As the title indicates, this is the first FFXI fanfic I ever wrote. Aside from fixing the dialogue at the end (spacing-wise for readability as I had them in paragraphs before) I have left this one pristine. You are allowed to make fun of my plot-writing n00bness. =)
THOU SHALT NOT STEAL
Requested by: Awias & Yekan
Subject(s): Shard (and Cerrra, added by me)
Setting: Sanctuary of Zi'Tah
Shard's mind was in a panic. He had been running all day. Something, someone, had been following him. Night was beginning to fall and he had only just made it inside the Sanctuary. Exhausted and dirty, he sat next to a glowing rock. Shard's leather breastplate rose and fell as his lungs gasped for air. He reached under, wincing. His hand, only just visible in the twilight, came into view covered in blood. His.
"Last time I try to pocket a few gil from that crazy mithra, Cerra," he mused as he remebered his antics at the outpost earlier that day. His ears perked at the sound of footsteps. Shard tried his best to hide behind the outcropping. The object of his fear drew closer, more of a shuffling than an organized step. Not more than a hundred yards away the noise stopped. An awful stench came down wind to Shard and he nearly gagged, revisiting that mithkabob he had as a late breakfast. Not pleasant but a helluva lot better than whatever it was upwind of him.
"It can't be one of those ant beastment that carry rotten meat, they don't live around these parts," Shard thought. Curious, he peeked over top of the rock. There stood a lone goblin, very still. "I wonder if this gobbo has been the thing chasing me. What did I ever do to it? It's like I always aggrivate them some how!" His fear subsided and in the light of a rising crescent moon, he crept out from behind the rock.
The goblin began moving again. "East," Shard pondered, "I wonder if it is going to the Tree?" The wind picked up and started blowing dead leaves. He thought about the unique piece of loot he grabbed off of a goblin a few days ago somewhere in Tahrongi Canyon and wondered if this one would have a similar jewel as well.
Shard silently loaded his crossbow and aimed at the slowly moving goblin. Thud! The bolt landed in its side, but the goblin continued its advancement. "Hmmm. That's interesting. Normally when I shoot them they fall down...or at least get angry at me like Cerrra." He crept closer, unsheathing his knife. He lined up for a sneak attack and unloaded a flurry of stabbity death upon the odd goblin. It finally succumbed and fell. "Phew, you sure are as stinker. Let's see what loot you have that I can relieve you of." Shard rifled through the goblin's pockets for some loose gil. He went to unfix the mask (as they can be quite valueable at any local Auction House) and nearly gagged. "Damn, you stink, buddy. You could choke a...," he trailed off partially because he was in shock and partially because his mouth filled with bile, "...maggot."
As Shard pulled the mask away, the goblin's face was literally putrid. Maggots, already pale in color but illuminated in pallid moonlight and eerie crystal light had been laid inside the mask and now worked to consume the dead goblin's body. Foulness beyond description laid beneath that mask. Eyes had drained and were being eaten, flesh liquefied under necrosis, the goblin's natural unhealthy green color had been turning to an unhealthier brown and black. Necrotic gasses escaped through its mouth, now nothing more than curled and bloodly lips encompassing a swollen tongue and yellow teeth.
Shard retched his mithkabob and continued to dry heave afterward. He rolled away and stailized himself. "This is really odd...something is going on here. I should report this to the outpost, Cerrra be damned." Shard picked himself up and trotted as fast as his tired legs could. "That's strange," he said to himself, "normally this place is crawling with goblins. I wonder what happened." Just ahead he saw the lamplight of the outpost in the Sanctuary.
Shard stepped in the door and was met with a foul sight. Blood was spattered everywhere, a large pool had collected on the wooden floor under the guard and merchant's bodies. The bodies had been torn and bitten as if Fenrir had come to eat here. Behind the outpost deep in the forest, Shard heard similar footsteps as before. They soon disappeared, heading East. Shard like the thief he is stripped the guard and merchant of all they had that he could carry.
Behind him he heard a familiar-sounding grunt. "Oh no." He turned around to see three goblins coming toward the enterance. The torchlight reflecting off their masks almost made their eyes seem ablaze. They moved just like the one he dispatched earlier. "You too? What's going on here?" Shard fled the post before being cornered and succumbing to the same fate as the two who lay inside.
Leaves crunched underfoot. He headed east. "I'm going to see just what the big deal is about." He turned south and ducked roots and wall outcroppings. His previous injury flared up as he bumped into a stray branch. "Ouch, that damn Cerrra," his fuming was halted as he came around a corner and saw/smelled just what 'the big deal' was about. Gathered outside the Boyhada Tree was an amassed army of undead goblins. Around the trunk they mulled as if waiting for something.
From somwhere in that area he heard a scream. It was Cerrra! "Oh noes! Oh noes? Oh no, Cer's in trouble! That mithra is a real pain but certainly not worth losing." Shard's mind worked through the pain and stench he was currently steeped in. Masses of rotting-yet-walking goblin corpses surrounded the tree from whence the screaming came.
Shard made his way to the tree, cutting a wide arc and dispatching a few zombie goblin along the way. From this point he would have to make a mad dash to the mouth of the tree where he hoped the goblin would not follow. His body took punishment both internally and externally during the spring but he made it! Just inside he found Cerrra lying on the floor.
"Am I too late," Shard asked aloud? He knelt by the body, trying to take measure. He pulled a twig off the inside of the massive tree and poked the still form for signs of life at a cautios distance. "I don't know what is going on, but I'm sorry I didn't get here in time, friend." Shard cried as he patted Cerrra down for the ranger's loot.
Suddenly a paw shot up and squeezed Shard's face at his mouth, followed quickly by the mithra pinning the thief to the floor. Shard was too shocked to move. "I'm glad you finally came," purred Cerrra, "it's about time you showed up. We've been waiting for you and my trap has been awfully lonely."
"You set this all up," gasped Shard, "You mean to tell me you slaughtered every goblin in Zi'Tah then summoned the unholy and unnaturaly powers of necromancy to create your own zombie army that summarily killed everyone and everything else here as a way to lure me to the tree?!"
"You stole 50 gil from me and I wanted it back." Those would be the last words Shard would ever hear.