To A Thief - Chapter 9: Setting OutA Chapter by Jobyn
The training is complete. Stiff and Draven have earned their rite of passage. And now our young adventurers finally set out for good.
"So you're telling me, it wasn't Warchief Vatgit?"
"No, it definitely was Warchief Vatgit.. but he looked nothing like he used to. It was strange, Lady Curilla.." Moku replied. "It was almost as if.. he had been restored to his former self."
The two stood talking alone just above the slope leading up to the fourth floor of Ghelsba.
"Former self'?" The young elvaan woman repeated, narrowing her visible right eye- as her left eye was covered over her ruby-red hair that fell over it through her open celata. "As in, General Vatgit of the Crystal War?"
Moku looked up at her sternly for a moment before nodding. "Precisely. That armor; that howl; and those piercing, glowing white eyes.. I remember them all too well from my childhood."
"I find that hard to believe, Moku." Curilla started, putting her hands to her hips. "It is a known fact that the Shadow Lord was the source of the beastmen's power. To have someone like Vatgit romping about in his former glory would mean that the Shadow Lord is still among us.. when he is obviously no more. You know this. You are simply overreacting."
"Yes.." Moku crossed his arms in front of his chest and placed his index finger over his chin in thought.
The sight of Warchief Vatgit as he had seen him just as Stiff threw him off the ledge once again flashed in Moku's mind, shortly followed by another flash showing the same General Vatgit he had seen in the past.
"She's right. After the Shadow Lord's defeat, the beastmen had lost so much power that they retreated to their own corners of the world, slowly aging over time and becoming shadows of their former selves.." He thought to himself.
Curilla then shook her head, giving a small smirk seeing how troubled he was. "If it bothers you that much, think of it this way: General Vatgit would certainly not have fallen to a pair of two young simple thieves.. children, really. That orc was a monster whom could take on a battalion by himself.. so your thoughts are ruled out by far."
Moku looked up at her for another moment, then gave a helpless smile as he scratched the side of his head. "Yes, you are right. Perhaps he knew he would fall this day and decided he would go down in his former armor from the 'glory days', hehe.."
Curilla simply nodded and brought her fingers to the bridge of her nose for a moment. "Now, where was I.. ah, yes. Where might these two said aspiring thieves be? I would like to see them now."
"Oh, they should be waking up now. Avondale and I had them set in one of the tent posts to regain their strength. They had a hard week of training; those two.. I made sure of it. I guess they just finally collapsed." He grinned, turning and making his way towards the post. "Right this way."
As much comfort as Curilla's words brought him, Moku still felt uneasy. Sure, two thieves would have been quite the appetizer for the former Vatgit, but Stiff's sudden ability was no simple attack that just any child, or any body for that matter could do.
Still, he chose to keep it a secret for now.
When Stiff came to, he was greeted by a familiar voice.
"Ah, finally awake are we?" Avondale smiled as he went over to Stiff's bed and handed him a cup of hot San d'Orian tea. "Don't worry, it is only tea. I thought you might like some."
"Avondale..?" Stiff asked drowsily, rubbing his eyes as he sat up and looking down at the tea blankly before taking it. "Thanks.. where am I?"
Just as Stiff awoke, Draven- whom was on the other bed at the opposite end of the tent sat up as well, being offered the other cup of tea in Avondale's hand.
"What.. happened?" Draven asked, just as confused as Stiff.
"It seems you two don't quite remember your fight with the Warchief.." Avondale noted, rubbing his own chin.
"That might be for the best.." He thought.
"That's right..! Warchief Vatgit.." Stiff said, bringing a hand to his forehead and feeling the bandage gauge on it. "How did we do? Did we beat him? I remember him attacking the mountain.."
Draven furrowed his brows in thought, continuing after him. "There was a rock slide.."
After that, their minds just went blank.
"Ow!" Stiff twitched as he pressed his fingers against the bandage on his head. "I musta' been nabbed on the head by one of them.."
Avondale took this chance to butt in and come up with an explanation.
"It seems you two devised a plan to use the Warchief's strength against himself." He started, taking a sip of his own tea.
"Quite clever, I must say; climbing onto the crumbling mountain edge and using his strength as his weakness. The rock slide ran through the entire floor and off the side of the cliff, taking the Warchief with it. Now, if only you two had been more swift on your feet.. you wouldn't have your heads knocked around like so." He explained with a smirk.
"Really..?" Draven asked, narrowing his eyes in thought and trying hard to remember.
"Oi, if you won't take my word for it, go look at the fourth floor yourselves.. it's a mess! Ghelsba Outpost has been limited to three floors now, thanks to you two." Avondale sighed.
"That's embarrassing.." Draven sighed. "But does that mean-"
"Does that mean we passed!?" Stiff interruped, throwing his feet off the bed.
Avondale smirked and leaned his back against the center hold of the tent, about to speak before Moku's voice sounded out from behind the tent flaps.
"That's right!" He exclaimed.
The three of them turned to look as the tent flaps opened and in walked Moku alongside the young, female elvaan commander.
"As Avondale explained, you two exploited your enemy's ability and used it against him. Now that is a thief's tactic if I ever heard of one. You may have caused a mess, but you got the job done and that's all that matters.. congratulations, you two. You passed." Moku smiled.
There was silence for a moment as Stiff and Draven exchanged glances from each other and then back at Moku. Finally, Stiff gave a big grin and bounced off the bed and onto his feet.
"Hell yeah! We did it!" He cheered, high-fiving Draven.
Draven high-fived him back but simply smirked and looked to the side trying to keep his cool. "Heh, you say it as if we had no chance to begin with."
Moku and Avondale chuckled at the sight. Not only had they succeeded in conquering the outpost, but they had conquered the tension between each other and appeared to be as friends now.
"Well then. Once you two are done throwing a party over a simple victory, I would like to say something." Curilla spoke, putting her hands on her hips.
"Err.. sorry! We're good." Stiff staggered before standing up straight.
"Yes ma'am." Draven replied attentively.
Unsheathing her decorative sword from her side, Curilla brought the tip to each of the two thieve's shoulders. "As the commander of the Temple Knights of San d'Oria, I; Lady Curilla, bestow upon thee; Stiff and Draven, the title of San d'Oria's Warchief Wreckers.. and personally acknowledge you two as eligible adventurers. You have mine and the Temple Knight's thanks for aiding in the capturing of Ghelsba Outpost."
"'Aiding'?" Stiff repeated with a smug grin. "More like capturing it ourselves!" He exclaimed.
Face palms filled the entire tent.
"Stiff, should you wish to keep your head on your shoulders, I suggest you use proper etiquette and humbly accept my title." Curilla said, looking directly into his eyes with her one, exposed right eye.
Yep, there goes my head again. Lose it every time.
I don't know what it is about Lady Curilla, but this woman scares the HELL out of me!
It was like staring death in the eyes.. wait, he doesn't have any eyes. Well, I guess I'm half-right, if you know what I'm saying.
Her gaze was so cold, Stiff couldn't help but gulp and quickly stood straight, shoulders straight. "Guh! Ma'am! Yes ma'am!"
"Moron.." Draven muttered under his breath, looking at him from the corner of his eyes.
"Well then." She continued, sheathing her sword and making her way out of the tent. "I have some posts to attend to. May we meet again should duty call, Warchief Wreckers. Good day."
And so they all bid their farewell to the beautiful but scary Lady Curilla.
After having a nice chat over tea and talking about the past week while catching their bearings, the four finally left Ghelsba Outpost and made their way out into the forest of Ronfaure.
Stiff had been constantly losing himself, zoning out and looking at the palm of his hand. He felt something coming back to him.. but he couldn't quite put his mind on it.
Upon walking through the gates of South San d'Oria, Avondale stopped and gave a light smile.
"Well then, I'll be returning to my post now. I've played hooky long enough." Avondale said, walking ahead and waving his hand in the air. "You three take care. Good luck on your adventures, Stiff and Draven. Should you need any help, don't hesitate to ask me. Farewell."
They said their goodbyes and continued onwards led by Moku towards the residential area.
"I made a little something for you two to commemorate your success in my training." Moku smirked proudly. "They should be in your mog houses. Meet me back out here when you're finished."
Stiff blinked for a moment, feeling a bit embarrassed. He hadn't really ever gotten anything before as a gift, aside from his current dagger.
"Really? For us? I wonder what it is.." He thought aloud, making his way into his mog house anxiously. "Let's see.."
Draven cleared his throat and looked to the side. "You didn't have to get us anything." He simply said, but made his way into his own mog house as well.
Upon walking in, Stiff saw a brand new set of armor that was neatly placed by his moogle on his bed. Next to it also laid a newly-crafted dagger with the imprint 'Stiff' on the brim of the hilt.
Examining the blade in awe, Stiff saw that it was actually a kukri; a type of curved dagger that was used not only as a tool, but as an effective close-range combat weapon as well. They were quite favored in some of the nations' militaries.
"This is amazing.." Stiff spoke to himself, feeling the cutting edge of the blade and holding it outward as if he were piercing something.
Setting it gently back down, he then removed his current set of simple and worn out armor and began equipping himself in his new gear.
Looking at himself in the mirror, he sheathed his new dagger onto his belt and dropped his old one in his satchel. He admired the new set of armor, staring at the adventurer who looked back at him. The body piece was a harness lined with a certain type of material that wasn't exactly iron, but it was just as sturdy; the leggings and gauntlets bearing similar design.
With a new set of equipment, he was ready to take on what may lie on the road ahead.
Making his way out in his new gear, he rubbed the back of his neck and gave a humble smile. "Damn, Moku.. I dunno what to say! This looks so cool.."
"Heh, I put you guys through hell. I figured the least I could do was start you off with a new set of equipment since your old ones ended up so thrashed." Moku replied with a shrug.
Draven walked out of his mog house also bearing a new set of armor and a kukri similar to Stiff's. His armor had a style that resembled the look of his last one, but was a lot more reinforced and definitely a lot cooler.
Clearing his throat once more, Draven brought it to himself to say, "Thanks.. I appreciate it. Saves me the gil, I guess."
Moku grinned. "Look at you two! You no longer look like little punks. You look like actual adventurers now." He said. "But don't get carried away.. this is some of the most basic equipment out there. It's definitely nothing special.. but it'll do until your next upgrade, whenever it may be."
Moku was wrong.
I thought it was pretty special.
A small light flickered from a pouch in Moku's robe, making a little chime-like sound.
"Oh?" He blinked, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a glowing linkpearl.
"My linkshell is calling. Guess I was a little later then expected, hehe." He gave a helpless smile, stuffing it back into his pouch. "Well then! It looks like my week off is over. I gotta get back to Jeuno. Duty calls." He sighed.
"Wait, that's it?" Stiff asked. "I thought you were gonna-"
"Nope! What you do next is entirely up to you two. I made sure you were both actually on your feet before letting you go off on your own. Don't worry, I spend most of my time in Jeuno, so odds are once you find yourselves there, we'll be meeting again. I gotta check up on you guys, after all!" Moku said, waving his finger in the air.
Draven and Stiff both nodded to their mentor in acknowledgment.
"You two take care now, you hear? Oh, and Stiff.. harness it."
"Huh..?" Stiff blinked.
Moku simply smiled and waved as he trotted off. "Farewell!"
Stiff and Draven walked off towards the center of South San d'Oria without saying much of anything until Draven stopped and gave a light smirk, placing a hand on his own hip.
"Heh, see you around." Was all he said before he started walking off in another direction.
Stiff blinked once more and turned his head to look at him. "You're leaving?"
I dunno why, but for some reason.. I felt kinda sad.
This whole week had been great, and it wasn't until now that I realized I was having such a good time because I was finally among people who accepted an orphan like me..
So to have each of them suddenly branch off like this kinda sucked. I guess I just hate being alone..
Draven stopped without turning around. "Is there a problem?"
Stiff rubbed the back of his neck and looked to the floor. "Nah.. I just figured maybe you'd wanna go to Valkurm together, you know.. start out there like everyone else."
"I got other things to do." He replied, looking up at the sky.
"I see.." Stiff mumbled.
Draven turned and gave him a light smirk. "Don't worry, we'll meet again soon.. we're friends now, right? Gotta live for tomorrow, Stiff."
Stiff looked back up at him and stared for a moment, realizing he was referring to their talk in Ghelsba the day before.
Giving him a grin, he nodded and said, "Friends. Right. I'll see ya around, then."
"Heh." Draven turned back around and walked off with that in mind.
Stiff saw his friend off and then made his way over to the fountain and sat down, meditating on what had gone on the last few days.
"Man.. what a week!" He thought aloud.
He didn't sit for too long before he heard a voice call out to him.
Turning to the side, Stiff saw a group of four people looking over at him and waving him over.
The group consisted of a tarutaru red mage, an elvaan warrior, a mithran white mage, and a galkan monk.
"You looking for a dunes group!?" The elvaan called out.
Stiff winced as he looked at the group, then stood up and gave a quick nod. "Actually, yeah!"
"Come on over, we were just about to head out!" He replied.
As Stiff made his way over, he was greeted by them all.
"I hope teleporrrrts don't make you queasy.." The mithran white mage purred as she prepared herself to cast her magic; her feline-tail swishing behind her.
"Ready when you are!"
Stiff looked at them all as they called out at her signal and grinned. "Ready!"
Somewhere in an unknown chamber..
"Master.." A hume woman garbed in black, light, fitting garments appeared out from within the shadows. She knelt down respectfully in front of a shadowy silhouette before her whom sat on a large chair.
It was very dark in this chamber; the only light coming from a small hole in the ceiling where the female ninja now was.
"Ah.. it's you.. what is it?" The silhouette answered, speaking in a deep voice that made the female ninja's insides quiver.
"Warchief Vatgit has fallen. It seems his restoration was interrupted.."
"Has he now..? What a pity.. the process is much too slow with only these pathetic fragments.. so I'd wager they know something is wrong, then?" The voice asked.
"I don't think so.. he was felled by two simple thieves. No one else was around.. I investigated further and it seems no one else is aware." She quickly replied.
"Two simple thieves, you say..? Who may they be?"
"From what I gathered by a temple knight I interrogated before slitting his throat, they go by the title of 'Warchief Wreckers'. I might be able to find some names with this much." She said.
"Hmph.. there is no need." The voice said. "We will be making our move soon enough.."
Stiff finally sets out on his grand adventure; his life from now on guided entirely by his own two feet!
The Warchief Wreckers have already made a bit of a name for themselves, but perhaps that wasn't for the best..
A new malicious entity has made its presence in Vana'diel.
The road stretches on towards Chapter 10: The White Sands
© 2011 Jobyn
Added on March 16, 2011
Last Updated on October 31, 2011
Tags: adventure drama comedy brotherly
To A Thief