Friday, August 24, 2007
An arrow bounced off the wall behind us. “Yeah, we hear you too.” Two figures stepped out about thirty feet away from us with evil looking smiles and chuckling. “There is a fee for coming into our territory. Hand over anything of value and you can live.”
Slidding down off of Tastywaffles Kammy still had a handful of his coat in her hands unwilling to step out from behind him just yet.
Not very tough or very smart looking for that matter and I had a really hard time taking them seriously. They seemed to match the description of the group we had been told about. “They’ll know where Pete the Meat is hiding.” I whispered to Gurok.
“I was thinking the same thing.” He said.
“It sure would have been nice to surprise them instead of the other way around.” I said with a crooked frown.
“Lozzi! Crazy story about how I lost your linkpearl. I’ve been meaning to catch up with you soon.” Kallo smiled and approached one of them.
Tearing off her face mask she threw it at him. “You dog! This one dies. Then we can get his fee off his cold body.” Face twisted with rage she spun around aiming a high kick to his head. She had the musculature of a miniature galka and was defiantly not the kind of woman I would want angry at me.
Grabbing her foot he pushed her off balance. “Don’t be angry Doll. I have just been busy with work. I need to be able to afford the life you deserve.” He whined in an insincere tone. It was no wonder she looked so angry.
Kammy was muttering softly and lifted her hand toward the heavens as she whispered. “Slow down Lozzi” and a slow spell was cast with a gentle glow of her aura. Without a hesitation she started another spell with quiet concentration.
Still guarding Kammy with his body, Tastywaffles called sweetly to a dire bat that listened intently as it chirped back at him. Kallo seemed busy catching up with his lady friend.
“Let’s go ‘question’ the other one.” Gurok said as he was approaching the second man.
Drawing his sword the warrior stood his ground as Gurok confidently strode towards him. “All your gil!” the hume demanded nervously.
“We just want to talk.” Gurok said with that twisted grin of his as he drew his own sword in response.
“We don’t mean you any harm. We need to know where Pete the Meat can be found.” I said sweetly as to not provoke him.
As the warrior lunged at me and I dodged behind Gurok. Frowning Gurok swung his shield around bashing it into the hume’s face knocking him off his feet and leaving him cross eyed and stunned.
“I don’t think he wants to talk. Might as well kill him.” Gurok said as he lifted his foot to stomp on the man.
“I want to talk!” he squealed as he covered his eyes and curled up in a fetal position.
Smiling Gurok put his foot down harmlessly on the ground.
Kallo was still busy getting the stuffing beat out of him by his very burly woman friend but at the moment he appeared to have the upper hand as he sat on her and had her arms pinned down. “Why the hostility Doll?” he said before she spat at him somehow managing to roll him over and get the upper hand.
“Don’t call me Doll. I’m going to strangle you with my own hands.” She growled through clinched teeth.
In a furry of clawed toes and wings the dire bat attacked the woman’s face. She shrieked and batted at it trying to get it off of her giving Kallo a chance to regain his feet. Sinking its teeth into her neck and wrapping its wings around her tightly it drained her blood thirstily as she tried in vain to get it off her.
“Sleep her Kammy.” Tastywaffles asked calmly.
Kammy went to work muttering her spell as quickly as she could. Casting seemed to take away all of her nervousness and endow her with a grace and power that only added to the mithra’s beauty. “Sleep Lozzi.” Kammy commanded and without a struggle the tough as nails monk fell to the floor and looked as peaceful and harmless as a sleeping child.
Tastywaffles called his winged friend back to his side and petted its tiny furry head.
Everyone’s attention now was on the man on the ground who rolled and picked up his sword.
“I’ve got him!” Martin shouted as he leapt off a near by rock using his weight to drive his sword into the heart of the man we wanted to question.
“Martin No!” I shouted but too late. The hume disappeared only leaving a hole in the rock where the sword had shattered it.
“He home pointed.” Tastywaffles said with a sigh and we all turned and glared at Martin.
“Where did Martin come from?” Kammy asked.
“What? Why the dirty looks? It looked to me like you were in battle with these people. I was just doing what needed to be done. We are here to kill the people responsible for Brodie’s murder right? I got that one. Yay me!” Martin looked a little confused.
“Yes, but I wanted this man to tell me where Pete the Meat can be found.” I said with a sigh as I hugged Martin hello. “I’m glad you came to help.”
“I would never miss it.”
“I have an idea.” I said as I turned my attention to my linkshell. “Garness we found the general area. There is a woman here I’m pretty sure we can follow to their main base. Can you bring your group and wait just outside of the gold doors? I’m going to lure them out past the door. If you are hidden I’ll run them to you so we can surround them and get the upper hand.”
“Sounds good fearless leader. We are a little busy right now but we’ll get there as fast as we can.” Garness replied sounding a bit out of breath.
“Kallo, this is a job for you and me. Everyone else should wait here.” I instructed.
“I don’t think so. I’m coming too.” Gurok said as he stepped closer.
“Gurok this is job for thieves and you know it. We need to be undetectable as we follow her back to the man we want and we need to be sure we can stay just out of reach until we get back to the main group here at the door. You know that’s my specialty. Let me do this my way.” I asked. “We need to hurry before she wakes up.”
Gurok grunted and nodded unhappily as he found a place to hide and wait with the others.
The monk groaned and started to stir as Kallo and I hid ourselves and watched.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
“Move it along. I have a hunch.” Kallo said as he departed with long purposefully strides.
“What kind of hunch? Could it be that this hunch is inspired by knowledge gained while consorting with them?” Gurok said with a raised eyebrow.
Kammy leapt onto Tastywaffles’ back and dug her claws in clinging nervously with her face pressed into his fuzzy armor. She was one of our less experienced members and she was right to be concerned about wandering too far from us. Tastywaffles reached up and scratched behind her ear calming her considerably.
“Gurok if Washu sent him to guide us then he is trustworthy enough. Try to be optimistic.” I said with a sigh.
“Oh I’m loaded with optimism. I just don’t trust him. My job is to protect you not be a cheerful greeter of every stranger you bring along.”
“They’re called the Gold Door Death Dealers.” Kallo said as he rolled his eyes. “So my hunch is that their hideout is behind the gold door. They’re thugs not geniuses.”
That seemed to be a satisfactory answer and we were able to continue on. It didn’t take us long to get to the door. A short hike and a hidden Kammy and we were standing in front of it.
“It requires a gold beast coin.” He said as Kallo held out his open hand to me.”
I wanted to argue about giving up one of my precious shinnies but now was not the time. I always had a handful of them on me as I never wasted the chance to take them from passing goblins or anything else I could steal and hide from effortlessly.
Putting my coin in his pocket he smiled and held out his hand for another. The entire party glared and put their hands on their weapons in unison.
“Ok fine. Not the time for jokes. Sheesh.” Removing the coin from his deep pocket he pressed it into a hollow. It hovered and glowed a dark purple before the coin fell out of sight into the massive door and it rolled slowly open the ground trembling from the size of it.
“It gets a bit more dangerous from here out.” Kallo said as he took out his daggers ready for whatever might be waiting.
Ears twitching Kammy pushed herself up high off Tastywaffles’ shoulders. “Shush shush!” she hissed. We all stopped. “I hear bad people.” She whispered.
(Picture temporarily borrowed from the fabulous http://wiki.ffxiclopedia.org)
Saturday, August 04, 2007
It was a great comfort to me to see some of my closest friends waiting for me. This whole experience had left me feeling weak and out of control. That something like this could happen made me question how much power I actually had over my life. I needed this to regain something. I honestly didn’t know what I expected to get out of the hunt but I felt driven along this track like a train with no breaks.
Yes I know, I’m a thief and confidence and strength are essential. At the time this all happened I tried to hide what I felt was a serious weakness of character from all but those who knew me best and couldn’t be fooled. I wanted to be thought of as tough as nails and unshakable.
Looking back now after it has been so long ago I don’t mind admitting that I was more like anyone else than I wanted to admit. At some point all of us feel shaken by life. It’s not what we are given that makes us who we are it’s what we do with it.
Sorry, back to the story. So, there they were, all the Thumbmonkey friends who could be found on such short notice which wasn’t very many. Jenjen in the arms of her brother Kjarbo with Beldin hovering nearby, Garness my always wise and faithful galka with Foxx, my tiny taru mentor who never ceased to pop up in dire times of need. Kammy our wild little mithra was there too. She looked a bit nervous as she clung to the fuzzy garb of Tastywaffles the beastmaster who I had not seen since Kammy introduced me to him on the docks so long ago.
Beldin pulled out his gun and shot at Kallo. “Who is he?”
Kallo rolled out of the way and drew his daggers. “Wait!” I shouted. “No need to go shooting every person you don’t recognize Beldin. He is here to help me so you will be civil or leave.” An empty threat. He knew I didn’t want him to leave any more than he wanted to go.
Beldin kept his gun aimed at Kallo, and the thief crouched low with his daggers drawn staring hard at the corsair. “I’m not exactly thrilled you left without telling me. How am I supposed to keep an eye on you if you sneak out like a thief in the night?”
Jenjen took his gun and smiled warmly at me giving me a big hug and nuzzling her face into my neck tickling a little. “Hello. I’m sorry Beldin is so bad today.”
“You don’t need to apologize for him you know.” I whispered to her. “He’s his own man and you can’t be responsible for his compulsion to shoot people. Maybe we can put his energy to good use today.” She smiled warmly and gave Beldin his gun back. He looked at her with sad longing eyes as she turned away. They were speaking now but the friendship was clearly fragile and emotional.
Kallo none too pleased took the opportunity to flick a rock at Beldin and hit him square between the eyes. Beldin raised his arm to take aim again.
“Please!” I shouted, “Can we just go and get this over with?”
Beldin frowned and put his weapon away.
“I’m assuming our goal is search and clobber. You find him, I’ll clobber.” Garness said as he beat his hands together anxiously.
I nodded. “We will divide into two groups and use our linkshell to communicate when we find him. Me, Kallo, Gurok, Kammy and Tastywaffles should go as one group and Beldin, Jenjen, Kjarbo, Garness, and Foxx should go as the second. Garness, I’d like you to lead the other group if you would.”
Garness smiled a wide blood thirsty grin and nodded in acceptance. “Let’s go then.” He turned to march off in search of blood to spill.
Beldin turned away from Garness and walked up to me looking very displeased. “I feel responsible for you. I want to keep an eye on you not wander off in the opposite direction.”
I smiled at his kind intentions. Stepping closer to him I spoke in a hushed voice. “I need you to help me. I need you to be my second pair of eyes on this search and to watch over and guide my friends. I’m a call away. If I’m in danger you’ll know right away. You don’t need to worry so much about me. I don’t need it.”
Beldin smirked at my response but nodded and followed after Garness. I was pleased he didn’t make a bigger fuss about it. He had become so protective since that day when Brodie was lost to the sea. I think he felt somehow responsible though of course that was nonsense.
Kjarbo took the chance to say hello and pulled my face in close to kiss my forehead. Pausing to smile warmly at me he followed after Garness who was already nearly out of sight. He was always such a kind and sensitive soul. He smelled salty like the sea and I knew he must have come from his home to join us. I lost myself to my thoughts for a moment as I watched the group leave. I had to smile at the speed at which Foxx could travel with those tiny taru legs.
Kallo cleared his throat. “You done there? I’d like to get back by dinner time.”
Gurok glared at the thief with a low gravely growl before turning to me. “Let’s get going Alison.”