FFXIV Write 2021 #27: Benthos
(a/n: Set after 4.1, three different watery focused POV stories across the lands.
Fhara deserves a vacation after all she’s done, although she would insist otherwise in favour of continuing to help; Alphinaud gets some swimming lessons; and Gostestu and Yotsuyu are crossing the Ruby Sea.
Word count: 1154)
She’d been shoved out the door of the Stones, half forced into a swimsuit at Tataru’s hand, and sent off to Costa del Sol. Fhara wanted to argue that she had no time for rest when everything was still so busy in the aftermath of all that had happened - Rhalgr’s Reach no doubt had materials in need of moving to the newly reclaimed city, not to mention the Saltery would need assistance in setting up, even with the East Aldenard Trading Company eager to help due to Lolorito’s odd kindness - but many of her fellow Scions insisted otherwise.
“You have more than earned your rest with all you have helped achieve. Plus all the better to relax now and keep your strength up for whatever will come in the future. We also don’t need you suddenly collapsing on us trying to haul cargo from place to place because you would rather push yourself to your limit,” Y’shtola had insisted amidst Fhara’s own struggles against their lalafellin receptionist.
“And there shall be no buts about it!” Tataru had asserted with a final shove of the warrior toward the door, “I have already called ahead to Costa, and Gegeruju is more than eager to welcome such an esteemed figure to partake of his beaches.”
Fhara wanted to argue further...but upon setting her sights on the golden sands and blue oceans, and the pretty corals glowing beneath the surface, she finally caved. Just for a few short days, she could enjoy herself, right? After all, the worst had passed for Eorzea and the Empire hadn’t stirred yet after losing the crown prince. They had time to spare and recover.
She took off down the decks and leapt into the water, hoping to take full advantage of her Kojin gifts to explore every nook and cranny of the seabed as the sun beat down on the little vacation spot.
“Come on now, back in. You almost had it,” Arenvald said, Alphinaud collapsed at his feet on the shore of the loch, coughing and spluttering.
“Twelve above, I regret this,” the younger lad gasped,the salt water stinging in his eyes and the back of his throat. Arenvald pulled him to his feet.
“You can regret it all you want, but you asked for the help and I’m giving it now. And you ain’t gonna have anywhere better to practise than here. And I know you’re not the type to be giving up when you want to do something, so let’s go!” Despite Arencald’s encouragement, rather than race back to the water, Alphinaud sat down on the water lapped shore with a huff. Arenvald shrugged and joined him.
“I know full well what I asked, but in this moment, I’m almost reconsidering. I’ve managed quite well without the skill for many years now, and I’m sure I can do without for a few more. Besides, Alisaie is quite happy being the preeminent swimmer in the family.” He chose not to mention that even with all her skill, she was now lucky enough to possess the Kojin’s water breathing skill, allowing her more capability under the waves, to his resentment.
“This isn’t about making you the best, it's just about getting you good enough. And just ‘cause you’ve been alright till now doesn’t mean much. What about the future after all, anything could happen!” Arenvald stated, earning him a raised eyebrow in return.
“Well, who knows? What if you end up on the bad end of some watery creature set to drown you out, or somehow have to swim out of the deep oceans?”
Alphinaud couldn’t help but shake his head at the suggestion. “No offense my friend, but that first idea sounds more like something you’d expect from a children’s story. A touch too fanciful I would say.”
“Maybe, but you never know, there could be other things out there like that kelpie Fhara said she ran into down in Skalla’s ruins.” Rather than continue on about fae tales, Alphinaud looked to the sky, bemoaning that the sun was still high above them. There was still plenty of day left, and he had no other plans.
“Thaliak, give me strength,” he muttered, using his friend’s shoulder to boost himself back to his feet. Arenvald bolted up after him, a keen glimmer in his eye.
“Very well, let’s continue. Let’s at least end the day with some progress made,” Alphinaud said, trying to ignore the way his legs shook as he approached the water again.
Most of his lessons that day were spent spluttering and flailing through attempts to gain any traction in the water, as he turned his mind to wondering how much work would be needed to get the scent of salt out of his clothes after all of this was done.
“And here we part sir, any further to Doma, you will have to make your own way,” the boat owner said, casting another wary glance at the oddly familiar woman accompanying the great roagadyn, as she nibbled away at a stick of dango. Gosetsu shielded his eyes as he watch the horizon, biting back the scowl at how far away Othard’s shores yet lay from their position. He managed to offer a friendly nod to their courier.
“My thanks good sir, for bringing us all this way on what little coin we had,” he said, knowing most of it would no doubt not even go to the man’s own pocket, but more likely to pay the tithe should the Confederates find the sailor. Gosetsu could only hope the pirates would be more focused on the dinghy than themselves, allowing them a clear passage to Yanxia without any interruption.
As though aware of the thoughts crossing the samurai’s mind, the sailor replied simply, “I did what I could. You are the Confederate’s worry now.” And with that, he pushed away from the pier with his oar, quickly paddling away and back toward Kugane.
Gosetsu’s scowl came out in force at that, enough that Yotsuyu saw it when he turned to walk along the shore.
“How are we going to get across now? I don’t know if I could swim,” she asked innocently.
“Bah, we’ll think of something,” he assured her quickly, “Come, let us not dawdle lest we be caught by the fishes when night falls.” The woman gawped in surprise, rushing to catch up, although at his tired pace, she didn’t have much distance to cover. They would just have to walk as much as they could and then hope for a miracle when they eventually needed to cross water.
Gosetsu had heard from the Scions of the Kojin blessing they’d received, allowing them to traverse the seas without need to break the surface for breath. He could only hope that they could be so lucky during their travels to come across the skill for themselves. Twould make their work so much easier.