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#x'ruhn

“That’s him?” 

The Roegadyn nodded. “That’s him.” 

X’ruhn Tia adjusted his hat as he squinted out across the foggy Mor Dhona morn, the haze tinging everything with a soft lilac hue. He could just about pick out the figure in the distance, staring over the still lake. The elder Seeker furrowed his brow, stroking his chin thoughtfully. 

He and Loetwyb had been speaking early that morn, a rare moment to catch up with an old friend. Their paths had crossed several times in the course of their lives, and she had an uncanny knack for picking out those with interesting stories to tell. Naturally, when her eye had followed an older Miqo’te as he headed out into the dawn, he had to inquire. “Who is that?”

“Hasn’t told me his name.”

“Really.”

“Really.” X’Ruhn frowned. “So how do you know him?” 

“Pulled him half-dead off the battlefield of Ghimlyt.” 

The Miqo’te nearly spat his drink over the table. “…Come again?” 

Loetwyb chuckled. “Well let’s just say that when I first saw him striding across the battlefield alone sword in hand, I was either going to see a massacre or magic.”

“Let me guess. You got-” 

“Both.”

“…Both?” 

“Are you just going to echo me all night, old cat?” She smirked as X’ruhn snorted and shook his head, though her gaze soon turned pensive. “…Had a feeling when I saw him that it was someone looking to die. You don’t walk out like that intending to come out the other side. You don’t fight like that if you intended to live. No. He went out there to die, and he made sure that a man was going down with him. And let me tell you, it was magic to watch that massacre.” 

X’ruhn frowned, looking towards the door, still open from where the other had slipped through. “…But he didn’t die.”

“Made a hell of a try let me tell you. Made straight for a Centurio, cut down any fool Garlean that came close, then ran the leader through and held him down in the flames that burned them both. Wasn’t a soul alive by the time I reached him, save him. Barely.” Her gaze followed his to the door. “Not even sure what possessed me to go over. Needed to see the end of the story with my own two eyes, you know?” 

The old Miqo’te closed his eyes. ”…Except the story didn’t end…”

And so they had followed.

The Seeker frowned, one hand running over the elegant focus of Murgleis. “Will he even listen?”

“Who knows. But I suspect you, of all people, might know something of where to start.” Loetwyb turned to eye him. “I think he’s a good man. Honest. One that just needs to find a purpose again. And surely of all people, the one-time last remaining Crimson Duelist would understand what it means to start over from what seemed certain finality?”

X’ruhn chuckled and shook his head. “All right, all right already, I’m going over. Wish me luck.”

“Not wishing you shite, old cat. You make plenty luck of your own.” 

Shaking his head wryly he adjusted his hat before striding forward. Loetwyb was, as ever, incorrigible.

“Good day, friend!” he called out as he reached the other, adjusting his coat slightly. The man didn’t move, though he saw an ear turn in his direction. “A fine foggy morning, is it not, my fellow Miqo’te?” That got a slight huff, which he chose to take as an encouraging sign. “Might I have the pleasure of your name?” No response again , and that he’d expected. Stepping to the other’s side he crouched down on his haunches, wanting a better look at the man he was trying to win over. A Keeper then, dark-skinned and grey hair - well, what hair hadn’t been burned away. Poor sod. Wounds looked painful. Though not as painful as that empty stare in one silvery eye.

X’ruhn simply sat for a while, content to enjoy watching the sun rise slowly in the eastern sky. “I understand they found you out on the Ghimlyt.” Again nothing, save the slight flex of one hand. “Singlehandedly slaying three dozen Garlean troops and their Centurio with them.” He glanced over again. Still no reaction. Time to make his point. “…That’s the tale I heard from one who saw, friend. The finale, at least. Tell me thought - you meant to die out there on the battlefield that day. Didn’t you?” That made him turn, the Keeper flicking one silver eye to him, the other still hidden under bandages. “I thought so. And yet here you are. What do you do now, hmm?” 

“I don’t know.” The other’s voice was raspy, one hand gently running over the red neckerchief over his throat. 

“Maybe you would hear a man’s offer out?” X’ruhn got a faint grunt in response, and that would have to do. “I hear that you are quite the swordsman - and I can sense you’ve some ability with magic also. T’is rare to find someone with a knack for both. You could do well, trained in the ways I know. Might help you find a reason to start anew.”

“No. I won’t fight again.”

“Never again?” 

“I won’t.” 

“I don’t think that’s entirely true. A man willing to do as you did is not one to put down the blade so quickly.” X’ruhn tilted his head. “…I tell you what. Why don’t you give me a week. If you truly don’t wish to fight, you’ll know by then. And my curiosity will at least have been sated, eh?”

The Keeper hesitated, and for a moment, X’ruhn saw something flash across his face. “A….week?”

“A week. No more, No less. I’ll show you a little of the ways of the Crimson Duelists…and then you decide if you want more. Or nothing at all.”

Of all the responses he had expected, the answer was not a sudden laugh. But a laugh it was, and like magic that blank expression suddenly cracked, the other blinking rapidly at some unbidden but clearly fond memory. “…And I can walk any time?” he murmured, resting a hand on his brow. 

“Any time.” 

“…Why would you even teach me?” 

X’ruhn tipped his hat. “I hate seeing good potential wasted. And besides,” He smiled again, more gently. “…I enjoy bringing hope to those who need it.” 

The other shook and for a moment X’ruhn feared he had upset the man; but no, he was laughing once more even as he blinked away tears. “…Ah Menphina, why do you not give up on this stupid old fool,” he murmured, shaking his head. 

“The Twelve hate giving up on old fools, let me tell you.” X’ruhn smiled wryly. “Deal, then?”

“…Deal.” The other looked at him fully, the faintest hint of a smile on his face. “…So what do I call you, then?” 

“You may call me X’ruhn.” He got up and took that hat off with a flourish, before offering a hand to help the other to his feet. “And you?”

Gladly he took it. “…Mis’to.” 

“Well Mis’to my good sir, a pleasure to meet you. T’is my fervent wish that the ways of red magic suit you.” The old Seeker grinned again. “Your choice to make, of course.”

“…Red magic huh.” That one silver eye glanced upwards. “…Comes with a heck of a fancy red hat.”

Chuckling, X’ruhn brandished it once more. “Oh, absolutely.” 

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