the RhoMu


The Rhotano Museum | a Balmung FFXIV Roleplay Scene


B A L M U N G


The Mist: Ward 15 | Plot 5

Nearby Aethernet: The Topmast | Mist South

Countdown to the Next Event



    itinerary


    | 21:30 ET | Doors Open
    | 22:00 ET | Free Social
    |continuous| - - ▲▲ - -
    | 22:30 ET | Lights Dim
    | 23:00 ET | Cursed Relic Tour
    | 00:00 ET | RhoMu Staff Departure


    Event Log


    recap


    After brief introductions to non-staffers, it's revealed that, in the usual uncanny fashion, Rhotano supplied a sack-full of treasure maps; each from dubiously valid sources."One must be real" Their 'love note' admitted.And so, in parties of two, the hunters left the Museum unattended. Whether the magical journey from where they were to the Uznairan canals was a fever dream or not, the treasure they returned with was, and is, quite real.They returned later to share their discoveries and auction off whatever it is Rhotano wasn't looking for.

    recap


    The Poetry Night was a success. We had 2 Walk-In performers in addition to those who pre-registered their works and a healthy assortment of spectators.Everyone who wished to, had a chance to express themselves through this art form. Everyone in attendance was given space to engage with that expression.It made the night something special.

    recap


    The Soft Opening went on mostly without a hitch. The staff went through great leangths to make the grand feeling as impressive as it was oppressive.And yet, this M.R. Rhotano chose not to follow through on Their alluded threats. Perhaps They found another Queen to trade to a Pawn.


    The Setting

    Through reconstruction moons past, the burned-out mansion takes form as a Museum.

    Bit by bit it absorbs people as it does fine art until the day it's found fully staffed with its galleries glittering.

    The single connection binding the two to this place is in the name: "The Rhotano Musem". A name-sake of the sole-proprietor, the ever-unknown, M.R. Rhotano.


    Who is M.R. Rhotano?

    Say it right:
    That is, say the letters "M" & "R" followed by Rhotano.


    IN CHARACTER


    As ubiquitous as the sea They're named after, you are likely only two-degrees separated from someone touched by Them.

    A genderless and mysterious being, only in name and influence can you know Them.

    So if you don't know who They are, then with luck (or perhaps misfortune) you may soon find out.


    out of character


    This is a character created by the members of the Free Company "Salts of Rhotano". They do not exist, and are used as a tool to facilitate role-play.

    Think of Them as Charlie from “Charlie’s Angels”; this character is a disembodied figure who we utilize when Role-Playing and writing stories together.


    Appearance


    No one knows what M.R. Rhotano looks like since none have neither met nor assuredly seen Them.However, a sure sign Their hand is somehow involved is a motif. While it can take many forms (perhaps a flower, a ribbon, or a seal) the color is consistent: Rhotano Blue.Whether or not M.R. Rhotano chose the color in Their namesake, or the color determined Their name, is of course unknown.As the adage goes:
    "Should you have any doubt on whether Their voice be true, simply look for the blue."


    Personality


    To most, M. R. Rhotano is clever and exacting. They possess a keen wit that is hardly withheld and flaunted not unlike the high-born Elezen of Ishgard.In most cases it seems in no time at all They see to the heart of those They choose to speak to.Easily relatable and amicable in the brightest times, then cut-throat and Machiavellian in the darkest times, this creature keeps you on your toes.With as broad a picture as one can manage, one may see They are sociopathic, unable to see the people They select as anything but a tool or an ends to a means. With a finer lens, one could see this creature is tenacious to nearly a fault (if They have any) as They cannot leave any task They set themselves, or someone else to do, undone.



    Tips & Guidelines for Use


    M.R. Rhotano is free to use in a remote sense; In other words, no one should know what They look like, where They live, or have a personal relationship with Them. Any deviations from this are discussed as a group as we all, together, equally share the rights over this character.Always remember that this character is a shared tool. Their mystery will keep Them alive for us, and give us a tremendous amount of freedom to experiment and explore.

    You should:

    • Remember that our canon is shared and fluid. If it’s on this page, it has been agreed upon by the group.

    • Feel free to explore their personality and expand their likes and dislikes

    • Use this website as a reference. not a bible.

    • Be unafraid seek clarity with the group to define more of M.R. Rhotano

    • Make your own events and seek help running them utilizing Their voice.

    Race:
    UNKNOWN
    Likes:
    Proper Etiquette | Fine Art | History
    Weaknesses:
    Self-Righteous | Obsessive | Vein
    Motivations:
    Self-Interest
    Common Rumors:
    Likes Tiny Desserts | Ties to the Maelstrom

    Alignment:
    Chaotic Neutral
    Dislikes:
    Rudeness | Wastefulness | Insolence
    Strengths:
    Shrewd | Tenacious | Confident
    Hobbies:
    Collecting Rarities & People | Scheming
    Uncommon Rumors:
    TBD


    The Relics of the RhoMu

    These are collections of relics found & logged by the RhoMu staff, or their expert acquisition teams.Some may be proudly on display at the Museum, on loan to an aristocrat in exchange for "goods & services", locked in a vault for further study, or auctioned off for whatever personal value they may have

    • Lucky Hamsa Coin


    A simple gold coin with a relief depicting a hamsa. Curiously, the eye of the hamsa is actually coral found only in the Ruby Sea. Upon analysis, there is a mild luck charm placed on the coin - mainly so that it always turns up "heads" for those who flip it.

    • Bejeweled Tusk of a Giant


    Though perhaps a distant relative of the Gajasura or the Arkasodara, this giant betusked monster was felled protecting treasure in the Uznair Canals. Though its body washed away never to be seen again, a clever relic hunter and their familiar snagged this bejeweled tusk from the undercurrents before it too was lost. Valued for its weight in jewels and bone, this item also holds many secrets for anthropologist or a student of lost histories.

    • A Strip of Living Cloth


    Said to be used by a figure from Thavnairian mythology, supposedly the cloth was able to bind the figures enemies, moving on its own as if alive. This strip does not move of its own volition; however, it is unnaturally warm to the touch.

    • An Unsettling Vase


    This Eggplant-shaped Vase somehow made it into the sack of trash collected by the relic hunters on an expedition. No one remembered obtaining it, and yet there it is. . . And yet there it goes! This vase happens to appear in different locations, sometimes moving in the time between blinks and glances.∆▲♫ ×○○□! ⌂▼×□■࣡∆ →←! ♥¥∆▼○♥


    The Poems of Poetry nights

    at the RhomU

    These are collections of poems written or performed by the members of The Rhotano Museum and their Guests.You find each volume embroidered extravagantly, labeled by date, and designed to be part of a growing collection.

    "The Rhotano Museum has been, and will forever be, a place of preservation and promotion of history, art, and culture, in whatever form they take. It is with great honor, and full-hearted eagerness, that I add to my personal collection these works orated under the RhoMu banner. May they enrich the mind, catch the eye of the beholder, and bend the ear of those who would listen."

    - Forward by M.R. Rhotano



    Volume I: 5.29.22


    recited by Draga Winesong

    Written by Sheenagh Pugh


    Brendan Ducaille

    an original work


    Performance by Enzeru Ardani

    written by Raphael de La Ghetto


    Salem Saberhagen

    an original work


    Gwendolyn Dormer

    an original work


    Sterne Evans

    an original work


    Walk-Ins


    Aesthr Fahim

    an original work


    Yua Yanai

    an original poem


    B'osco Van


    Encore Performances


    Performance by Enzeru Ardani

    written by Kaien Aozora

    Performance by Enzeru Ardani

    written by Raphael de La Ghetto


    What if This Road | Draga Winesong | Written by Sheenagh Pugh


    What if this road, that has held no surprises
    these many years, decided not to go
    home after all; what if it could turn
    left or right with no more ado
    than a kite-tail? What if its tarry skin
    were like a long, supple bolt of cloth,
    that is shaken and rolled out, and takes
    a new shape from the contours beneath?
    And if it chose to lay itself down
    in a new way, around a blind corner,
    across hills you must climb without knowing
    what’s on the other side, who would not hanker
    to be going, at all risks? Who wants to know
    a story’s end, or where a road will go?

    [Untitled] | Brendan Ducaille | Original Work


    On the morn of the final day
    Amidst the crows-feast
    Of fallen brethren
    A sundered sword
    from sundered peace
    By kinsmans hammer and pyre
    A kingly greed
    reforges a spear

    Street Beat | Enzeru Ardani | Written by Raphael de La Ghetto


    He inhales, then brandishes a pair of thick rimmed glasses from within his coat and puts them RIGHT on. Then, as he takes a step forward, his left hand SLAMS against the table closest to it in time with him bellowing out a single word...

    "LISTEN!"
    "To the street beat!"

    Sparing the couple on the left any more potential heart attacks, he instead takes a big step to the right. In between this table and the other, but making sure that step is audible enough for everyone to hear,...

    "Plug your ears!"

    He does just that with one hand!
    The other goes over his eyes, but two of his fingers part so that at least one of them can give the crowd in front of him a once over...

    "Mask your fears!"
    "Somethin' weird's... goin' down."

    That hand that was in front of his face s-l-o-w-l-y moves back down to his side, revealing a particularly grave expression. It doesn't last for very long. As soon as he puffs his chest out slightly, he raises his voice once again, with a somewhat confident expression to match it.

    "So listen to the street beat!"
    "Listen to the box shock!"
    "Listen..."

    He then moves just a little closer to the table he took, leaning in forward to look a woman right in the eyes. Once they're locked, he removes the glasses on his face in DRAMATIC fashion. Then, in a COMPLETE 180, he stands up straight, looking stiff as a board, and looks toward the wall with narrowing eyes.

    "...s'all I got."

    Where Is He | Salem Saberhagen | Original Work


    Where is he? That man from my dream. Always there with dark eyes. Always watching. Waiting for me..."Who is he? That man from my dream. Chastising. Calling. Cowarding.""What is he? That man from my dream. A demon. A man. Something far worse?""Where is he in this world? Is he of this world? Am I? But surely I am. I have to be.""Where is he? Where am I? Who am I?"

    Two Untitled Limerick | Gwendolyn Dormer | Original Works


    The Viera takes a moment to compose herself, turning her head downward to enter 'the zone.' Then when she looks to the crowd, she has a beseeching smile on her face, like some kind of slightly-sadistic jester.

    "There once was a lad named Sterne."

    Gwendolyn pauses in her poem to make a meaningful glance towards a certain male Viera.

    "He was haughty and obtuse and had /much/ to learn."

    Her emphasis on 'much' is distractingly exaggerated.

    "Yet, I've taken a shine -
    To that colleague of mine!"

    She sends the Viera a cheeky wink

    "But that eye..."

    Gwendolyn shudders, pressing a hand to her chest.

    "It still makes my stomach /churn/!"

    She performs a quick, perfunctory curtsey.
    "That was dedicated to that lad over there."
    She points at Sterne so all may avert their gaze to him.
    Now, for my next, we shall enjoy another limerick by yours truly...


    "There once was a lass named Gwendy!"

    She flutters her lashes for the crowd.

    "Her admirers and suitors were plenty!"

    Gwendolyn flutters her face with a wry smile.

    "Her beauty: astounding! She left hearts pounding!"
    "Truly, she was a /ten/ out of /ten/!"

    Gwendolyn gestures to herself and then bows to the crowd like a gentleman.

    Tracked, Traced & Tallied | Sterne Evans | Original Work


    There is a road
    Unpaved, yet shored by broken twigs,
    yet shored by trees who shed these tears,
    yet shored by songs which she bestowed.
    How they echoed
    an ethereal thimblerig
    hiding what she’d shed through the years,
    showing that only which she crowed.
    Neither a stone
    of miles, of way, nor of corner,
    are here to see - are here to be -
    Tracked, or traced, or tallied or shown.
    Would she have grown
    She would see she’s neither former,
    Nor bound, beholden by decree,
    From whence she’d flown.

    You | Aesthr Fahim | Original Work


    Subtly, she raises her chin to make her words carry clearly, a reticent alto." I am an Acquisitions Specialist. Each object, relic, art piece, tool... has a story to tell."Sometimes it is easy to get lost in the things, and forget that time is constantly passing, for me too.""This is a self-composed eulogy called, 'You'. I apologize in advance for the length, but as well all know, there is nothing 'short' about Viera."Her lips press together tightly, she draws a visible breath and begins.

    On either side the oceans glassed
    Long fields of dreams made to last
    That carry future with the past;
    These ships sail with broken masts
    from port to bitter port.
    Yellow lilies of the valley
    A drunken purchase in an alley
    All coalescing in to a finale
    the epilogue, of Us.
    Cherry blossoms rot, the odor fades
    Since when did My heart grow so afraid?
    A never-ending game of charades,
    Each back like Yours is like a blade
    from port to bitter port.
    Four gray walls, and four gray towers
    Every inch of Me I scour
    To purge anything that was Ours
    the epilogue, of Us.
    Underneath decrepit awnings,
    We found love, Our trust, dawning
    Desperate to keep You, I was fawning
    A search for a place of belonging
    from port to bitter port.
    Why couldn't You meet My gaze squarely?
    Times You apologized? Rarely.
    You used the word Love, unfairly
    the epilogue, of Us.

    An underlying force slips into her voice, though her expression does not change.
    The only thing matching her voice, her nails, digging into the forgotten page in hand.

    You became My enclosure,
    I thought I'd die of exposure,
    This is My final disclosure
    Remember how I kept My composure,
    from port to bitter port.
    King of Fools, You are Crowned,
    An ode, to the lost and drowned,
    My final gift to You, this metal round.
    the epilogue, of Us.

    turns to the east and offers a decidedly informal salute with enough force to cause her ears to bob.

    [Untitled Rondel] | Yua Yanai | Original Work


    Yua clears her throat, a crumpled piece of paper in her hand."This is a rondel that I wrote. I haven't titled it."She shifts nervously, then glances to the Dotharl sitting at the front of the room and takes a long breath. Inhale, exhale; looking at him seems to calm her a little. Then she gives him a little smile and flicks him a wink before beginning.When she speaks, her voice is steady and clear, piercing to the back of the room.

    My love's undying flame
    ever smolders, ever burns.
    As sure as the star turns;
    as eternal as his name.
    And let no person claim
    his future lives unearned.
    My love's undying flame
    ever smolders, ever burns.
    And so grows his acclaim,
    as ever his soul yearns
    for brightness. All will learn
    that naught will ever tame
    my love's undying flame.

    Yua hesitates for a moment, and then smiles shyly at the crowd as she bows.
    And then she hurries off the stage.

    [Re-Imagined Limerick] | B'osco Van | Original Work


    "Hi there, I'm Captain B'osco Van greatest pirate in the world, best mageish person ever, and all around perfect person! I am gonna say a limerick I picked up on my travels!"Looking out at the crowd with an innocent smile...

    There once was a captain, goes the tale

    And then the innocent smile is gone, replaced with a Cheshire grin.

    Who once tried to pleasure a whale.But it took the whole crew,

    She spreads her arms wide.

    To accomplish that screw,

    The miqo'te gives a thumbs up.

    But really the event was quite stale."

    Enforce These Nuts | Enzeru Ardani | Written by Kaien Aozora


    He i-n-h-a-l-e-s... then holds up a finger

    "You're yellow."

    Then another.

    "You're red."

    Followed by a third.

    "You're holy."

    Before a fourth can come, he moves closer to the table to his right. Dangerously close to the Ishgardian in the room. Coincidence? Empahsis? You decide!

    "And you're brass.""...To me, you all look too damn crass.""With all your suffocating rules, tryin' to control what's fun..."

    He shakes his head and shuts his eyes, looking awfully perturbed.

    "And yet you wonder why when I see you, I run!"

    And run he does!
    Well... okay. It's more of a bold step to the left.
    A big one, at that.

    "Like hell! Outta there! But I'll be back in ten.""Just to do this song and dance all over again."

    For emphasis, he snaps his fingers LOUDLY in time with a step of his foot that's almost as audible.

    "Whether you're yellow, you're red, you're holy, or you're brass..."

    Do note how his gaze shifts over to his right as he says 'holy,' even if only for a split second.

    "To me, all you are is a pain in my ass.""...pretty stupid, huh?"

    Stationary | Enzeru Ardani | Written by Raphael de La Ghetto


    He starts holding up a single finger."Another one by Raphael de La Ghetto, er...""Underground Ishgardian poet extraordinaire. Yeah."Notice that finger he's holding up.
    For it rises high into the air...!

    "The moon did not become the sun...""It just fell on the desert."

    He leans against the table to his left before sitting on it. He's sure to mouth a quick 'sorry' toward those that are next to it in case of any potential heart attacks like Yua's, then continues...

    "In great sheets. Reams.""Reams of silver that were handmade by you..."

    That finger from before rises back up into the air, before veering to the left. As if charting his next course. Sure enough, Enzeru gets up off the table and stands in between it and the benches.

    "The night is your cottage industry now."

    Both his hands rise up this time, gesturing towards the ceiling in somewhat grandiose fashion. Fitting for the serene look on his face - shut eyes, wide smile. With an inflection in his voice to round it off, even!

    "The day is your brisk emporium!"

    Then, with a sharp turn, the man spins on his heel, doing a 180 and facing the bench.
    The closest person to him appears to be a woman he recognizes, so he hands the book in his hand over to her with a cordial glimmer in his eye and that smile from before; which hasn't dimmed even slightly.

    "So go ahead. Write to me."


    Short Stories & Art

    These stories were written by membership when developing M.R. Rhotano to demonstrate how They can be used and how They can function within our setting.


    written by
    Sterne Evans



    written by
    Gwendolyn Dormer



    written by
    Merrick Bronzemane



    written by
    Draga Winesong



    written by
    Tarkus Irongut



    A Crisp Quill

    written by Tarkus Irongut

    A crisp quill and lash of exquisite ink sat poised over rich parchment, paused in contemplation before dancing about with elegant but easily legible script against the tome."It is with everlasting regret that I pen the account of the expedition to the Vaastaya forest for posterity's sake. After months of research and planning I was perhaps too confident (a rare occurrence) before chartering a somewhat renown and capable vessel and crew--The Undaunted. She was captain'd by a Hrothgar who's name I will keep from record out of respect and caution. The captain was an expert explorer and superb big game hunter, with a modest repute or so I had gleaned."The expedition was to venture into a measure of forest rumored to be the last site of an ancient religion. I was diligent in ferreting out any hints or warning signs for primal or voidsent origins and to my credit there was not a mote of their foul presence. But unfortunately, I sometimes forget that Eorzeans can be just as cruel and malicious as any of their ilk.""The tomb that was discovered was devoted to a high priest, an incarnation of some little traveled God of the Hunt. The scripture around this died-out religion suggested it was a perversion of the Wild Hunt, referenced in numerous other cults about the world. The scrawling on the tomb itself should have been warning enough, had I been there."'Those who embrace my resting place, shall always be free and pure.'The magicks hidden within the find were horrific, crafted cleverly and with no small amount of maliciousness. Of the foulest sort--that which robs others of their will. The Hrothgar captain was not the only one to suffer it's 'embrace'. Those within the complex did not become animals, but perversions of them. Bestial, ravenous, and murderous. Of 74 crew and porters that ventured out, only the captain remained in the end. I only discovered this after sending a second ship. At the expense of more lives, the Hrothgar was captured per my orders to return any survivors."The strokes of ink become thicker, as if frustration were pressing the quill just noticeably harder."That was my second mistake. Returned to more civilized territories but before my own arrival to study the malady, the captain broke free. And, for two days, bloodshed and death piled upon the streets to greet me. At great expense, the brute was captured once again. But not before his own death was demanded by the populace and my presence was no longer welcome. He would never be able to return to any semblance of home.""Three years I spent studying the affliction, magical in nature and tied to vitae--the blood. Rooted somewhere in dormant places in all of our natures, where the animal is more present. And yet... wholly unnatural. I have nonetheless contained the Hrothgar's fits and unnatural rage, restoring the majority of his faculties and senses to their former state. Further scientific details can be viewed within Exotic Enervations and Maladies Volume VI.""At the penning of this entry, the Captain has been under the guidance and care of two wardens as it were--at my own expense and vetting. A particular pair of Viera 'Handmaidens' of the Green Word. Their specialization and ties to nature have been the most prominent influence on the infliction that never truly goes dormant; song and beauty sooth the most monstrous of creatures?""There is well enough of the Captain left that resentment towards me is clearly not sourced by this curse. Despite this, I am keeping him in my employ. I feel it is only right I do so (considering my failings), and in the end I can continue and further my studies by observing him. My only solace now is that the tomb's exhumation proceeds apace. With some small luck, it shall be ready before the first visitors arrive; it will be magnificent."At the end of the entry, a scattering of dates, markings, and title create an arch of scrawlings above a simple signature."The Kinslayer and Cannibal Beast Accounting"
    --M. R. Rhotano.


    The Legend of L'kega

    written by Draga Winesong

    Draga may be the descendant of pirates, he may come from a people born to sail the open seas, and he may have metaphorical ocean water coursing through his veins, but none of this changed the simple fact that this particular Rogeadyn hated boats. He found them cramped, unable to accommodate his hulking frame, and he was prone to seasickness; a fact that attracted derision from his fellow Seawolves. Still, travelling by boat was the only way to travel to Mist without anyone rooting around in his belongings. He couldn’t risk anyone finding what he had stolen, or as Kega would have called it: liberated.The boat finally docked and Draga was all too happy to get his feet on solid ground. He paid the captain the rest of what he owed, which happened to be most of the gil he had with him, and got off of that stinking vessel. He was surprised to find the island was mostly residential. People milled about around him, simply going about their business. It was certainly nicer here than Ul’dah. Fewer people looked like they wanted to kill him, and the fresh ocean air was much easier on the lungs. Draga wondered if there was somewhere he could stay for cheap, just incase this job ended up being a scam. Kega had found most of their work; they were adventurers, specializing in deep recovery missions. They raided tombs and recovered artifacts for rich weirdos who wanted to own something legendary. It kept them fed and always provided them a bed to sleep in, but the Mi’Qote was always sad that no one could see the amazing things they saw. “This should be in a museum,” he would inevitably say every time they had to hand a priceless heirloom over.But this job was different. It was still spelunking for the benefit of what Draga assumed was a rich eccentric, but Kega didn’t find it. This person had found them. Draga fished the letter out of his pocket to go over it again:To the esteemed pair of L’kega Zotko and Bylgdraga Cwinsyngsyn,
    I hope that this letter finds you agreeable. It has come to my attention that the two of you are the foremost treasure extractors in all of Eorzea. No doubt it is due to the special bond between you. I share your chagrin at the idea that that which you acquire is only enjoyed by the elite few. These magnificent treasures should be appreciated by everyone!
    I have a proposition for you: I am opening a museum which I hope will house many artifacts and curiosities, but the problem is that I am rather short on both at the moment. There is a sword that I believe is deep within an ancient Amal’jaa ruin and I would very much like to have it. I believe that the two of you are just the men to retrieve it for me. I am not offering a substantial amount of gil, but I am offering something more; the chance to be a part of something greater than yourselves.I have enclosed the location where I believe it is buried. Once you have procured the blade, you may bring it to building 5 of ward 15 on the island of Mist. There you will find a pleasant group who will be happy to see you. Gods speed and I look forward to a long and fruitful relationship.
    M.R. Rhotano
    A long and fruitful relationship indeed. Draga had not wanted to accept this job. He didn’t perform this work for the love of adventure like Kega did. For him, this was only a means to an end, a way to leverage what he was good at into a living, and this Rhotano character was not offering money. But Kega was adamant. This offer spoke to Kega in a way that no other job had, and Draga just couldn’t say no to the Mi’qote.Draga walked the worn cobblestone streets of Mist, taking in all the sights. He made note of a lively looking inn and a row of shops. Clearly a lot of adventurers made their home here. Draga wondered if they would be competition for work or if he would find a community that he could be a part of. He was not optimistic. He did not have good luck befriending anyone, let alone other glory seekers. That is why meeting Kega was such serendipity. Kega understood him in a way that few had before. He was an optimist, and he would say that Draga was going to be just fine.Retrieving the sword was certainly not what they had expected. The ruins were full of traps and perils. After plunging to the depths, the pair found the sword only to incense the ire of a tribe of Amal’jaa who had made their home in those ruins. They fled with the sword, the Amal’jaa in close pursuit. Draga made it across a particularly shaky bridge only to turn and watch the bridge collapse beneath Kega’s feet. He plunged into a pit that Draga could not see the bottom of. Draga waited for as long as he could, desperate for any sign of his friend, but the Amal’jaa caught up to him and he had to flee with his life, much as he wanted to hurl himself into the pit as well.He thought long and hard about what to do with this cursed sword. He sat in his room in the Quicksand staring at it, loathing it. Maybe he could sell it and rid himself of this life for good. He thought of ending his own life with it, feeling it fitting that the sword would be the demise of both of them. But he knew what Kega would have wanted.He stopped in front of building 5 in ward 15 on the island of Mist. Draga might not be able to bring his lover back, but he could complete the job that Kega was so enthused about. He approached the mansion and knocked on the door.


    A Night with a Captain

    written by Gwendolyn Dormer

    Hawker's Alley never slept. A shame, because it was loud and quite the eyesore. All the folks milling about, breathing on each other, buying useless trinkets and ugly, tacky garments, just because they were supposedly imported from who-cares-where... The whole section of Limsa Lominsa could fall into the Rhotano Sea, for all Kuiko cared. Well, for the most part. As long as it fell in such a way as not to absolutely crush her where she stood, directly beneath it, on some forgotten alcove. Musty bits of dropped refuse dotted the tiny landing, dropped from Hawker's Alley by the idiotic shoppers up there. It was a wonderful place to wait around and ruminate. Not.Perhaps she was just grumpy from the awful meeting time. Mr. Rhotano must have some kind of sick sense of humor to call her out so early even the gods-damned sun hasn't bothered to wake yet. Gods. Kumiko rubbed her arms. Her thin shift was soft on her porcelain skin. Delicate, and pretty, just like her. And miserable for the chilly, salty air.Finally.An Elezen emerged from the rickety old staircase, the only way down to the useless alcove. He carried a sack by the strings, holding it out as if it contained something unpleasant, like a lump of dung. Which was really quite a comical thought, considering his elegant demeanor, despite his common clothes. Common, exccept for the tinted eye glasses that obscured his face."Mr. Rhotano sends his regards." The Elezen's voice was low and smooth, like rich cream. It was, like the sack, at odds with his commoner disguise. At least, Kumiko could only assume it was a disguise. Not that she ever once thought her contact was the Mr. Rhotano himself. No, she had long-since guessed her contact was one of - presumably - many employees of the shadowy figure. She knew she wasn't the only one with an active mission, and she knew that someone with such disposable funds would surely have plenty of fancy, creamy-voiced folk on retainer."Tonight," The man started. Kumiko scoffed. Tonight? It was barely even today. "Wear this." The sack was passed to her. She peeked inside. Something lacy and red. Great. And the unmistakable blue pouch that came every meeting. She didn't have to even touch the pouch to know it held a hefty sum of gil. Her payment. "You will meet with Holskbhir again tonight. Seduce him. When he is asleep, Mr. Rhotano would like you to procure the contents of Holskbhir's nightstand. Your drop location is the Museum. He expects your package by sunrise tomorrow." With that, the Elezen turned and left her without another word. Rude.Left alone, Kumiko pulled out the garment. Red, lacy small clothes. For the past moon, she'd been flirting with a Sea Wolf captain, Holskbhir. Now it was clear why. Mr. Rhotano wanted something from Holskbhir, and he felt Kumiko's... unsavory past, would make her the perfect candidate to get cclose to the Roegadyn and take whatever it was. She assumed she'd just empty out whatever was in the nightstand, all of it, for Mr. Rhotano. It always paid to be thorough with the mysterious benefactor.She pulled out her payment and drew the string to count her gil. Instead, however, there was a note. She ccouldn't help but groan. How many times did she have to tell her contact to tell Mr. Rhotano that she preferred cold, hard gil?! The note was written in thin, elegant script:"Your payment is a night with a captain! I hear he's quite the gentleman. Please take good care of him. Also, I know this note will leave you in poor spirits. So to make up for it, you may select one of whatever you find in Mr. Holskbhir's nightstand to keep for yourself. Choose wisely! You've earned it.
    M. R. Rhotano"
    --
    The setup was easy. She'd been prepping Holskbhir for a month, so it took very little to get back to his quarters. It also took very little to get him to drink very much. Kumiko spread herself alluringly across his bedspread as the big Roegadyn brandied about his quarters, dressed in nothing but his off-white knickers (gross) while waving about a stale loaf of bread he insisted was a fireplace poker. As if that were a finer weapon than the actual saber that hung from his rack on the opposite wall. The man's cheeks were flushed, his eyelids drooped and his speech impossibly slurred. She might not even need to have sex with him.
    "Come here, Captain..." Kumiko's voice was soft, tempting. She slid from the bed to stand, only to drop her dress, revealing the red scraps-for-clothes she'd been instructed to wear. Hey, might as well get some use out of them."Oooooohhhhh, th' scurvy fires'll 'ave to wait for their whuppin'," Holskbhir mumbled. He took a bite of his stale breadstick and threw it, rather hard, across the room. "M'knickers are so tight," He groaned as he seemed to take a step towards her, towards the bed. Instead, he sort of tumbled in her direction. Kumiko pivoted so that the giant fell onto the bed face first instead of slumping on her. The bed huffed when he landed. And he stayed. Did not move for several long moments. Then, his huge back lifted, and then pushed out a long, loud, extremely unattractive snore."How is this so easy?" Kumiko grumbled as she pulled back on her dress. She stepped around the slumbering lump to his night stand. It was tiny, a simple wooden drawer table. What could possibly be of value inside?Kumiko gingerly tested the single drawer, to see if it was locked. It was not. The drawer was tight, requiring a jiggle to slide out. Inside were several wrapped packages. They were tightly wound in fine silks. Kumiko gingerly lifted one out. It was light. She unwrapped it, unwrapping, unwrapping... By the time she finished, there was a small heap of silks on the bed. And inside, a perfect, tiny little glass Mandragora figurine.Each of the packages (6 total) were tiny glass figurines of common creatures. Collectibles, no doubt. Probably priceless to a collector. And worthless to Kumiko as she begrudingly wrapped them again and stuffed them into a sack to take to the Museum. As she loaded up and slid out the quarters, she was already drafting up her tirade to her contact. Just pay me in fucking gil, gods damn it!


    The Troubles with Baubles

    written by Sterne Evans

    ‘To the man with a grimace at Table #4’The sealed letter falls lightly onto the table with a puff of air. Shyly, and with haste, a Moogle floats overhead and away from Table 4, leaving its delivery and the short warbling sound of its pom behind. No one else takes notice, except for the man with the grimace to whom it is addressed.As the envelope settles onto the table, the short and stout Lalafell reads it aloud to himself once more.“To the man with a grimace at Table #4.” He recites. “What madness misplaced! Whoever is this for?”Propping himself on the palms of his tiny hands, he looks about the room searching for the creature this missive must belong to. He sees strangers all about, drinking their drinks and chewing the fat, but not one raises their eyes or tilts their hat.He thrusts his hands into his pockets and plops onto his seat. He fidgets, as he is wont to do, seldom able to sit still. His small feet dangle in the air, and miniature fingers flutter in the purse of his petticoat.Soon he becomes suddenly aware of the loudness of Buscaron’s Druthers and surrenders himself to the curiosity placed in his care. He hastily breaks the sea-blue ribbon seal of the envelope and unfolds its contents. His tea grows cold as he rushes through the words.“Pah! Poppycock and a pound of rubbish.” He exclaims. “What a mockery ground with grub and fish.”Minutes go by. Outwardly he plays with the contents of his pockets again. Inwardly his curiosity is played with until it gets the better of him. Snatching the paper from the table he rereads it in fevered panic, taking care to commit each line to memory.It reads:‘I will be short, mayhap brief,
    for this report be wrought with grief.
    Throughout I bespeak your language,
    for doubt and fear I’m wont to manage.
    Hark!
    Your date upon whom you dote,
    Is stolen herein as sawbills would a locket.
    Her fate remains bespoke
    to your whim, as I, that bauble in your pocket
    Hark!
    Verily malign your missteps in the morrow.
    Sincerely undersigned,
    M. R. Rhotano”Without conscious thought, the tiny fingers of this creature migrate from the letter to the precious item in his petticoat pocket as he reads.Thousands of times he’s done this out of habit, but as he concludes the letter for a second time, he realizes the neuroticism with which he’s begun finagling the bauble.“No” he whispers “this man is whom makes me wholly neurotic.” The beats of his heart flutter by as clocks do tick. “Low, he brings me; nearly to truly psychotic!”He tosses the letter back onto the table with disgust. It’s quickly stained with the stew that’s been sitting. He scans the room again with a steady eye. In spite of his critical study, his panicked mind wanders.Miss Fonupa Onofupa, his lover and ward; has this ‘Mister Rhotano’ truly kidnapped her? What perverse pleasure must he get with such a condescending letter written, and in such a threatening tone! And what of the treasure the Lalalfell always keeps in his pocket? The bauble? How ever could this thing be worth the life of a living being?These are the thoughts his mind drifts to as he concludes scanning the room. Confident that his aggressor is, in fact, not here, he hops down from his perch at the table. He takes but a moment to pat his pocket and feel the weight of the glistening treasure concealed within. Wherein that moment, a breath later, he scurries off into the night in search of the most stalwart and the most stern adventurer he can find to help save his most precious Onofupa.


    A Wick in the Wind

    written by Merrick Bronzemane

    The Lalafellian ran through the crowded alleys of Kugane. He knocked down bins and crates in desperate hope to slow down his pursuers. A shadow passed over him, they were above him. The Lalafell darted into an open door and found himself inside a bustling kitchen. He weaved through the crowd of the kitchen staff and made his way to the front of the bar and restaurant. As he passed the bar, he tossed a small pouch onto it. The pouch landed with a heavy weight and gave a familiar clank of gil. The Lalafell didn’t even look at the bartender as he said, “you didn’t see me,” as he walked by hurriedly.“This isn’t enough…”The words from the bartender caused the Lalafell to freeze as he grabbed for the handle of the front door. He didn’t even turn around. He wasn’t even sure what he heard.“This doesn’t even come close to the amount you owe me.”Panic washed over the Lalafell’s face and his heart felt like it was going to leap out of his chest. He dashed out of the establishment and merged into the large flow of foot traffic that moved outside. The Lalafell weaved through the crowd and then darted into a Mahjong house. He flew past the front hostess and immediately sat himself at a table occupied by three other elderly women. They seemed deep into their game, but the Lalafell just needed somewhere to blend in. That was his specialty. He was good at appearing unassuming and blending into a crowd. He kept his head down and pretended to be just as involved in their game.“I trusted you,” one of the old women said quietly. The Lalafell looked up and the three other women were still staring at their tiles intently. Which one spoke just now?“I trusted you with a very important task,” said one of the women, still looking down at her tiles. Her voice was different from the first, but the cadence of what was said was exactly the same.“You owed me and I gave you one task to make us even,” said the third woman, “but instead you took what was mine and ran.”
    The Lalafell practically fell out of his chair and ran through to the Mahjong Hall. He reached the back door to the establishment and ran out. Not looking ahead, The Lalafell ran straight into a person and fell backwards. The man helped him back to his feet. “Rough day, friend?” the man asked.
    “You wouldn’t believe it if I told you…” the Lalafell said breathlessly as he turned to walk away.“I think I would” the man replied as he grabbed the Lalafell’s back collar. He lifted the diminutive fugitive off of the ground, turned, and slammed the Lalafell face-first into a wall. He continued as blood collected and began dripping down the wall. The man threw the lifeless small body to the side effortlessly. He lit a cigar and took a few puffs from it before he walked off.“Should have just done what was asked, old boy,” he said as he walked away from the scene.


    Old Boy

    written by Merrick Bronzemane

    “It’s good money, old boy. Trust me when I say that you’ll be taken care of.”Merrick didn’t even look up. He just continued drinking his ale at his table. The short Highlander lit a cigar, took a few puffs, and stuck it in the corner of his mouth. He sat down next to the large Hrothgar at his table. Merrick didn’t even look in his direction. For one, he was unsettling, always smiling largely every time he met him, always smoking a cigar.“I’m not looking to be taken care of. That’s not my style. I just want to lay low and do my own thing,” Merrick finally replied, still staring into his stein.“When your thing is stealing other people’s hard-earned artifacts and pieces of art, I hardly call that ‘laying low,’ old boy,” said the man through a large toothy grin. Merrick didn’t care for him. He always had slicked back hair and a thin greasy looking mustache sitting atop of that uncomfortably large smile.“If you can call your people stealing those things from other people or places to begin with as ‘hard earned,’ then I can call what I do as ‘laying low,’” Merrick growled low. Irritation could be heard in his voice. He didn’t like long conversations and this man was two sentences past Merrick’s tolerance level.“You’re a man of many talents. Don’t think that I haven’t noticed that,” the man said with a certain slickness in his voice. You could HEAR the smile in his voice.“I’m an independent contractor,” Merrick interrupted, his reply dripping with irritation.“Look, we’ve all got demons that we’re running from. The difference now is that I can make those demons a thing of the past for you… where they belong,” he said.Merrick picked his head up slightly and peered over at the uninvited guest. He raised a single eyebrow. “What are you getting at?”(edited)“I know who you are, Black Lion. Don’t worry, not many people know. Besides, most people around here wouldn’t have any idea who you are or were anyway. I know what you’ve done and I know what you’re running from right now. Y’know nothing is going to stop her, right?”Merrick growled as he took another large gulp of his ale, finishing it up. The moment he raised his hand to flag a waitress, a fresh stein of ale was delivered.“Just give me the word and I’ll make all of those problems disappear. I can get you a new place to stay, a new job, and a new life. Tell me, has my boss EVER left a promise unfulfilled?”“No,” Merrick replied tersely. He almost wanted to agree to everything to make the man go away. He had nothing to lose right now “Fine… I’ll do it.”The man smiled even larger, larger than Merrick could have imagined. “That’s the spirit, old boy! Nothing ventured nothing gained! I tell you, it’s great having you on board! The boss is going to LOVE this bit of news!” he said with a celebratory clap on Merrick’s shoulder. The Hrothgar looked very annoyed at the man touching him “Now let’s take care of old business so we can get ready for new business. How’s that sound?”In an instant, Merrick felt the pierce of a thin sharp blade in his neck. Fire immediately started coursing through his veins. He found himself unable to move. He could feel blood gushing out as the man withdrew the dagger. “Don’t worry,” He whispered to Merrick. “That’s the poison going through your system right now. It’s going to act very quickly and soon you’re going to be very convincingly dead.”The moment the man placed the dagger on the table, someone walked by, covered it with a dish rag, and swept it off the table, before disappearing back into the kitchen of the pub.(edited)He clapped the shoulder of the Hrothgar one last time as he stood up from the table. Merrick sat there expressionless as his life rushed out of his body through the open wound in his neck. The man crushed his cigar out on the table surface before he walked off, leaving Merrick to die.