althea_valara: Crouching with exhaustion. (this is rough)
A girl can only take so much of getting knocked out. I've been whacking at flies with all the strength I possess, but I still don't have what it takes to bring one down.

I camped for the night near the outpost, hoping that the sounds of other adventurers whomping creatures of the night would inspire me somehow. What to do, what to do?

I could stay in the Dunes & continue to fight, but that didn't seem smart; I was getting more exhausted with each day, and as a result my techniques was getting clumsy. I was afraid I'd develop bad habits.

I could go to Jeuno. There's a lot more shopping there than at homel maybe I'd find better gear or an awesome weapon that would help me out. But Jeuno was still far away from here, through areas even worse than the Dunes. I was too tired for such a journey.

In the end I decided to go home and get some REAL rest. It'd be really good to sleep in a bed again rather than waking up with sand in uncomfortable places. So I got up early the next morning, intending to get a head start on the long trip home.

I guess I was grumbling too much as I was packing my gear because the outpost vendor asked me what was wrong.

"I'm heading back to Bastok today," I told him. "Not looking forward to the long walk there, though."

He smiled. "You haven't been adventuring long, have you?"

"Um, no. Why?" I said, while struggling to shove my blanket in my pack.

"Because I can teleport you there."

I dropped my sword and looked up at him. "You can?"

"Yep. I'll won't even charge you, since this is your first time and all."

I shrugged my pack on & grabbed my sword. "What are we waiting for, then?"

He laughed. "Okay, here we go."

I reflexively closed my eyes. The world blinked, and then my skin was prickling as the scorching hot Dunes weather gave way

to the gentle warm breeze of Bastok. I opened my eyes ande found myself standing outside the residence area in the Mines district. I was home!

Grinning, I set off to my apartment near the Markets. I couldn't resist stopping at the auction house to see if there was anything good for sale--such as, oh, a lighter but strong sword capable of killing damselflies, perhaps?--but nothing caught my eye. I was just about to step into the residence to see if I had received any deliveries when I heard a voice calling my name.

"Althea! Hey, Althea!"

I turned and saw it was Naji, one of the guards regularly stationed outside the President's office. "Hey, Naji," I said. "What's up?"

"The President wants to see you."

"ME? What could the President want with me?"

"I don't know, but you'd better come along. He doesn't entertain guests very often."

So I followed him through the Metalworks, wondering what in Altana's name was going on. Maybe he wanted to chew me out for reading that report? But that didn't make any sense... why would an insanely busy man such as the President waste his time with that? Especially since Lucius already had given me a dressing down.

We had reached the roof of the Metalworks when Naji suddenly blurted out, "Boy, you're lucky."

I looked at him. "Lucky? Why?"

"I hear you're going overseas." Overseas?! my brain echoed as he continued on. "Usually, I would be giving you your orders, but this time, the president's aide wants to meet with you in person. I don't know if the missions you've been on so far were tough for you... But this time, I'm sure it's going to be a real challenge. I mean, you're going to have to go to both San d'Oria and Windurst..." WINHURST?!?! "It's not like going somewhere nearby, like Gustaberg or the Konschtat Highlands. You'll have to travel by sea, too." He sighed. "And I'll be here, doing guard duty as always."

I... really didn't know what to say to that; my mind was still reeling too much at what he had told me to say anything comforting to him. There was no time for awkwardness, though, because we had reached the President's office.

"Good luck," Naji told me, flashing a quick smile both friendly and sad before taking up his post at the bottom of the stairs again. "Oh, and make sure you don't say anything that might offend him... He's really touchy."

Oh boy.

I entered the office, where I found the President and his aide, Lucius, bent over a report. They looked up as I entered.

"Ah, we have been expecting you. I remember meeting you after your first mission," Lucius said. Yeah, I guess I made an impression on him, huh? "Let me introduce you. This is Sir Karst--"

"President Karst. That is how you will address me," the president said. Naji was right--he does seem touchy. "Lucius, what was that about a first mission?"

"The report from the Zeruhn Mines, sir. About the Talekeeper--"

"Hmph. Those Galka again. I was not informed you had met with the messenger, Lucius."

The messenger? I'm standing right here!

"I did not feel it was necessary to bother you with such trivial matters, sir."

"'President,' Lucius."

"My apologies. I am sorry for not having informed you about the Galka, Mister President."

"No matter." He finally seemed to remember I was there and turned back to me. "Here are your orders. As you know, there are three other nations aside from our own in Vana'diel. The Kingdom of San d'Oria, the Federation of Windurst, and the Grand Duchy of Jeuno. Jeuno is still professing neutrality, so I want you to go to San d'Oria and Windurst. It does not matter which you go to first, as long as you go to both. I will give you a letter of introduction, which you will present to the consuls in both nations. Any questions?"

"Uh, no," I said. Actually, I had, oh, tons of questions, but I was still reeling from how fast this all was happening and couldn't think of a way to ask them that wouldn't make the President grouchy.

"Good," the President said. "Lucius, the letter."

This is your letter of introduction," Lucius said, handing it to me. "Present it to the consuls and they will give you further instructions."

"Those are your orders. Depart quickly. You are dismissed," the President said, turning his attention back to the report on his desk again.

I walked out, and found that Naji had been waiting for me rather than standing guard.

"So, how did it go?" he asked. "Did the president nag at you?"

I shook my head. "After seeing how much he was nagging at Lucius, I decided not to give him a reason to nag at me."

"I hear ya," Naji said. "I still can't believe that Chief Cid actually backed that guy during the elections... Oops. You didn't hear me say that, okay? I gotta go. Good luck on your mission!"

"Thanks," I said. "See ya."

The questions I hadn't dared to ask raced through my head. Why am I being sent? What do I do once I get there? I hope I'm not meant to be a spy, 'cause that'd be rather uncool. And why couldn't Naji have given me these orders, like he usually does?

And apparently I don't need to go to Jeuno because they are "professing neutrality". But he wants me to go to Sandy and Windy, because... they aren't? Does that mean he's expecting them to attack Bastok?

I do tend to have an overactive imagination, so that's probably not his reason. But if that isn't... than what is?

My feet must've automatically carried me home, because the next moment I was opening my door with no memory of having passed through the Metalworks.

"Welcome home, Master!!" my moogle greeted me.

"Huh?" I blinked and started. "Oh yeah, right."

I barely registered his prattle about my plants and deliveries as I crossed the room in a daze and sat on the bed. I looked around. The familiarity of my furnishings had slipped away while I was gone; though I recognised them as belonging to me, they felt strange & out of place. Or maybe it was me that was out of place. How much longer did I have to journey before I had a real home again?
althea_valara: A female red mage from Final Fantasy 11. (Default)
When I came to, I found myself back in Port Bastok, where I started my adventuring. I don't know how I got back there. I'm assuming some carried me, but... well, no one in town knows me; how would they know to bring me there?

Weird.

Since I was still feeling sore from my "battle" (if you could call it that), I decided to talk to more townsfolk and see what I could learn. Which means my list of quests has grown considerably:

  • Michea, an Elvaan goldsmith, wants me to bring her a copper ingot so she can complete an order.
  • A housewife wants to buy four flint stones from me so she can cook dinner.
  • Hungry Wolf wants me to bring him a Galkan sausage.
  • Malene's had a package stolen by a monster and has asked me to find & retrieve it for her.
  • Nbu Latteh would like me to bring a copper ring to her daughter as a gift from her.
  • Benita's looking for a quick way to clean her chimney. Apparently her mother-in-law knows a way, so I'm to track her down and ask.
  • Brygid thinks I will look smashing in a robe and bronze subligar, and wants me to obtain such items for her amusement. *rolls eyes* I could use them, though, so I might as well.
  • The mercenary company "Salaheem's Sentinels" has asked me to help recruit new members.


Oh, and I still need to finish that stamp hunt and kill some monsters in the mines. Sure have enough to keep me busy for a while. Especially since I have no idea where/how to get some of this stuff. I mean, copper ingots? Can you buy those somewhere?

I've heard some interesting tidbits about the town. Some folks in the Metalworks were gossiping about the Chief Engineer, a hume named Cid (why does that name sound familiar)? They say he's brilliant, but a bit short-tempered. Too engrossed in his work, I guess. And some of the Galka have mentioned...well, it sounds like a myth, actually, about a wise Galka who disappeared twenty years ago. I'm intrigued. I love a good mystery.

I'm annoyed about those bats. Except for some childhood scraps, I haven't had any experience with fighting. It'd be nice to find a mentor who could give me some pointers.

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althea_valara: A female red mage from Final Fantasy 11. (Default)
Althea Valara

July 2017

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