After her meeting with Tricky in Jeuno, Satorii found her strange subtle mixture of relief and anxiety had only slightly moved toward balance. As they sat together, alternately reassuring and frightening one another with the details of her possession and his subsequent discovery thereof, she felt something stirring within her.
Tricky had something like tenderness in his eyes when he’d warned her that the strange alliances forged by her demon inhabitant may come back looking for her. At the time, she had shuddered at the idea. What would she do if they wanted the demon and found only her?
As she sat outside the mog-houses in Jeuno, waiting for Tricky, a tall elvaan approached her. He seemed to be looking right through her as he stopped just short of where she was sitting and looked down. Clearing his throat, he half-turned away and then stopped.
“Suk…” Uttering this one syllable, he seemed to be searching the ceiling above them. Finally, as Satorii’s heart remained suspended in her throat, he smiled. It was the most jovial smile one could expect from a stranger, but Satorii sensed danger behind it. The common area was crowded with people –as usual- but somehow she was afraid. “Hello,” the stranger said, “We meet again.”
Satorii swallowed hard, climbing up to her feet –her eye was just above the level of this elvaan’s stomach. “…Yes…” she started. What to do!?
“How have you been?” he asked, shifting to face her again. “I almost didn’t recognize you. You’ve changed somehow.”
Satorii’s mind was racing. On the one hand, she had no idea who this person was. Was he another possessed soul, looking to commune with her exorcised captor? Perhaps just an innocent she met along the way. Either way, through this outsider she might glean some insight as to what she had done –or what had been done to her- while she was helpless to stop or remember it.
“Yes. It’s for the best.” Satorii returned, throwing a brave smile out at the stranger. She tried to look as if she recognized him, changing her stance to look more confident.
The stranger smiled slowly, as if he’d just discovered a secret treasure. His eyes narrowed. “Ah. Walk with me a while.” He gracefully nodded his head toward the port.
…Several hours later the two unlikely companions walked the streets of Windurst together. He had purchased an airship ticket for both of them, and seemed to have no particular agenda. Satorii’s fear grew with each passing moment, and she wished with all her might to stumble upon someone –anyone- who could make her feel safe. Tricky would awaken from his slumber to find her not there, and probably move on to some adventure. Oberons was off in the jungle not wanting to speak to her. She had to protect herself –but she also wanted information. She tried in vain to direct the conversation toward their past exploits, but this stranger (whose name she did not know) did not offer anything she needed. He spoke as if they were old friends who had been apart a short time.
Frustrated, and growing more and more nervous by the minute, she told the stranger she needed an extra goblin bag from her moghouse. Dashing in and arming herself to the teeth, she grabbed anything that she thought might protect against demons. She had nothing worthy of note. Even Tricky's powder had disspated into the cracks in the floor.
Stopping for just a moment in her quiet room, she thought again of Tricky. He was not here now, there was no one to help her. Somehow she longed for his brand of danger –that which threatened not her soul but her innocence. Sighing, she took a meditative breath and walked back out into the sunlight.
He was waiting there, exactly as she’d left him. He hadn’t moved a muscle.
They moved off back to the port area and strolled down the docks to chat. Satorii made sure they stayed in public areas, bustling with people. As they sat on the docks, Satorii fiddled with a piece of wood that had come loose from the planks.
The conversation had deteriorated to small talk, and Satorii got the feeling the two of them were waiting each other out. By this point her nerves and senses had been on alert for so long she was beginning to feel frazzled. A warrior, tall and completely encased in armor, walked down the docks toward them. He caught her attention for some reason, moving almost mechanically.
The stranger’s predatory gaze moved from her face to the object of her attention, changing minutely as it fell on the armored traveler. He stopped just before the two of them, staring silently at Satorii.
She stood silently, staring back at the newcomer. He was just as tall as her present companion –tall like Oberons- but his face and body were completely obscured by heavy armor. He looked as if he had run straight through the jungle, armor nicked and mud-encrusted.
Extending his closed hand slowly, his body remained still. The stranger behind Satorii smiled just barely as he looked over her head at the messenger before her. She extended her own hand, open palm up, to receive the ring he dropped into it. Looking down at the delivery, she slowly registered what it was. A delicate shell ring, smudged and dirty. Her name, engraved inside the surface of the ring with her own synth skills, was partly filled with crusted dried blood.
As her free hand moved to cover her mouth, the messenger turned on his heel and began his mechanical walk back down the dock. She had given this ring to Oberons for Valentione’s day not so long ago. At the time, he seemed so close to her… Satorii felt her stomach tighten up in knots. She jolted into action, chasing the armored delivery man and blocking his path with her body.
“WAIT! …Who are you? Where did you get this ring?” She swallowed back her fear and stood staunchly in the way of the silent figure, who paused and stared through his large visor. She struggled to peer inside his mask, even to catch the glimpse of an eye, and was unable to see anything before he started back into action and walked on. His careless brush past Satorii nearly knocked her onto the dock, and she stood and watched him leave helplessly.
Clutching the ring tightly in her right hand, Satorii stood frozen on the dock. Where was Oberons? Did he send this ring or was he hurt? It had blood on it, it had to be his blood…
Was he… dead?
The stranger became suddenly the least of her concerns as he adopted a sort of concerned distance. His words were lost in her jumbled thoughts as she excused herself from his presence and ran off to prepare for her journey. She had to find Tricky… he would know what to do.
She slipped the ring onto her finger as she ran for Jeuno, praying to Altana that Tricky would still be there.