This post contains direct references to PTSD, and Human Trafficking and (unrelated) sexytime. There are also spoilers for the Arcanist Guild Quests "Over the Rails" and "Pincer Maneuver". If you do not wanna read about such, for the sake of the Navigator, turn back now!
Last chance. Okies, here goes.
The Vieran was still breathing fast even as she stretched herself out on the bed. The bedclothes were a shambles, at least one pillow had given it's life over the course of the evening and downfeathers were scattered everywhere. The deep purple of Ul'dahn wine stained the sheets in violent patterns. "Some drinking may have been involved" as the saying went. Still, the woman was tall, really too tall for Daunthir's bed and by the time they had finished, she was still not wholly on the mattress, one long and lovely leg still dangled over the side and on to the floor.
The Vieran laughed in that rapid up-pitched giggle that barmaids and dancers throughout Eorzea had perfected for generations. "That was delightful!. Drinking contests aren't your only talent."
She arched her back and lifted her leg from the floor. Poking at Daunthir's tail with a toe. Daunthir was bent over at the foot of bed and jumped slightly with a "YEEP!"
"Melodie, jus' a moment!", Daunthir laughed. "I'm looking for the bottle. There's gotta be some lef'. This was a bunch of thirsty work!"
"I could tell you what I'm thirsty for." Melodie teased. "You deserve a bit of attention too Daun."
Daunthir sat up, bottle in hand and showed it to Melodie. "Aww. the poor thing is empty. We must have used too much wine for fun and not enough for drinking."
She clambered over the long body, placing playful kisses as she went. "I'll have to ring for the maid to bring--"
Melodie's hand slipped up her thigh towards the one garment she had left on.. her smallcloth. A little more abruptly than she intended, Daunthir twisted her hips away from the searching fingers with a "HEY! Hey hey hey! Jus.. wait Melodie". Dauntir shooed her hand away.
Melodie's expression became slightly crestfallen. "Daun. I thought you'd..."
Daunthir rallied to her softest smile. "I do love, but not yet. You've wrung your girl out. Especially with that 'thing' you did with your legs. By the twelve you're strong." She twisted her torso and head back towards her lover. "Really, my ribs ache. I couldn't.."
Melodie shrugged. "Ok, then. But don't think you're off the hook. Next dance, I lead."
"I'll get us another bottle." Daunthir stood and padded 'cross the room gathering up her discarded half-cloak and using it to show an effort at modesty.
She summoned the maid on duty, ordered yet another bottle of that Ul'dahn wine, and made her way back to the bed. "You know, I think I'm gonna have to leave a huge tip when we leave the roo.."
Melodie was fast asleep.
Daunthir retrieved some sheets from the floor and, climbing into bed, covered both of them. The Vieran smiled and vocalized something wordless but contented and snuggled close. Daunthir stared at the ceiling.
No longer distracted by dancing, wine, nor Melodie, Daunthir's mind drifted back to Aleport, the Morningstar and K'lyhia.
K'lyhia was her usual friendly, adorable self when the mission started. A routine inspection of an incoming ship, the Morningstar, suspected of smuggling contraband into Aleport. K'lyhia brought in some extra help, Aersthota and Geissfryn, two Robgadyn mercenaries because she expected trouble. The interdiction went almost as K'lyhia had predicted. Pirates and smugglers resisted and were subdued, the contraband was secured before it could be tossed overboard and the only thing left was to open the hold.
Then things went terribly wrong.
More Pirates. (by the Twelve and thier nethers! there's always more pirates.) "I could have mopped the deck with those motherless curs. I was just warmed up. I could have done something. I should have done something"
But the way that K'lyhia screamed when she saw their leader, a big grey Robgaydn with red hair, patch over one eye, scarred to the point of disfigurement. It stopped Daunthir in her tracks. She'd never heard K'lyhia, never heard anyone scream like that. Like her own personal demon had walked out of her nightmares through that hold.
Then the image of K'lyhia on the deck, trembling, crying, cowering. All her confidence gone and the look in her eyes... Daunthir squeezed her eyes shut in an effort to banish the image from her memory. To no avail, it persisted. K'lyhia's scream persisted, Daunthir's shame persisted.
The pirate had that look that Daunthir had seen so many times. That 'you're nothing' look, that smile that said 'I'll do what I want with you and there's nothing you will do to stop me. You. Are. A. Thing. MY thing.' That familiar look that he once possessed K'lyhia. Used her like a disposable amusement. One look in K'lyhia's eyes confirmed it.
"I'll cut his GODS DAMNED EYE OUT!!" Daunthir growled a bit too loud. Melodie stirred next to her.. muttered something about it only being a bad dream, squeezed her briefly then sank back into slumber.
The bastard threw K'lyhia's grimoire overboard. Her *most* cherished possession, and he KNEW it was. Daunthir could see that in his remaining eye. That fucker knew it would hurt her. Daunthir's hands clutched at wine stained sheets.
The soft chime of the maid returning with a fresh bottle of wine went unanswered.
Then the truth came out. Ginnade at the Coral Tower revealed the whole sordid tale. The Pirate, Doesmaga ran slaves up and down the coast of Limsa Lominsa and K'lyhia was one such victim. When she was rescued by the Guildmaster K'rhid Tia, K'lyhia was instrumental in breaking Doesmaga's slaving ring and exiling him from Limsa Lominsa. The Black Grimoire, that was a gift from K'rhid to K'lyhia when she began her life again as an Arcanist.
Daunthir discovered her chance to help K'lyhia, when she was told that K'lyhia had tracked down the discarded Grimoire. It was in the hands of a disreputable scavenger and black marketeer. K'lyhia had even tracked the grimoire and the scum to Lower La Noscea. Thubyrgeim had already formulated a plan to confront him and return the book.
Daunthir met Thubyrgeim at the bride over Oschon's Embrace. Four of them, Daunthir, Thubyrgeim, Aersthota and Geissfryn would spring an ambush, overwhelm the bodyguard and secure the book. The type of action that Heroes perform! The fight was hard. The merchant's bodyguard were well paid mercenaries and fought bitterly for their master. There were moments when it seemed we'd be overwhelmed and left for dead. But, the four of us overcame the bodyguard and brought the black marketeer cowering to his knees.
Daunthir had retrieved the Black Grimoire, rescued from both sea and scanvenger, and proudly returned it to K'lyhia with satisfaction. Only to watch helplessly again as K'lyhia's heart broke, watched the light go out behind her eyes. Daunthir could do nothing as K'lyhia desperately flipped page after page, despair growing in her face. Then the sudden, awful realization that her most beloved possession, the symbol of her own liberation was ruined. Destroyed by the salt water of the bay.
Aersthota had to be restrained when K'lyhia fled. But Daunthir wasn't. She'd chased after her, paused her flight with a touch, ready to comfort her friend, to make everything right again. But K'lyhia wrenched away from Daunthir in a violent gesture. She held up a trembling hand and with a voice that came from a shattered soul she said one word to Daunthir.
And then she was gone. Leaving Daunthir in the rain, a fool to think that thrilling heroics would mend a deep wound like this. "I failed her.", Daunther said to herself.
That was three nights ago. No word at all from K'lyhia. No new plan from Thhubyrgeim. Doesmaga still roamed free. And all Daunthir could do was drink and fuck until she was too numb to dwell on it. Melodie was the third? No.. the fifth, fifth in three days. She got out of bed and looked at herself in the mirror. Menphina but she looked like a wreck. She hadn't taken care of herself. She looked down at the smallcloth around her hips. Even in a tumble with... with... (oh what were their names? Paz and Baz? those two Hyur guys. Doesn't matter) that garment hadn't come off. Not. Once. She couldn't take the humiliation of sudden shock, then rejection.. or worse, questions. Nope. Better to just keep the smallclothes on and do it that way.
Daunthir walked to the room door, retrieved the fresh bottle of wine, and took a long, long drink straight from it.
The Arcanist story is one of best for me. I like your take on it as I felt the same way when I saw K'lyhia's reaction.