The little mithra white mage sat in Ru'lude Gardens. She was shaking. She'd just done what she always did for a friend who was about to face Maat; she'd thrown her best protect on Karlinn (That wouldn't last though the magic of the burning circle, but it was meant as a good luck wish) and hauled off and slapped Maat. Twice, this time. But she still knew...from every red mage friend she knew, Maat was hardest on red mages for some reason. White mages like her had it easy, but red mages got the hard knocks. It didn't seem fair, but Maat probably had his own reasons.
She fingered her friend pearl nervously. Just then, she noticed a certain hume paladin, who had once been a Elvaan Red Mage in a previous life, had woke up..she called out..
“Requin? Sharky? What's up?”
“What are you doing there? I was going to go to the past and campaign..”
“Um. Karlinn's facing Maat..wanna see if he wins or not...wanna join me? I can use some company.”
“Be a minute.” It didn't take long before Requin joined Elizara. He slapped Maat, Maat didn't notice but he prolly had adventurers slap him so much he had taken to ignoring it. He sat down next to her.
“Yeah. Just gotta wait this out. I'll do this for you when the time comes, by the way...I always do for my closest friends when they have to face Maat if I'm not elsewhere.”
Requin shivered. “It won't be long before my turn..”
Elizara nodded. “Be sure you talk to Treasa before you try. I know she beat Maat on Paladin first try; she may be able to help you. But if I can, I'll be there when you face him, to talk you down from the bad case of nerves that I know most adventurers have facing him if you need it and to wish you luck..in my own way.”
Requin nodded. They waited for a bit, then Karlinn mentioned on the shell there was a line for the burning circle today.
“Drats!” Elizara looked even more nervous and scared for her friend.
“Well, I can see yer on eggs; wanna pound on something a while while we wait? I could use some pot shards anyway, let's go down to Delkfutt's Tower and kill things before ya strangle Maat or something worse than slapping him..”
Elizara nodded, and went to go get the key to Delkfutt's that she had (It was in her mog locker; Requin gently made fun of her for not asking the royal authorities to set it so she could get at it anywhere). They went into the tower and started beating on pots. Elizara however kept checking her friend pearl nervously from time to time, trying to check and see if Karlinn was in there. He did finally get in there, she caught her breath and hoped. He's got the skill, I know that!> she thought. She remembered her sensei, Kistrena's words when she'd asked about red mage..“Ta-taruwaru, this is a hard time for you, oh my yes, ta-taru. But even tho you shot ahead..don't forget, let him fly. You know what you can't do, or shouldn't do. Be there for him, but make sure you give him room to stretch his wings...And be ready to let go. You will have to..eventually, ta-taru.”
This time, he might fall, Sensei. This time he might fall. I can't do this for him, I know I can't...I know Zoofster prolly gave him some good advice, but from what I heard, Maat's so darn mean on red mages...
Just then, she checked once more to discover Karlinn was out of there. “You ok?” she whispered into the friend pearl.
Her face must of turned fairly ghastly, for Requin looked at her funny.
“Mebbe we can help him get another test? I know pots in Ro'Mave drop red mage testimonies..but we'll just go look.”
Turned out there was no good place to stand, but she did get to show Requin The Hall of the Gods. They went to the past to do some campaign. As Karlinn went to bed that night, several people on the shell, including Sivara, threw around some equipment ideas and some ideas on food to help that red mage...
By trying to climb to the stars
But you can't always make it..
sometimes you end up falling..
and end up with broken wings.
It hurts, doesn't matter
if it's a friend or you that falls..
But no matter, you know you have to keep trying..
No matter how many times you fall.
That evening, she laid in bed in her rental room in the Empire, having trouble sleeping. Her moogle fluttered over to her in the bed.
“Kupo-kupo, what's wrong? Can't you get to sleep tonight, kupo?”
“Karlinn..lost to Maat. I know he can try again, but I know he needs to get some kind of edge, something... Maat's mean to red mages, but there's gotta be some way, something I can do..besides make him some food for the fight..”
“Kuuupppo! Really worried are you, kupo-kupo?”
“Yes, moogle. I am. He's like a brother...” Just then she recalled something that Zoofster had thrown around...
“...maybe get a phantom tathlum?”
“Wait! Someone mentioned phantom tathlum earlier. I know Hawkeeye uses one so I know that's prolly decent red mage gear, and her red mage has got some pretty fancy gear..but isn't that..a named monster drop, moogle?”
The moogle reached over into a hidden cubby and pulled out a book and looked. “Yes kupo, it's from phantom worm..”
“Hmm then. I'll check with the Adventurer's Board in the morning, maybe I can ask them if they know anything about that monster. But shouldn't be too bad; the day I can't deal with a stupid worm, even if I have to call in help to kill it, I should just hang up my hat as white mage. You remember why, right?”
The moogle chuckled. “You and that ranger in the maze, and you trained up to a point on worms with ranger help, kupo! Not to mention you trained there with black mages for a while too!”
Elizara laughed with her moogle. “No way a worm is going to make a fool out of me. I will need help though, it's a named monster. Bound to be worse than the worms I messed with in the maze. Besides, definitely will need help from a thief..named monster drops tend to be tricky.”
“Too late to get help right now, right kupo?”
“Yeah. Everyone's in bed. Mind getting me some herbal tea so I can get to sleep?”
“No problem, kupo-kupo!”
“Thanks. Tomorrow's soon enough. Karlinn had enough getting beaten up for one day anyway; no telling when he'll get up the nerve to try again..” She patted the moogle on the shoulder, it flew away to procure the nightcap tea...
If it's a friend, you wish
You could break their fall...
but you can't, we all make our own falls.
Maybe ya can help them out later to help mend the pain...
but they have to fly on their own.
The next day, Elizara ran into a friend she thought she'd long lost, Jahuran, after she talked to the board. She'd also managed to get a note to Hawkeeye; she was sure one red mage would understand about another red mage's problem with Maat. (The board was rather helpful, but they couldn't tell her how good a drop rate the tathlum had from the worm. Figures! she thought.) Jahuran had to lean against the wall for a bit though (He had a friend who was a ranger, but didn't want to call him out since he was having troubles of his own), so she decided to go see if she could acquire the darksteel ore needed to lure the worm out of hiding. There was none on the Auction House in Whitegate, so she decided to run to Bastok; after all, she'd asked Kethary to sell some ore for her there a thousand times when gold and darksteel were decent gil. That reminded her; she needed to find a better way to make gil than depend on others's help since gold and darksteel no longer were very good money, and mining in Mount Zhayolm, tho potentially very profitable, was very risky and she ended up dying more than getting rich in there.
It only took her but a moment to Teleport-Altep and make the run to Bastok. There were two of the ores on the ah there. Just as she got them, she thought to use her friend pearl to check...Sirshibey was around. Worth asking if he's got time! She concentrated; neither of them had actually gotten on the memory of each other's friend pearl, so that just meant one had to concentrate harder to talk from a distance.
“Erm? Sirshib? Are ya busy?”
“Not really, why?”
“Need some help here. A red mage friend of mine lost to Maat, I know he wants to train his skills some more and maybe improve his gear before trying again; thought I'd help, so I'm going after phantom worm for the tathlum for him. He doesn't know what I'm up to tho, I didn't tell him, and I want to surprise him anyway. Could you come help?”
“Could ya come as thief? I couldn't find out how easy it is to get the drop; stupid worm might need some encouragement..”
There was a pause while Elizara warped back to Whitegate, then Sirshibey said;
“Might be able to duo that, but could be mean..”
“Ha.” she answered back. “I know worms. Trained on them in my early adventurer days. Think I ought to ask the moogle to fix it so I could rely on summoner instincts as well as white mage? Or just stick with black mage so I can elemental seal along with silence, since you really need to shut up a worm? Also got another friend willing to help, but he had to lean against the wall a while.” Shame I don't see Cristoir around. Black mages are murder on worms, I remember...
“Better stick with black mage; you might need to. Meet you there.”
She teled to Altep to join Sirshib; the worm lurked in Kuftal Tunnel. Just as she got there, Jahuran stood up straight.
“Be back in a second.” She warped, and took her friend pearl out once again to use it to privately talk to Jahuran: “Sirshibey's the main puller in Howitzer just so you know and a pretty darn good thief...don't you dare steal tho.”
Jahuran then said privately, “Oooh, nice.” Elizara knew Jahuran was starting a new dynamis shell that would prolly be in the spirit of the old Deathwishes (maybe out of the ashes of that shell?) so the information might be useful. They discussed what job Jahuran should bring; they decided on red mage. Jahuran also got the attention of a beastmaster friend that Elizara didn't catch the name of, when he joined them, Elizara said, “You'd better give it crabs!” since worms were mean. Sirshibey also liked the idea because maybe that beastmaster could charm the raptors down in the tunnel.
It didn't take them long to get together, tho Elizara made a wrong turn once. (Oops.) and the beastmaster had to charm a crab that aggroed him. (Double oops.) They all worried about the dragon that was sometimes down there; both Jahuran and Elizara had been chomped by that dragon multiple times. However, they soon found the right spot. (It brought back memories for Elizara too; this was where she'd gone to train with some friends a long, long time ago..)The beastmaster couldn't charm the raptors, but that was ok..Elizara gave Sirshib the ore..then..
One of the fishermen at the pond cried, “Don't go popping that worm with sneak on! I don't want to be killed by it since no one claimed it!”
Elizara misunderstood and put sneak up, but then the fisherman repeated what he said and she caught it, then willed sneak to go away. She smiled. “I got nothing against honest fishermen. Don't worry. I'd never do that.”
Sirshibey was trying to find where that worm would be at the moment. “Damn, that thing's fast.” Jahuran tried to track it too, but Sirshibey warned him to stay put since there was a pattern. It took him a bit but he tossed down a ore in the right spot; Out popped the phantom worm, which chomped the ore then promptly smacked Sirshibey. Elizara promptly tried to silence the worm, but it was resistant to being silenced. She did put up Barstonra as fast as she could though; she knew from experience that would help reduce its attacks. The worm also ended up poisoned, bioed and all sorts of other nasty things with Jahuran's help. Jahuran also tried to silence it, but the stubborn worm just wouldn't silence, even with the greater enfeebling skill of a red mage versus a white mage. Other than that, it was the usual dance with making sure no one hit the floor.
The worm went down, but in its maw was not what Elizara wanted sadly. Only some iron ore. The fisherman who had yelled about not popping it with sneak on cheered, Elizara said sadly, “No, didn't have the tathlum this time.”
The fisherman (Elizara didn't catch his name) said, “Awww!”
Jahuran asked Sirshib some stuff about pulling dynamis bastok while they waited for the worm to respawn itself. Jahuran apologized for that but Elizara grinned. “We gotta wait for it after all.”
It wasn't too long even with that before they heard it moving around again. Sirshibey lured it out again; this time all they got was silver ore. The beastmaster had to go but he donated another darksteel ore to the cause. Stubborn worm. Was afraid of this.. Elizara thought. Has to have that talthum sometime though, it can't hide it forever.. This time though, they weren't as careful about links, and the fisherman who had complained went down. Elizara wasn't about to let a guy stay dead like that, so she cast Raise 3 on the guy. Sirshibey also had to go at that time; he had something he had to do.
They asked the fisherman (since he was also a thief) if he'd be willing to help once he wasn't raisesick. He agreed to, understanding the whole thing. They tried again; still no tathlum, but they did get another darksteel. Just then, Elizara felt her friend pearl vibrate. She took it out; it was Hawkeeye.
“What'cha up to? Poking a worm?”
“Yep. Wanna come help?”
“Sure. On my way!”
Jahuran said he knew Hawk, which was suprising to Elizara, but she figured it was a small world sometimes. Hawk DID get lost down on the way, but she also brought a job Elizara had never seen her on before; that is, ninja. She got down there just in time to tank the worm for the fifth pop. This time...
...it was different. Elizara examined the remains and discovered...
...a phantom tathlum. At last! She could see why that taru had mentioned it, she could feel it..it was stronger than the little morion tathlum she'd gotten for black mage back in the day. She used her friend pearl to tell Sirshibey, who was doing some special fights with other people. He cheered. Jahuran said, “Wouldn't you know it. Hawk gets here, and the thing has got it.” Guess Hawk has a lucky tail, I don't know. Elizara thought and grinned. They gave the thief who had helped them the last two ores, which they had also gotten from the worm.
On the way back, Hawk told her: “Make sure he knows that fight is not just gear or skill, but luck. Sometimes Maat is meaner than other times; I'll be glad to help farm tests for your friend. As many times as it takes.” She promised she'd try to manage a introduction soon as she could.
That night as she went into her rent a room in the Empire to sleep, she was grinning. Soujirou had come though as well; had gotten her the very creamy milk she needed for the cream puffs she'd wanted to make for Karlinn (she was sure those would help, and Hawkeeye had confirmed her suspicion; what had given her the idea was one dynamis, she kept seeing Nyiri on black mage eating them..and licking cream off her nose. That made her think black mages liked them; and from what she knew of red mages and Maat, red mages had to nuke Maat in some way, so maybe that would help?) She did tell Klaital privately after swearing her to s ecrecy; Klatial thought it was going to be a good one this time.
“Sivara? Can you keep a secret?” “Of course I can. I've been keeping secrets for a lot of people; what's one more?”
Elizara then quietly told her what she'd done, and that she hoped to surprise Karlinn. Elizara helped Sivara with the axe she was working a latent off of, even to helping her get the one past tele crystal she was missing. They shot the breeze about this and that; Sivara wasn't even mad that Elizara had camped that thing behind her back. “It's better than morion talthum; it'll surely help.” Elizara also warned her when it was about time for her to show up for dynamis (a bit early though) since she heard there might be trouble at the trail markings that day with a certain shell they'd been having a serious argument with. When it was time, they parted ways and Elizara got ready to go to dynamis. Yes, there was a mess that day; one of the blms helped her out so she could tele people to get to xarc since they had to hurry. Since she was relying on smn instincts as usual, she couldn't warp back; the blm simply waited at the telepoint and warp 2'd her back a few times so she could keep getting people – so the other shell wouldn't be able to get the zone before them.
As always, dynamis was a blur. Dashuto went down once on the monk nm; asked about cures. Elizara wasn't happy about that one; even with how she'd broken the limits so she'd cure faster than most, she hadn't been able to save Dash from Hundred Fists. She'd rested by Cydori at one point, and had given Hien a scritch, apologizing for not having any dragon treats today. Hawkeeye was making herself hard to cure..again.. because she kept running out of range, annoyingly enough. She kept checking friend pearl at the beginning before it really got nuts but knew she had to pay attention; she noticed Miyasha had showed up. She whispered, “I'm sorta busy here and can't keep looking; can you please pass Karlinn a message?”
“Tell him to meet me in the safehold after I get out of here. I know he's trying to get to where he can save the world from the emptiness..again..so hopefully that will be a good place to meet.”
“Ok. What's this about, if I might ask?” Miyasha was also someone she'd told, they'd tried something else to help that red mage out, but it didn't work out too well that time.
“I got that You-Know-What to give him. Don't tell!”
“Did you get the..”
“No, sorries. Been more worried about gil..”
“Oh now I get it, the other You-Know-What. I won't tell, but I'll pass the message along.”
Dynamis went on for a while longer, then Miyasha told her: “Message relayed. He mentioned he does have that bit in the sewer to do..”
“I knew that!” Elizara said quite grumpily. “That's why safehold's prolly a good place to meet..I think.”
There were several links of demons near the end of that Xarc, Elizara couldn't figure out why, and she did go down about three times. Neither could Hawkeeye; they'd been conspiring to go ambush Karlinn after dynamis. She'd told Hawk teasingly since they'd planned on running through sea, “Don't agg that shark!” since she didn't' feel like dealing with it; she said, “Hey! That's what I do!” Elizara then said. “Ok, if you do agg it then, sleep the darned thing! I don't wanna die again today!”
Dynamis was soon declared to be over before the sand ran out of the timeless hourglasses (they'd thought of doing a attempt on animated shield but the links stopped that idea). People asked for D2's; Elizara refused and stuck with Hawkeeye, and she Teleport-Holla'ed. They both ran to the back door where you'd go in for Limbus, Hawk was a little faster than Elizara. She got in just in time to see Hawk with a very sleepy shark.
“You agged that shark! You agged that shark, you crazy cat!” she said accusingly. Hawk just grinned, and they headed for the updrafts.
As she got into the safehold, she made sure she had CurseTheYagudo on and not Howitzer, and then said, “Mew?” on the shell. Then she said, “I got something behind my baaaack..”
Nimbex made a comment about it, then Elizara just winked, then said, “Has to do with you Karlinn. No peekies!” Klaital then said, “I know what it is tho!” but she shut up.
A few people pretended to try to peek or in Siv's case, puk..Elizara pretended to swat. Karlinn thanked her for the cream puffs that she'd made and had mog mailed to him.
It turned out Hawk had to be called away to help a blue mage get his or her hat, and then got caught up in some other stuff. Elizara patiently waited, however; she knew Karlinn'd come out of that sewer sooner or later. There was the usual craziness on the shell, including Scion doing some very crazy mistells, which made everyone laugh. She fell asleep a while, then discovered someone had holla'd on her; he was in La Thiene.
“Don't you get away from me, you red mage. Don't you dare!”
“Ah, they decided to take the easy way out. I'm headed to windy.”
“Meet you there.” It didn't take long to warp to Whitegate, get her paws on a silver coin, and get the warp taru to send her to Windy. As she ran from the outpost taru, Karlinn called; “Now what's this all about?”
“You'll see in a second.” They met at the entrance to the mog house.
No words needed to be said at that moment; Elizara pressed the talthum into his hands wrapped in a clean handkerchief since she really hadn't been able to find any nice wrapping paper on short notice. It didn't take him long to get the hankee off, then his eyes widened. He looked quite a bit surprised.
Is that how I looked when Scion passed me the last bit of gil I needed for my gloves, I wonder? Bet he can tell; it's stronger than the old morion talthum I got for black mage back in the day..
“Got some friends together the other day and went worm chasin'”
She went ahead and named the people who helped her chase the worm, tho she forgot about the beastmaster, probably since she didn't know him well and she was tired.
“Very nice!” Karlinn said."Thanks Eli! This'll be a big help on Maat!"
“I couldn't do it alone!” Elizara said.“I have been keeping that a secret by the way for a bit now.” Elizara grinned.
Karlinn laughed. “Well, if you see them again, tell them I said thanks to them, too.” He smiled.
“I will, Hawkeeye wanted to meet you but that crazy cat is busy right now.”
“Consider it a secret well kept.” Karlinn grinned again. “That's fine, I was going to punch out in a bit anyway.” He took the talthum, removed his morion talthum from his belt, and replaced it with the phantom talthum.
“K, there will be another chance.” Elizara grinned. “She's always running away anyway.” Karlinn laughed. Elizara continued. “You wouldn't believe how many times she's run away from me when I'm trying to cure her, and I cure pretty darn fast because of how I broke the limits.” She grinned, Karlinn grinned back. “'Stand still while I'm trying to cure your tail!'”, she said, and she grinned bigger.
Karlinn laughed. “Ha! That's funny! Well, I'll be sure to put it to good use. That's like nine billion I owe you, white mage.”
She grinned again. “Don't bother. I've had so many people help me out, give me stuff; time to pay one forward!”
“Thanks a bunch!” He psyched up tho she could tell he was tired.
“No problem! I'm tired myself, but I held on to take care of this in person. Anyway, I'll introduce ya to Hawkeeye later; she said she'd be glad to help you farm testimonies if you need it.”
Karlinn smiled and thanked her, saying he'd ask if he needed the help. Elizara continued, “She's just a slippery eel tonight.” They both went into their rooms in the mog house complex and went to bed.
Never give up
Never give up
Everyone who ends up
Having to fly on broken wings..
No matter how many times you fall..
Keep trying to fly!
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