“Marduk-sama, there is a package for you.” The building manager handed him another small box as he arrived. It was the third this week. And the tenth this month.
As usual, it was wrapped with a gold silk, which he couldn’t recognize at all. All he could tell was that this fabric wasn’t made in Othard.
The only person he knew from there… was that nomadic miqo’te he met while making some trades at Reunion in behalf of Lord Hien: Sigurd Alvitr.
Already at his apartment, he opened the package, and the contents were the same as the previous ones. Fancy tea from the far western, a land he had yet to see with his own eyes. He couldn’t deny it. He really loved tea, and he didn’t know how the miqo’te figured out his favorite drink, but he really appreciated the detail. But… to have the other send presents all the time…
How did Sigurd know where he lives anyways!?
He took out the small tea boxes and stored them in his small closet, just to find a particular box. It immediately caught his attention.
“What is this…?”
He opened it and the smell was strong… tobacco leaves were delicately put in a box, and he could say it was really good quality. Marduk was surprised to have received such present this time. Usually he had no friends or people he usually made small chat with.
The pale Au ra couldn’t resist it. He had to try it. And with haste he prepared his pipe and took a smoke.
He couldn’t help himself this time and smiled at the thought of meeting with Sigurd again and actually have a nice chat.
Maybe Sigurd was more than a simple and nomadic flirt.
The packages kept coming, and with time, he actually was looking forward to receive them. The tea and tobacco he received were always delightful.
But he also wanted to talk to Sigurd. Tell him how he liked the gifts, and maybe make the tea ceremony for him.
But how? He really didn’t have a way to reach for him, or a place where he could arrive for a gathering.
Marduk was opening a new package already, wrapped in the same silk. He had his desk drawer filled with all the pieces he had received so far, saving them like some kind of gold treasure. But, this package was different.
“…” There was no tea. No tobacco. It had a linkpearl device. And then he knew what he had to do.
“It’s time to look for him.”
He spoke to Lord Hien about it. As the monk he was, he needed to travel to find himself and maybe some new life goal. After a long chat and reasoning, he was allowed to leave (Actually Hien himself was encouraging it!).
He was going to travel to Eorzea at last!
On the weeks he was preparing for the trip and after the linkpearl was delivered to him, the presents stopped. Marduk was a bit worried that Sigurd got tired of just giving and not receiving. But then there was this device… and since he got it, there was no call or communication made yet.
Maybe it was a message from the other party for him to take the initiative and start communicating.
But apart from thanks, what he could say?
He didn’t have much experience in this kind of small talk at all. And if he asked for advice, he would raise suspicion.
So the best definitely was to go, search and meet the miqo’te in the flesh.
When he realized his new surroundings, he realized that nothing would be like it was. Othard was long behind. Now it was Eorzea. His adventure. He met the Scions, went with them through many missions.
But as his adventure was getting intense and time passed, he was unsure of being able to meet with Sigurd. Eorzea was just so immense and vast.
And one day, Minfilia told him to go to the Vesper Bay. He would now see the Scion’s headquarters.
He arrived first. Maybe he had to wait one or two days before the rendezvous. So it was a good chance to see around. The port, the tavern, find a place where to stay.
He arrived to the central plaza and took a seat at one of the benches, enjoying the soft breeze, looking at the kids playing and other people interacting, and then from afar, he caught sight of Sigurd entering the town.
‘What a coincidence.’
His eyes followed the dark-skinned miqo’te, and realized that he quickly entered the tavern. That was his cue to step in. He dashed to the place, and knocked the back door, having a old hyur open it.
“I hope you’re having a fine day, sir. I must abuse your trust, and ask you a favor.”
Marduk paid for a drink, and gave the man a piece of the gold fabric to be delivered to Sigurd. While waiting, he used his skills and waited for a reply at the roof of one of the tallest buildings in town. If his plan had worked, he would use his linkpearl this time, and then get close to the miqo’te, until they met face to face.
And it worked. The linkpearl registered activity.
“Marduk, where are you!?”
He couldn’t hold back a soft laugh after hearing the surprised tone from the other.
“Follow the clues, and you will know.”
It turned into a game of rally and clues, where he made Sigurd grab all the pieces of fabric he had given with the presents. The last one had yet to be found, and the blond miqo’te was inside an alley. There was a pack of boxes piled up and the piece of gold silk was there to be grabbed.
Losing no time, he reached for it.
It was the last piece, but there was no sign of Marduk.
“Marduk, please. If you made me run around this place for just a linkpearl tease–”
Sigurd was patted on the back.
“It was actually a tease. You’re back at the tavern.”
The miqo’te pouted by the silly game he fell for, but somehow no words of complain came out. Instead he laughed in defeat.
“Don’t worry, Sigurd-san. Drinks are on me this time.”
“Who would have thought that Marduk would be like that, considering how he stays away from people.”
“I do actually think that I have more than offer, but only to the right ones.”
“…Am I one of the right ones?”
‘…I think you’re THE right one.’
He woke up and stretched his muscles. Sigurd and Marduk spent the night at the inn, chatting, talking, knowing each other at the room they shared for the night. There was no physical contact, as Sigurd really wasn’t someone as easy as he thought, and he, on the other side, was never attracted to others so easily. Last night they focused on getting close, and forming a bond.
Reaching for his haori, he threw it over himself, and was about to get up for some water, when a clawed hand stopped him.
“Good mornin–” He whispered as he turned to look for the miqo’te, but what happened he wasn’t expecting it at all. Sigurd clung to him, arms around his torso, and reached for Marduk’s lips, kissing them.
The raen said nothing, nor pushed the other away. Actually he allowed himself to be kissed and closed his eyes. It was actually the second time he felt these feelings inside… and at first, he was scared… but something on said feelings was repeating him to give this a chance. He used his hand to reach for Sigurd, caressing his soft hair, as soft as the silk he had received from him.
The kiss was only parted by the need of oxygen from them, and Sigurd stared into Marduk’s eyes, sporting a soft smile.
“Would you want to come traveling with me?”
“…” Marduk’s hand had never stopped caressing the blond hair. He did it for some more time, and then moved to the miqo’te’s cheeks and lips, his thumb getting to travel and know how the other’s lips were.
And then, they started the adventure around Eorzea together.
É de bom alvitre sempre recordar, no âmbito das ciências naturais, que estamos nos havendo com um problema insolúvel. Mostremo-nos sempre sérios e honestos acorrendo a qualquer coisa que, de qualquer modo, vai chegando até nós, especialmente quando não se encaixa em nossas ideias já prontas. apenas aí perceberemos o problema. Que jaz na natureza mas, muito mais ainda, em nós mesmos.
VOLUNDR IS THE KING OF THE NORSE ELVES, AND HE’S FUCKING MISERABLE. HERVOR-ALVITR, HIS VALKYRIE WIFE, HAS JUST LEFT HIM, SO HE’S SITTING ON A TREE STUMP CRYING LIKE A WHINY LITTLE BITCH. MOTHERFUCKING ELVES.
WHILE VOLUNDR IS MOPING ABOUT, NIÐUÐR, THE KING OF SWEDEN, THROWS A BAG OVER HIS HEAD AND WHISKS HIM OFF BACK TO SWEDEN. WHAT A DICK.
VOLUNDR WAKES UP IN THE MORNING TO FIND THAT NIÐUÐR HAS CUT HIS LEGS OFF AND PUT HIM NEXT TO A FORGE. HE SPENDS A WEEK MAKING JEWELLERY FOR NIÐUÐR BEFORE HE GETS BORED AND DECIDES HE’S HAD ENOUGH OF THIS SHIT.
THEN HE MURDERS NIÐUÐR AND BOTH HIS SONS, FUCKS HIS DAUGHTER AND FLIES OFF INTO THE SUNSET LAUGHING LIKE A FUCKING MANIAC BECAUSE WHO NEEDS LEGS ANYWAY.
Marduk and his team received information on a couple of raids that Garleans would do, and he tried to dispatch as fast as possible two teams to follow and take arms against their invaders. But somehow his sources were late, and having arrived to one of the locations, everything was already destroyed.
The village elder had been killed. So he looked for someone who he could talk to, while ordering the team to help with cleaning and burials.
“…Lord Hien will be sad about this.”
Unfortunately the entire village was eradicated. The smell of burnt bodies and blood, rain and dirt… Was something he could never get used to.
“Search through the whole thing for survivors.”
The party scattered to look around, and he didn’t stay still. He looked around the perimeter. Maybe someone hid or ran away and were lingering around. Walking around, he didn’t notice that he was away from the town and deeper into the forest, his eyes following a few step marks that were showing an escape route. He checked around the bushes and the trees, noticing that these were really tall in comparison to the ones closer to the destroyed town.
If there were ninjas… he had to be careful.
A loud thunder echoed through the entire place and the rain immediately started, and Marduk decided to get back. The tracks scattered from the point he was at to different places. Sighing in frustration, knowing that the rain would hide the step marks, he decided to go back to meet with his party… But then some leaves fell over his head.
Stopping on his tracks, he looked around. Maybe… the ninjas made these tracks to lure him here. His glasses completely soaked made his vision blurry, so he had to rely on his other senses. His breathing slowing, he tried to focus on everything happening around him. The lightning storm started soon after and it made everything more difficult, but he was sure that he could sort himself out. It was part of his old training after all.
Then something fell from one of those tall trees. He quickly took a step to the side and took out his sword to cut whatever was thrown at him, but as he swung his sword, he stopped midway, realizing what the item was.
“Huh?” Picking it up, he realized that it was a shoe for a child. Which took him to look up, but sadly, his sight didn’t allow him to really notice what was up there. So, without a second thought, he dropped his sword and started to climb the tree. If there was someone who could attack him, he was ready to fight, as he was a follower of the way of the fist.
Whatever or whoever was up… Really had zero fear of heights. He could tell he was really high, as he could see the entire village destroyed from where he was. The lightning was getting worse, and through the whole place the thunder echoed. With a specific close one he decided that it was a bad idea to actually be there. His mind made up, Marduk was going to get down, but then the sound of a sob made him stop.
“…Is there anyone there who needs help?”
“P– please… hel– AHH!” A thunder spooked the one who replied, and Marduk immediately knew it was a child. Forgetting about what could happen, he acted quickly and kept climbing, reaching a branch where a small shape was clinging to life.
“Give me your hand.”
“I’m scared…!” The small furball happened to be a little Miqo’te girl, with big sky blue eyes, which contrasted with her yellow and black hair. With all the rain she was soaked and shivering, and it looked like if she moved, the branch would give in and break.
But Marduk had to act, and fast. The storm was getting worse and the lightning were hitting really close to where he was. “What’s your name, miss?”
“A’mira.” She replied now looking at Marduk, in a really soft whisper, her sobs making her unable to speak well.
“Alright, Miss A’mira,” He moved his arm as close as he could to her, yet still there was distance between them. He had to convince her to move. There was a high chance for them not to make it, if they were to be struck by lightning. “I know that we’re really high, and now I understand how to made it here. But… I want to help you get down. I know you’re cold and scared. But… I promise I will catch you.”
A few minutes passed and she didn’t move at all. Panic really got to her.
“…I’m Marduk.” He spoke.
A’mira still crying, started to move her trembling arm, trying to reach for Marduk. But the distance wasn’t close enough. The Au Ra had some troubles and could barely grasp the little Miqo’te’s fingers, and the girl was getting even more scared.
“Just a bit more, A’mira. I need you to stretch more toward me.”
“I will fall, Mr. Marduk–”
“You won’t. Just a bit more… more…”
The girl stretched as much as she could and then lost her balance. About to fall, Marduk managed to get a good grasp and grabbed her from the wrist, her scream fading as she found herself now hugging the tall Au ra.
“I got you, see?”
Her loud wails after being rescued were lost to the sound of the pouring rain. As fast as he could, Marduk climbed down the tree, grabbed his sword and dashed back to the remains of the village.
The girl was so tired that she fell asleep in Marduk’s hold.
He then met his party and explained what happened. They had no other option than to leave the place.
Two days had passed and A’mira was resting, a cold bag over her forehead. The caught a type of flu due to being outside like that, but she managed to receive attention at a small inn. Marduk was sitting close to the window, but he moved forward to stop her from getting up.
“Don’t move. You have to recover first.”
“Are you from that town?”
“No. Papa and I were visiting my grandparents…”
Marduk then looked at her solemnly. “And what… happened…?”
“…” The girl’s eyes turned watery and then loud sobs were heard.
His conclusions were accurate. The girl had lost her family to the Garlean Army. Apart from that this was a child, and he had no idea how to deal with such. He was a person of little words, and he even had trouble communicating what he needed to say. Once Gosetsu said that the day Marduk said more than 10 words in a single sentence, winter would hit Hell.
He spoke to the inn owner who accepted to take care of A’mira and try to give him a good life. Marduk promised to send money every month to help with her care and tutoring if she decided to study. Then he departed with his party.
But… A’mira had other plans.
He already had left town and was watching over his party. They interacted with each other, saying that next time they wouldn’t fail as they did, and that they would improve their recon and intelligence forces. Marduk also was planning on how to hand the news to Lord Hien, because this was going to be a delicate matter to attend.
But then he stopped on his track.
“Yo, Boss, what’s wrong?”
He moved away from his group, disappearing within a blur, and and then appeared behind a tree, where A’mira had been hiding.
“…Why are you following us?”
“I don’t want to stay there.”
Marduk rubbed his temples and knelt to try to get to the girl’s height, although he was just too tall in comparison with the girl’s height, which was surprisingly short.
“I spoke to the inn owner and she was going to take care of you like she does with her children.”
“I want to be with Mr. Marduk…” She lowered her head as she spoke, hiding her tears.
“Where I go isn’t a place for children. You can’t come.”
“I promise I won’t bother you… Just please… don’t leave me behind.”
“Boss,” the healer of his party reached him. “Sir Gosetsu has a thing with children. What if we take her and have him help you with it?”
“…” He meditated for a while the suggestion from his companion. And it didn’t sound crazy. After all, Gosetsu had to deal with more than a child, including Marduk at a young age. “Let’s go.”
Silently, Marduk offered the girl a piggyback ride, and resumed his walk with the party.
“How old are you?”
“10, Mr. Marduk.”
“You don’t look like it…”
“I’ve been told. Papa… used… he called me Runt.”
“…That doesn’t sound good.”
“He said it with a smile always, so I never was bothered.”
Then silence followed. Hours passed and they stopped to camp for the night. He gave his haori to her for using a cover, and sat down away from her.
“…Thanks, Mr. Marduk.” A’mira spoke while lying on the ground, covered with Marduk’s haori as a blanket.
“…Just Marduk.” He simply replied, staring at the fire he made with his group for the night.
She said nothing more and crawled to his side and decided to sleep next to him. Marduk said nothing, not even stared at her. But as the night passed and she slightly shivered from being cold, he adjusted the haori around her and then he lifted her, carrying the little girl close to his chest.
After two months, Marduk arrived from his latest mission.
A’mira left Gosetsu’s side and rushed to cling to Marduk’s leg, she was so short that she wouldn’t even reach the Au ra’s waist. He patted her in the head and after having his leg set free, he grabbed her hand and walked with.
“Thanks for taking care of her, Master Gosetsu.”
“Going to your place?”
“Yes. Please reach for me if I’m needed.”
“Say hello to Sigurd if you happen to meet with him. I’m sure he won’t believe little A’mira’s story.”
He nodded and with a slight hand wave he dismissed the man.
“Father, who is that Sigurd person?”
“…Someone who really will be surprised when he meets you.” He then showed his wedding band to the girl, to make his point.