Day 3 of the End of the World

Hydaelyn date: 1572/11/3
Place: Limsa Lominsa, Southern Islands
Posted on 05 Mar 2013 18:07

(afternoon)

There it was again. Lightning. The skies flashed purple. But there was no rain, only wind. Wind and thunder. There was no sun visible, the dark grey clouds covered everything. Everything except, of course…Dalamud, the celestial hound, and its immediate surroundings. The once-lesser moon shone bright red. As he looked up, Sharcos could see the outline of the Maelstrom Command's flag flying defiantly against the backdrop of a sky colored yellow, orange and fiery, fiery red. There was another flash and another short rumble. The streets were empty, and the wood-and-metal bridges made a hollow sound as he walked on them. It sounded so much more desolate now that most the people of Limsa Lominsa opted to stay inside as much as they could. He could not blame them. Despite all their efforts, the world was about to end. Ul'dah was under constant threat of being overrun by monsters. Aetherytes were nigh on unusable due to the constant presence of void-spawned monsters and their master Atomos. Wildlife had lots its wits and was attacking anyone in sight. The world was truly ending. And he had run out of Sanction. That was why he was now in Limsa Lominsa again, out to shop as out of place as it sounded. The Maelstrom Command was still the only reliable place for any of the Storm to gain their Sanction enchantment, and with the kind of almost ceaseless battering Ul'dah was facing, Sanction he sorely needed.
For this battle, he had faced a tough choice. Go out relying on his skills as a Dragoon, able to maybe make more damage on the enemy ranks, but also more vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy, or rely more on his less developed skills with a sword and a shield, exchanging a more optimal attacking style to a more optimal defending style. In the end, he had opted for the latter. It was chaos out there. One could not rely on a friendly conjurer or white mage to be on spot when you were about to die. You could lose sight of anything smaller than a firm stone wall, let alone something as small as a person, even if they weren't lalafell, and even if you had agreed to try stay together. This way, he could at least try heal himself a little, and also protect others.
The last wave of attacks had ceased not too long ago, and he had taken this opportunity to refresh his supplies of Sanction and other necessities, perhaps even exchange greetings with other adventurers, see if anyone had any news about anything. Everyone had been on edge lately, wondering when Dalamud would make its final descent, when the allied forces would finally initiate a final battle against the Garlean forces in the north…the last especially was of grave concern, for if not for adventurers and militia, some places, foremost among them Ul'dah, would have long since fallen, leaving only rubble for the allies forces to return home to. If they ever returned in the first place. He knew they were doing a very important job, but he also knew that he would have preferred to be closer to the top in the foodchain of military information, when he could have made a more informed choice. As it was, there was nothing to it but wait for news, wait for commands, and defend the cities while waiting.
A bigger-than-usual flash woke him out of his reverie. He glanced up one final time, smoothed the front of his officer's coat, and walked in to the Maelstrom Command. A flood of warmth and light greeted him. Not the gloomy red light and purple flashes of the outside, but the warm welcoming glow of lamps. He felt himself relaxing in the familiar atmosphere. These days, this place was more like home than anything else anywhere. His thoughts briefly turned to the highlands of Coerthas where he was born, but just as briefly returned to the present. There was nothing he could do about his relatives now. He hoped they had found shelter, but there was no telling where that might be. There had been reports of imperial troops stationed at Gwyr-Aen among other things of late, but that was all he knew, and even that because the pilgrimage still struggled to continue. The pilgrimage of the gods, entreating them for their aid in these desperate times, entreating that they put a stop to the destruction of the world. He didn't know how effective it was, but he had been among the first to complete it. The ring that had materialized in front of him as he prayed at the symbol of his patron goddess Halone still adorned one of his fingers. Who knew, maybe she and the others had listened. Maybe they hadn't. Maybe they had but didn't have enough power among themselves to stop Dalamud. Once again, his thoughts had headed to a forbidden direction, and he deliberately looked around to find something else to think about.
The place was fuller than it would have been a month ago. There was a short line in front of sergeant Grizzly Gnat who handled the seals exchange. He seemed to have a new helper to facilitate exchange. The young man - boy maybe - was handing sergeant Grizzly an armful of Sanction scrolls. They seemed to be in high demand.
“Hiya!” The voice was relatively cheerful. He turned to face its owner, a miqo’te girl with bright red hair.
“Hullo. Good to see you here.” He had known Butterfly - sometimes said to be short for Moonshade Butterfly, but referencing a moon wasn’t exactly an auspicious idea these days - for quite some time now, almost ever since he had left Coerthas for a life of adventuring. She had been among some of the first other adventurers he got to know, and was the only one from his early adventuring days that he still kept in contact with. He hadn’t seen the others, and didn’t know what had happened to them. He turned his thoughts to the present again, to reality. It had been increasingly hard these past few weeks. “Any news?”
There wasn’t, really. They kept up a little chatting as they moved to the line in front of sergeant Grizzly. More people were trickling into the Command all the time. This was to be expected, with Ul’dah in a short lull between battles, many would want to get more supplies, and the Grand Company headquarters were among the only reliable places left for that, especially (and if) you were a registered member. Butterfly was talking about the Admiral once again, wondering how she was doing with the main forces, if they had reached Cartheneau Flats yet, whether she was scared of the lightning (she quickly came to the conclusion that the Admiral would not be scared of anything), whether she would send out a call to arms to the adventurers soon. I nodded along and waited for my turn with Grizzly. I had gotten used to Butterfly’s exuberant admiration of the Admiral. It was mere coincidence that we had ended up signed up for the same Grand Company, and despite (because of?) her sometimes never-ending chatter when she got excited, I was glad that it had happened. I wasn’t very quick at making friends, and while I knew many people by face within the Storm and some I could attach a name to, there weren’t really any others I could call friend or that I could count on when the going got rough. We had been assigned to many of the same missions. Indeed, somehow the word had gotten around among the top echelons that we were some of the best the Storm had to offer. I doubted it somehow, but kept my doubts to myself. So much had gone in ways I had not anticipated and would never have believed. My doubts really had nothing to do with it, and might not even coincide with reality the way others saw it.
As we were nearing sergeant Grizzly and his piles of Sanction scrolls, I saw a person in full Maelstrom apparel approach lieutenant Guincum. The two conversed in low voices for a short time, before Guincum dismissed the man and faced the people gathered in the hall.
“Heads up everyone! Ul’dah needs help once again, a giant audhumbla has been spotted approaching the city at a considerable speed! Time to save some merchants again, off you go!”
There was a moment of confusion as people reacted to the news. The attack was on again. Other than for us waiting in the line for supplies, the place emptied out at remarkable speed.
“Want to team up?”
“Sure thing.” At least this time, I might have someone at my back. That was good. My turn for the supplies would come soon, then it would be back to battle for us. I wondered if they would ever end, and what the outcome would be once they did.


(early evening)

“Good job, Butterfly.”
“What, are you implying I would do a bad job?” Sharcos grinned tiredly at his companion. Audhumbla was down, a testament to either the skills of man or to the skills of gods. Many were resorting to sheathing their weapons and kneeling down to pray in the face of these foes. They would appear invulnerable, but sometimes…sometimes they would appear gravely wounded out of nowhere. Maybe the gods did have a hand in these fights. Or maybe it was due to the skills of man? There really was no way of telling. And he could still hear the sounds of battle from further up the street, one of the incredibly strong Garlean centurions holding out against who knows how many adventurers. They were like fiends from the deepest of the seven hells. Maybe the work of their one-time leader - or was he current? He had witnessed himself how multiple likenesses of Nael Van Darnus had assaulted the streets of Ul’dah, even after he himself had been one of the adventurers who had subjugated the man before - or the work of Dalamud, mayhaps even their own infernal magitech…who knew. Maybe the gods. What was certain was that they were infernally strong.
There was a commotion from the direction of the Quicksand, where the Adventurers’ Guild was quartered. The outside of the building was freshly battered, but it still stood. It took a little while to figure out what the commotion was about, but soon one voice rose above the others.
“Limsa Lominsa is under attack! All able to arms! Defend the gates of Limsa!” His blood ran cold for a moment. Not only Ul’dah, but now Limsa Lominsa too, the city of his only home. He got to his feet and looked at his companion. Butterfly was already initiating a teleporting spell, presumably to the city, muttering something about ‘the Admiral’s home’. As the aether consumed his body and filled his ears with its ring, he wondered what they would be facing next. Unimaginable things had been happening as of late.
The next he was able to see, he was looking up at an aetheryte, one still a calming shade of blue. The place was full of people, many heading outward through the crowd, presumably to face whatever monstrous thing it was that Limsa was now facing.
“Let’s go, let’s go already!” He felt an insistent tug on his arm, drawing him away from the aether and into the now-stream of people heading north and away from the plaza. More people were arriving all the time. He gave one last glance at the aetheryte and gave in to the tug. It was time to save a city again.



Category: For the World

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