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Aug 19, 2020


about xiu sun


NAME: Sun Xiu. Alias: Tsai Xiu.

NICKNAMES: Tigress of Doma, Cub, Lotus/Jade Lotus, Lian Hua, Mochi.

AGE: Twenty.



GENDER: Female.


RACE & CLAN: Raen, Au Ra.

NAMEDAY: 12th Sun of the 5th Umbral Moon.

ORIENTATION: Heterosexual.

MARITAL STATUS: In a relationship with Prince Jun Amari.

RESIDENCE: Doma, the Jade Palace.

OCCUPATION: Top assassin and informant of the Kinosh*ta-gumi, bodyguard for Princess Aoi Amari.


ALIGNMENT: Chaotic neutral.


HAIR: Xiu’s hair is jet black and completely straight, though it has a tendency to form soft waves when exposed to salt water. It’s very shiny and thick, and clearly well cared for, considering its soft and satin-like texture. When loose, it reaches down to her waist.

EYES: Depends on the light. They can appear as ocean blue, or as more minty hued, with black limbal rings.

HEIGHT: 5 fulms and 2 ilms.

BUILD: Xiu is a petite but curvy girl. Regardless of her natural and traditionally feminine shape, though, she is lean and clearly athletic. Though not particularly visibly muscular, it’s clear that she puts herself through rigorous physical training to remain slim, light, and strong.

COMMON ACCESSORIES: She always has weaponry on her, whether it be her katana, knives, rings, or a small pistol – or all four, if not more.




PARENTS: Sun Lei (father, deceased) and Sun Chun Tao (mother, deceased.)

SIBLINGS: Sun Hui (older brother, alive.)

OTHER RELATIVES: As far as Xiu knows, she has no living blood relatives other than Hui. The yakuza that took her and her brother in as orphans are her family, now, for lack of a better term. She’s been with them since she was six years old, and her brother nine years old, taken off the streets after their parents’ inn in Doma was burned to the ground by Garleans.


OTHER: The oyabun of the Kinosh*ta-gumi acts as something of a complicated father relation to Xiu, though Hui has kept more of a distance than his sister was able to. She has several within the yakuza she considers to be as family, but none ever so close to her as Hui.

The Amari family - the women, in particular - have become like Xiu’s own aunts and sisters, including the young princess Aoi.


extroverted / introverted / in between

disorganized / organized / in between

close minded / open-minded / in between

calm / anxious / in between

disagreeable / agreeable / in between

cautious / reckless / in between

patient / impatient / in between

outspoken / reserved / in between

leader / follower / in between

empathetic / unemphatic / in between

optimistic / pessimistic / in between

traditional / modern / in between

hard-working / lazy / in between

cultured / un-cultured / in between

loyal / disloyal / in between / depends on who you ask

faithful / unfaithful / in between

SMOKING HABIT: never / sometimes / frequently / to excess.

DRUGS: never / sometimes / frequently / to excess.

ALCOHOL: never / sometimes / frequently / to excess

#some updating was done here#ffxiv rp#ff14 rp#ffxiv lfrp#ffxiv yakuza#raen#au ra#doman rp#doma#crystal data center



Dec 22, 2021


knock‘em down.

[[ part two to this post! ]]

Audrey lays back on the futon as the linkpearl rolls out of her hand. She can’t wipe the smirk from her face. She cannot resist the urge to laugh.

She was sure people had good reason to be afraid of Tsai Xiu, but she couldn’t find one just yet, if she could be so easily disarmed by words and requests said with puppy dog eyes. It’s almost better than a high. It feels familiar. It feels right. This was her, this was Audrey, no, Cherry - manipulating the people that couldn’t be manipulated, dismantling the people that couldn’t get shaken.

Finally, she does laugh, her head tilting back into the futon.

It wasn’t a selfish request. It was for Cato. But hells. f*cking hells, it felt good. Better than any drug.

Being a miserable piece of existence tasted sweet. It felt sweet. If she had to be the bad guy for a good outcome, so be it. For the Benes family, she could always play the bad guy. She could risk it all. She would risk it all. If she went to this Jade Palace and was eaten alive for trying, that would be okay.

The urge to laugh fades. She stares at the ceiling, timing the sound of her breathing, listening to the water running in Caius’ shower.

What had been the crackle? The explosion? The scream?

Had the priestess been right about Hana? Was she just always… there? Cato had never said anything. He would, right, if he had been able to see her? Maybe her presence in the mortal plane wasn’t as strong as his, but–…

Wait. Wait just a damn minute.

Audrey pushes herself to her feet and grabs her jacket that she’d tossed onto the kotatsu, jamming her feet into the first pair of shoes she found.

“I’ll be right back!” she shouts to Caius.“I need to talk to Arashi!”

There’s a cold drizzle as she stomps outside to their private courtyard. The shrine to Arashi here is smaller than it is at the main wing of the house, but it is, Audrey knows, where he’s more commonly found - because he can never stay out of her business, clearly.

“Arashi!” she yells, kneeling despite the enormous amount of disrespect she was feeling and carefully adjusting the incense from earlier.“You giant, smelly lizard, you better come out and talk to me now–”

With a quiet‘pop!’, the smaller version of the lizard appears on the stone of the shrine, slowly blinking his yellow eyes up at the glaring girl.

“What did I do?” he asks, his voice as deep and as big as if he was an actual man and not a tiny reptile.

“The priestess said Hana’s ghost is around me–”

“Ah,” Arashi noises, sagely and almost comically nodding.“You know, I’ve been meaning to mention that since you first were able to see me…”

Audrey’s eyes widen, and she thrusts her hands out in disbelief.

“What do you mean? What do you mean by that?”

“She’s not with you all the time,” he explains, like he was discussing the weather.“And she’s not solid at all. Not like our Cato. She’s much weaker, but… Sometimes. Sometimes she visits you. Most of her time is spent elsewhere.”

“Elsewhere,” Audrey echoes, narrowing her eyes now.“And where is that?”

“Mm… No spoilers. Not yet,” Arashi yawns, and Audrey lets out an indignant shout when he starts to disappear. Her hands reach out to throttle, only to fall on the wet stone, and she screams her frustration once more, slapping at the shrine in her outrage.

“f*cking little worm– doesn’t even come to me in his full size–” There are plenty of choice words and angry words that come out of Audrey’s mouth as she stomps up to her feet, but in truth, her head is swimming.

Sometimes? Where else did Hana go? No spoilers? What did that mean? Why was everything so cryptic? Why was he like this? Always? Sure, she supposed she was supposed to live without a god telling her the answers to everything, but still–

“It is frustrating.” Arashi pops up by her shoulder, and Audrey actually stumbles back a little in shock at the sudden return of his voice. There’s a clap of thunder in the distance, a streak of lightning, as she glares, and the little lizard kami raises his eyes to Audrey and spreads his little lizard hands in apology.

“What? That you won’t answer my question?”

“No, not at all. That you will be granted such easy access to the Jade Palace, where its kami barred me from entry - very rudely and aggressively, might I add. He has positively no manners,” Arashi grumbles.“A pompous, vain, full of himself…”

“Wait– the Jade Palace has a kami, too?” Audrey asks, faintly.

“Two. But their story is… complicated. I would advise much caution, Yuna. That place is dangerous - especially for pretty young women–…”

“Oh, I’d like to see them f*cking try,” she growls, slamming the courtyard door shut as anothe clap of thunder rattles the sky and as the rain pours harder.

#part TWO#writes#ffxiv rp#ff14 rp#writing#audrey#ffxiv writers#ffxiv writing


Dec 22, 2021


set‘em up.

Xiu’s linkpearl is ringing. It shouldn’t be ringing. The hour was late, Jun was away doing his monthly duties, and as far as she knew, she hadn’t angered the oyabun enough to warrant a call. All in all, Xiu had been on her best behavior. The Jade Palace was never uneventful, but it was quieter in recent days. Of course, Xiu knew better than to trust too much quiet.

It was usually hiding something.

With a soft groan, she pushes herself up on her elbows and reaches for the little jade-hued device, laced with gold paint. It was a newer device, this one. It was for secure calls - to her brother, to the prince, to the servant girls if they needed her and she was not within close proximity.

It’s not a voice she recognizes chiming in from the other end.

“This is Tsai Xiu, isn’t it? I hope this isn’t a bad time.”

A pause. A heartbeat, a skip. The Doman is good, but it isn’t perfect. Accented. Not a familiar voice. A feminine voice, but not one she knows. And it’s someone using her… almost real name.

What in the seven hells?

“Who is this?” Xiu asks, eyeing up the walls and the doors, and she can hear the other voice smiling when it replies.

“Oh, silly me. It’s Audrey Matsuda– or Yuna Matsuda, I guess, you may know me better by? Sorry. Still getting used to it. This is probably a big surprise! I’m sorry about that, but I got the contact information from…”

There’s another pause, and Xiu has to wonder why she’s still entertaining this call and why she hasn’t hung up yet.

Yuna. Yuna Matsuda.

Hana’s baby sister.

Hells. f*cking hells.

Keep reading

#writes#ffxiv rp#ff14 rp#ffxiv writing#writing#ffxiv#audrey#xiu



Jul 11, 2021


@fyeahmyths​ spring myth event, day 6: asian deity

Meng Po 孟婆

The Lady of Forgetfulness serves in the tenth court of Diyu. It is her task to ensure that souls who are ready to be reincarnated do not remember their previous life or their time in hell. To this end she collects herbs from various earthly ponds and streams to make her Five Flavored Tea of Forgetfulness. This is given to each soul to drink before they leave Diyu. The brew induces instant and permanent amnesia, and all memory of other lives is lost. Having been purged of all previous sins and knowledge, the dead spirit is sent to be reborn in a new earthly incarnation, and the cycle begins again.



I met evil when I was very young, and it seemed like it was something that would come to chase me for the rest of my life. Something in me knew that from the first time I heard my parents screaming at the Garlean soldiers to spare my brother and me from their flames and steel.

Maybe it was the way the spirits that had lived in our inn howled as they fled. Maybe one of them, in their fear and rage, marked me by mistake.

Who’s to say?

The reason doesn’t matter, at the end of the day. What matters is that I had to learn how to survive the wickedness around me. To avoid being swallowed by the monsters, I had to become one of them. And to me, there are few monsters so terrible as the woman in charge of our province: Camilla goe Titus.

She cut an impressive figure, standing at nearly the same height as Hui, and she was thin, willowy, with a thick head full of pale gold hair that she usually kept in a tight bun at the nape of her neck. It wasn’t often that she came to the compound, but when she did, she was always flanked by her own personal bodyguards as well as a small handful of Imperial soldiers. And on goe Titus’ hip was a long, formidable katana, one that she once gleefully bragged to me about peeling off the corpse of a samurai that had died defending his Doman lord at her hand.

I first met her just as I was settling into the compound. She had called personally to see Hui and I - the new‘recruits,’ as she had called us, observing us like cattle sent to the market to be auctioned off.

“What a shame that such pretty faces are wasted on savages,” goe Titus had said flatly to the oyabun, gripping my jaw between her fingers while I debated whether or not to spit on her.“It can’t be helped. I’ve a son not much older than this one. She may be useful yet.”

Hui had bristled at that, because he understood what I was too little to, glaring up at the tall woman, and she had raised her eyebrows, turning her attention to my brother with a serpentine smile on her red lips as she reached out to touch a lock of his hair.

“What a handsome boy,” she had purred, and I could see his shoulders stiffening, watched as his slender body discreetly moved between this strange, fair-haired woman and me.“With such clever eyes. Are you cross with me, little savage?”

Hui was clever. She was right. He wouldn’t put us in danger by saying the wrong thing. It’s a skill I wouldn’t learn for quite some time.

“No, ma’am,” he had replied.“My baby sister is just wary of strangers.”

“Oh, no, darling. We aren’t quite strangers anymore, are we? We’re allies now. Two fresh young conscripts of the Garlean Empire... What a wonderful cause for celebration, don’t you think?”

Evil, I thought, glaring at her in a way that I hoped might actually drill a hole between her eyes.

The cold way that goe Titus smiled at me made me think that maybe she could read my mind.


“How many times must you test me?!” the oyabun roared at me as two of his men kept my arms locked behind my back, forcing me to hit my knees in front of the oyabun as he lifted his cane.“How many times will you disobey me, you rotten, spoiled little brat?!”

The ebony cane came crashing across my jaw, and I felt my teeth rattle in my skull as my head whipped to the side. Blood blossomed across my tongue as I gasped in shock and pain, dripping down my lips when they parted and hitting the floor in droplets. The pain was not unfamiliar. It was more bearable, at least, than what I knew was coming for me.

I had“failed” another mission. It was the third time since the oyabun had sent me out as one of his assassins. I was fifteen years old.

“There were children--” I started, daring to look up and into his eyes in the midst of his rage, which only earned me another blow across the face.

“And were you not a child when you watched your parents die?” he sneered at me as I tried to blink the stars out of my eyes, crimson still dribbling past my lips. Part of me wondered if he had broken the scales on my face off, or if he had shattered one of my teeth with the force of the blow.“What does it matter? Weak. Weak, pitiful, disloyal creature!”

The two men that had been holding me to the ground began yanking me to my feet, forcing me to dangle in the air before I was set upright. My heart was pounding my skull, my vision blurry at best from the amount of pain I was in from being struck with the oyabun’s cane. Still, I forced myself to try to focus on his face, baring my teeth when he glared at me.

“And even now you’re acting proud... When will you learn? I have been merciful, Xiu. Have I not been kind to you and your brother? All I ask is that you do precisely what I ask, and you fail me. Should I be crueler? Will that finally teach you?”

“Oh, I don’t know how much more cruel you could be,” I snarled, spitting blood at his feet.“I will not kill children. I will not--”

Another sharp blow came across my face, but this time with the oyabun’s bare hand as he slapped me.

“You will do exactly as you’re told,” he growled at me, grabbing my face between his fingers and glaring down at me.“Who do you belong to, Xiu? Who owns you? Who decides whether you live or die?”

I glared back at him. The anger rising in my stomach felt white hot, like it might set me aflame if I had to continue to stand still. All I wanted was to reach out and put my hands around his throat, to rip at his trachea with my teeth until he was silent -- or else to crumble, to be allowed to fall to my knees and scream and weep and beg for them to just end it. To end me.

Just as the oyabun was lifting his hand to me again, the door was suddenly flung open, and even the imposing man in charge of the entire Kinosh*ta-gumi suddenly snapped to attention. His cold eyes lifted from my face to the doorway before he slowly leaned back, lowering his hand.

“Goe Titus,” he murmured, and I snapped my head to the side, looking at the tall, slender woman standing in the door. She was dressed completely in white with golden tassels hanging from her shoulders, the dead samurai’s sword still hanging from her narrow hips.

“This seems like quite the party,” goe Titus said with the smallest, cruelest smile on her lips, slowly moving deeper into the room.“Is our little Xiu causing you problems yet again, oyabun? I’ve heard that she sabotaged a mission very personally important to me. Is that right, Xiu?”

“Go to hell,” I spat, and goe Titus’ eyebrows raised before she laughed, throwing her head back with the sound that was akin to nails on a chalkboard.

“Not yet,” she said, her cold, dark eyes glittering with mirth as she looked me over.“But I believe the oyabun may appreciate a hand in discipline. You are a stubborn little creature. The lessons so far haven’t been reaching you. I thought, perhaps, we could try a different approach... The death of this lord was deeply necessary, Xiu. He was housing rebels in his estate - ones actively planning my death. How cruel that you’d not try harder to help me. I thought that, perhaps, you were beginning to learn your place.”

The urge to scream was growing. I wanted to grab this woman. I wanted to take that katana off her hip and drive it through her. I... wanted to run. All I could think of was the horrified look on the Doman lord’s eyes when I descended into his dining room, surrounded by refugee children and their parents. All I could hear was the way that he begged for me to spare them.

The way that the mothers looked at me, with sadness and fear. The children, looking at me with wide eyes and trembling bottom lips when they saw my sword and knives.

It had been messy. I can admit to that. But I couldn’t do it. I fled. I fled and fled and spared every single person in that room, because... I was Doman. Because I had been an orphan, too. Because I just couldn’t do it.

Things would change after this day, though.

“Bring him in,” goe Titus called casually over her shoulder, stepping to the side so that she was beside the oyabun, both of them facing me.

I kept my head turned towards the doorway to see... Hui being escorted in. It had been weeks since I last saw him. We were often purposefully kept apart - incentive for both of us, because we were promised that we could spend time together if we were good and obedient.

He looked so pale, and even thinner than he usually did. Dark circles were beneath his usually bright eyes, and he just seemed disheveled, like he hadn’t slept in days. I assumed he hadn’t. Spying on the "enemy” meant being awake as much as possible, but... He looked awful. And the way that he looked at me -with fear and confusion - once he registered that I was in the room didn’t help.

“Xiu-Xiu--” he started, his voice cracking, before he was shoved to the ground by one of the Imperial guards that was escorting him. Trailing after the entourage were the soldiers that flanked goe Titus regularly, carrying a small fire pit with burning embers. The last soldier was carrying two brands, one of which was horribly familiar.

The Kinosh*ta clan‘K,’ with snakes weaving in and out of a pair of crossed daggers, burning orange with white at the edges. I was altogether too familiar with it. They had burned it onto my flesh before, and so had Kage in a drunken rage, claiming that the‘K’ marked me as his "property,” too.

The second... The second was worse.

The Garlean flag, burning white hot after being withdrawn from the coals.

“You know that you aren’t the only one who suffers when you make mistakes, Xiu,” goe Titus murmured, the oyabun taking a step back and watching my face, and for a moment it seemed like maybe he... regarded me with pity.

Did he regret this? Did he resent goe Titus trampling on his toes? Did he know what was coming and didn’t bother to intervene?

“You’re a tough little lotus,” the wretched woman continued as Hui watched me, wide-eyed, once the men holding me forced me back onto my knees.“You can take a lot of punishment, can’t you? You’re like a sweet little martyr, or else some sort of masoch*st. Pain doesn’t bother you anymore, does it?”

Hui was thrown in front of me, and I didn’t even immediately realize that I had started to strain against the men holding me in an effort to get to my big brother. His dark hair fell in his eyes, and I noticed that there was a bandage on the side of his neck, where a patch of scales had been. Now the area looked red and angry, like...

Like someone had removed the scales. Messily, at that.

“Your brother isn’t as strong,” goe Titus murmured, peeling off one of her gloves to reach delicately for the brand her soldier was extending to her - the Garlean flag.“He’s always been sickly, I hear. He’s a clever boy, but he isn’t the toughest. You probably don’t know how much he suffers when you disobey.”

“Don’t you touch him, you c*nt--” I spat, and goe Titus laughed again, eyes glittering with amusem*nt as I thrashed against the hands holding me.

I could kill you. I could kill everyone in this f*cking room. Don’t touch him, don’t touch him, don’t TOUCH HIM--!

“This is a shame. Hui is such a handsome young man. My favorite little trophy.” The way she purred made me feel like I’d be sick.“My favorite little savage. But I can’t play favorites this time. No - you need to be taught a lesson...”

She gestured to the soldier who had set the burning container of coals down, and he withdrew a knife from his boot, lumbering over to Hui and slashing his shirt down the middle. Hui closed his eyes for a moment, and then he looked up at me as I started to thrash enough to begin loosening the grip of one of the men holding me in place.

“Don’t,” he said, softly.“Xiu. Xiu-Xiu... be still. I’m okay. It’s alright.”

“Don’t!” I roared, feeling something like electricity pumping through my veins, something like tears pricking at my eyes.

I screeched when goe Titus shoved her boot onto the back of Hui’s neck, forcing his face into the wooden floor. One of my hands was freed and I was starting to lunge when I was tackled back down by one of the Garlean soldiers, pinned to the ground and forced to be eye level with my quiet, darling, gentle brother.

“To who do you belong, little savage?” goe Titus asked, like she was bored, but I could hear it. She was enjoying this. She was enjoying my fury and the quiet way Hui accepted his fate so that it wouldn’t be worse for me. And, in desperation, I looked to the oyabun.

He was looking out the window, like even he couldn’t bear to watch.

“I will kill you.” The electricity in my veins was building as my eyes flashed up goe Titus.“I promise that you will die at my hands. The only savage in this room is you-- you bitch, you f*cking evil bitch--”

“To who do you belong?” she asked, louder, over my anger and venom.“Tell me. Who owns you?”

She was poising the brand at the back of Hui’s neck, where I knew for a fact he had his beautiful, iridescent scales cut off, leaving only scarred flesh behind. My whole world was spinning. I had to say it. I had to give her what she wanted, or she was going to hurt him. They were going to hurt Hui. I had to do it, I had to--

“Xiu,” Hui pleaded, but I understood that he didn’t want me to answer. He didn’t want me to say it. I met his eyes, taking a sharp breath.

I can endure, he was telling me. Don’t say it. Don’t give in. Don’t let them force you to give in. I am okay.

I hesitated for too long. I know Hui didn’t want to scream, but he was just a man. He couldn’t help it. The sound of his skin bubbling filled my horns along with his howl of agony as the brand was pressed into his skin. I could smell it burning, and suddenly I was throwing the soldier off of me. I don’t know how, but I did, my body reacting faster than my brain could.

Kicking the soldier to the floor, I grabbed his sword, but one of the other soldiers matched my pace. The brand had been pulled off of Hui, and now he was being held with a knife against his throat, sweat beading down his face and bare chest as he stared at me, shaking his head as much has he could without hurting himself on the knife.

“You must learn to think before you act,” the oyabun murmured, looking over to me as his own men swarmed me, grabbing me once more now that I had frozen after seeing the position Hui was in.“You must keep a level head.”

“Stop,” I breathed, letting my arms get pinned against my sides.“Stop-- don’t-- don’t hurt my brother. Don’t hurt him--”

I felt like that five year old girl on the streets again, pleading with strangers who wanted to take advantage of two orphans - begging them not to hurt Hui.

“Tell me who you belong to,” goe Titus repeated calmly, tilting her head just slightly as she leaned against the oyabun’s desk.

I have no choice. Swallow your pride. Admit what she wants to hear.

“Garlemald.” The name sawed out past my lips.“To Garlemald. To the empire. To the Kinosh*ta-gumi.”

The woman’s lips twitched up in a smile, and she laughed again, drumming her fingers against the desk behind her. Hui’s eyes closed as the words fell heavy into the room.

This was the day I learned to swallow my pride, to say whatever I had to in order to protect the people most precious to me. My loyalties to Doma no longer meant anything. Survival was the only thing left.

“Very good,” goe Titus mused, waving most of her soldiers out.“I do hope you don’t forget it. Put the brand on her shoulder again, Lord Kinosh*ta,” she added, glancing to the oyabun.“As a reminder. She is your charge, first and foremost. Hui is just a special favorite of the Empire, but... lest he forget, too...”

She waved a hand again, and this time, I literally saw red.

The Garlean soldier holding my brother slashed his throat, and I heard screaming. It took me a moment to realize it was my own screaming. I don’t know if I was angrier than I had ever been or more afraid than I had ever been or both, but I had thrown off the men restraining me again. I was running to Hui as more hands grabbed me, but they couldn’t seem to hold on.

I heard screams that didn’t belong to me. Even the oyabun shouted something I couldn’t make out, but he sounded angry.

“Don’t be so cross,” goe Titus chuckled.“A healer is on the way. The boy will survive. But it’s a lesson neither of them will forget, hm? You work in tandem, Xiu. His failures are your failures. Your failures are his--”

I grabbed Hui as he fell only for more and more hands to drag me away. All I could see, though, was his bleeding throat. His eyes were wide, his hands were clutching at his neck, as he laid on the floor. The oyabun was kneeling beside him, and I knew it wasn’t any member of the Kinosh*ta-gumi that was suddenly burning me with the Kinosh*ta-gumi’s brand.

This particular brand of cruelty belonged to these Garleans alone. I barely felt the heat, though, as I watched my brother, as I screamed for a healer - begged, even, for someone to help him.

They did. Hui lived. He spent a long time in the infirmary. They had to sedate me after I mauled the Garlean soldiers and after they branded me again for it. I think I slept against my will for three days. And each day I was asleep, I relived that moment; Hui’s blood spraying across my face, his wide and terrified eyes as he realized what had happened.

And the realization that we really were owned. We were not free. I could never do anything again to put Hui at risk. I had to be perfect.

I never disobeyed again. I became a monster to live with them. I swallowed my heart and ignored it. I ignored the soft-hearted spirits pleading with me to run, to get away from that place.

I did what I had to. How selfish of me, now, to hope that I can atone and be forgiven.

#long post#writing#cw blood#cw violence#cw torture#ffxiv rp#ff14 rp


Apr 7, 2021


[[ tagging @benes-diction / @sirenofthesea-xiv for mentions, as always, of her beautiful amazing characters. <3 ]]

After the celebrations of the Lunar New Year in the Jade Palace, I am... tired. The banquets seem endless, the parties going on for what feels like days - maybe sennights - at a time. It’s exhausting, but it’s familiar. Among the ranks of the yakuza, we celebrated each passing year like this, too. It was a rare period of reprieve from rigorous training and painful punishments, a time to eat and a time to breathe before life went back to normal.

Even still, even if the memories are not altogether unpleasant... the passing of the new year is difficult for me. I find it hard to be as light-hearted as those around me. Inside of my chest is what feels like a large and heavy stone - a cold sort of place where it feels like I have placed a stone just so it doesn’t feel too empty. For years, I have tried to chase this feeling away. I’ve tried to bury it and stifle it and smother it in all manner of ways, but it persists. It lingers.

There is a place in me that cannot be filled, only repaired. Consciously, I know this. As a child, I did not mourn the passing of my parents. We never had the time. Hui and I were set and focused only on surviving each day after that. The oyabun took us in, and Hui... Hui allowed himself to mourn. He allowed himself to weep and to miss our parents and to say his goodbyes with paper lanterns covered in their names.

Sun Chun Tao. Sun Lei.

I hated watching those lanterns float away. I resented the watery fondness in Hui’s eyes, wistful and sad but at peace, as he watched them. And I was angry at myself for ever wanting to deny him that peace, for ever wishing he would sit and suffer with me, because... I didn’t know how to let go. Hui was always the level-headed one. He was able to say goodbye and know that it was for the best.

Of all the things and lessons he taught me, I wish he had been able to teach me this one, too.

There are some things, though, that I suppose you can only learn on your own - or that you can only learn when you’re ready.

I walked through melting snow with a thick cloak wrapped around the simple hanfu I’d chosen to wore for the journey. Jun told me there was a temple not far from the palace that the Garleans had left standing. He didn’t know if there was anyone left to attend it, but I went, regardless. I had to.

It was in varying conditions, really. Some parts of it looked old but well-kept, while others seemed to be nothing but crumbling stone and moss. I had cleansed myself in what seemed to be a bucket of fresh water and savored the chilly bites of ice against my skin before moving on. And although it was unknown if the temple was still being used or not, I was still surprised to see that someone else was there.

Holding a broom in gnarled hands, an old Hyur woman swept snow off of the stones. She wore the garments of a miko, and almost immediately, I felt a lump threatening to start in my throat.

I had seen my mother’s priestess garb only once before. She kept it folded away safely in a box within a closet, deep within, but she had showed it to me before with the same wistfulness and sadness but peacefulness in which Hui paid his respects to them each year.

“This is our history,” she had said while looking over the red and white fabric.“A special history that your brother and father can’t quite share with us. This is why you can see the ghosts that mama can see. This is why you can hear and sense things that others can’t. It’s a gift from our female ancestors - a blessing, as long as you know how to wield it, you see?”

Despite the fact that I knew I didn’t make much sound while I walked, and that I hadn’t spoken, the old woman with her broom looked up and over her shoulder to look directly at my face. She... was not familiar, but there was something in her eyes - dark and endless - that seemed that way. Or, at least... she wasn’t familiar to me. The same could not be said the other way around.

“Ah,” she noised softly, smiling slowly as she examined my face.“Yes. We have been waiting a long time for you, little Sun Xiu.”

Over her shoulder, I could see part of the‘gift’ my mother mentioned in the form of hazy spirits, ones that I have always seen and never been able to name - ones that dispersed once I looked their way, and maybe it was the look on my face, or maybe it was the woman’s own thoughts, but she only smiled more once I looked her way once more.

“I guess that you have,” I relented quietly, coaxing soft laughter from the miko.

“Come out of the cold. I expect there’s much to talk about, Sun Xiu.”


She took us to a private room, and while she brewed a pot of tea, I observed her rather than the surroundings - which were simple, really, and not unusual for a temple’s inner rooms. The woman herself demanded my attention more.

She was rather short, a couple of ilms shorter than I was, and squat. All of her was round, in the comforting way that grandmothers are often portrayed. Wrinkles and lines were prevalent on her kind face, on her thick hands that had known their fair share of hard work. Trailing her was the scent of incense, the faintest smell of smoke. Her silver hair - which might have reached the backs of her knees if loose, I expected - was wound into a long, tight braid that she wore over her shoulder, not a wiry strand of out place.

“You’re a sad sort of young woman,” she mused, glancing up at me as she poured a cup of tea and set it down in front of me.“Your shoulders sag with an invisible sort of weight, Sun Xiu. And the way that they coil up now tell me that not many read you with as much ease, do they?”

“I expect our mutual friends have told you plenty about me,” I grumbled, forcing my shoulders to relax.“Do you always speak so bluntly?”

“You do not strike me as the type to prefer anything else,” she replied with a smile, and I clicked my tongue, resisting the urge to roll my eyes, because she was right. Of course she was.“And I most certainly have never been the type to speak in riddles. That’s the last thing a soul as tired as yours needs.”

With a soft groan, the old woman sat down in front of me with a cup of her own clasped between her strong hands. There were words sitting on the tip of my tongue, ready to fall - ready to bite and be curt and harsh, but I couldn’t force them out. And the woman watched my face with a familiarity and a warmth that unsettled me and, in a way, comforted me.

There was much, I expected, that I would not need to explain to her. There was clearly much about me that she already knew, and if it was anyone else, I might have reacted poorly. But her knowledge didn’t come from means that I could control. They came from that bond that my mother had told me about - a bond between the spirits and the miko that could communicate with them. And it seemed like the spirits had tattled plenty already.

“I am not unhappy about your visit, Sun Xiu - or perhaps you’re more comfortable with Lian Hua now? - but I must admit that I thought it would be a little sooner than this. Tell me, child - what plagues you so badly that you step foot into a shrine?”

I swallowed. I looked down at the cup of tea between my own hands - calloused from training and from fighting, so indelicate and ugly, at my nailbeds that were worn and torn, at nails that were kept as closely shaved down as possible. How much wicked had my hands done? How many lives and how many families had I torn apart with a flick of my wrist? How did I not burst into flames when I prayed, how did the kami not refuse to hear any pleas I might still have?

“Many things, I think,” I said finally, looking back up at the old woman’s face.“It’s hard to choose just one when you ask me in that way. But I expect there are many reasons why I should have come here a long time ago.”

As I spoke, the old woman lit three thick candles, the wax melted down into the tray they sat upon. Each was a different color - the tallest was purple, and the middle was red, while the shortest was white.

Royalty. Strength. Death.

“A heart is a heavy sort of burden, and I think you may have only recently began listening to yours once more,” she murmured, and I sat silently, watching the flames flickering in her dark eyes as she watched them.“The spirits have told me much of you already, Sun Xiu. You are most beloved by the kami. You were beloved by your parents, loved by your brother, even by a prince and princess of Doma, but...”

The woman trailed off and looked up at me expectantly, bushy eyebrows raised. My tongue felt thick in my mouth, like it was coated in sand.

“I don’t deserve it,” I whispered, like I was letting out a breath, and it felt like something had been sapped from my body all at once. They were words that I had been cradling since... since the day...

“Since the day I refused to give my parents my blessing into the afterlife, I have not deserved any of the love I receive. Not from them, certainly, or from Hui, not from the kami, not from Jun or Aoi or... anyone else. I have tried to be a light that never goes out. I was worrying about the flickering, but now... Over time, I realize that I never really was a light. I was trying to be something... that I wasn’t. I have always been a void, something dark and terrible and wicked, masquerading and basking in the warmth of something I have never deserved. A monster, pretending to be a-- a hero, or a savior, or--”

I had to wonder, the more I spoke, if the miko had drugged my tea to coax so many words from me at once. Only Jun was ever privy to my thoughts at length, and even so... Even so, expressing any of this to him would have been nigh impossible. But this woman - this stranger who knows me - watched me with a gentleness reminiscent of my mother’s, of Luli’s, even of the redheaded Garlean’s when she told me goodbye.

She had the eyes of a caretaker, of someone gentle, who looked at a broken person and saw those shattered pieces and loved them regardless.

“Xiu...” Her voice had softened, reaching a hand out to grasp one of mine as she stopped me - and silently, I thanked her for it - from rambling anymore.“You cannot truly think you are the only child who has not been able to accept the loss of their parents? You can’t believe that only those who have ever done good deserve to be loved, can you? Your prince - has he not done abhorrent things? Do you not think him still deserving of love?

“I see the spirits that linger around you,” she added, with a slight smile.“Even now, as hidden as they are to anyone else, I see them. They do not cling to you because you are wicked. They cling to you because they see what even mortals who know you well see - and that is a heart that only wants to do good. They see little Sun Xiu tending to sick chickens and stray kittens and running down dark corridors to help a ghost - someone long departed - because you heard them crying and begging.”

Even as I swallowed the lump rising in my throat, I looked back up at the miko. And despite everything, I... needed to know, as she recited these old stories back to me. I needed to know...

“Who are you?” I asked quietly, and she smiled again.

“My name is Mirai. And while we have never met, I have had quite the influx of spirits coming to tell me about you since you came to the Jade Palace - ones that have followed you from Haishan, and ones that you’ve only just met. You are the daughter of Chun Tao and Lei,” she said gently.“Chun Tao, priestess, miko, beloved by the kami and by the spirits as her precious daughter is. We miko have a way of getting tangled up if the spirits and the kami wish it to be so.”

Slowly, and with another quiet groan, this woman named Mirai rose to her feet. I watched as she walked to a shrine set up in the small room, and although there were no portraits, it was clear that offerings were made frequently. A tray for incense sat square in the middle, and quietly, Mirai placed a fresh stick after kneeling, just like I had watched Jun do in front of the portraits of his family within his wardrobe.

“You may not like it, and you may not agree with it, but you have always been destined for things bigger than you, Sun Xiu. You have always been in the plan of the kami. No, perhaps you won’t save the world - not in this lifetime, at least - but is it not true that you have saved people? That you have tried, despite the circ*mstances that have been given to you, to do good?”

My fingers tightened around my cup of tea as she lit the stick of incense and clasped her hands, bowing her head as she said a silent prayer. When was the last time, I wondered, that I had properly prayed? When had I knelt and bowed my head and brought offerings?

Had I ever prayed of my own free will after losing my parents?

“You have been a savior to the Jade Palace,” Mirai continued, and I swallowed again.“You walked into a place overcome with rot and pain, and you have helped to bring light back within. Where once laid only fear, there is now hope. Where there was once resignation, there is a refreshed desire to keep fighting. And where there were once a cursed people...”

Mirai lifted her head and looked to me, and for a moment - just for half a moment - I saw her eyes flicker in the way that mine do. The air shifted, and quite suddenly, I looked away from her to see the ghostly images of Luli and her family in the window, but not as they are now - as they were, blind and terrifying to behold, unable to speak...

“...are a people beginning to heal.”

The ghostly images shifted as I held my breath, revealing Luli and Liqin laughing together, their children laying in the sun while Midori ran across the beach with Aoi. Kyou was in Jun’s arms as he smiled at... someone I couldn’t see, but I knew the smile, now.

He was smiling at me, his eyes directly fixed on me, before the images disappeared into thin air once more.

“Your parents would be proud,” Mirai murmured as she rose back up to her feet, her eyes no longer kaleidoscopes of color but dark brown again.“You have been taught violence. You have been fed cruelty off of a spoon and told that it was love. Now, you receive love, and it confuses you. You wonder if you deserve it. You long for your parents, and you feel a disgust when anyone else tries to act that way - an anger at anyone, most especially, who tries to be a mother to you.

“It is not a betrayal to Chun Tao to allow them in. Do you think she would want her child to suffer eternally for the simple fact of not being able to say goodbye yet? No loving mother would wish that upon her precious child. You have been fighting a war for so long, Xiu, and it is far from over. The curse in the Jade Palace is not lifted in its entirety. You will go through extreme obstacles, hardships that will make you wish you were dead, trials beyond imagination...”

As she spoke, the old woman watched the burning incense, watched as the smoke curled into the air and as the ashes fell onto the wood beneath it. I found myself unable to move, unable to speak, unable to interrupt. All I could do was watch her and will my hands not to shake.

“...and you will survive them, as you have survived everything else,” the old woman said quietly.“It is not what you deserve. Just because you are strong does not mean you should have to do these things. But such is the nature of circ*mstance. You knew these things without me telling you. You knew these things and accepted them the day you decided you would remain in the Jade Palace - a feared and loathsome place by all who know it. Didn’t you?”

“Yes,” I whispered, unable to stop myself, and Mirai smiled at me, gentle and soft once more. She touched my hand, brushed her thumb over the sparse gathering of scales at the top of my wrist, before looking at my face.

“The spirits of your ancestors will be with you. The love you receive will spur you on, as long as you accept it. The wicked you have done does not define you. The only one who can define you is you. So what are you, Sun Xiu? Who are you, beloved lotus?”

“Someone who is trying. Someone who is sad and angry and... full of regrets and... confidence that I can survive anything, without the desire to for myself. Not for myself, but for... for the people who need me...”

For Jun. For Aoi. For Ume and Anh, Luli and Liqin, Midori and Kyou, Hui-- for Biyu, that brave girl who risked her life just to defend my honor.

To live, because my parents died just so it could be so. To live, because my parents had begged, with their dying breath, that I do just that. To keep on going so that my parents did not die in vain trying to protect me.

I don’t remember when I started crying or how I ended up collapsed into this unfamiliar-but-familiar miko’s arms, letting her hold me as I wept. I was thankful that she didn’t ask me to say more. Maybe she didn’t need me to. I expect that she didn’t. No - I have a good feeling she knew every thought that ran through my head, in that quiet room, as melting snow dripped onto the open window.

“It is okay to crumble,” she told me as she held me.“It is okay to not always be strong, Xiu. You have been strong for so long. You put others before yourself, always. You are allowed moments of weakness and of selfishness. And it is okay - more than acceptable and understandable - to feel this deep sort of sadness when you miss your parents.”

I leaned back in her arms, sniffling, letting her wipe my tears with her calloused fingers as Luli had done for me before, as Liqin had done, as my mother had done when I fell and hurt myself and wailed over my scraped knee.

Mothers. Women who were older and wiser and who knew what to do, what to say - women who were strong but not infallible, who were kind but not weak. Women I wanted to be. Women I only hoped I could become.

Women that I hope I can help Aoi, Midori, Kyou, and all of the young girls around me to be, too - someone they can run to when the world is too much and when the sorrow is finally too much to bear alone. Those young girls, who trust me with everything... I hope I can help them. I hope I can be an example, someone to look up to, and not only for physical strength, but... as someone like a mother, or an auntie, or a big sister.

“Light a lantern for your parents before the end of this sennight,” Mirai told me, quietly, as she opened the door once I had pulled myself together to leave.“Or a stick of incense. Say a prayer for them. They await you - that much I can feel, but... They are in no rush to see you either,” she added, smiling faintly.“I will be here, Sun Xiu. My doors are always open to you. It seems you’ve learned much on dealing with your gift on your own, but there is always more to learn, hm?”

“Thank you,” I said as I bowed at the waist, my eyes low.“Thank you for... listening. For your time. And for... well. For knowing plenty enough about me without me having to say it all.”

“Don’t thank me,” Mirai chuckled, holding a hand out to reveal a familiar black yokai coiled around her wrist in the form of a snake. It blinked its large eyes at me, and even in my emotionally rattled state, I couldn’t help but to smile.“Your friends have been worried. They entrusted me with much.”

The snake disappeared, only for me to feel it settling in the sleeve of my hanfu, comfortable and warm for the journey back to the Jade Palace.

“Happy new year,” Mirai said, bowing to me.“And may many blessings reach you, Sun Xiu.”

“And you, miko. Happy new year.”

#what is this#ahhh#it went in so many directions my b#writing#ffxiv rp#ff14 rp

Feb 25, 2021

you’re my celebrity.

[[ tagging @benes-diction / @sirenofthesea-xiv for mentions of her characters! I FINALLY WROTE IT, JONESY. I DID IT. ]]

I try to stop myself from gawping like one of the guards when I look over the lagoon once the water breaks, the sun shimmering off of the surface...

And off the rivulets rolling down the neck, arm, shoulders, and chest of Lady Lian Hua. Her slender hands reach up and smooth her hair back from her face as she tilts her elegant neck backwards, tilted up towards the light like the flower that she is. Other servants hurry forward to offer her towels, or changes of clothes, but she shakes her head and urges them to fuss over someone else.

“Ning,” one of the others hisses in my ear when she notes that I haven’t moved, and I jump a little, almost dropping the towel I had in my own hands.“Stop staring, won’t you? You think the prince won’t have your head just because you’re a girl?”

Of course. Of course, I shouldn’t stare at Lady Lian Hua. She’s not an object. She doesn’t swim for us to ogle. She’s the prince’s lover. There are many reasons to not stare, but...

Kami help me, she’s so beautiful that I don’t know if I want her of if I want to be her, to be honest.

Lots of people in the palace are afraid of Lian Hua, and I get it. Everything about her is intimidating. Even though she’s short, she walks as tall as the prince or his bodyguards. Her eyes are sharp and often hard, and the angles of her face aren’t soft. Lian Hua’s jaw is shaped like a V, and her cheekbones are high, and even her eyes and lips seem to end in sharp lines. Maybe that’s why she’s so difficult to ignore, though. In a palace filled with women that have features that are gentle more often than not, Lian Hua sticks out.

If one didn’t know better, they might even mistake her for one of the Amari clan by blood, with the way that her scales shimmer like the insides of shells and with the way she carries herself - dignified, and serious, and elegant... But oh, when she smiles - when she smiles, it could melt even the thickest, heaviest winter snow.

When Lian Hua smiles, it crinkles up the corners of her eyes, and her cheeks turn round in a way that you wouldn’t expect. Her whole face softens. When she laughs - on the rare occasions she laughs around the servants - it’s better than windchimes or music. It warms you right down to your core.

And when Lian Hua is angry, when her lagoon blue eyes with their tinges of green flash, when her elegant brow draws together and her trained hands reach for her sword, it warms me in a different way. Once upon a time, I was very afraid of an angry Lian Hua. Being in Princess Aoi’s personal entourage of servants, though, has taught me that it takes a lot to get her bodyguard’s ire directed at one of us.

We just get to see her being strong and to live in awe of it. There’s not a danger that she won’t face, sometimes even with a smirk on her lips. She plunges into the lagoon while the Amari family sleeps, knowing all the stories that surround the water - having been present to see girls fished out of its depths or off of its surface. When you watch her walk, you know - you know that Lian Hua isn’t afraid of anything. She walks with her back straight and her head high.

Of course, we all knew that she wasn’t afraid of anything the day she jumped in to save the prince against a fight that wasn’t fair before she had even been here for a sennight. That’s what she does. She protects. She protects all of us, no matter the cost. But she’s no fool. Even if her actions seem reckless to outsiders, those who know her know that every single one of her movements is calculated. She can think on her toes. Lian Hua is brilliant, observant, and intuitive, made of fire and ice in equal parts.

It was with her head still held high that I remember watching the Jade Lord’s personal guards escort her from her room, eyes trained forward and jaw set. From the dungeons, we didn’t hear her even whimper, let alone scream or beg for mercy, for the pain to stop, even as we heard the sound of the whip lashing against her delicate back.

And when she came back, it was with the help of one of the prince’s bodyguards, but you could see that she was walking as tall as she physically could - tall and proud and undefeated.

Some of the older servants think she’s too prideful. And I know that plenty of the guards believe that Lian Hua slept her way to the top and now is much too big for her britches. They don’t like seeing a woman with power. They don’t like knowing that a young, small woman gets to say whether they wake up the next day or not. And they don’t like that they don’t get to touch her. All around the palace, you hear murmurs from those that just want a night with Lady Lian Hua. As many people that envy Lian Hua for her closeness with the Jade Prince now envy the prince for his closeness with Lian Hua.

Lian Hua walked into this cursed and rotting place and stayed by choice to protect the people within it, when she could have run many times. She knows how to escape. She’s disappeared for days at a time before. She has freedom to move that many of us don’t - her own money, her own connections, but... she stays. She stays, and stays, and stays.

There have been nights where she allows herself to loosen up a little bit with some of the older servant girls or with the prince, and I cherish those memories, of watching her sip sake and relax, when her smiles come quicker and easier. I cherish the times she laughs and laughs and laughs in her beautiful silk hanfu, or in those clothes that look more like they come from the West that she favors sometimes - and kami help me...

Lian Hua looks graceful and elegant and powerful in traditional dress, but I think we all act a little bit like a fool when she comes in wearing something that shows off her long, powerful legs, her collarbones, that clings to her curves.

There was one evening where the Jade Lord was particularly busy, and everyone felt especially at ease. And, scantily clad, Lian Hua was laughing and joking with the servant girls. I remember watching her dance, but not like how I was ever taught or how we’d seen her dance before - traditionally, demure, powerful but elegant. Her hips swiveled and swayed with a glass in her hand, her long hair loose and shining and rippling down her black while fabric hugged her bare thighs, with a shirt that was cut off to show off her flat stomach.

“You have to know how to dance like this if you ever head out to the West - or Kugane,” she had told us, grinning, as we all watched with wide eyes.“The fan dances aren’t going to cut it.”

And I remember Princess Aoi going wide-eyed and asking the Jade Prince if she could dress and dance like that and getting immediately told‘no,’ even as he watched Lian Hua with extremely thinly veiled lust before whisking his lover away to his own chambers.

Between the Jade Prince and Lian Hua, I don’t know who I’m more jealous of. They’re both so beautiful and intimidating and confident and I wouldn’t complain if either of them wanted to step on me and order me around.

As Lian Hua emerges from the water and onto the dock, still dripping wet with water from the lagoon, her eyes lock with mine. I swallow thickly again as she starts towards me, forcing my gaze to stay on her face and not stray any further.

“Thank you,” she says, her voice soft as she takes the towel I hold out to her, too dumbstruck to say a word. Her eyes focus on my face for a long moment, dark brows raised just slightly, before her lips quirk in a small smirk.“Cat got your tongue, Ning?”


Oh, kami, she remembers my name?

“I’m sorry,” I say, bowing quickly as she squeezes out her hair, and I bite back a groan as I’m met with the sight of her thick thighs. She doesn’t wear modest swimwear. She wears what looks like smallclothes, just... black and tied at the hips with thin string.

“Don’t be sorry... Ah. You brought the green tea?” Lian Hua continues, looking to the small table loaded down with snacks for her and her little entourage of the prince’s bodyguards, their families, and Princess Aoi, with the Jade Prince preoccupied with other tasks that day.

“Yes-- yes, I did, Lady Lian Hua!” I manage, straightening back up to look at her with wide eyes.“It’s your favorite type, too -- from Haishan.”

“Very good. Thank you.” Lian Hua pauses, watching my face, before she smiles again and reaches out to gently pet my hair.“You did well, Ning. Go on and relax now with the other girls, hm?”

It feels like my brain has completely shut down as soon as her hand touches my head, as soon as she pets my hair, as soon as she looks at me with eyes that are not hard or severe, but gentle. She looks at me gently, and focuses on just me, and I know -- I know that she’s closest to Ume and Anh, although still kind to the rest of us and that most of us all live in awe of her, but this is one of the first times we’ve really had an individual interaction, just the two of us, and--...

“Are you hot?” Lian Hua’s smile fades into a concerned frown.“Your face is bright red. Go on, get out of the sun, Ning.”

Would it be strange to ask her to sign something I own? It’s not like she’s from an idol group or a celebrity, but she is worldly - and otherworldly, too - and experienced, and I wonder if she knows how to touch. I wonder, briefly, how she likes to be touched. How much of the world has she seen? How much experience has she had? My heart is racing so fast, and I know ethereal, smart, terrifying, brave Lian Hua is waiting for an answer because she’s worried about me, of all people--...

“I think she’s a little overheated,” another voice interjects, and Lian Hua glances up at the new face - Zhenzhen - once she comes to my side, gently taking my arm.“Not to fret, my lady. We’ll get her cooled off.”

Lian Hua glances between us both, almost skeptically, before nodding a little and turning as the little girl with the head of dark curls calls her name. She smiles in a way that’s only ever reserved for those in her closest circle before happily making her way to the little one, scooping her up in her arms, into the air, and causing the sweet little thing to let out a chorus of delighted squeals.

“Control yourself, won’t you?” Zhenzhen groans once we’re alone, glancing after Lian Hua as she leaves and then back to me.“Pull it together. You’re practically drooling on yourself.”

“She’s so cool,” I breathe, and Zhenzhen sighs at me.

“...Yeah. Yes, she’s really, really cool,” she agrees, quietly.“The coolest. You’re not wrong. But we have work to do.”

I clear my throat and nod quickly, forcing myself to look away from Lady Lian Hua as she plays with the little one and Princess Aoi, and over to Zhenzhen, and she frowns at me.

“Kami, Ning, what did she say to you?”

I reach up, slowly touching the side of my head where Lian Hua had touched me.

“She patted my head... and told me I did well,” I whisper, and Zhenzhen narrows her eyes before sighing again.

“You’re hopeless. Go on and get out of the sun and drink a cold glass of water before she whips you into shape like that gaggle of guards - or before the prince comes and throws you into the lagoon for staring at his woman like that.”

#are we all thirsty for xiu? yeah! maybe!#writing#ffxiv rp#ff14 rp


Feb 16, 2021


美人画 (6/?)

Paintings of beauties in traditional Chinese hanfu, Part 6 (Part 1/2/3/4/5) by Chinese artist 伊吹鸡腿子. The first one is a painting for this lunar new year’s year of the ox. See more of her work here.



Feb 12, 2021

parting thoughts - the other side

[[ please go read @benes-diction​ post, parting thoughts, before this one, and make sure to give my talented friend some love for her beautiful writing. <3 link to her post >here<. ]]

It doesn’t require being a siren to know how the palace breathes once the Garleans finally depart.

Those whose shoulders had been coiled with tension and hostility begin to relax. Those who had shrunk against walls and into shadows slowly emerge once more, like they’re stepping out from a storm shelter now that the wind has ceased rattling against the door. I can hear the denizens of the palace beginning to breathe once more, and the atmosphere even borders on something giddy.

And I know that some of the Garleans thought that we were overreacting to their presence. I know that to some, the way we postured and bared our teeth and refused to relax seemed like overkill. I know that it might even have hurt their feelings that we felt we could not be at ease.

But we couldn’t. And I was hoping - some small, foolish part of me was hoping - that now that they’ve seen their countrymen turn their swords on each other, that they would understand the fear.

Maybe the Benes and Caelius families were not complicit or a part of the crimes committed against my people. This doesn’t change those who are older who saw their beautiful Doma subjugated by people who looked like the Garleans that sat in our halls. It doesn’t change the damage that was done by watching their own friends, their own sons and daughters, turn their swords by decree of those tall, icy people with their pale hair and third eyes. Some Domans, like the oyabun, sold their souls to survive.

Others died spitting in the faces of those who dared try to steal their freedom.

Still others died begging for their lives, on their knees. My parents died screaming in fury and in agony, pleading for the lives of my brother and me, while men crafted of metal in both armor and in their hearts set them aflame.

It is not easy to erase the sins of the past. It is not easy to forgive. It is not easy to look at a pair of pale hands and not see crimson on them, even if they never touched a hair on anyone’s head.

They’ll find peace, the Garleans. They’ll find peace and safety as they move onto this next chapter of their lives, as much as it may hurt. They will bleed and mourn for the country they knew, just as the Domans did.

I cannot say that I feel bad for them. Not as much as I should. It feels righteous, somehow. Domans paid for the sins of a few. Maybe the universe is trying to set itself back into balance by forcing the Garleans to pay for the sins of a few, too. Or maybe the gods are just cruel and like to toy with mortals. It’s hard to say. It’s hard to understand, and I won’t presume to try.

I only hope their journey is safe enough that they will not backtrack and return. I hope they find what it is that they’re looking for and leave us in peace. And because I know Luli and my mother would be disappointed in me if I didn’t say it... I hope they find their happiness once more. I know this family did not hurt my people. I understand that.

Some wounds, however, stay raw. They bleed, and they bleed, and they bleed. It’s in my nature to protect, and so if I must be regarded as some rabid animal by the people that crossed into the palace, so be it. If it seems as though my reactions were too severe, that’s alright.I would always rather be safe than sorry when it comes to those who are most precious. I would rather be overcautious and regarded as cold, cruel, than ever have to be worried that I was too kind to someone who would hurt Jun or Aoi if given a window.

These Garleans are not my friends. I will not miss them. But I hope the best for them. And for more reasons than selfish ones, I’m grateful that they’re out of this cursed palace.

A third eye will not protect you here. Beauty and status will not protect you here. The more beautiful you are, the higher the risk is. I wonder if the smallest one - Celia, with the scar across her face - knows, in her days here, that her scar was a blessing and a protection. Jun calls her ugly, but I never saw it to be so. But perfection reigns, in the Jade Palace. If I had it my way, I would make every girl here just disfigured enough so that the Jade Lord would never set his sights on them ever again, but...

It would be easier to kill him, wouldn’t it? At least the Garleans and I seem to be in agreement in that regard.

Go in peace, Garleans, and keep going. May you find whatever peace it is you need to survive. And may you remember the look of fear on the faces of people, young and old, that you invoked when you got too close.

#ffxiv rp#ff14 rp#writing#garlemald#doma


Jan 9, 2021

lessons learned.

There are plenty of reasons to dislike Claudia fae Caelius.

She’s loud, she’s rude, she gossips, she looks down on the servants within the palace and does little to hide it, she practically pimps out her middle daughter while ignoring the existence of her youngest...

But her most unforgivable sin is that she makes me feel bad for her eldest.

No wonder Laelia is a godsdamned control freak that needs to have her finger on the pulse of everything and everyone around her. It was probably the only way to survive her basket case of a mother.

I watch as this savage invader with her yellow hair walks the halls of the palace, clearly uncomfortable in the clothes that have been gifted to her to wear. I watch as she pinches the silks and satins between her fingers to judge their value, watch as her dark blue eyes narrow and assess the price, and I know what she thinks as she looks over the finery that exists within the Jade Palace.

How could Domans have so much wealth? How could any Domans exist that hadn’t had everything stolen? Didn’t her people take all of the palaces, all of the gold and the jade and the silks? She watches Jun, and she watches the Jade Lord, and I know. I know that she is confused that these royals still exist, that they weren’t exterminated or overpowered.

I wonder just how much it would curl her hair to know what the Jade royals did at the behest of her people to maintain their power and wealth and autonomy.

Just as the little one with the scar begged her mother to leave us be, I hear how the middle Caelius girl pleads with her own mother to not wander the halls too much. They’ve heard the stories from the servants, and I’m sure that they’ve heard the intermittent screaming throughout the nights - either from the dungeons filled with mad women longing for lost children or whatever poor bastard is enduring the Jade Lord and Jun.

The girls are right. No one should be wandering these halls unattended. It’s not safe for those who aren’t careful, who don’t know what they’re doing.

It’s not safe, especially, for those with third eyes around servants and trained guards who feel twitchy at the sight of Garleans, who are triggered by the sound of their language or the way that they carry themselves. It’s not safe for loud-mouthed people who don’t know their place in this world anymore to try to carve out a new space for themselves and their kin.

It’s not safe for Caudia fae Benes to try to be gathering information about the martial status of the Jade Prince. It’s not safe for her to be trying to find out if I am a concubine, a wife, a mistress - but never have I heard that I might be a princess from the servants’ reports. That doesn’t cross Claudia fae Benes’ mind that I might be the next bitch in charge, lounging on a dais. It doesn’t cross her mind that I have much influence at all, that it was Jun who permits me the power that I have, or that I’m much more than a whor* for the prince and a bodyguard for Princess Aoi.

It’s not safe for a woman who practically spits at one of the younger servant girls for accidentally spilling a bit of tea on her shoes - shoes that she doesn’t actually own, but belong to the palace - and demand that the quaking girl speak Garlean, because she knows it, doesn’t she?

And it’s especially not safe for a woman who wants to pimp her middle daughter, after ruining the first, and propose that my Jade Prince marry Julia Caelius so that her mother can try to regain some footing in a social hierarchy, to regain some wealth, and try to regain some influence.

The servants tell me that Claudia fae Caelius wants to be granted a private audience with the Jade Lord. They rushed to me as soon as they overheard it coming from the Garleans’ chambers, with the redheaded one arguing that it was an absolutely moronic idea, and didn’t Claudia know when to stop--...

I tell them to find Claudia fae Caelius and tell them that she’s been granted an audience - though not to specify with who, exactly - after ensuring that the Jade Lord would be busy for the day. I ensure that the only servants coming in or out are ones that I can trust, that Kai is in charge of the guards that attend to the throne room that I choose...

The water room.


The servants keep the lights low in the room, but the reflections from the water bounce off of the walls. There’s no tables, like there usually are when we come in here. The room is empty. It feels strange for me to sit upon a dais, but there needs to be some order regained. Things need setting straight.

I know how angry I am, but... I also know that my song is still calm. Maybe it’s still taut and tight like leather rather than silk, but that’s alright. I’m still in control of myself and my emotions. This is something that I know I have the upperhand in it when it comes to the Caelius woman. This is something that Laelia and I had in common, I suppose - the ability to remain composed.

Fingers drum slowly against the hilt of the katana I have drawn, watching the doorway as light reflects off of the steel. I sit like a man might, dressed in the same black uniform that I’d once worn to sneak into Jun’s quarters. I appear as no more than a shadow, my hair pulled into a ponytail, the veil across my lips still except for when I exhale once I hear approaching footsteps.

“Don’t turn your back,” I hear a servant murmuring, and the reminder makes the corners of my lips twitch. One was never to turn their back on the Jade royals, but that isn’t why Claudia is receiving the same instructions I received on my first day. After all, she’s right. I’m no princess. Not really. This isn’t my throne room. This isn’t my palace.

But you don’t turn your back on a dog ready to attack, either.

My eyes are better adjusted to dark rooms than the average person’s, and so I see the Caelius woman very clearly as she walks slowly into the throne room. It’s odd, seeing her move with such care and reverence after watching her paw at vases and tapestries like she already owned them. The disrespect makes my mouth feel like it might fill with blood. When she looks at my prince, she sees status. She sees price tags. She sees power and opportunity.

“Your Majesty,” the woman begins in broken Doman, lowering herself to her knees. Maybe the trousers I wear have thrown her off, or the way that I’m sitting, and maybe it’s hard to see just how much smaller my silhouette is than the Jade Lord’s in the darkness.“I thank you--...”

“Is that who you were told you’d be meeting with today?” I cut her off, my voice low, well-aware of how well the Garlean language falls off my lips and tongue.“Rise, woman. There is no one for you to bow to here.”

I can see the way that she bristles, and it makes me want to laugh. There’s hesitation before she sits back up, and then stumbles to her feet, the unfamiliar clothes hindering her ability to move with grace.

“I beg your... pardon, but I was told that I had been granted an audience--...”

“An audience.” I cut her off again.“You have. No one specified with whom exactly the audience would be with, did they?”

I wait. I wait for her to answer and try to argue with me, eyebrows raised. But she doesn’t. She looks around the room, and I’m willing to bet she doesn’t think she looks nervous. She does, though. I can smell it on her. I can see it in the way she pivots her toes, in the direction her waist turns initially before she turns to look at me head-on through the dim room.

“Did the Jade Lord sign off on this, young woman?” she sniffs, taking a step closer to the dais, and I lift a hand. She freezes in place, like she was expecting guards to melt out of the walls, and then I watch her glare up at me as I smile down at her.

“No, but the Jade Prince did. He has power here, but you know that already, don’t you? The way you flinch - the way that you believe that I could easily have you handled by hands that aren’t my own - tells me that you know that I have whatever power I want in this place. So, pray tell, Lady Caelius...”

Slowly, I rise to my feet and make my way down the small set of stairs that take me off of the dais and onto the floor where she stands. To her credit - or her foolishness - the woman stays exactly where she is. She doesn’t budge this time. She doesn’t flinch, and I can’t tell if I admire it or find it annoying.

“Tell me why you’ve been feeling bold enough to walk around my prince’s palace, touching things as you please, talking to servants however you see fit, and acting as if you already own the place?”

My voice doesn’t raise. It’s so very soft, in a way that I’ve learned from Jun’s siren song. It doesn’t have the same magical properties. It never could, but... If nothing else, it’s taught me a little bit about how to croon in a way that is both peaceful and unsettling all at once. And, as I speak, I walk until I stop just mere ilms from Claudia fae Caelius’ face, my eyes drilling into hers through the darkness as shards of light bounce across our faces.

She sniffs. She stiffens. She has the audacity and lack of self preservation to narrow her eyes and lean her head back from me. She takes a step back, and I simply take a step forward, quietly reaching around to set my sword at her hamstrings - still sheathed - so that she knows she isn’t permitted to step away from me another fulm.

“The Jade Lord will be displeased to receive a report about your behavior,” Claudia whispers, her voice practically trembling with indignation, and I can’t help but to smile.

“He would. I’m sure he would, if anyone in this room other than you would be willing to vouch for that story. But as the story stands... You’re resting in your quarters. Do you think it would be difficult to get your companions to agree to tell that lie? And if they disagreed... Well. Have you heard all of the singing in the palace, my lady? It’s very beautiful, isn’t it? It can set one so very much at ease, and yet...”

Lightly, I tap the sword against the back of her legs.

“And yet, it makes your mind feel like it isn’t quite yours, right? The prince or the beautiful women that roam the halls could tell anyone anything and they would believe it. They have such a way about them. So... While my lady is correct in assuming that the Jade Lord wouldn’t approve of this, she is desperately incorrect about him receiving a report about it to begin with. You were a senator, weren’t you? And you still couldn’t politician your way into an actual meeting with him, and... for what? What were your intentions?”

I take a step back and move my sword from the back of her legs, and though she tries to hide it, I can see the way Claudia exhales - at least a little bit - in clear relief, as she lets go of a breath she wasn’t aware that she was holding.

“My intentions are not the concern of a bodyguard, Line Hwa. Let us cease this silly little meeting and allow us to both go back about our business.”

The corners of my lips twitch again at her tone and the butchering of my pseudonym. Slowly, I reach up and unclasp the mask hanging in front of my mouth so that she can see my face a bit more clearly.

“You have been rude to the servants in the palace. You demand they speak a language that incites fear because you haven’t bothered to learn ours, despite you being permitted into this palace out of an act of kindness. It’s gotten back to me - as a bodyguard, in charge of many of the servants that graciously agreed to help you and the rest of your party - that you’ve even gone far enough to call a girl hardly more than a child a savage. So...”

The words make her shrink. All at once, I see the pride that Claudia fae Caelius was trying to cling onto start to fade, because no one was supposed to know about that slip of the tongue. Even her own party would rip her apart for such foul language, and she knows it.

She is a proud, foolish woman, but I believe that she even knows that one wrong step would throw her into the wilds to fend for herself.

“I would suggest you change your tune, quickly. I hear everything that happens in this palace, but even I know far less of how a person truly is compared to those who truly own this palace. They know you to your core, Claudia fae Caelius. They can see the rot that lives in you with far more ease than I can. Your song - your inner song, you understand? - has no beauty. It grates on them. You grate on everyone around you, even your own children...”

Clicking my tongue, I clasp my hands behind my back, and I circle her like a vulture about to descend on its prey. I watch her stiffen. I watch her hold her wrist with one hand, and then repeat the motion as she wrings her hands before forcing herself to stop. I come to a halt behind her, my voice still low, still almost a croon, but I can’t stop the bite that seeps into my tone.

“No wonder your eldest decided that she would rather die,in a burning Castrum, than ever see your face again, Claudia.”

Claudia moves this time. Sure, it was a low blow. Of course it was. But it wasn’t really a lie, was it? It’s enough to make Claudia dare raise a hand to me as she swivels on a heel, her eyes burning like ceruleum, and I don’t even move to grab her wrist. I stay still. I wait, and I watch, eyebrows raised.

“Keep pushing your middle girl and she might experience a similar fate. One child has already proved they’ll do anything to get away from your control and your incessant nagging. At least your husband isn’t here, but he only beat Laelia, didn’t he? Cassia wasn’t important enough to hit, and Julia is the only one that actually belongs to him. I can see you balling your hand into fist, so I’m right, aren’t I? Laelia was just another bastard?”

“Shut your mouth,” Claudia hisses, and I grin.

“Or what? You’ll call me a savage? You’ll strike me? You don’t have any power here, Claudia. You can hit me, and then you’ll lose your hands. I’ll feed them to the creatures in the lagoon and force you to watch,” I murmur, and she bristles again. So much bristling, so little action.

“Tread lightly around the ponds. I think it bears reminding,” I continue, looking down and adjusting my gloves as she continues to glare, with her hand still raised in the air, before I glance back up at her face.“And do lower your arm. It would be a shame for everyone to see how you’ve stained those beautiful silks with your sweat from trembling like an angry little dog.”

“You’re a sick little girl,” Claudia snarls.“Who do you think you are? You are a lowly guard that could easily be replaced. Just because the prince likes to call you to his quarters doesn’t mean you have the right to speak to me like this. I doubt the prince would approve of you calling away servants and guards just for this! Who is looking after the princess?”

“I am well within my rights and the capacity of my authority. I promise you. And the safety of the princess is none of your concern. The biggest threat to her right now is that she might be wondering where her lunch is. Keep running your mouth and questioning me, and see how quickly I have your head covered in a bag and you left alone in the middle of the jungle, Caelius.”

Taking a step back, I step around the woman - who smells like sweat and anger and fear - and towards the exit of the throne room, my footsteps silent. But she isn’t silent. She isn’t still. She whips around, and she reaches for my arm, and I feel no remorse for the way I grab her wrist and throw her onto the floor. It’s simply a knee-jerk reaction, and I hear her gasp in absolute shock - and pain, because I’m sure that it didn’t tickle. I turn on my heel, staring down at her, as I pull my sword from its sheath.

“Apologize,” she demands in a shaky voice, glaring up at me.“Apologize for threatening me! And then you put hands on me? How dare you!”

Rolling my eyes, I crouch down, resting my arm on the pommel of my sword as I peer down at the woman’s face. Her makeup is creasing from sweat. I supposed the silks might be a bit stifling for her, that the weather in Doma might be a bit balmy compared to what she’s used to.

“You put hands on me first,” I remind her softly.“I would be well within my rights to hurt you far worse than that. No one would mourn you. You know that, don’t you? Your daughters might feel a passing sadness, and then it would be relief... And I think that will be your punishment.”

Clearing my throat, I smile before reaching out and grabbing Claudia’s face between my hands, despite the way that she tries to pull away - and the way that she fails to do so.

"No one would mourn your death,” I whisper to her.“Not your daughters. Not your husband. And it’s more than likely that any friends you have now are dead, in the same gutters that people like you forced the Populares into. Now... A few parting reminders...”

I tighten my leather-clad grip on Claudia’s face as she sputters and tries to speak, her eyes wild and furious.

“You may continue to try to sell your daughter like a pig at the market to the Jade Prince, but he won’t bite. He won’t be interested. Insult one more servant and you will be removed from the palace - or, at best, put into solitary confinement until it’s time for you to leave. And... stay in your f*cking quarters. This palace is not and will never belong to you. It is ancient. It is sacred. And it screams each time you touch it with your filthy, war-mongering feet. I only see one savage in this room, and I assure you that it is not me.”

“How dare you--” Claudia sputters again once I let go of her face and straighten back up.“The Jade Lord will hear of this! Mark my words! You terrible girl! Come back here, we are not--- gaaaaaaaaaah!”

“Close the doors,” I tell the guards flanking either side of them, even as they glance nervously into the throne room.“Allow her out in five minutes.”

“Why is she screaming?” one of them asks, and I shrug as I walk past.

It definitely had nothing to do with yokai taking the shape of thirty snakes surrounding her and nipping at her skin. Certainly not.

Dumb bitch.

#LONG#cw death mention#ffxiv rp#ff14 rp#writing


Dec 18, 2020


[[ so many mentions of @sirenofthesea-xiv​ / @benes-diction​ !!! I LOVE THESE CHARACTERS SO MUCH I WILL CRY ]]

When I was first posted in the Jade Palace, the cherry blossoms were just coming into their fullest bloom. Now winter is on the cusp of arrival, and though I’ve never been one to be particularly sentimental... Well. It’s hard to not look back on all the events of these past few moons and think about how everything - every single solitary thing, almost - has changed.

Aoi is strong. Aoi is strong and healthy and impish, in stark contrast to that frail girl I first met, too weak to rise easily from bed by herself. The girls that served her that were so skittish of consequence have grown spines of steel - or, rather, been inspired to show that they had them to begin with. I have watched them grow into young women that have teeth and nerve, willing - foolishly, maybe - to put themselves in harm’s way just to protect... me. To protect each other.

This palace was built by a woman. It is matriarchs who protect it. It’s been long since overdue, even from an outsider’s perspective, that women regain control and take the reins once more.

The creatures of myth and legend that terrorized the palace are now the ones who talk its halls, tall and strong and beautiful, back to their rightful place. I don’t know if the curse is entirely broken. I don’t know if the waters are entirely safe, if there are yet other creatures that we haven’t met yet, but... Luli, Liqin, and their families have emerged. From milky-eyed creatures that could not speak to the warriors and healers that they are, soothing and protecting in equal parts. The laughter of children fills halls that once knew only silence or screams from‘ghosts’ or prisoners. Music floods corridors, voices that are happy and at ease, people who know, now, that they’re safer than they once were.

It doesn’t mean the danger has passed. The Jade Lord is still here. The Jade Lady needs Jun and I to help her, but... I don’t trust her. I don’t trust that she wouldn’t betray us if another, less dangerous option presented itself. The oyabun still watches, still expects me to produce something for him - whether it be the child of a siren or the prince himself. He tells me that my mission isn’t over. To keep the peace, I agree. My mission isn’t over. It’s far from over.

It’s just that the oyabun doesn’t know that my my mission has become securing the safety of these people I’ve grown to love so dearly.

Arriving here... I thought the job would be simple enough. I would find a way to coax the Jade Prince to the compound, away from a stifling and abusive household. He’d be offered even more power, more riches, more wealth, lovers, but that plan got trashed so... quickly. From the day we met, Jun and I viewed each other as puzzle boxes that we so desperately wanted to solve.

We were two kindred spirits - those who wished for death, who thought of it so often that it felt more like a memory - that gravitated towards each other. We danced around it. We danced around each other, sometimes literally, but mostly figuratively. And don’t believe what he says. He craved me first. He pursued me, even during the times I stubbornly refused his heart, even during the times I avoided him to keep myself safe - and to keep him safe, too, from the monster that I felt that I was.

In sacred, darkened nights, Jun struggled to tell me the secrets of the palace, of his people - of himself. I watched him strain against a bracelet around his ankle that kept his lips sealed, choking out what we could so that I wouldn’t exist in the dark against threats bigger than myself. I leapt into battle and bore my teeth before I even knew what I was doing just to protect him. I bore scars and blood for intervening, but every pain was worth it. Every moment of ache was worth it. I would do it again. I would do it over and over and over again, just to keep my Jade Prince and Princess safe from harm, as much as I can.

Though his scars aren’t visible to the naked eye, he showed me his, and I showed him mine. The first day we met, and we were alone - after I had snuck into his quarters - he asked me if I was afraid, and... the answer is the same. I hadn’t been afraid. Not of him. I never had been, despite all reason and better judgement. Any person with any sense would have run when they saw the webbed fingers and claws and gills he grew in the water, but I was... fascinated. I was little Sun Xiu all over again, wandering into quarters belonging to ghosts just to speak to them, just to understand.

Maybe we gravitated towards each other because we saw each other’s darkness, and neither of us wanted to run. He saw my anger, my pain, and I saw the things that haunted him the most. I knew what he did to survive, to protect Aoi, and he saw what I did to survive, to protect Hui. Kindred spirits, from the very start, and I... I know. I know that, maybe, I should have run from this palace during the opportunities I had to do it. That stopped being an option within a sennight of me being here, though. The Jade Palace, for all of its gold and all of its rot and all of its secrets and wickedness, became a strange sort of home.

Or, rather, its people became a home. In the cold of a lagoon filled with creatures born from myth, I was taken in. I became a daughter, a niece, a big sister, and... maybe sometimes, a mother, to Aoi. Something like it.

Somehow, I became the prince’s princess. We were bound together by a red string, but it never felt forced. It never felt like anything but our own choice. I have gravitated towards Jun since day one, and vice versa. He knows all of me. I know all of him. There is no doubt in my mind that this where I’m meant to be.

Jun took all of my difficult ways and all of my tall, thick walls, and he tore them down. He broke every single one of the rules I had set for myself. I’m like a stray puppy that follows him, wherever it is that he goes. He is my lover, but he is my prince, too. I would follow him to the ends of this star. My siren, my Junichi, my other half - the man that I would die for, even if he’d never ask it of me. In truth... In truth, Junichi Nakamura - or Jun Amari, dealer’s choice - wrecked all of my plans. He saw a piece of me that I thought I had killed and he breathed life back into her. He wanted to know Sun Xiu, and he brought her back.

I admit that I live in awe of him. The world bends to him like the limbs of a wllow tree. He is power and grace, the picture of control and poise, even when poison and pain is spat into his face. This was supposed to be a quick job, but Jun pulled me into his current. He whispered secrets to me and promised that I would be safe at his side. He is... the wind, and he is the sky, and he is the sea, and I am nothing but a mortal standing at the edge with bated breath, watching, filled with amazement and reverence and adoration.

I am his lotus. He is my siren. He sees my strengths and my weaknesses and he loves me. Jun truly loves me. And I truly love him. Every breath in my lungs feels like a breath taken because of him. In a sea of nervous songs, thrumming and beating, I am his ribbon of calm - steady, poised, something to hold onto. He is my anchor. He is my mythical thing. He is... dramatic, and he is bold, and he is a horrible tease with an endless sort of hunger, but it’s for me and for me alone. Jun is brilliant. Jun is kind. He has done horrible things to survive, but... so have I. He has done things that few people could understand, not unless they were in the same line of fire as he was.

But I understand. Just as he knows me, I know him.

That’s my prince. That’s my man.

I know, even though things have grown safer in our little part of the palace, that we’re far from being out of the woods. But we have allies. Our story has only just begun, but it doesn’t feel as daunting as it did the day I first arrived in this cove. And wherever Jun leads, I will follow. Wherever I lead, he will follow.

He is the wind, and I am the willow. I bend to him of my own free will. He looks at me as his equal, or, sometimes, even above that. Foolish man.

Precious man.

I should bring him some kibi dango from the kitchens tonight.

#i had so many ideas and this didn't turn out how i wanted but#you know what#i still like it#{outlier.}#writing#ffxiv rp#ff14 rp#xiu is so in love please make fun of her



Nov 21, 2020


― Nichole McElhaney



Nov 20, 2020

‘cause you make it better.

#ffxiv screenshots#ff14 screenshots#raen#au ra#female au ra#ffxiv#ff14#gpose#screenshots


Nov 18, 2020

Even without being able to sense the "songs" of other people as the sirens can, it was very easy to tell that there was a special sort of tension in the Jade Palace. Of course, there's always tension here. There's always an edge in the air of anxiety and people hanging on by a thin thread to their sanity, but this was different, because the threat we all felt was no longer from the Jade Lord or Lady or the "ghosts" or creatures lurking in the lagoon.

No - now the threat in our halls is one that's haunted Domans for a very long time, and it came in the form of an entourage. Pale hair, pale eyes, pale skin, some of them very quiet while others seemed as though they simply couldn't stop talking. The Garleans marveled at the beauty of the Jade Palace, and it set my own teeth on edge. Did they think savages had nothing beautiful? Did they not understand that we are centuries and centuries older, that their people are infants compared to the history and culture of the Doman people?

They have machines and ceruleum. We have a culture that extends past conquering and subjugation, rich and diverse. Why would a palace have finery that should surprise these people? Why would it be anything short of their wildest dreams?

These people don't have the decency to cover their third eyes - their mutations that set my people ill at ease. How many in the palace, I wonder, also had to see the reflections of their families and loved ones in pain in just such third eyes? And their accents, the way they fumble our language or else speak it in such a broken way that it sounds like they're children. I can understand and speak Garlean easily, but that wasn't a choice. These people never needed to learn Doman. For them, it could have simply been a fun hobby, a venture into being a polyglot. For them, my language - my culture - was unimportant except for curiosity.

f*ck them.

The redheaded one tries to be friendly. Laelia's mother is loud and noisy. The tall thin one with the axe constantly smells of booze, and the children are no better - wide eyed and nervous, like they're only just beginning to realize that the tables have turned. They're no longer the lions we cower to. Now, we have teeth and weapons and no repercussions. They're in our realm, under our mercy. I want them to fear, constantly, that our mercy could be ripped away. I want them to bow and I want their eyes to stay low when they pass me.

Respect is earned, and I don't know how many of these foreigners could ever deserve or earn mine.

I know my song is different, even if Jun doesn't say anything. He once described it as a piece of calm in a sea of anxiety - steady, smooth. How does it sound now? Does it feel like like how I do - something at the edge, teetering, struggling, to keep a clear mind? I'm trying not to be angry, but they've entered my den. These foreigners surround the people I care about - my prince, my princess, this strange family I've found after swearing to never be close to anyone.

Do they even understand, at all, what holy ground they've stepped on? Or how cursed it is? Do they understand how dangerous this place is for those who don't know how to traverse it?

I won't be holding their hands. They can sink, or they can swim... but it would be for the best if they avoided the water altogether. It would be best if they kept to themselves until their sick are able to be moved once again unless they find themselves cast into one of the pools.

Legend says that there are still monsters that bite beneath the lagoon's surface.

(( tagging @sirenofthesea-xiv/@benes-diction for mentions!!! ))

#xiu says f*ck garleanz#IM SORRY BEANIES#ffxiv rp#ff14 rp#writing


Oct 23, 2020

I never liked the wine in Kugane. It always reminded me of faces too close to mine, of mouth breathing ijin drunk on piss weak imported spirits because they didn't like the foreign taste of sake. It reminded me of pale eyes, hazy only with desire, reaching out for a little hand that they thought couldn't make them hurt.

It reminded me of the crunch of bone.

I suppose that was what I was thinking of when I was drinking the Ishgardian import with my back to the wall of the dingy little bar, watching the oyabun's particular target. It was a hulking Highlander of a man, surrounded by a pack of half dressed men and women alike, their laughter like nails on a chalkboard through the already noisy tavern. It smelled like sweat and spilled ale and a distinct, troubling lack of shame. It was the last place that I wanted to be.

It had been a trip to visit Hui. However, the oyabun was a creature of opportunity. The Highlander owed him money. And, despite the village being only half a day's journey from the compound, the oyabun had selected me to carry out the mission. I knew why,npf course - it lengthened the amount of time I was away from Jun. The oyabun took pleasure in the little ways he could make my life unpleasant.

And that was simply unforgivable.

I'd just have to work fast to get back to the Jade Palace before Aoi started to wonder if I really was coming back at all.

It worked out that I didn't have to really follow the Highlander. He was the one to approach me, seated in the shadows though I was. His barflies had dispersed, falling over each other as they cackled their way out of the bar. I watched the man, with all of his audacity, as he lumbered closer. The red wine was acidic, dry on my tongue.

"Pretty girl all alone? That won't do," he slurred, smiling with his tiny eyes. "Why don't I walk you home?"

I smiled back, but it felt more like a baring of teeth.

"I'd really like nothing more."


He was left beaten to a pulp with little ceremony in a nearby gutter, and his heavy coinpurse was secured on my hip. My knuckles ached a little bit as I stretched my fingers, watching the scales on the back of my wrists glimmer in the moonlight.

To Mori's credit, he managed to catch me off guard while I was distracted, up until I noted the stink of whiskey coming close to the back of my neck.

"Xiu--" he started, and I felt a very familiar prickle of anger in my gut. I felt my limbs coiling up. He was following me. He'd f*cking followed me here?

Next thing I knew, I was twisting around. My head slammed into his after I grabbed his coat to pull him down to my level, and Mori howled, trying to stumble back. I snapped his coat and pulled it off of him but for on his right arm. From there, I used it to wrap around his neck and yank him back, arm locked across his trachea.

"You have ten seconds to tell me why you followed me here," I snarled into his ear, and I felt his breath catch, felt the fearful pulse of his neck against my skin, and it was better than a drink. It was better than a high.

Mori had tried to confess his love to me. He had begged my help for Garlean dogs afterwards. I wanted him to piss himself. I wanted him to give me a reason to snap his neck and leave him paralyzed. I wanted to feel every precious moment over his fear for having broken my trust.

"You're already acting like a bitch before I can say anything," Mori snapped, through that palpable fear, and I raised my eyebrows. He swallowed.

He knew he f*cked up.

"You have to stop drinking. It makes you run your pretty mouth too much," I murmured before releasing him... only to grab his arm and flip him over my shoulder, staring down at him as he groaned in the dirt beneath my boots.

Shifting, I knelt down beside him, quietly taking the knife from the sheath on my thigh. Mori glared up at me, but his expression changed as soon as he saw the steel glinting in the moonlight. Until then, I had given him so much wiggle room. I had been patient. I had been forgiving.

And then he wanted me to open the palace doors to that Garlean lux bitch's friends and family, just because their own people wanted them dead.

Good riddance, if you ask me.

It had been the tiny voice belonging to my father and to Hui that had gotten to me agree. It had been the idea that Suzume would be kind that made me relent. It didn't change the fact, however, that Mori had asked something detestable. It didn't change that he had crossed an enormous, glaring red line. He was asking me to risk everything, and for what? Because the white haired bitch had been nice enough to only torture Misaki a little bit? Because she knew Audrey, because she knew Hana?

f*ck her. f*ck that dumb c*nt and all the good people think she did.

"If you want to beg, go ahead," I told Mori, lightly tapping his cheek with the knife. "I'd love to hear it. But if you want to go home with all your limbs, I'd just leave, if your legs will stop shaking."

"Xiu, I want to apologize-- what the f*ck!"

I had slashed his cheek with the knife, and Mori roared as he rolled away from me, gripping his bleeding face. I watched, though briefly, before slowly rising from the crouching position I had been in. I glanced down at my knife, tilting my head. He bled the same color as the wine I had been drinking.

"I don't want it. Go home. Use some of that whiskey you've been chugging to clean that out. It'll leave a scar, won't it? Maybe your Garleans will have a medic that can fix it for you, huh?"

A day. A day of sanctuary. That's all they'd get from me, unless Jun decided to be more benevolent than me.

And Mori was lucky, as far as I was concerned, that he'd only gotten a cut on his face because of this.

#rusty#dont look at me#writing#tw violence#tw blood


Sep 15, 2020


Prompt 8: Clamor

In the dark of the night, I could hear them. Their voices swelled, like the sea beneath an inky, angry sky, like bolts of lightning were bringing them to life. And with the swell came the fall, came the hushed whisperings that grew to groans that grew to calls that grew to screams.

I could not sleep. I could not eat. Every day, they are all I heard. Each passing hour simply added another chorus, so loud and so demanding that I felt that I needed to sink my hands into my hair and rip it out by the follicles. I didn’t understand. They were clamoring, they were calling, but the words were so difficult to make out.

What do you want? Please, tell me what you want, if you’ll stop.

Their shadows chased each other - or were they chasing me? - across the walls of the compound. They chased me through the forest, crying out and begging in a language that I didn’t speak. It didn’t take long for me to start crying out and screaming, too. The doctors the oyabun called thought I was mad. They locked me away in a room where I rocked in the fetal position on the floor, weeping and weeping so much that my eyes were too swollen to open.

It was only when someone got the idea of calling in a priestess that we had an understanding. The more superstitious women wanted me exorcised. Others wanted me cast out completely, while the others simply believed I had gone mad.

What a shame, what a shame, the voices echoed in shades of familiar voices. So pretty. So young. So promising. What a shame she’s gone mad.

Priestess’ daughter, won’t you help us? Won’t you help us? Why don’t you answer? Answer! Answer! Answer!

The priestess invaded my mind while I was drugged. She searched my veins and blood vessels and my guts, grabbed my aether and ripped it in half - or at least, that’s what it felt like.

And then we had our answers.

“She is the daughter of a priestess,” the old, wizened woman had said to a skeptical oyabun.“She has been chosen. It would help her to send her to a shrine where she could be taught how to–…”

“She will stay here,” the oyabun had said, quietly, as he looked down at me, only half conscious and drenched in sweat.“And learn to control this herself.”

I was barely aware of my surroundings, but I know that I looked at him with such hatred, in that moment. I was a child. He wanted me to endure so much. He wanted me to learn to fight and he wanted me to learn how, all by myself, to quiet the ghosts that wept and begged for help I didn’t know how to offer.

I learned. I learned, on my own.

But just because I could endure all of these things… It didn’t mean that I should have had to, does it?

Or is this the price I pay for all that I had done? All that I would yet do?

Is this what I deserve?

#ffxiv rp#ff14 rp#writing


Sep 5, 2020


Prompt 4: Clinch

“You want me to fight who?”

The moon was high and bright in the sky when Kage was called to his father. The older man lounged on the throne“left behind” from the palace’s previous owners, taking a long drag from a cigarette and eyeing his son as he knelt on the marble floor.

“Sun Xiu. The one that intervened on behalf of our young new recruit earlier today. Do you not recall her?”

Kage pursed his lips into a thin line as he glared up at his father.

He was well aware of who Sun Xiu was.

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#xiu has always been so cool and i’m just bad at writing her#stop coming across as bland 😭#writing#ffxiv rp#ff14 rp#cw violence#cw blood
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