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O Fortuna

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Her Star(t)

          If there was one solid truth, it was there were as many Adventurers as there were stars in sky- ever expanding as names flourished and brightened, ever waning as they faded and slept on, but always a constant in the world.

          A bit in the waning department in the past years, though Brennan could hardly fault anyone for the slight dip in numbers. Big, unnamed shoes to fill, after all, and bigger unnamed troubles besides. He, himself, but a mere tradesman, a peddler, with no skills that would enable him to make such a drastic career change. But, it had been some time since the disaster that tore land and hearts asunder, and new blood had started making their way to the city-states of Eorzea. Youngin’s dressed in the new Adventure Guild standards and out to make fortunes and fame worthy of bard songs; a fire in their bellies, courage in their hearts, and determination in their every air.

          The mi’qote didn’t... exactly fit that mold. Well, besides having uniform provided.

          A nightmare in her heart and mind, more like, and distress on her every line as she tossed and turned in her seat. Anguish on her sleeping face, crinkling with every strain and whimper against whatever demons attacked her and nearly crushing the butterfly tattooed on her left cheek in weight of her fear. Twisting her head, tossing the dark tails framing her face in turn as she desperately dodges whatever is there. Fists clenched tight, a drop of red escaping between her fingers-

          The room was empty, save for elezen twins besides, and neither of them were being helpful. So, he did what he thought anyone should do when someone was in trouble, and stepped in.

          “OI! Y’all right, lass?”

          She gasped, startled, but to Brennan’s relief, her eyes snapped open, revealing them to be a teal and pink, her left and right, respectively. Pupils as large as marbles- a Moon Keeper, staring somewhere past him, unfocused, unseeing. Clouded. Awake, but not aware. Furious, even. Where had this nightmare taken th’ lass? She has yet to even step a foot on her journey- What was she dreaming?

          Then, she blinked and the shadows dispersed as suddenly as they had taken her.

          What a strange little star.

 

 

 


~*~


Her Reason

          Carbuncles.

          Just the word made her eyes light up, dwarfing the noon sun with their radiance and accompanied with a smile that could move the coldest of hearts. At least, that was the narrative Brennan found himself writing in his head. Were he not already a salesman, he fancied he could write a book or two.

          What reason would this one have for donning the garb of a New Adventurer? This young lady, this dreamer of a different hope- not of bard songs, or power unmatched. Not of notorious renown nor of riches to fill a thousand coffers. The treasure she sought was a simple one.

          “I wish to summon carbuncles!!”

          Oh?

          On the deck of the ship that ferried her to her destination, the docks of Limsa Lominsa, did she make her proclamation, her voice gone from soft and shy to driven. Buckled down and glaring, daring him to challenge her wish, and it made Brennan take measure of her more seriously.

          Maybe not the mold and all it entails, but what else could this one be...? Short, probably the shortest adventuring mi’qote he’d ever encountered, just barely coming up to his own chest. Hair, black as midnight even in the light, streaked with blue, like rivers, down the bundles twice-banded into three puffs at her cheeks, feathered short at the back in a simple reconstruction of a mi’qote tradition. The violet ink of the butterfly distinct against her lightly tanned skin and soft stripes, dancing gently with every word she spoke and every expression on her face- a marking she expressed was her mother’s heritage for mastery of healing magicks.

          “Healing is like the twist of fate,” her answer to his question earlier about the interesting tattoo, “The fluttering of a butterfly’s wings. The smallest impact makes the largest of changes. Or, so my mother always says. I think it’s just pretty, though.”

          Brennan lifted his eyebrow, confused some with the clash of prior information. A healer, yet heading for the Arcanist guild?

          “An’ forgive this ol’ man fer ‘is dumb question, but ye’d not be more int’rested in conjurin’? Of th’ forest of Gridania, considering yer prior trainin’?”

          Her mouth dropped some and her eyes widened- clearly, she had been expecting a negative response, and Brennan could give her none. Not when this star was proving more interesting than previously thought, and he would rather follow in the wake of her tale than ignore it.

          And for his willingness, she rewarded him with a smirk.

          “No ser. Carbuncles or bust.”

 


~*~


Her Name

          Of course, so different was this little star that she did not register saving him from cannonfire as her first successful act, a rescue, mind, as an adventurer. Of course not. Not her inkling just before getting hit and tackling him to the wooden planks, not the bodily drag back down below deck (and she was certainly much stronger than her tiny form led one to believe) and not the demonstration of the mending spells at her fingertips. Just that brilliant little smile, the shake of her head against his praise.

          “Goodness, no, ser! Anyone else would have done the same!”

          Naïve, sweet little star.

          Maybe not a star to fit the mold, but one who will break it? Make her own?

          She bore the uniform. It counted. Never mind that she wasn’t registered yet- the girl was newly minted in Brennan’s eyes with this and, eager though he was to meet with his clients, he’d not have the girl go unrewarded before going their separate ways.

          So, when the ship had reached the docks, plank and anchor both dropped, he stopped this strange little adventurer who only wanted carbuncles. This little mi’qote who started in a nightmare and will hopefully end up with her dream in the coming days. He held out an accessory, a ring of white metal- a measly little thing, admittedly, but he had not planned on meeting any life-saving adventurers today- dropping it in her open palm with a grin.

          “Consider this payment fer savin’ me arse back there. It ain’t much, but should help ye fer a bit on yer journey.”

          Surprise writ on her face, but also joy and denial of having done anything miraculous. “Ser- I couldn’t possibly accept this!”

          “Nonsense, ye rightly earned it, err...” Brennan drew a blank. In all his yammering, had he once asked what to call this new star? No, no, he hadn’t. He normally asked. Normally- first for everything, he thought to himself. “Jus’ realized, I never got yer name.”

          ”Ahh, did I... I didn’t, did I?” She hummed, but had to shift her bag before she could answer him, those twin kids pushing their way rudely past the two of them. The annoyed look she threw at their leave matched his own feelings, but she switched immediately back to him with a nod.

          “Trionfi, Ser. Trionfi Fortuna.”

          “Trionfi Fortuna, huh?” 

          And isn’t that just the luckiest of meanings? ‘Triumph’ and ‘fate,' a fine name for a little star.

          Brennan nodded to himself, humming. A catchy name, too. Easy to remember. One to attached to all manner of bard songs, if she were to work hard.

          “Tell ye what. Become the sort of storied personage I can brag about havin’ met. Even bein’ th’ greatest summoner of Carbuncles in all of Limsa, an’ we can consider us square. How’s that?”

          “Deal, ser Brennan!” A clumsy salute, with a clumsier bow, hand clutching the ring like it held all the secrets to her future. Her laughter rang out, joy and sunshine, and he was suddenly not the only one looking her way anymore, not with that smile and that glittering gaze, and he wondered how many would fall under her spell.

          But, a peddler doesn’t make money just standing around, and he glanced at his pocket watch, sighing at the time. “And, it seems I must leave you, lest I be late for my appointments. Take care, lass, and don’t forget our deal!”

          And with all the flourish his old bones muster, Brennan gallantly bowed before this little star born, waving as he walked away, and hoping against all hope that this one would not fade into obscurity like the rest. Her name would ring true, he prayed to the MotherCrystal, to the Twelve. And that maybe, on his travels, he might hear it and some measures of her successes, and meet up again on the road to hear her tales.

          And her shout carried behind-

          “Trionfi Fortuna, the Greatest Carbuncle Summoner! Please look forward to it, Ser Brennan!”

          What strange, strange little star.

 

 


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