Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Hug

One, Two, Three, Four. Yep, still four beams. All just like before. Straight and perfect. Aged yet so strong.

Why was I counting beams? How do I know how many there should be? What are beams for anyways and who gave them that funny name? Do they actually have a purpose besides being pretty? Do I?

This is my room I think but I’m pretty sure I’m dreaming. Feels like dreaming. Very quiet and I feel odd. I feel sad. I don’t think I want to be here. Maybe I should close my eyes again.

“You look a lot better.” A man said. “Your face is pink again. You looked almost dead for a couple of days.” He paused for a few moments. “Alison, I’m sorry.”

“Why sorry?” I thought. I was reluctant to come out of my head but curiosity won and I lifted up to see blankets then a man sitting on a stool near the foot of my bed.

“Beldin.” I said aloud. My mind painfully began to realign and I remembered. I remembered everything. Tears welled up and threatened to spill down my cheeks. I wanted to go back to counting beams and I laid back.

Reaching out he took hold of my hand and squeezed it. Gasping for air I began to sob without even thinking of the reason why. I just hurt. Everywhere, everyhow, hurt. Pulling me up he held me close and let me tremble and cry out while I let it go. It flowed from me like an avalanche. Rolling, and crushing, and pounding emotion making my whole frame shake. I’m not sure how long it went on but it blinded me from anything going on around me.

Then the peace came and I gasped and caught my breath letting it enfold me. I just breathed and enjoyed the warm cocoon of arms around me. I realized as I calmed that I wasn’t alone. I looked up and Beldin kissed my soggy eyes. All around me my friends had gathered. More than I even realized I had, gathered in a group hug around my bed.

I think that was the moment I realized my greatest strength. My friends who never failed to rally around in times of need. I had no more doubt that things were going to be ok somehow. Not the same, maybe not even as good, but ok. With them I would never feel alone and together we would do our best to make things right no matter what.

Friday, June 22, 2007


I could hear their muffled voices around me but I didn’t really want to. My heart ached. Turning on my side I moaned. Soft fingers ran through my hair and I could hear Yamari calling my name. Suddenly it occurred to me that if someone had found me maybe they had found Brodie too.

“Brodie?” I asked as I sat up and looked around. Just about everyone I knew was there in my mog house watching me as I lay in my bed but suddenly they were very quiet. My eyes dodged from face to face looking for an answer but they just looked down at the floor to avoid me.

Garness broke the silence. “I’m sorry, no one could find Brodie. He’s um… missing.”

Suddenly I felt dizzy and sick. Leaning over the side of the bed I threw up salt water and everything else into a rusty bucket by my bed. Whimpering I slumped back down into my bed pulling the blanket over my head so they couldn’t see me cry. “How could this happen?” I thought to myself. “These things don’t happen like this. He can’t be dead.”

My mind turned to the dark knight. I had to find out what happened to him and if need be, finish him off. He needed to pay for Brodie’s brutal murder. I was a horrible fluke that he got the better of us while we were unsuspecting and he would not be so lucky ever again. Anger swelled inside my chest and pushed away the tears.

Coming out from my hiding place most of the people in my room had left. “Is Beldin here?” I asked.

“No, haven’t seen him in months. Not since the wedding thing with Jen.” Kjarbo replied. “Maybe Jenjen has seen him. I think they are still talking. Do you want to see him?”

“I think the dark knight that came after us will look for Beldin too. He should be warned to keep alert.”

“I think someone is always trying to kill him. I don’t think he’s ever not expecting it. Don’t worry about him. You need to rest. We’ll get him the message.” Kjarbo looked so sympathetic. I hated it.

“I’m rested.” Placing my bare feet on the warm floor I felt a bit queasy again but shook it off.

“At least a good meal first then?” Kjarbo asked. “Then I will go with you to do what needs to be done.”

Moogle flew over and brought me my boots which I slid on walking out to the lobby in my night gown not meaning to ignore Kjarbo but had other things on my mind. “A galka needs to die. Who would like in on the action?” I announced.

Gurok and his linkshell Bonds of Blood was there and he raised a great eye brow in my direction. Whether it was over my appearance, my announcement, or my sudden recovery I’m not sure but I brushed it off. Triumvirate was also there making for a very full lobby.

Martin was the first to speak up. “Killing sounds good. Let’s go.” He was always ready, always the hero whenever action was needed.

“Go where? Look at her. We can go tomorrow first thing.” Zhirin said. Yamari was with him and nodded silently in agreement.

Garness came out with an apron on and a warm bowl of soup. “You’re pale as a ghost and sweating. Here, drink this. It’s a special windhurstian bit of magic. It will help bring back your strength plus some.”

Taking it without another thought I drank down the smooth salty soup and tried to continue to tell them my plans but I couldn’t. Staggering to the side my legs gave out and my body went limp. Someone caught me before I hit the floor and just before I fell into a deep sleep I heard Garness’ voice. “Added a sleeping potion. She should feel much stronger after some much needed rest. Let’s get started on those plans.”

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Dark Day

The next few weeks were a blur of bliss traveling wherever our hearts desired paying no attention to the rest of the world. We took the time to spread the word of our happy union but had not allowed much congratulations as we basked in each other hiding away from anyone who might try to damper our spirits. It was the happiest I had ever been and if it had never ended my joy would have been legendary. I didn’t care if I ever returned to normal life. I loved him truly and I didn’t care what it would take I wanted to stay by his side for the rest of my life.

This day was warm and sunny and we decided to take a trip to Purgonorgo Isle to spend a few days digging for clams and enjoying the beauty of the island with all of its secret coves and crystal blue waters. I had already made a few trips out here since the wedding. It was one of my favorite places though Brodie didn’t like how the sand collected in his clothes he did like how happy I was there so he indulged me.

First we had to take the ferry from Selbina to Mhaura across the dark cold ocean waters. The air was crisp and salty and tossed our hair about wildly as the boat sped along. The sun beat down hot on our skin contrasting the cool breeze that came off the icy waves. The water still looked so inviting I could hardly wait to get to the sandy beaches of the Isle to play in the gently lapping water.

Holding each other like the twiterpated lovers we were, we leaned on the railing and watched the fish below us chase the boat.

“I love you.” I said kissing his bare shoulder and smiling at him mischievously. He had already abandoned his armor and weapons for red swim suit trunks and a bare chest because he knew I loved to see him like that. It was still a bit too cool on the boat for me to follow his example.

“I still love you too.” He laughed. “I can’t believe you’re making me roll on that sandy beach again. I think I still have sand in my crevices from last time. Next week we go skiing again ok?”

“Deal. I want to get a fishing pole.” Kissing him deeply I slid out from under his arm to go to the small shop on the boat.

I was near the door when I heard a deep galkan voice. “I've been looking for you.” He said in a low growl.

As I turned I saw a massive black galka swing a scythe at my beloved Brodie who was still gazing down at the water below him. I felt my heart stop. Without even having to think about it I drew my daggers and leapt at the galka who was attacking the only thing that mattered to me anymore. I called Brodie’s name to warn him but it was too late.

His scythe struck before my daggers. Brodie had heard the commotion but had not turned in time. He straightened just in time to feel the scythe pierce through his body jutting out his stomach and up towards his chest like a deadly fish hook. Brodie grasped the blade to try to push it out of his body blood tickling down his arms as the blade tore into his bare hands. Reaching for a sword that wasn’t there he tried to turn to his attacker.

“Touch her and I’ll kill you.” Brodie yelled. Rage in his eyes he began to concentrate his paladin ability to be invincible for a short time but he must have been a split second too late.

Driving my daggers deep into the dark knight’s back with a rear sneak attack he winced but lifted my husband into the air Brodie’s weight tearing the weapon at least half a foot through his body. I struggled to keep my grip as his evil blood trickled down the hilts.

“Bruto was my twin brother, body and spirit. Your betrayal got him killed.” The galka said to me. “You were his partner. You handed him over to that pirate to die.”

“You have it all wrong. Let him go and I’ll explain.” I pleaded as I doubled then reached deep within myself to triple my attack taking advantage of his distraction and my speed but it seemed he was determined not to stop no matter how much damage I did. I knew he couldn’t possibly take much more of my attack before he would go down. His armor was shredded and his body riddled with gushing wounds. I had reached level seventy in my training but still he frustrated my attempts to detour him from his mission.

“You took all that mattered to me. Now Pete the Meat will show you how that feels.” As the galkan dark knight pulled the scythe out of Brodie’s body the motion of his arms coming back threw me down. Sliding across the deck cracking my head against the wall my vision blurred for a few moments.

Brodie clearly wasn’t conscious anymore as he slumped on the wooden deck. His blood was pooling alarmingly quickly. I had no time to waste to end this and get him to a white mage.

The dark knight lifted Brodie’s limp body by his neck. Tears of fury formed when I saw blood dripping from his mouth and nose. I roared and charged at the Galka once again.

“Drop him now!” I demanded as slit his throat using a powerful swift viper bite attack. With that the dark knight grasped the gaping hole in his neck as he thrust Brodie far over the edge of the boat then fell to his knees. Hearing Pete the Meat gurgling from the wound as I pushed off of the wretched beast gave me a fleeting feeling of satisfaction.

Slipping on my true love’s blood as I tried to dive off the boat, I tumbled with a graceless flop into the icy ocean. Under the water the world was eerie quiet. I couldn’t see anything. Even the fish seemed to have fled. Coming up for air I yelled Brodie’s name. Dispirit to find him the wind seemed to carry my words away to nowhere. Driving again and again I began to be aware how painful the cold water was. Like tiny razors in my skin it chilled me quickly but didn’t slow my determination.

Diving deep and trying to see any trace of him when I surfaced, franticly I searched but after an eternity I simply couldn’t find him. The ocean had swallowed him and I failed to pull him from its icy grasp. I continued to dive and call his name but I was growing so tired and my body hurt so badly to move. Every limb was stiffening. I’m not sure how long it took but I began to realize he was dead and I was going to die with him.

Surfacing I began to sob. I looked up for the boat but it was gone. I couldn’t see anything over the rolling waves. No land, no boats, not even a bird, just the mocking sun and the black glassy water. I wanted to die. Brodie was gone and it was my fault. All I could do was cry and curse at the gods.

Letting myself sink under the water I wanted death to take me too but when my lungs cried for air I instinctively surfaced to satisfy them. I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t have to. The cold of the water was taking its toll and I didn’t have long until the ocean would claim my life as well.

Resuming my dives I began to lose awareness of where I was or what I was diving for. Dreams of Brodie took over and I saw him smiling down at me the sun behind him as we lay in La Theine Plateau. I felt so happy with him. I just wanted to touch his face again. One way or another we would be together and I felt at peace.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Following Our Hearts

Dynamis is the closest thing I have to a regular job. At a set time I show up, slaughter things that would normally giggle and roll me over in an instant if I was alone, and hopefully leave with a purse full of things to sell for gil to pay for the needed supplies for the night. Even if I don’t get a new piece of artifact armor which is what I really hope for, we have a good time together. Every other thing I fill my day with is on a whim or a one time thing.

Tonight started no different. Coming out of dynamis-Jeuno I felt pretty good about myself. I had managed to make enough gil stealing coins from the beasts to pay for supplies needed to go into the fight and I had not lost consciousness one time. The great beasties really can knock one senseless even when we’re being careful.

Walking down the steps I carefully wiped my daggers clean making sure to leave no cranny unpolished. Brodie was sitting near the residential area and jumped to his feet when he saw me coming.

“Wow, what a surprise! It’s been so long since I remember seeing you in the city.” I leapt at him throwing my arms around him and kicking up my feet forcing him to grab hold of me with one arm and brace himself against the wall with the other.

“I thought it was time to come see you.” He looked a little nervous and I settled down to look him over.

“Something wrong?” I asked.

“No, I hope there isn’t. I just needed to ask you about something.” Kneeling down his soft eyes looked a bit scared as he held my hand in his. “Alison, marry me.”

I felt the air sucked out of my lungs and I had to fall down to my knees too or risk fainting. He certainly wasted no time getting to his purpose. “But we never even see each other anymore. We’ve already talked about it. How could it work?”

“I don’t want you to marry anyone else. I love you. That’s enough. Forget the rest.”

Feeling a little more confident I sat on his knee and ruffled his silky chocolate colored hair playfully. “So, tell me how this works. You have my attention.”

“I love you, you love me, and we live happily ever after.”

I had to laugh at how idealistic he was all of the sudden. “Well I do love you, and you love me, and happily ever after sure sounds nice.”

“Marry me tonight. Please don’t say no.”

“Tonight?” I said as I raised my eyebrows.

“Yes, I have the chapel on stand by already. We don’t have to wait we can just do it before we over think and chicken out again. I love you Alison. Stay with me for the rest of our lives. I can’t stand to wait anymore.”

His beard tickled my lips as I kissed him. “It’s all I ever really wanted. So, no over thinking? Just do it now and run off together?”

“That’s my plan.”

Smiling widely now I was filled with excitement. I wasn’t sure how it would work but I was beginning to catch the spirit of love over logic. Biting my lower lip I little I gathered my nerve. “Let’s do it.”

“Really?” He said looking a little surprised.

“Yes, I love you.” Standing up I pulled him to his feet and held his arm tightly. “Take me there.”

Grinning widely now too he raced me down to Upper Jeuno and into the chapel where an elderly evlaan looked like he was hoping we would come. “Are you two ready?” he asked politely.

“Yes, please hurry.” Brodie said has he kissed my head.

“Do you have rings?” he asked.

The look on Brodie’s face made it clear he had not thought that far ahead.

Taking the ring Brodie made for me so long ago I gave it back to him. “I want this to be the symbol of our love.”

“Are you sure?” he asked.

“Very. I even have one for you.” Taking one from my hand and kissing it I smiled at the old priest.

“Well then, let’s begin.” Repeating after him as instructed I began:

"In abidance with the laws of the Jeuno,
I, Alison, take this man, to be my lawful wedded husband,
to have and to hold, in sickness and in health."

Slipping the ring on his finger I began to cry as it hit me that he would finally be mine. Brodie took his vows:

"In abidance with the laws of the Jeuno,
I, Brodie, take this woman, to be my lawful wedded wife,
to have and to hold, in sickness and in health."

Putting the ring I loved so dearly back onto my finger he smiled loving at me and wiped away my tears.

“Congratulations. With Altana here bearing witness, and by the power vested in me by The Grand Duchy of Jeuno, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.”

Tenderly embracing we exchanged our first kiss as husband and wife. Everything else would have to wait until we were good and ready to face it. For now only this moment mattered.

(Special thanks to Brodie for doing this screenshot over and over and over again until I got just the one I wanted. Thanks sweetie.)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Little Visits

“Why are we doing this?”

“Well it’s a warm sunny day and I thought a picnic lunch would be romantic actually. See, I figured I’d soften you up with white chocolate chip cookies and then see if you’ll let me kiss you today thought in hind sight warm sunshine and chocolates are not a good combination.”

I looked at him and chuckled at his response. “That’s not what I meant.” Leaning to him I kissed his temple and wrapped my arms around him tightly. “I miss you.”

“I miss you too. This separation has not been easy for me either but it can’t be helped right now.” Wrapping his arms around me he lightly rubbed my back and kissed the top of my head.

I started to feel myself get a little angry but I didn’t dare express it. He didn’t have to be away, he chose to be away from me. Since he left I found myself feeling completely lost and constantly getting myself into awkward situations I would have never had to deal with if he was there. I knew it was my fault for getting into trouble all the time but I was still angry at him. I just pressed my face against his neck as I held him as I tried to push the bitter feelings away before he could see them.

“I’m tired of these every other month visits. It makes my heart ache. I hate it.” I think I sounded angrier than I meant to.

“I’m sorry. You know you don’t have to wait for me. I just want you know that you are happy.” Brodie lifted my face and kissed my lips gently. “I’m not sure I’ll ever return to adventuring like we used to do.”

Exaggerating a frown at him I replied, “Yeah, like your kiss makes me wanna run for the hills.”

“You think it’s easy for me to hear of you with these other men?” Now he sounded a little angry.

I looked down at my knees feeling a little ashamed at my selfishness. I had gone back to dating a little more than I had admitted to him but I have always been pretty shabby at keeping things from him for a thief. I wanted him to know everything about me. Besides, my idea of a great date usually ended with picking the entrails of some beast off my mantel, nothing that made me feel like I was really moving on from this waiting game. He was always in the back of my mind.

Pushing a wisp of red hair away from my face he sighed deeply. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for that to sound like that. I mean it when I said I’m happy if you’re happy. Forgive me?”

He always let me walk all over him. He was not wrong to be sad. He was a solid as a rock paladin known for his immovable strength and I made him mushy and vulnerable. He had strange effects on me too though. Normally selfish, dodgy, and always consumed with a need to run he made me want to give everything to his happiness and with him I felt content.

“I just want to be with you.” I said softly without looking up at him.

Pulling me in close to him he offered me a melty cookie. “Me too Alison, me too.”