Author's Notes: Hi! You can call me Hayley! My pen name is Pearie though! :p

In Perfect World, I play a cleric named Thiele and also a barb named Riff! They are both in the faction Kinetic on Dreamweaver server. This fanfiction is based on real people's characters (with permission) so I think those that are familiar with Kinetic members or are in the faction will enjoy this the most! So... join Kinetic! =p

I think I will make a character list later as more and more characters are added. It will contain brief info like gender, race, appearance, and personality traits since the list of people wanting to be in my stories are growing! =D

Oh! In this story, the Tideborn were just recently discovered so seeing one mainland PW was supposed to be rare. Also, barbs, venos, and tideborns usually tend to stay in humanoid form as much as possible. Riff however, like tiger mode! :]

Anyways, please enjoy!

Chapter One

Another mosquito bite, another bead of sweat, and another rejection. Riff sighed. It was hard being a barbarian. If you didn't intimidate people, you disgusted them. He couldn't help that he disliked taking baths. Besides, he didn't really fit in the Kinetic shower stalls, even in his humanoid form. Riff pawed at the air desperately to rid it the presence of mosquitoes. He had been sitting on a large cluster of rocks by the bank of Phoenix River, just west of Archosaur. From atop the boulders, he would shout down at any passerby not wearing the colors of any known faction the usual speech, "Hi there! Come join Kinetic! We are a big happy family and we like to explore dungeons, carry out bounty quests, and manufacture goods!". Of course, some of the people belonged to another lesser known faction and got offended when they were asked to join Kinetic.

Sigh... no luck today... guess I'll stay just a bit more... huh? What's that?

Something was drifting downstream but the glare of the afternoon sun blinded Riff from seeing what it was. Even though he knew that curiosity killed the "cat", he ignored that notion and leaped into the river, swimming towards the unknown object. Once Riff got closer, he realized that the "object" was an unconscious girl! Or... fish girl... or mermaid! That was the term he was looking for. Riff gasped. It had just hit him that this mermaid was a Tideborn! He remembered reading in the Duke Blacke's Daily Rag that Archosaur scientists had recently discovered a new race hidden far beyond Dreamweaver Bay. Upon closer inspection, Riff saw that she was adorned with tattoos. Also, he noticed that all she had on was what he decided to call a "seashell bra". Blushing slightly, he swam under her and brought her back to land.

Strange... aren't mermaids supposed to be able to live underwater? What's wrong with her?

Seeing as she had a pulse and no obvious wounds of any kind, Riff decided it was best to bring her to the nearest apothecary. After putting her on his back, he sprinted back to Archosaur.

"Excuse me! Coming through! Excuse me! Hey! Oops, sorry. Hi! Excuse me!"

The apothecary raised an eyebrow when Riff ambled in wet with an unconscious mermaid girl on his back. Without asking any questions, the apothecary produced a potion that he poured down the Tideborn girl's throat. Within minutes, the girl coughed and spit up some water. She looked up at the apothecary and Riff, and then fainted again. Riff felt sheepish as he forgot that he was quite an intimidating sight to those that have never seen a barb in true form before. It seemed that the apothecary suddenly become quite conscious of his own appearance, not realizing it was Riff that caused the fainting.

"I think it would be best you come back later. Meanwhile, I will go take a bath so please excuse me."

Riff was very curious about Tideborns and since he had the fortune to be in the presence of one, he decided to stay and observe. Inching closer to the bed, he sniffed. The girl had a sweet scent of ocean breeze and a touch of sea cucumber. Riff had a powerful sense of smell and could remember a scent for however long he cared to remember it. He had once worked as a perfume tester for the apothecary which ended up a disaster as he was accused of sexual harassment when he would follow the girls around sniffing their scents. Anyways, this was a new scent to him and as he sniffed some more, Riff found a dagger pointed at his throat.

"Any closer and I will end you."

Yikes! Riff thought. It was the Tideborn girl! Somehow, her fin had disappeared and she had two legs! Could it be that Tideborn had humanoid forms as well? Now was not the time to ponder that though, since the Tideborn girl was intent on her words. She had a dagger pointed to Riff's throat while she sat up. Riff, at this point, was sort of whimpering, and the Tideborn girl, seeing that he was no threat, lowered and sheathed her dagger.

"So... what were you doing? Wait, never mind, I don't want to know."

Riff had now calmed down a bit and proceeded to introduce himself and tell her what had happened. She seemed surprised when he told her she was now in Archosaur. It also puzzled Riff when he asked how she ended up floating down Phoenix River when she abruptly changed the subject.

"Oh, my name is Ume by the way, and thanks for saving my life, Riff!"

"It's no problem, Lady Ume... "

*Grrowwwlll....*

"What is that?" Ume asked while giggling, "Was that your... stomach? Why don't we find some food?"

"That sounds good." Riff replied sheepishly.

Iron Stomach Buffet was the new hot joint around West District. It had seven long aisles of fresh food from sweet to spicy to salty to bizarre. With a single fee of 5000 coins a customer, it was quite a good deal for the eater. Riff was going to pay of course, being the gentleman he was. Also, Ume didn't have any money. In fact, the idea of money seemed strange to her.

"So no one helps or gets anything unless they can give these... coins? I don't get that. You can't really make any practical use out of them or eat them."

"What do you mean?" Riff replied between mouthfuls of lobster, steak, and chicken.

"Well you see, back in my homeland, if anyone needed help, payment was in the form of something more practical. If someone needed- will you slow down?! How do you stuff all that in there and oh nevermind! Anyways, let's say someone needed help harvesting their crops. Instead of handing over some metal circles, the person would pay the helper a portion of the harvested crops. Something of actual value instead of a silly symbol of value."

"Hm..." Riff thought out loud. "That makes sense."

While downing plate after plate, Riff and Ume talked about Tideborns, Archosaur, and food. Eventually, the conversation ended up about factions. Ume, being a newcomer to the mainland, was factionless.

"Say... why don't you come with me to Kinetic headquarters? It's where I live! Loor and the others would be excited to meet you! You would be our first Tideborn member!"

"Um... what exactly is Kinetic? And a member? Do I have to pay... coins?" Ume seemed a bit uncertain.

"Kinetic is a faction! We are a happy family geared towards dungeon exploration, conquering powerful wraith lords, and manufacturing the best goods! Joining is free! All you have to do is pledge yourself. It's easy!"

"Well..."

"Here, how about I take you there and you can look around, talk with some people? You don't have to decide right away. Come on!"

"Wait!"

"Huh? Are you still scared? There is no obligation!"

"No... You forgot to pay... for the food..."

"Oh... oops! Heh heh."

As soon as the coins landed on the table, Riff had Ume on his back and he ran to the teleporter.

"Hi! Riff and Ume to Kinetic Faction Headquarters please!"

The teleporter flipped through her note book to K and looked up at them.

"Please provide the password."

Making sure no one was listening in, Riff whispered to the teleporter, "kinetic dot co dot nr".

Shutting her notebook, the teleporter smiled at them and said, "Okie dokie! Have a nice day!"

Everything went white and a moment later, Riff and Ume found themselves standing on pure white marble. They were in a foyer lined with floating crystals. Orbiting each crystal were little balls of energy.

"Wow... it's beautiful!" Ume gasped. She was quite impressed and Riff was glad.

"Come on, this is just the foyer!" Riff dashed through the door only to stop dead in his tracks.

A lady with emerald green hair and porcelain skin stood in front of Riff. She looked at him disapprovingly and frowned.

"Riff! How many times must I tell you? Just because you can't fit in the shower stalls doesn't mean you don't clean yourself! We had a bath ready for you and you just left the water running?! You are in big trouble! Go scrub the kitchen floor as punishment! And no sneaking food from the fridge!"

By now, Riff was cowering on the ground making the same whimpering sound he made when Ume had her dagger pointed at his throat. It was then, Loor noticed the Tideborn girl standing behind the doorway, unsure of what to do.

"Hello there, sorry about that but Riff here is quite the troublemaker. My name is Loor and I am the leader of Kinetic. Nice to meet you!"

"Hi, my name is Ume! And please don't be to hard on Riff, he saved my life!"

"Well in that case, I guess I won't be so hard on him. Riff, why don't you show Ume around? Taka and I need to get back to discussing our next run in the Twilight Temple. Oh, and go find Noctiss, he was searching for you about something."

"Right away, Loor! Long live the great Loor!"

"Don't push it, Riff."

"Heh heh, sorry Loor."

Ume walked up next to Riff and patted his head.

"Th-thanks, Ume. You saved my life."

Ume rolled her eyes at the irony.