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Like @ricochet, I find myself interested in the demon and the novice summoners despite the lack of detail. But I'm sure there'll be more to it as time goes on.
A few questions to go along with my interest.

First, the extent to which fantastical elements are allowed. Should there be any limitations to the magic our potentially very diverse cast should have? Any rules you want to set in stone as to what it can or cannot do before balance comes into place or character creation begins?

Second, on the list of armaments available in the gauntlet, are we allowed to come up with our own or are we to pick from a set list of things that you, the DM, come up for us? I ask this because our characters would appear to be finding weapons within the setting and not have any that they would have kept with them during their average life.


X'gihl froze in place when the youth turned on the privateer with his panicked remark. The miqo'te's ears and tail briefly flicked in agitation; arms, legs, and fists alike tensing before reassuming his casual posture again. Poor lad seemed on edge with his feathered friends misbehaving, and woe would he be had X'gihl given him a firm thumping for a short-lived and accidental fright.

No, the privateer composed himself again; a friendly grin, soft-eyed expression, and a light flick of the tail. His shoulders shrugged in response to the youth's words. "Well, either we get these companions of yours settled and saddled, or we pull this wagon ourselves. I know my choice." X'gihl took a lively set of steps to a jaunty tune hummed under his breath. He made his way around the lad and his chocobo and spun to face the other with a mock bow. The privateer offered his hands up and scratched at the chocobo's chest. "Sooner you start acting right, ol' bird, the sooner you can let all that energy loose. What say?"


He hadn't expected a smile in return, or for her to accept the circumstances as is, but she appeared the finer for both as she walked down the dock. "A lay hand is one that has yet to learn. A willingness to act is all it takes." X'gihl muttered beneath his breath. His lips curled again, as they did much today. Every time the privateer turned, it seemed something or other was moving at his heart. For this woman and her choice, he was overjoyed. "Thank you."

Hard work was a valuable thing, the way X'gihl was raised. Your actions carried your weight and that of others. If one didn't know how to perform a function, experience became a fine teacher. Persistence, its pet. Together, they forged fine laborers, and labor was exactly what furthered the goals of the many, what made those who learned into competent workers. In that same vein, X'gihl observed that the lancer had removed her hand's armor. Once hidden, now laid bare were a pair that had clearly seen much and more of a fair share. Calluses and scars. This one may be a pleasure yet.

Turning those thoughts aside the same as the previous ones, X'gihl brought his flask up for a swig and refocused himself. A boat was coming in with a large haul of fish as the fisherman spoke of Lyveva and Aidric's situation growing up. He stepped forward to do his part in guiding it into port as the fisherman took its lead. Once in place, the lancer moved quicker than he had, but he followed her lead all the same. Plunging hands into the nets against the squirming fish within to get a firm grip, he awaited her count and heaved with her to bring the fish to the cart.

While the adventurers handled their side, the fisher had continued his conversation. X'gihl listened with half an ear, considering it fortunate that the lancer had opened the dialogue in his place. Orphans. Many and more like them these days. Still a shame. Wonder how? Blond hair, Highlander, roughly early twenties. Another refugee from the Mad King's War? Maybe not. But a similarity he couldn't quite deny. Yet it was none of his business, and unlikely something Lyveva would want to be asked about. No, sleeping griffons should be left to lie.

Chocobos on the other hand, were a different matter. X'gihl scanned his surroundings while the fisher and lancer conversed, and while tasks further down the docks seemed to he getting taken care of, the sounds of "warks" and "kwehs" came from the front of the wagon that the adventurers had just loaded, along with a voice that sounded irritable. Turning his head that direction, X'gihl observed the two chocobos meant to pull it seemed to be slipping from their saddles one at a time while the poor groom was trying to secure them back in place. The privateer let out a short chuckle and tapped his companion on the shoulder for her attention. He pointed a thumb toward the chocobos and began walking that direction, hoping the message would be clear to her. I'll be up there if you need me.

"Seems the birds want themselves a game. Might I offer you a hand, lad? Offer a scratch, mayhap?" X'gihl asked the groom upon approach.


Aye, hard work’s not so hard if you’re used to it and miss it so. X’gihl grinned cheek to cheek at the older Hyur’s agreement. Perhaps this nostalgic mood wouldn’t be so bad after all. A little hard work, that was right up his alley. Work took the edge off, work kept you busy, work made boredom and bad memories a forgotten thing. And it ensured his flask wouldn’t be so empty by the end.

Now, about that straggler. X'gihl turned to face her with an expression of bemusement. Yes, she had been in the Quicksand and the carriage. She'd been the one that J'torha had nudged to no avail. But who was she again? A mix of plate and chainmail covered her figure, and her posture seemed...proud? That might be the word for it. Aside from the clear Highlander heritage, he wasn't quite sure how to peg her. The lance could have been Ishgardian or Gridanian. The bearing of her presence left enough to be unclear on the matter. But she appeared somewhat experienced, if the appearance was any judge. Beneath those gauntlets, X'gihl pondered, would one find callused skin or soft pads?

Put it aside, he told himself. The Hyur that had responded clearly seemed to expect X'gihl's offer referred to both adventurers. Problem with that, X'gihl had only meant to offer his own. And the blond lady seemed to have her misgivings for his offering, not that they were unfounded. "Aye, mayhap we should. But then, coming down this way was more for meself.". The privateer bowed his head apologetically for a brief moment before looking back at her with a pleading expression. "Forgive me that, lass. Hadn't intended to drag you into the work as well, though my intention be to trade labor for information, if ye follow. If ye want no part, I wouldn't blame ya."

That having been said, X'gihl quietly hoped that an extra pair of hands would come in handy to take more weight off the shoulders of the fishers. The more he could assuage, the more happy they'd be about it surely. The happier a customer, the more likely he'd get what he wanted. 'Twas simple business. Well, simple business with a spot of mercenary perspective. One thing for another, that being. X'gihl stepped further down the pier, expecting to begin the boat's nightly cleanings and maintenance. He'd find Galfridus among them eventually, not a doubt to that. When he did, maybe the sailors would be happy to take part in that drink J'torha had declined earlier.
Awesome! Glad to see this up and going. I'll be working on a human character the next couple of days. Gotta study the lore and make a half-decent bio

@FoxFire before I get into it, though, are ex-Imperial soldiers a possibility?
Now this is a high concept with extremely interesting ideas. Please, tell me @FoxFire, do you have any geography set up for the actual planet our story will be taking place on? Any specific details about locations, settlements, habitations, or demographics?


A refreshing song that had come and gone too soon. The carriage reached its halt before anyone had even piped up to join the next verse. A pity, for true. Good company was hard to find, yet J'torha was making a good case for himself. All the same, it was time to go to work. X’gihl hopped over the side and out from under the carriage’s canopy with gusto, stretching his legs and performing squats to work the feeling back into them.

The privateer’s eye perused the Silver Bazaar from beside the carriage, getting a bearing as the good lady herself began to lay out some details. X’gihl had never been to this particular venue. From what he understood, the place had once been a spot of fine trade before the Calamity hit. Not that he would remember it too well. He’d taken a boat out of Vesper Bay to Limsa Lominsa shortly before the Calamity had struck. Five years later, it was a shadow of what it had once been. Nonetheless, it seemed merchants still took up spots here and there, setting up their shops and wares for all to see.

If this is a shadow, thought X’gihl, ’tis a very fine one likely made of some well-woven dark silk. Lyveva separated from the group to pursue a piece that she believed had come from the very home she had hoped to save, leaving the fresh recruits to now fend for themselves and carry out the investigation at will. At least she’d left them with a few important bits.

One of which included a man who may be off fishing. X'gihl looked toward the docks himself, partially drawn by the smell of brine and fish, partially hoping that Galfridus' past time might give him a good excuse to make it down that way. Aye, that sounds like a plan. With an unapologetically excited grin, X'gihl waved to the rest of his company before making way that direction.

Down the steps on the northern side of the Bazaar, X'gihl could see the fishing boats in port. Sailors hauled their catches from vessels as the sunset in the west glinted off the sea and wet stones of the environs. A perfect time, hopefully, to catch the man in question and relieve some nostalgia.

"Hoi there!" Called the privateer, stepping onto the wooden pier. "Pardon my intrusion, gents. Yer sails look as tired as you do! Would you accept another's hand in heaving the boats down for the eve?" Galfridus was sure to be among them. Which one was he, though?

Crossbow leveled at him, followed by a snap as it failed to go off. Something must not have caught properly. Ashdane, of course, was more worried about why it didn’t work than having not been skewered at the end of a bolt. His eyes flicked to the crossbow as he curiously began to imagine how the insides worked based on its appearance. He’d had a mental list of each piece and part and how they may have worked together in his mind, but it was a theoretical figure at best. To properly know how it works, he’d have to see the inside and either confirm his theory or change it to meet reality’s version.

Ash’s attention got caught back to the world at large, where he again looked at the rabbit-person holding the tool. The boy (girl?) or man (woman?) seemed frazzled over the malfunction. Focus! The maybe-noble behind the beastman didn’t seem ready to harm Ashdane, and another person who approached, he figured a mercenary, appeared with sword-in-hand. She was tall and had an unusual elvish look to her. A beastman, a noble, and a half-elf walk into a tomb infested with corpses and horrors. Now where have I heard this one, he remarked.

"Kaeci, why don’t you take your new friend to meet Alm; maybe he can shed some light on this clusterfuck.” Must've been the company’s leader, Ash figured. Things were looking up. This group, if nothing else, seemed to want something to do with Frances’ expedition, and that would make him an asset.

What now? What now? But he knew what then. Now he had to meet with the guy and make a report. Maybe get rescued from this place finally. Frances had been taken further in a couple weeks ago, abducted by the ones living here. Surely that meant that he was dead and there’d be no reason to go further? No, no he knew better than that. They’d want proof. Something to return to whoever hired them, either of Frances’ demise, or potential survival. Cursed nobility. Wouldn’t accept being told something without a piece of Frances’ armoire or jewelry or his personal emblem to prove it.

At least, that’s the expectation Ashdane set in his mind now. He relaxed his sword stance and sheathed the blade next to its mate, following the prompts to accompany the crew members back to this “Alm”. The mercenary a moment ago nodded to him, he found the gesture reassuring. He replied with a nod of his own and faced forward, prepared to hear the bad news when they met with their leader. These tombs weren’t done with him, not after two weeks of that odor, surrounded by death and risking being found again by those scaled bastards.

They passed a young woman along the way that appeared to be picking through the corpses for useful or profitable items. He couldn’t blame her, as he himself had been doing the same for the past time here. Ash had survived on scavenged rations and canteens, kept his gear clean and oiled and maintained after his own supply had run out by robbing the deceased. Whatever she'd hoped to find, he quietly hoped he wouldn’t have needed later.

Then they'd found the man himself, Alm. He stood over a corpse Ashdane recognized as Frances' captain, reading the dead man's journal. I can only imagine what that ass had written about me before… The weight of the situation crept upon Ash's face suddenly. Emotional scabs that had coagulated to cover the fear and desperation and had allowed him to persevere through the worst days here seemed to open momentarily. He sharply inhaled and used the pressure to push those feelings back down. Now wasn’t the time.

Another time, another place. Ashdane remembered the noble's captain as a buffoon who yelled orders better than he'd worked. He'd had questions about Ashdane's craft. Not intellectual ones like, “how does this work?” or “how much force could this device exert against an object three inches left of its primary focus?”. More along the lines of, “can you blow the latrine holes up so we can’t smell them anymore?”. The idiot.

Alm clearly seemed to find the journal worth reading, at least. Ash found it comical what the dead man may have written in it about their interactions. The thought brought a smile to his lips, dry and cracked from living as he had recently. Alm's eyes darted up to look at Ashdane before verbally pegging him by name. ”The Captain here seems to have thunk you were a capable sort, although it does seem you two didn't get along too well. So can the "Insufferable Bastard" give us a clue into what was going on here?”

Ashdane never made a response, not one that sounded louder than the echoes that came at that moment. Orcs, he thought bitterly. Did this group just lead them in here?! Orcish warhorns blasted through the tomb’s walls, drawing both eye and ire of the company, and they weren’t the only ones. From deeper within came animalistic hisses and the sound of scales rubbing against stone. The snakemen were coming to answer the call.

Where once he had hoped the danger had passed, now it came again tenfold. Alm directed the group into a corridor to the side, where they began to head. Ashdane stayed back a few split seconds more, intending to bring up the rear if only to prevent getting a knife in his back. He took off after the group, eying each individual to watch their movements. The beastman from earlier seemed to be meddling with the crossbow as they ran. Ashdane looked back to the two groups of foes as they watched one another before engaging directly.

Inside the corridor, Ash pressed his back against the wall and listened as Alm threw out an idea, which was answered by the mercenary who’d reassured Ash before. Run or kill the leader and hope one group leaves? How would that let them handle the second? How would they go about dispatching a single orc in that instance, nonetheless one considered their strongest and most aggressive member in the party? What if? What if?

What if? What if? One target. Easily notable.
The cogs began to turn. Snakemen who could ambush and crush a group of human expeditioners. The situation was different. The current engagement involved orcs in a head-to-head melee. Casualties on both sides would be unavoidable. Kill the leader, the orcs leave. But what if the snakemen force looked too weak at that point? You wouldn't leave a weak enemy to survive just because your on-scene commander was wounded or killed in action. It would demoralize them, but a foe on its last legs took priority.

The survivor’s pulse began to race as the idea struck home. He needed something to make it work. Needed what? His eyes darted to the crossbow in the hands of that beastman. What was their name? ”Hey, Rabbit!", he called in an excited whisper. Ashdane’s hands were groping about his tool satchel, pulling out a metal cylinder. ”You got that thing working? Throw me a few of your bolts.” He untwisted the lid from the cylinder and tried to estimate the contents within. Normally, the amount he had left would be good for another razor wire trap or a pair of small shrapnel bombs, but neither were quite what the group needed right then.

Ashdane took off his right glove and used his bare hand to pull out the remnants of the moist seed-filled resin that made up the primer from the container. The beastman had passed him the crossbow bolts he’d requested. The survivor tore off a bit of the resin and molded it over the head of the bolt firmly and slowly, leaving the sharp tip exposed. He repeated the process thrice more, leaving no resin unused and four boom-headed bolts that he held out for the beastman to take.

"Use these. Wherever they land, the primer will react. It'll explode. Get it in a vulnerable spot, that orc boss' neck, for instance." He looked to the rest of the company. There may have been better times to make a plea for them to leave instead of delving deeper, but Ashdane felt it worth trying, especially when the others seemed to already agree. "Forget the expedition, Alm. I saw Frances get dragged in deep weeks ago. The man's dead. We should focus on striking when we can do the most damage, when we can get both of them to consider retreating. We could get out of here!"




A light purse made for a slightly bitter X'gihl Tia. After his accident earlier that morning, paying to repair it had taken a fair amount of his personal coin and his savings. He quietly believed that perhaps the staff lady had intentionally upped the bill for the damage, or perhaps she just knew she'd caught him vulnerable. Caught in his underwear, hardly able to walk, and having clearly just broken inn property were just a few of the problems. Either way, he felt the fool that morning.

Originally intending to take the day off from his leves and just stay in town, X'gihl instead went out and worked his tail off to try to recoup from the mugging, sorry, “repairs". Leve after leve taken and dealt with, X'gihl could now return to Ul'dah and seat himself at the Quicksand with a comfortable drink just in time to catch the appointed hour for “The Blessed Twelve’s" ad. One good stroke of luck in a day of crap. A waitress took his order, he asked for a mug of ale and a mead to fill his hip flask, and made sure to mention it was on that “Lyveva's" tab. With that taken care of, he shimmied low in his seat, leg across knee, arms crossed, ears flicking in one direction after another to catch any useful tidbits.

He had no exact idea how the meeting would go down. How he would have joined any others looking to take part. The only choice he had now was to be attentive and try not to miss his shot.

“So I said, ‘yer mum's a namazu an'-.” Definitely not interesting. But what the hell's a namazu?

“If he didn’t wanna take the tentacle, he shoulda-.” Right, not that one. Anything but that one.

“-what happens if we mix the drought with sleepweed?” “Based on their properties, it might make a noxious gas or-". Mmk, maybe change tables. He didn’t want to be near those alchemists at the wrong time.

The waitress returned with his drink and a full flask, both of which X'gihl took greatly before standing to move to a different table. Bad timing, or perhaps another rare stroke of good luck, happened at that time. X'gihl paused mid-step and mid-swig when a clatter at Momodi's bar gathered people's attention. A blond Hyur stood atop the bar, and greeted the patrons as though they were all here at the time exactly for the same reason he himself had been. X'gihl stood uncomfortably among the others in the room, drink still to his lips as she continued.

It seemed she was pouring her heart out to the people in the bar. X'gihl himself wasn’t unmoved. The woman seemed young to be a leader, and from the sound of it the company wasn’t in a good situation. Perhaps the role couldn’t have passed to anyone else, perhaps if the Carteneau Flats hadn’t happened…he wouldn’t have been in his situation either. He noted she stopped on a person's name, perhaps the previous leader's, but he noticed a bad memory in her facial features. He quietly admonished himself for thinking lightly of it. Yeah, I know that feeling too.

You won’t find fame or glory here.

When did I ever want either of those?


The woman, Lyveva, finished her speech asking for help instead of offering it. The way it ended, X'gihl's instincts told him to be wary. The people who stayed or volunteered would be in the know. But nothing would stop him from cutting and running. She wasn’t the first pretty lady he saw since the Calamity to ask for help only to try stealing or murdering the person who offered it. In the pit of his stomach, X'gihl felt his nerves come over him.

No, it wouldn’t be like that. What could they take from him, but his body? What could he offer besides labor? He was dirt poor, worked for every gil. Maybe he could play along, see what was going on and get out if it went sour. If it was something dark and ritualistic, he'd fight tooth and nail. If he was just being unnecessarily suspicious…damn.

X'gihl drank deeply from his mug and finished with a loud breath. The company would front the tab here. All he had to do with stay or leave. That choice was getting easier by the second. He raised his empty mug and called out from amidst the patrons. “Here here, to the good lady Lyveva! Leader of the Blessed Twelve and shaker of wills. Where's the line for me to sign my life away?” His voice may have sounded a little sarcastic, but he tried to sound as sincere as he could when saying something like that. It just didn’t come easy. Maybe if he…

”Come hells or high waters, I'll venture through them. So long as I don’t go alone. Till sea swallows all!” Perhaps that was him getting carried away on the buzz that was slowly beginning to take over, but it felt kinda right at the time. Cheers to the Twelve, this was going to be an adventure.
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