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AU: Finale of Realm Reborn

For those of you who know me, I will occasionally be struck by the urge to re-write things I’ve just seen or read or played. In this case, it’s the final run of cut scenes at the end of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. (As opposed to the following releases, Heavensward and Storm Blood.) While my previous post is a correction of a flaw in the cut scenes, this one is an alternate story. (“AU” in this context means “Alternate Universe.”)

Again, this is a rough draft. I’d intended this to be a more serious exercise, complete with re-edits, but about 80% of the way through, I realized I could file the serial numbers off and use it to seed a story independent of FFXIV.

While this story is not as it happened, it is probably still spoileriffic, so lives behind the cut. This time, Mulan is a bit more specific. For the sake of this story, she is Ninja 53, White Mage 40, Black Mage 31, and Alchemist 51.

Nanamo drinks the poison, and begins showing its effects. Mulan leaps up and rushes to the sultana’s side as she collapses.

Tendaji Waledaji enters, leading a contingent of Brass Blades, and finds an empty room.

Mulan ends her teleport at the Ul’dah Aetheryte Plaza, carrying Nanamo. That’s about as far as I can teleport carrying her, she thinks. Mulan reaches out to touch the Aetheryte crystal, and thinks, Alchemist’s Guild.

Severian jumps as the door to the Alchemist’s Guild bangs open. His favorite apprentice enters, carrying the lifeless form of … the sultana?

“What?” Severian asks feebly, his routine completely disrupted.

Mulan kicked the door closed, and carried Nanamo across to Severian’s workbench. “She’s been poisoned, maybe thirty seconds ago. She needs an antidote.”

“Do you know the poison?”

“Maybe,” Mulan replied as she set the sultana down. “They’re trying to set me up, so this is probably it.” She handed Severian a vial containing a milky white liquid.

Severian set the vial down without opening it. You don’t sniff or taste a poison. He pried sultana’s mouth open and forced his fingers inside.

“Milky liquid, and a blocked airway. My guess is hemlock.”

Mulan scowled. “No antidote, then. We need to ventilate.”

“And that’s why you’re my favorite apprentice.” Severian smiled. “Deitrich! The endotracheal tube! Quickly now!”

The guild’s receptionist slid over his counter carrying the device. Despite its name, the endotracheal tube had more than one tube in parallel, with two bulbs at one end, and a limp balloon surrounding the other.

“How many accidents have you had, to have one of these things?” Mulan asked.

“Lesser apprentices are less careful with their reagents,” sighed Severian. “I can get the tube in, but we’ll still need to revive her.”

Mulan reached into the amazing invention that was her armory chest, and produced a conjurer’s cane and a vial of ether. “I can handle that.”

“She’s going to fight when she wakes up,” Deitrich reminded Severian.

“Do we have any sleeping draughts?” the guild master asked his receptionist. All through this discussion, Severian worked the tube down Nanamo’s throat.

“I don’t know.”

“Well, find out!”

“I can cover that for now,” Mulan said. She drank the ether. “I’m ready.”

Severian squeezed the smaller bulb twice, then spun its valve closed. “The cuff is inflated. Go!”


Aether surrounded Mulan, and passed onto the sultana, who audibly choked on the tube and flailed. Severian held her down.

Swiftcast. Repose.

Nanamo stilled. Severian turned his attention to the larger bulb, and squeezed. Nanamo’s little chest rose and fell.

Severian put his finger on the sultana’s neck. “A pulse.”

Thancred runs alone through the Chamber of Rule. His link pearl rings.

“Mulan, good to hear from you. I just had the most unpleasant encounter with some Brass Blades.”

He listens as Mulan summarizes her last two minutes.

“That explains much. You need to get the sultana out of the city. I’ll rescue Minfilia and the others. Good luck.”

Mulan furrowed her brow. “I apologize. You are all in danger, and it’s my fault.”

Dietrich and Severian exchange glances with the bystanders in the guild.

“There is a chance …” Mulan continued, “There is a chance that the coup plotters will kill you for knowing that the sultana is alive, and I don’t know who they are. Only the Brass Blades are involved, and the Crystal Braves.”

Severian pushed another breath into Nanamo’s lungs with the bulb. “I thought the Braves were the Scions’.”

Mulan shook her head. “You see my problem.”

The room grew quiet. There were dim sounds of conflict outside.

Mulan sighed heavily, “At any rate, I can’t get her out of Ul’dah until the poison clears her system. And that’s at least two days.”

“Probably three,” Severian corrected.

“Probably three,” Mulan repeated heavily. “And this is not the best place to hide her.”

“No,” Dietrich agreed. “There’s too much traffic.”

“To which I can attest,” Severian smiled joylessly. “You need someplace with allies enough to operate the tube, but undesirable enough for casual passers-by.”

The room returned to its quiet. Mulan looked down at Nanamo, and then reached out to retrieve the empty vial of ether she’d carelessly discarded by the sultana.

Suddenly, she smiled. “I know just the place.”

With that, Mulan regained her energy. She swapped her conjurer’s cane for her famble-stabbers, and started to head for the door.

“While I’m gone, I’ll need you to empty that crate so that we can get the sultana and another Lalafell inside, with a layer of ether on top as camouflage. Lock the door behind me, and if anyone asks why, tell them that a Crystal Brave — you don’t know who, because you haven’t seen them enough to tell them apart — a Crystal Brave told you to.”

“You’re going out?” Severian asked. “Wouldn’t it be safer for one of us?”

Mulan shook her head. “Alone, I am the wind.”

She stepped out of the door and disappeared.

Getting to the Arrzaneth Ossuary was easier than Mulan expected. She had feared that the gates inside the city would be closed and locked, but the plotters still needed to maneuver against the loyalists that had not been caught.

As it was, all she had to do was sneak over to the Aetheryte Crystal in front of the Alchemist’s Guild, teleport in front of the Ossuary, and then sneak to the back where the Thaumaturges gathered.

“Good evening.”

To say the Thaumaturges were startled to discover Mulan in their midst would be an understatement.

“Seven hells!” Cocobygo gasped. “Are you trying to scare me to death?”

“How do you do that?” Cocobezi added.

“Sorry. Have you heard what’s going on?”

Cocobuki folded his arms and looked up at Mulan. “Maname’s petitioners have been noisier than usual.”

“Tendaji Waledaji killed by Raubahn,” Cocoboha intoned.

“Raubahn defeated and imprisoned,” Cocobani added.

“The Scions accused,” Cocobezi amended.

“Fighting in the streets,” Cocobygo continued.

“And something about a Warrior of Light and a murdered sultana,” finished Cocobuki.

“Not murdered,” Mulan corrected him. “Rescued.”

The brothers looked at each other, as a knowing grin spread on Mulan’s face.

“Are you looking for more practice being heroes?” she asked them.

Deitrich cautiously opened the door from the Alchemist’s Guild to see who knocked.

“Down here,” Cocobani griped.

As Deitrich looked down at the thaumaturge, he felt blown aside by the wind. What sorcery?

“Let them inside.”

Deitrich jumped at Mulan’s voice behind him.

As the five thaumaturges entered, Mulan grinned at Cocobygo. “Yes, I do that on purpose.”

Mulan turned to Severian, “How is she doing?”

“Serious, but stable,” he replied as the thaumaturges gathered around the sultana. “I should have expected that you consort with these little dangers.”

Cocoboha smiled proudly at the appellation. “Indeed! We’re here to take delivery of our crate of ether.” He gave the guild master an exaggerated wink.

Severian looked from Cocoboha to Mulan and back. “Yes! Your delivery of ether.” He waved Deitrich over. “Would you load the final pallet of ether into the crate, please?”

Deitrich blinked. Severian nodded at the sultana.

“Oh, yes, sir.”

Deitrich lifted Nanamo and carried her over to the fake crate that Mulan had them build. As he lowered her inside, Severian asked,”Which one of you will travel inside?”

Cocobygo raised his hand.

“Are you sure about this?” Cocobuki asked him.

“No, but that’s what courage is, right?”

“Or foolishness,” Severian muttered quietly. Mulan shot him a glare.

“In that case, I’ll load you in and explain to all of your how this contraption works,” Deitrich told him.

Severian took Mulan aside. “Are you sure this is wise?”

“Would you expect them to have the sultana?” Mulan countered. “Will your people keep quiet?”

“If they stood by me during my obsession, they’ll stay loyal now.”

The camouflaging layer of ether was lowered over Cocobygo and the sultana. They’d be ready to go momentarily.

There was a knock at the door. Of course, Mulan thought. Time to hide.

Severian turned his attention from the door back to where Mulan was standing. Finding her gone, he turned back to Esmenet (the guild’s material supplier) and nodded for her to open the door. He then tried to look busy at his workbench.

What followed was a whispered conversation between Esmenet and a Brass Blade at the door, culminating in the statement, “I don’t care what them jumped-up blue-coats told you. I was told to make sure no one was hiding here.”

Severian sighed in feigned exasperation. “Am I being interrupted again?” he complained loudly. “And here I thought I could work uninterrupted without the public to distract me.”

The Brass Blade entered to address Severian. Recognizing the Guild Master, his tone changed. “Begging your pardon, sir. I have my orders.”

Severian placed his hand on his forehead in mock irritation. “Ah, yes. Orders.” He put his hand down and advanced on the Blade. “Your arrival is actually fortuitous,” he told him. “For I have some customers who we trapped here by the curfew,” he indicated the thaumaturges, who were staring at his performance in unabashed astonishment.

“Once you’ve confirmed that what you’re looking for isn’t here, could you do me a favor and escort them and their crate of ether to the Ossuary?”

If anything, jaws fell further.

“I dread what would happen if they grew bored here.” The Blade looked like he might object, but Severian continued, “I’d consider it a person favor.”

That last statement did it. The Brass Blade didn’t know what the exact nature of the bribe was, but it came from the Alchemist Guild Master himself. “Certainly, sir.” He took a cursor tour of the main guild room, and nodded to his men at the door. “We are clear.”

He turned to Cocobuki, “This way, sir.”

Cocobani couldn’t contain his giggles. Severian had gotten the Brass Blades to escort their target to its hiding place!

The Brass Blade watched Cocobani with dread. He hated thaumaturges.

Mulan thought she was going to burst by the time they got back to the Ossuary. As serious as the situation was, Cocobani would start giggling every time his thoughts returned to Severian’s performance. After a while, his brothers started giggling with him. Cocobuki managed to stay stoic, but Mulan was certain that Cocobygo would start laughing from inside the crate and give the game away.

Thankfully, he did not.

When the Blades had left them at the Ossuary, the brothers opened the crate and Cocobygo came sputtering out.

“I’m going to kill all of you,” he whispered angrily. “Right after I go pee.”

As he stomped off, Mulan and the remaining brothers lifted the sultana out of the crate and set her up in Cocobuki’s room.

Still to write when I abandoned this exercise:

  • Nanamo’s recovery scene.
  • The Coco Puffs disguising Nanamo as a new Thaumaturge Apprentice; specifically their sister Cocobini.
  • “Cocobini” departing the city to hunt marmots for her first task as apprentice, and then meeting up with Mulan outside the city.
  • The two of them reaching the Church of Adama Landama (where Mulan had sought sanctuary when the Waking Sands had been raided).

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