on board,” he said.

“Will do!” Didymus chimed, claiming a bed by dropping his bag on it, “Thank you,” he kept a smile on his face until the man left them in the room on their own. Then he let out a sigh of relief and dropped a bit. “Thank the Twelve,” this was actually working out!


One Espresso Depresso
Kikiti had been impressed that Didymus was able to play along so well. Well, of course, he was. He grew up in a...morally deficient background, so no doubt he had learned to act pretty well in his time. It did help with his compliment, only helping to inflate her ego a little further. He would remain in her good books.

Until his fingers got sticky again. Then, no doubt, there would be words.

With little problem, all of them were led down into the ship, provided for with a room, albeit a tight one, and they were left to get settled for a bit before meeting the captain and no doubt, the rest of the crew. Kikiti and Cleon were quick to thank the man as well as he left, and similarly, felt themselves suddenly exhale, as if holding their breaths for the whole time they spoke with him.

Kikiti sighed, leaning against the wall. "That worked out better than I thought it would..."

Cleon dropped onto the bed, feeling his backside hit the soft...ish...bed. He did shuffle a little on it as if to test it. Clearly, it wasn't as luxurious or comfortable as his own bed back home but it was much better than lying on the hard ground. He looked to the others as they began to express their relief, though, he rose back onto his feet again, trying not to get too comfortable.

"We still have a long way to go," Cleon reminded the two of them. "But...I'm glad that we managed to get onto the boat, at the very least." At least they had a surefire way to get to Rozari. And now they would have some time, in between their duties onboard, no doubt, to figure out how they would get to Elcid.

For once, things seemed to be looking up.


I Could Tip You Like A Vintage Wine
Didymus decided not to ask Kikiti how she thought it would end. It was probably better if he didn’t know. There was still the captain to get through, after all. They could still mess it up meeting them. He opted to prefer Cleon’s optimism, for now. They had made it far, but there was still a ways to go. “Yeah, but the hard part is done. I think. At least people won’t be looking everywhere for ya, Gus.” He was absolutely going to abuse this as much as he could. Which was for the entirety of the trip.

“Yes,” Reva cut in, “things should go smoother now, at least,” they would not need to look over their shoulders every five minutes, at least while on the boat, and likely even in Rozari, though she wouldn’t insist on an utter lack of caution. “We still need to remain vigilant when we reach Rozari.”

“I know, I know,” Didymus waved it off, although Reva didn’t actually think he’d be that dismissive when they got there. “Do you think we can put off visiting the captain until we’ve set out?” That was to Kikiti, “I wouldn’t want to, uh, be too late, but also I think I’d feel more comfortable if we waited. Just in case we somehow screw it up and…well…” got kicked off the boat.

Reva understood but arched a brow, as she took off her cloak, “You would rather be removed from the boat at sea?”

“I was thinking they’d be a bit more…humane than that.” Just throw them in a brig or something? Maybe? Was that too much to ask for? ‘Probably.’ Still, he’d defer to Kikiti. She was now the expert.


One Espresso Depresso
Cleon's face soured at the name that came up once again, though, realised it was one he needed to get used to quickly. He hoped it would grow on him. He'd be using it for a long time no doubt. It did soften as Reva began to speak, advising caution when they arrived in Rozari, which he had always planned on anyway.

"Well..." Kikiti sighed, rubbing the back of her neck. The thought of being thrown out at sea didn't quite appeal to her, she would be honest. And did this ship even have a brig? She assumed most did, and this one was bound to have one. "We were told to get ourselves settled...but then wouldn't it be rude not to appear until we set off...?" She mused, thoughtful over the situation. It shouldn't have been so tough a decision to make. Do or don't.

"They seem humane enough," Cleon guessed, looking to Didymus. "We at least have the advantage of Kikiti being Marden's daughter...and they seem friendly enough." The captain could have been a different matter, but they didn't seem to contest their passes or their identities.

"I'm...sure we can wait for a little bit," Kikiti suggested, though, seemed unsure of her own decision. "But we shouldn't dally down here too long. We don't want them to think we're trying to avoid our responsibilities up there on deck. And anyway," the Lalafell added, "you can let me do the talking, should you all be too nervous and fear messing something up."


I Could Tip You Like A Vintage Wine
Reva could sense the uneasiness about all of this, and she didn’t blame even Kikiti for it. This was a strange situation, and even if they intended to make good on their promises to help, there was still so much risk involved. What if Cleon was recognized? What if she was recognized? Still, she would not contest the decision to wait until they had gotten started on the journey. “If we are to be setting up, then, we should make it look as if we have done so.”

A gesture to the single wooden drawer stack, “We should unpack what we have to make it seem as if we are getting comfortable with the space,” they could each claim a drawer, and then there were the trunks that they could begin to add their supplies to, so they weren’t just in bags they’d carried aboard.

“Good idea,” Didymus moved to open his bag, and began to pull the things out, “also be good if we can get the clothes properly washed,” washing up themselves, and their clothes, in rivers hadn’t exactly had the best results. It was better than nothing, but he was still looking forward to an actual bath, and an actual washing of clothes. There were perks to this, and if he had to do a bit of cooking for the perks, he wouldn’t mind.

They’d eventually get all unpacked, not that it took long, there wasn’t much between them. By then, even Didymus could tell the ship had started to move; the feel of it had changed and there’d been enough shouting above deck about pulling anchor and a bunch of other things. The walls were not thick enough, it seemed.

Sleeping might be a bit of hell, but at least now they were safely away from shore, and could go meet the captain.

And hope they were merciful and kind.


One Espresso Depresso
Cleon and Kikiti, of course, took Reva’s advice to seem as if they were getting settled. They unpacked along with her and Didymus, all claiming a drawer, and picking beds, so on, so forth. The idea of getting their clothes and even themselves washed properly was a welcome one.

“My hair can finally know what decent soap might feel like…” Kikiti murmured to herself as she had been unpacking. The time spent unpacking had given her more time to think on their soon-to-be encounter with the captain. No doubt, the others would want to put Kikiti forward again as Marden’s daughter to speak with him. She knew there was a lot riding on this, making things more intimidating, but she would rise to that challenge.

After making themselves seemed as settled as they seemed to be, Cleon had glanced to Kikiti, already passing such authority onto her small shoulders.

She simply sighed and began to psyche herself and the rest of the group up, “Right. Let’s get this over with, shall we?” Once they got on the captain’s side, and did what jobs they needed to, they’d be high-flying!

So, Kikiti led the way out of their room and back on deck. Already the winds had picked up from their short time away from the port, and finally, the morning sun had finally decided to greet them all. Glancing around the deck, she noticed the man who had led them to their room earlier speaking to what she assumed to be the captain, just as robust a seafarer as he had been. She looked behind to the others, gave a nod, and walked forward, preparing herself to speak to the man in charge…

Only for him to turn and surprise her with a higher-pitched joke of, “Ah, there you are. I was beginning to think you all fell asleep down there.”

Kikiti paused in her stride. No man, but a woman. This should have been better, but somehow, it had completely thrown her off. She hadn’t needed to walk any further as the captain had approached them.

“Hope you all got settled alright with all the moving around going on,” she continued before looking down at the Lalafell. “So, guess I should run you through things around here. Heard some of you can sew and cook?”

“U-uh…” Kikiti blinked, still looking up at the captain. Damn, she needed to get it together! She took a moment, clearing her throat, before she told her, “W-well…I can sew. And Idatu over here is a great cook!”


I Could Tip You Like A Vintage Wine
The captain, it seemed, was a woman. A bit of a surprise to Didymus as well, but not one he considered a bad one, as he stepped forward when Kikiti called out his fake name, “Yeah,” he said, speaking up to help out, “I’m going to be the best cook in all of Ucantis one day, so it’s a good thing she’s got all da’s trading down, and a lil’ more,” he said in that teasing, lovingly affectionate tone that was only too easy for him to adopt.

And grasped the pink bracelet lightly.

He gestured back, “Javi can help out with some basic cleaning, and she learns pretty fast,” he added, as he gestured back to Reva, who lifted her hand in a bit of a greeting, and indication that she was, in fact, this ‘Javi’. “Gus is…um…Gus is a bit anxious to begin anything, he hasn’t done much before, but maybe he could help with some lighter chores or easy ones.”

The Captain assessed them all with her scrutinizing gaze, but still with a smile, “Well, always have need of some sewing, storms tear through sails and replacing them can get expensive – not to mention the number of ripped pants,” she chuckled, “I’ll go through the crew ‘round here and have some things sent to your quarters. Idatu, I can show you to the kitchens and we’ll see what our own cook wants to do with ya – always good to have an extra hand cutting or peeling things, at least.”

Whether or not he’d get to cook much, was to be seen. She’d trust her cook to decide that.

“Javi, are you familiar with laundry?”

“I am,” she said.

“Okay, we’ll get you started on some of that,” she nodded, “And Gus – swabbing the deck is about the easiest job we have, so I think we’ll get you started on that – but not tonight,” she clicked her tongue on the roof of her mouth, “Don’t take a doctor to see ya’ll have had a bit rough venture overland, guess it’s to be expected if war rumors are true as they’re sayin’.”

“Y-yeah…,” Diddy wasn’t sure how much to confirm or deny there.

“Not to mention there just ain’t as much to do the first day that we weren’t already prepared for, so ya’ll get rested up, fed up, and cleaned up – no offense but I don’t want ya cookin’ much of my food right now, Idatu.”

Didymus flushed, but wouldn’t argue with that.


One Espresso Depresso
Didymus jumping in was much appreciated by Kikiti. It would help to get her back into the way of things, in how to act around these people for now. Trust her to get thrown off by the fact a captain was a woman. Jeez. She did look back to Didymus, putting her hands on her hips as she replied, “It’s because I would have been the only one around to listen to it.” Which, well, was true. He always managed to seize her ear to tell her all about his good ol’ days of his business.

Of course, Didymus was good enough to run through the other two and the…qualities they could bring to the chores on deck. Cleon, of course, tried not to have such a physical reaction to the name, especially not with the captain’s eyes on each of them.

As the woman went through some of the duties they would most likely be carrying out onboard, Kikiti had nodded, even managed a little laugh at the ripped pants scenario. You’d be surprised how easy it was to rip such things. Cleon, of course, made sure to nod, show his appreciation…even though he’d never swabbed a deck in his life, never mind lift a mop and actually move it across the floor.

He would have to ask Kikiti about that later. Somehow, he felt less embarrassed asking her out of Reva and Didymus.

Neither had confirmed how bad the ‘war situation’ had really been. Didymus’ answer and all of their appearances had been enough information for the captain. And fortunately enough for them, they were afforded some extra time to rest and get refreshed for the journey ahead.

“We appreciate it,” Cleon told her, to which the woman nodded.

“Of course,” she replied, before she added with a grin, “can’t be working you if you’re all half-sleeping, starving, and…well, without a proper bath. Just ain’t right.”

Cleon couldn’t argue with that, and so nodded.

“Either way, we’ll make sure we’ll get that rest,” Kikiti insisted, smiling. “And we’ll make sure to put in the effort for you as extra thanks for letting us travel with you.”

That seemed to please the captain rather well, judging by that growing smile of hers. “Glad to hear it.” She looked to the other three. “Feel free to take some time later to talk to the crew if you want. They don’t bite. Otherwise, make the most of your time gettin’ yourselves sorted. You’ll have a busy few days ahead.”

And with that, the Captain gave them a nod and a slight wave as she returned to other business on deck, leaving the other four to do what they would with their time.

Kikiti was quick to turn to the others and announced, “Dibsies on a bath first!!” She started scurrying away from them, desperate to get below deck first. She’d be damned if she had to stand another minute in these cold and barely washed clothes.

“W-wai—Kikiti--!” Cleon shouted after her, though, had been reduced to a sigh. “I don’t blame her…” At least the encounter with the captain went well enough. It was another good sign.

Perhaps the Twelve were on their side.


I Could Tip You Like A Vintage Wine
The relief was palpable as they were all given a day to get themselves sorted. Didymus was surprised by the kindness, and wondered how much of it would have to do with Marden. Either way, they should definitely mention it to Marden, so he knew which companies were still good to people.

His thought scattered from that as Kikiti called dibs. “Hey, no, wait – Kikiti!” Didymus whined. He had wanted the first bath, too, and he looked to Cleon as he seemed to pout over the missed opportunity. “I’m the one who got covered in spider guts, Gus,” that was going to be his argument for having the next bath.

Reva just sighed.

She knew she was getting the last bath no matter what, she didn’t feel like picking a fight over it right now. “Let us return to our quarters for now,” Reva suggested. Kikiti would come back soon enough, and could then show them where they might get food, as well as where the tub was. “You two can determine the matter of bathing order there.”

She didn’t know if it would be a long argument, or a short one.

In either case, she began to walk back towards the room, glad things had gone over so well, and optimistic that it would continue to do so. The only way it wouldn’t, would be if something happened at sea, or the crew realized who they were and decided to turn towards Amarum rather than Rozari.

It wasn’t like any of them were likely to notice the ship going in the wrong direction.


One Espresso Depresso
Kikiti was long gone. Else, she ignored Didymus completely on her run down to get a bath.

Cleon opened his mouth to argue that...though, realised trying to get some semblance of life back into his hair was not a valid argument against Didymus' spider guts situation. He'd have to think of something better.

And of course, again, he felt his cheeks flush at him using his name again. He couldn't even use Idatu against him in retaliation. Gah, Kikiti!

Regardless, Cleon nodded to Reva's suggestion and beckoned Didymus to follow them. They could introduce themselves to the crew on deck at some other point. And it would certainly do no good

Cleon nodded to Reva's suggestion and beckoned Didymus to follow with a nod. It was probably much better to do their debating below deck than it was on deck with everyone watching. They didn't need to carry so much suspicion.

Not when they had gotten so far so easily.

Cleon, as he was walking, did hazard a look behind him. The port was getting smaller and it only dawned on the man that they were leaving Ucantis. It was Cleon's first time ever leaving Ucantis too. He never wanted to leave, at least, not in circumstances like this.

But he knew he would come back. One day. He had to.


I Could Tip You Like A Vintage Wine
Shortly after the encounter with Sesario and Hector, Oleander had learned more from his daughter about who they were – after he won the race, of course. He was not happy to have not had this information prior to dismissing them with 2 million gil, but he knew that was his own fault. He’d sent Lilia away before she could explain to him, and she’d been trying to – so he apologized to her, before getting on an airship right back to Ucantis.

He had to talk to Zariel about this.

That guy was a prat, for one – to be expected of any prince allowed to run off and become a pirate – but also, since when did she need to marry anyone? He was good enough at this war thing, wasn’t he? Rozari wasn’t going to stand a chance against them. They had lost to Ucantis some time ago, right?

“Imperator?!” The confused call of a guard as he came marching up to the castle doors of the former Bandoethel family, “What are you doing back, is everything okay in Escander?” Lilia was following at his heels, holding a new chocobo plush from Escander.

“Yeah – maybe – where’s Zariel?”

“She’s not here.”


The guard flinched away from his tone.

“Is she in Rozari?” It would be just his luck that he was late.

“I d-don’t know, sir.”

Lilia pulled on Oleander’s pant leg, and he looked down. “Mama Virys probably knows where she is.” A reminder not to harass the soldiers who didn’t need to know much, and shouldn’t know much, about the day-to-day. Oleander sighed. That’s right, she was supposed to show up after everything had been settled to help school the new governors of Ucantis on how to work with the Empire.

“Fine, right, where’s Lady Virys?”

“Right this way, Imperator,” the guard could at least help with that, and took the lead to where the mother of the crazed scientist was known to linger, hoping to find her in one of the common areas. Hopefully not with the new governor.


It was outside of Ibec, though within what was considered the Ibec borders, that Zariel found herself. It was within the Bell Woods, as those of Ibec called it, populated by trees sacred to many, and so left untouched. It was also a viera wood, and so most who wanted to venture far into it, never could

Zariel had it surrounded with soldiers.

She had an airship above, poised to drop the Mist upon the forest.

And she’d brought Lixue Virys into the woods with her, so he might observe what would happen if they had to resort to the Mist, which Zariel strongly suspected they would. Lixue would be the one to send that message, though.

The path through the woods was clear, for a while. Then it became tangled over, and the ringing of the tree’s blossoms could no doubt become disorienting, but Zariel was rarely one to lose her senses, and she knew, still, when others had finally started to track them. It was they that made the sounds of the bells, after all.

An arrow flew by her head, eventually.

“No further!”

The one shouting did not reveal themselves, but Zariel paused, all the same. “Your armies are not welcome here. We have seen you surrounding our forest.”

‘And done nothing.’

“That is correct. I’m afraid I am not much concerned with welcome,” she cast her eyes about, seeking the viera amidst the white trees, and failing to discern them. “We are looking for individuals that bare marks of the constellations. We have a need of them, be they human, lalafell, wolf, or viera.”

“Our business is not yours. What is in our woods is not yours.”

“You are part of this world, you are a part of our troubles.”

“We are not a part of your troubles.”

Zariel sighed. “If you do not come peacefully, we will have to cause you harm. We do not intend to keep you out of your woods, or destroy your home. Just any with a mark.”

“A threat to one, is a threat to all.”

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