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Responsibility and Guilt

The night was late. The candles burned low as the whore pulled on her jacket and left the building, heading for the Temple and sleep. She had worked the night shift many times since arriving in Aberddu, and this pre-dawn darkness was one of her favourite times. The city slept - well, mostly anyway - and even though she knew all too well what dangers could lurk around every corner and in every alleyway, she nonetheless couldn't help but feel free and lighthearted; enjoying the late-winter air of early 1110. And yet, tonight was subtly different... she found herself reflecting on things past and gone, things she couldn't change, and had thought she had put behind her.

As she walked, her mind began to drift back... years ago, back in Neden Lundi, this was the time when she would have often been making her way home to the rooftop shelter that she and her siblings had made and decorated over the years. Her work was done, and she could sleep, knowing that her 12 year old mostly troll/orc elder brother Shendal would be getting up as she came in, and would guard their 7 year old mostly wood-elf/fire-elf little sister until noon, when it became her job again, and he could go to his training grounds - the backalley arena's - to practice his fighting and maybe win money in the competitions. It was a hard life, with little time for three whore-born orphaned siblings to be children, but they survived.

Lina had been their saving grace, she reflected now. The sheltered one, the child.
Shendal had taught her basic knife work, and she had always done her best to protect their baby sister from the full harshness of life on the streets. "Perhaps that wasn't the best course to take after all..." she mused now. And it was true: Lina had grown up naive, and ignorant of so many of the dangers and harsh realities that her two elder siblings had encountered and dealt with everyday. A powerful evoker, and devout follower of the Sea God, Lina had almost seemed to be blessed, she remembered. the girl had been mere days from being accepted as a novitiate in the local Temple when the problems had begun less than two years ago. With Shendal six years gone, off with a mercenary company to earn money and hone his skills as a warrior and a Protector of Life, it had fallen to her to raise and protect Lina, a fact that Shendal had reminded her of in every letter home. It was one of her many pet hates that the first line of every one of those letters had included the words "I hope you're looking after Lina properly". Just because she followed one of the darker Gods, and literally couldnt be there 24/7, it was as if he'd thought she'd abandon her main reason for sinking so low, and following in their mothers trade, working the streets...
And then the house-to-house open warfare had begun, sparked by a major gang leader making a bid for Province Protector, and suddenly it wasn't safe to be there anymore. She had done her best, gathered all of the desperate and downtrodden that she had sheltered and helped over the years; the outcasts and the crippled. Those considered too different to be allowed into the street kids gangs. She had gotten them all together, and hidden them and Lina in a safe place that she had prepared years ago, and they had hunkered down to try and weather the storm. But the fights went on, and the safe place was found. They scattered to the winds, and she and Lina had been alone again. They had only just made it out of the town alive: anyone had been considered fair game, and no one was being particularly picky about where they aimed their weapons or spells.
In the end, it had been Shendal, returning home after hearing about the fighting, who had saved them both - just making it in time to stop her being cut down as she hid an exhausted 15 year old Lina with her body. And then had come the long treck through the bottom edge of Tartaria, and then down into the Middle Kingdoms as winter set in. From there, it had all gone downhill.
Shendal had died buying her and Lina the time to escape a group of bandits and slavers. His last words, his dying wish, had been for her to take care of Lina.
Not even a month later, Lina had vanished, wandering off while she had been 'earning' a room and meal for the night.

Six months of fruitless searching had followed, and eventually, she had found herself in Aberddu. Now she had a steady job, a room in the Temple, and friends in the Adventurers Guild. Nearly being killed by Rikku for being a Keesothian Whore was just an annoyance really. She didn't care that Rikku wanted her dead for being what she was, she had had to face that sort of predjudice every day of her life back in Neden Lundi, from people who looked down on her becase she didn't look very much like a half-breed like them. It was just a fact of life.
And then had come Night of Masks. She had refused to wear a mask, because she felt that she deserved whatever the spirits threw at her. She hadn't been prepared for the virulence with which Shendal had accused her of failing, though. Nor had she been prepared for Lina coming back, and forgiving her. So now she faced the facts.

She had failed her primary responsibility, and the guilt of that knowledge burned far more than being fireballed by demons masquerading as Guildmembers had.

But now, she had a chance to redeem herself in her eyes. Lina had given her a clue, and she would persue it, no matter how long it took. She didn't care if it took the entire span of her natural years - whatever they may be - she would find her sister's remains. And she would get revenge on those who had hurt and killed the one being on Urdd whose life and wellbeing had meant more to her than her own.

As dawn broke, Shari walked into the Keesoth Temple and up to her room, brooding on the Middle Kingdoms, a dead sister, and a group of Trolls...