|Meeting Again Book 2
Author: Inner Seoul PM
Part 2 of Karana's "origin story". To see my inspiration for the title of these stories go to youtube and search "A Little FFXI Story".Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Friendship - Chapters: 2 - Words: 3,224 - Updated: 11-05-11 - Published: 02-20-11 - id: 6762783
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter 2: Bastok
"I've never seen anything like this! I can't believe technology like this is possible!" Karana exclaimed as she watched the bridge lower to is proper position after it had been raised to let the airship pass under it.
Matt smiled and nodded, "Bastok is the most technologically advanced city in the Middle Lands." As he began to walk across the bridge towards the residential area with Karana behind him, he glanced around and continued, "Kind of lost on me, since I grew up here. One of the reasons I'm so thankful I went out into the world and saw other civilizations. It was a good reminder that the life we have here is not normal; it's luxurious. The simpler standards of living out in the rest of the world is what's normal1." He looked down at Karana with a curious expression and added, "I've always wondered how I'd react to all this if I hadn't grown up here."
Karana grinned as Matt continued, "But it doesn't come free. Or cheap, for that matter."
"What do you mean?"
Matt's face grew grim, "A lot of this was built on what some might consider slave labor, forced upon the galka population by the humes. And a lot of the ore that makes us so rich was mined out of places belonging to the quadav, who they had to drive out."
"But the quadav are bad people right? That shouldn't be too big a deal?"
Matt gave a soft chuckle, his lips curving into a sad smile as he looked in the direction of Metalworks and said, "That's how they justified it anyway. But when you consider our main source of mythril was one of their holiest religious sites…" Matt shrugged, "Well at the very least we might have communicated with them and worked out a deal."
Karana's brows furrowed as she took in his words, "That's really mean. If it's sacred to them it should have been left alone."
Matt smiled and patted her head, "It's that simple to us, but when you have thousands of families you are responsible for feeding and providing a good life for, nothing is ever simple."2
Karana pondered his words as they made their way into the residential area, the layout of which was similar to the residential area found in Windurst, and consisted of similarly rather simple looking homes as compared to the technological marvels Karana had glimpsed in the city. They winded their way through a cluster of houses, when Matt came to a sudden halt. Startled, Karana stopped as well and looked up to him, then followed his gaze to a home less than one hundred feet away, where a woman with shoulder-length brown hair seemed to be poking around.
Matt called out, "Karyn?"
The woman turned towards the pair in surprise, "Oh hey Matt." She began to walk towards them, "I was just checking to see if you'd returned yet."
Matt nodded, "Just got back. Something the matter?"
Karyn shook her head, "Just wanted to see if you were back." She turned towards Karana, "Who's this?"
"Oh this is Karana. Karana, this is Karyn."
Karyn gave an muted smile and reached out her hand, "Nice to meet you, Karana."
Karana shook her hand shyly, "Thank you, Ms. Karyn."
"'Karyn' will be fine."
Matt turned to Karana and tossed her his keys, "Why don't you go inside and get settled in. I need to speak with Karyn a minute. It's the key with the green border." Karana caught the keys and began to sort through it, looking for the right one. "I'll be inside in a minute. Make yourself at home."
Karyn watched as Karana found the right key and walked towards the door, unlocked it, and walked inside. She turned towards Matt as her face split into a wide, sly grin, "Something you want to tell me Matt? Or do I not want to know?"
Matt rolled his eyes, "Oh geez Karyn..."
"I mean she's cute and all but isn't she kinda young-"
"Yeah yeah yeah, listen Karyn," Matt's face turned serious, ignoring her teasing grin, "Could you do me a few favors?"
"Sure Matt. What's up?"
"You have friends in the Gold Musketeers right? Would you be able to find out if they ever had any interest in someone from the near east named Ishmael?"
Karyn shrugged, "I would think you can find that out better than I can, you're held in much higher esteem by them than I am. But I can ask, sure. Who is he?"
Matt hesitated and glanced in the direction of his mog house, unsure of how much he should explain, "I'm not entirely sure to be honest. Just say you're doing a study of the near east and his name came up. Also," Matt nodded towards his mog house, "I was wondering if…" he hesitated, knowing what a burden this would be on her, "This is a lot to ask, but could she stay with you for a few days?"
Karyn's brows furrowed in surprise, "Um… I guess. Why can't she stay with you?"
Matt flushed, "Well I mean… she's a fifteen year old girl… and I'm… well you know how small those rooms are…"
Karyn nodded in and understanding and looked towards the house, "Who is she?"
Matt winced, wondering what could have made him hope that he could avoid this line of questioning, "I'm not entirely sure about that either. She was… found on the streets of Windurst. None of the hume families there claimed her, so I was asked to escort her here, where she might have a better life."
Matt stepped closer to her and lowered his voice, "But listen… there's something I have to tell you. There's someone who's looking for her. Someone dangerous."
Karyn turned to Matt, suddenly understanding, "Ishmael?"
Matt's face grew grim, "Don't ask me what's going on, because I'm not entirely sure. I'll keep you apprised of anything I find out. I know this is a lot to ask, but she'll just sleep in your room and nothing else. I'll watch over her the rest of the day."
Karyn stared at Matt for a few moments, trying to read his expression, "I take it she's in danger of some sort?"
Matt shrugged, his shoulders slumping slightly though out of frustration, exasperation, or helplessness Karyn couldn't tell. "I think so. I don't know, I really don't. But there is danger following her in some form, I can tell you that. I hate to ask this of you, and if you don't want to accept this burden I'll understand. But the only other option besides having a fifteen year old girl staying in my home is to put her up in an inn somewhere or something like that."
Karyn waved this off dismissively, "It's fine, Matt. I trust your judgment. If you say this is important than I trust that it is. Just keep your signal pearl3 on at all times in case anything comes up."
"You too. And again she just needs a place to sleep at night, so when she's with you, I'll just be a few houses down. How about you meet us at the Steaming Sheep tonight around seven for dinner and we'll discuss it? My treat."
"Sure Matt. See you then."
As she began to head towards Bastok Markets, Matt turned back and walked to his mog house. As he walked in, he found Karana standing before one of the bookshelves4 in his room, looking over the myriad books as his moogle explained to her some of their contents. They both turned towards Matt as they heard him walk in.
"Welcome home, kupo!" the moogle said exultantly.
Before Matt responded, Karana was overcome with by a fit of giggles, "I didn't realize you were such a nerd, Matt," she joked, pointing at the rows of bookshelves.
Matt glanced over them and smiles, "I've read maybe a few dozen out of all those. Helps time go by when I'm waiting for something5. I take it you're not really the studious type."
Karana grinned and shook her head, "Don't try to nerdify me, Matt. It's not going to work."
The moogle raised an eyebrow, "Nerdify?"
Matt chuckled, "Let's rest our feet for a bit then I'll show you around the city. Later I'll take you to a friend of mine who can give you martial arts lessons, if you still want to learn."
Karana yawned and nodded, "Sure Matt sounds fun. But… yeah can we do that a little later? I'm… I don't know a little dizzy." She steadied herself and sat down on the floor.
Seeing her weariness suddenly reminded Matt of his own. He nodded wearily and said, "Aftereffects of your first flight I'm sure. Relax for a bit; we can head out when you're ready."
Karana nodded wearily, stretching and glancing over the books on the shelves. Finding one that seemed interesting, she pulled it out of its place and set it on her lap, and began to flip through the pages. Matt sat at his desk and began shuffling through the stack of parchments upon which he had been writing his findings about the emptiness prior to his journey to Windurst. Finding an unused sheet, he took his quill, dipped it in ink, and began to compose a letter to Aldo. He started by letting Aldo know that they had arrived safely in Bastok, and of his plans for her for the next few days as he tried to figure out what's going on. Then he began to write about what she had revealed to him during their conversations, and began to request that Aldo use his contacts in the Near East to find out any details about her mother, when he realized he had never asked for her name.
"Karana, I forgot to ask you," he began as he started turning in his seat to face her. "What is your mother's-"
His words stopped short as he looked at her and saw that she had already fallen asleep, her head laid back against the wall, the book she had started reading sitting on her lap, barely a page or two turned over. He put his quill down on the desk and rose from his seat and walked over to where she sat. Picking up the book on her lap, he placed it back on the shelf and bent down to gather her into his arms, supporting her legs and head with his arms and carried her over to his bed and laid her down upon it, and pulled a blanket over her small body. He then walked back over to his desk and sat down and started looking over the notes he had been writing prior to leaving on his trip to Windurst until he too succumbed to his exhaustion, laying his head on his desk and falling asleep.
1 My feelings about living in the United States.
2 Reference to the movie Troy. A quote from Sean Bean, who was one of the few saving graces of that piece of garbage.
3 Signal pearl: Rare/Ex; [Ear] All Races; A magical pearl that allows you to send a signal to your adventuring fellow. Unlike a linkpearl, it is worn on the ear. Lv. 5 All Jobs. Basically the item a player uses to call their adventuring fellow in the field.
4 Bookshelf: Furnishing: A luxurious San d'Orian bookshelf. As of the timeframe of this story, I believe Matt had 4 of them.
5 Another inside joke; past level 10 or so it's nearly impossible to get anything done with any level of efficiency without a full party. As a result, there is a lot of waiting around for the right combination of people who also need whatever it is that the player needs or are willing to help out to log on; one of the biggest complaints about the game.