Fourteen

My Name is Quinn


Trigger Warning: chapter includes child abuse and discussion of prostitution as well as mention of murder.



Dragon Valley
Some Point During the 400th Century, Era of Havoc

There was a thunderous crack as the backside of a woman’s hand met with a young boy’s temple. The rings on her hand pierced into his skin and left a feeling of searing that accompanied the echo of pain bouncing around in his head. 



He was small for his age, and his weight was not enough to stand against the force, so he was knocked backwards to the floor where a thin layer of wax was the only protection against him needing to spend several hours picking splinters out of his palms. “You just never know when to quit, do you? Usdh!” She cursed under her breath, rage still burning in her eyes. 




The boy’s eyes stung and he gritted his teeth at the natural response to the pain. It was hard to push himself up and he longed for something soft to fall into. “I want Jida.” It was a quiet, outward thought he immediately regretted. 




“STUPID boy!” 

He was dragged up by his wrist to look at the woman who bore him just over five years ago. 



She hated him - every part of him, but especially the parts that resembled his father. The boy wanted to be angry - to glare back, but his tears betrayed him.



“You want Jida, huh? You poor baby need to be nursed like a little girl? Gwesgna! Jida is dead, stupid thing, she’s been dead! That’s what happens to people like
us, boy. There’s no one left for you to cry to.” She dropped him as her venomous words continued. “Welcome to the real world, pia nettë, now for the last time: Get! Out!” 



He debated an equally fiery response to match the burning feeling in his eyes before he finally settled on turning sharply and shutting the door harshly on the way out. 






He slumped in the hallway with his arms wrapped around his knees.
The boy would refuse to cry, Jida always said crying ‘got no one, nowhere.’ It was hard, though, so he focused on his anger. Being angry was easier than being sad.

“My, my, and who is this I see?” 




Two shoes stopped in front of where the boy sat with his head buried in his arms. He could see the gleaming, brown leather through the gap between his legs. He thought it was too early for the brothel to be accepting customers, but he never was good at keeping track of time.




The boy sniffled, shifting slightly to peak upwards at the tall, well-dressed man. “You lost, mister?” His voice betrayed him and cracked with emotion as he spoke.
“Only always, but not today. Today I am
exactly where I need to be. Say, how would you like something grand?” The man had sunk down rapidly, squatting in the hallway in front of the boy.



This caught the boy’s interest and he shifted upward, wiping his face on the back of his hand. “Grand?” He looked around before shaking his head. “I can’t afford nothing ‘grand.’” 




“Perfect! That’s precisely what I need!” He cocked his head to the side, examining the small boy. “What’s your name, son?” 




“I don’t have one.” The boy grumbled. “‘Cept maybe Anon
 or Pia Quinë.” 



The man grinned with a chuckle. “Pia Quinë? You cause trouble, do you?” 

The boy nodded. “Jida said it wasn’t in a bad way though… but… Jida’s not here.”
The man’s head tipped the other way. “Oh? Where is Miss Jida?” 




“Gone to the dirt. Her last customer choked her to death.” The boy’s voice wavered, yet he looked forward with a soft sigh.
“She gave you the ‘troublemaker’ name - ‘Pia Quinë?’” The man asked without really implying a question, as he spoke again before an answer could be received, his voice fluctuating over the words. “Pia Quinë… Quin-ë.” 




“You said you had something grand, mister?” The boy was far too intrigued by ‘grand’ things rather than wordplay.
The reminder made the man’s face light up. “Indeed, I do!” He fished into his suit coat on the left side and then on the right before checking his front and back pockets. After a moment he held up a finger, “ah! That’s right, I moved it to my
third pocket!” Finally he plucked something out and held it forward between both of his hands. “Tah-dah!” 
The boy excitedly looked at it before his face fell and he scowled at the man. “A piece of string?” 



“Indeed, a very grand piece of string!” The man chirped back with a grin.
With a roll of his eyes the boy slumped backward against the wall, content to be done with the man in front of him. “There’s nothing
grand about a piece of string.” 



The man’s face shifted to surprise and then to shock. “Wait… you don’t
know?!”
The boy wearily glanced back at him, seeing the genuine shock on the man’s face made him shift a bit in his spot with interest. “...know what?”
“Why, how important this string is! You really don’t know?” The man persisted, seeming aghast that the boy seemed unaware.



This made the boy sit up, looking at it with furrowed brows. “Important? How?”
The man took the string in one of his hands, letting it dangle down between his upright fingers. He moved his fingers in a circular motion and suddenly the string connected with itself seamlessly, rotating in that oblong shape between the man’s hands.



The string doubled.
Then tripled.
Then there were too many for the wide-eyed boy to count.
Was this magic?



“The world is made of strings, Quinn.” The man smiled, assigning the name to him. “Strings… everywhere.”
The man pointed down the hallway and the boy followed his gaze, watching as the world lit up with string after string after string.



“It’s a magical footprint, dear Quinn. Everyone has one. Do you see it?”
“I see it! There’s so many!” The boy lit up and turned his gaze back to the spinning mound of strings between the strange man’s hands. “Is that what the string does? Does it let you see it?”
The man stared at the boy with the same wonder that the boy stared at the strings surrounding them. “No, Quinn, that’s entirely you.” His eyes drifted down to the mass of strings between his fingers and back up to the boy. “Try touching the strings.”



“Woah…” The boy’s face grew determined as his hand slowly reached for the strings that whirred around in the air with seemingly no assistance whatsoever.
His small hand hesitated as he neared it before finally brushing along the top part of the inner circle. He giggled as the magic rushed beneath his fingers. “It tickles!” Then with a swift movement, he pressed his forefinger down, dragging the strings down with him.





The man’s hands jolted a bit and it was his turn to be wide-eyed. “There are few in the world who can see the strings…” This caught the boys attention as they both looked between the bent circle being held by small fingers and each other’s gaze. “... and there is maybe a few in existence who can actually touch them.” The whirring of the strings slowed until only the first remained and it fell limply into the boy’s hand as the man shook his head in near disbelief. “It seems I’m lucky enough to have met one of the few.”



“Me? Really?!”
The man nodded slowly. “It will be very useful to you later in life, but for now why don’t you keep this to remind you?” He gestured to the string. “I told you it was a very grand string, indeed.”
The boy was grinning from ear to ear. “Thanks, mister!”



The man moved to stand up, and the boy’s face fell.
“Hey wait! You’re leaving? But you just got here!”
The man chuckled. “I cannot stay long in one place, my boy, but rest assured. I’m positive we will meet again.” He tipped his head downward. “Take care now, Quinn. Cause lots of trouble.”



The boy saluted him with a cheeky grin. “Aye, sir.” He turned his gaze down to the infinite loop of string in his hands. 




As he looked back up the hallway was completely empty. “Mister?”



“Who are you shouting at, boy?!” One of the women peered around the corner with a scowl.
The boy looked to her and back to where the man had last stood as he contemplated how wise it would be to divulge the importance of the string he held. After a moment he carefully concealed the string in his fist and shook his head. “No one.”
The woman rolled her eyes at him. “Get to the kitchen, boy. The customers will be arriving soon.”
“Quinn.” The boy corrected.
“What?”



“...my name is Quinn.”

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“The Hale family want to take back their land.” Quinn shifted and leaned against the wall, eyeing his master curiously as he worked.


“Mhm.” Majnun’s eyes were focused intently on the artifact before him.
“Malice, however, is not moving as there’s infighting according to Val.” He smirked and shrugged, his mind slowly turning the information over. “This means Malice is likely moving, because he always waits until it would seem the most inconvenient for him as cover. Regardless of this, he’s likely gunning for something of Ambar’s - Ambar has been hoarding a fair share of artifacts she’s been using, so I’d guess he wants the Decibella back.”


The Decibella was a long-disputed artifact that had very potent abilities - including cloaking. Things usually only capable of being done by powerful magical sources - which Vampires are not.
“I see.” Majnun clutched the artifact in his hand and breathed onto it before tossing it into the air. The artifact burst into life and fluttered around him before crashing onto the table with a small line of smoke.



Quinn shifted himself off the wall. “The Hale family, however, was news to me. We’ll need to be careful about what we do with this information, but-”
“I infested the land with stink bugs and hydrangeas.” His master had sunk down to eye level with the table and he flicked at the artifact with his fingers.


This caused Quinn narrow his eyes. “You… knew about this already then?”
“Did I?” Majnun spared him a glance, his eyes reflected his inner insanity. “Maybe I just wanted to store my stink bug collection somewhere.”
He could see it now - his master was well prepared for all of this information. He always was - so what was the point of going to see Valarie? “Why in the world did you send me out to see Val if you already knew everything that was going on and had planned for it?”


His master’s gaze had turned back to the table as he dragged out a few more pieces of equipment to work with. “Say what now?” He didn’t wait to continue. “Oh, how has the lovely Nightingale been?”
It clicked in Quinn’s head and he scowled. “You set that up!”


This caused Majnun to straighten as he looked at Quinn confused, yet his eyes were cunning. “Now, why would I do that?” A slight smirk pulled at the edges of his lips as he spoke.
Quinn scowled further and immediately shoved his middle finger forward.



In a quick movement Majnun rolled his eyes, flicking his wrist as he turned back to his work which sent a wave of magic that shoved Quinn’s finger up his own nose. “Now, now Quinn. Such vile behavior - you know better than to pick your nose in the house!”


They sat for a moment longer in the silence before they both laughed and Quinn slowly dislodged his finger from his nose and shook it off. Finally he shrugged, slightly defeated. “She’s been good,” he paused and corrected. “Ezzie has.”
“Good.” He could see his master smiling as he worked. He hummed as he moved suddenly and appeared at another table, examining the shelves above it for something. “She seems good for you.”


“We’re not a couple.” Quinn immediately defended.
Majnun turned with a wicked smile. “I never said you were. You were the one who said it.”
“I did not! I said we weren’t!” He knew it was pointless to argue because-


“You were thinking it. Well, you were thinking that I was thinking it because you definitely were thinking it before I even said anything.” Majnun had appeared back by the first table he worked at as he applied a cloth to the artifact with a sizzle.
Quinn let out a resigned sigh. “It’s more than that. She’s more than that.” He shook his head. “You know how I feel about words, master. They’re empty - they don’t mean anything.”


Majnun had stood up straighter, watching Quinn carefully as Quinn shuffled over to the table.
“People always talk a big game but it’s all bullshit. No one ever means what they say in this world.” His head fell and he relented. “But Ezzie does. She’s… different.”
“Maybe you should tell her this?”


Quinn shook his head in response. “Words don’t mean anything though. People use them for everything and they lose their meaning along the way.”
“Maybe so.” Majnun looked forward thoughtfully before looking back at Quinn. “But if she’s as different as you say she is, then maybe the words will only emphasize the actions. Maybe you should be different, too.”


There was no crazed look in his eyes this time - his master was being serious and clear; Quinn was grateful for it. This was his family - his only family. Majnun’s guidance meant more to him than he was ever willing to say. Underneath all of the insanity and erratic behavior of the God of Magic was a man who cared for him more than anyone else had in his entire life.
He was right, too, and Quinn knew he was.
He knew that Quinn knew he was.


Majnun had placed a very careful hand on Quinn’s shoulder and they shared a look before he turned to look towards the doorway. Quinn followed his gaze in time to see Deliro rush into view and lean heavily on the doorframe. His eyes were wild with panic and he was holding his side as he panted.



“Dad, come quick! It’s Kefka!”

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Esmerelda walked with easy strides towards the center of town.


It was a warm day for fall. Quinn had left this morning to go talk to the God of Magic about what he found out at the Temple. He had explained it to Esmerelda, but it sounded like a dramatic mess.


All of it honestly made her head spin. She hated god politics. Quinn was good at it though - he made it seem easy.
She wasn’t sure how long he’d be gone for, but she didn’t imagine it would be too long. She had left a note for him back at the house just in case he returned before she did.


It was almost funny in a way - she never used to do that before. She never needed to when she was alone. Though Quinn never seemed to breathe down her neck, she almost felt it would be rude to just disappear without letting him know where she was heading or when she might be back.
In a strange way it also made her feel safe.


The reality of it was, she had no idea if Quinn could really fight. She had never seen him fight, nor defend… nor anything really. She had nothing concrete to go off of besides his word - which she never would’ve believed if it had been anyone else.


Perhaps it was his confidence? The way he held himself? Both had this unmistakable lack of concern that when paired with his knowledge made her believe that maybe this man truly was untouchable by the gods.
It made her believe that maybe she could be too.


She’d been running for so long.
But she didn’t have to anymore.
Maybe she wouldn’t have to ever again if she got lucky enough?
No. She couldn’t start thinking like that.


What she and Quinn had… it was unlike anything she’d had before. It was special. But she had no confirmation of anything long term. One night of incredible sex, two nights, she corrected herself, didn’t mean anything.


“I value this.”
Her head was spinning as she looked up at the clouds that rolled in, making for overcast skies.
It didn’t matter in the end. She should enjoy the now while she got it.

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Quinn arrived outside of Kefka’s house shortly after Deliro and his master had. Kefka was knelt low to the ground in front of a body, eyeing the woods that surrounded the home carefully.


“There’s more coming.”


Quinn shifted, moving forward and kicking the body over in front of Kefka before scowling as he identified them. “One of the Hale family.” This wasn't the land the Hale was after... why were they here?


“Puhin laminwa. They can’t expect to win, can they?” Deliro immediately spat as he reached a hand down to help his brother up to his feet.


“They brought quite a number.” Majnun’s eyes were distant as he looked across the seemingly empty woods. “They’re hoping to push us out. Overwhelm us.”
“Take over Kefka’s house?” Quinn’s brow furrowed as he racked his brain for the why.


“That doesn’t make sense.” Deliro echoed his thoughts.
Majnun spared them a glance before his eyes went back to the woods. “This property borders Malice’s territory - actually, Quinn, you might remember this was his territory. He’s aiming to take it back... to expand his boundary line once again to what it once was.”


Yes, that was right. Malice had attacked the boys when they were teenagers and the resulting war took a chunk of his territory that bordered Midnight Hollow away from him. He had figured that was ancient history by this point, but as most things with the gods go... things seldom become truly ancient.


Quinn’s eyes immediately pulled to watch for movements in the forest. Malice thinks he’s got a chance to grab this, so he would attempt it with a strong force. He’s not just throwing a few weak pawns - he’s bringing in his strongest.
“And to spit on you, too.” Deliro piped up, rocking his weight back and forth next to his father.


“That too.” Majnun’s lips pulled into a ghost of a smile.
He wondered if it was a lost cause - if they should back out now and prepare to attack later instead of waiting for the surprise attack.
He wondered if his master was contemplating the same thing - he seldom wanted to take on a direct confrontation where they had the disadvantage.


“It isn’t his anymore… I wouldn’t have picked it if it would ever have a chance of becoming his. He’s been inching outwards for decades but this is not his!” Kefka’s anger was palpable and it was foreign to his nature. Kefka was always calm and rational, yet this was tapping into something much deeper. “This land will never be his to take, and if he wants it, he'll have to take it over my dead body.”


The emotion in his voice caused Quinn to realize the gravity of the situation. Kefka built this house for Olivia. He wasn’t going to give up the house for anything, regardless of where she was. Quinn could at least concur to that sentiment, as he would fight for his own house to the death any day. The one thing Quinn normally wouldn't understand is the concept of fighting harder over a shared home, yet...


Yet now he knew he would fight twice as hard for his own house if the tables were turned on him. It wasn’t just his house anymore.


Just as Kefka didn’t see this house as his alone either.
Quinn stretched his shoulders and stepped up by Kefka, turning back only to give a nod to his master.
I’m in.
He would stand beside Kefka and fight. “Yeah, and you can get a shot at his dead body over mine.” He taunted to the quiet of the forest.


Perhaps he was being cocky, but he stood a chance taking on a decent chunk of fighters by himself. He could easily count on Deliro and Kefka to fight hard - they could possibly handle this until Majnun could call for Sheogorath or Mania to take the field. Yet when he turned he saw his master had not yet moved, his glare still firmly on the forest.


There were laws when it came to warfare - gods generally were not permitted to enter and fight. Of course there were exceptions to this rule - Majnun and Quinn often fought together when it was just them, but now it wasn’t. His master had taken in Mania - a second outsider which took away his ability to claim disadvantage by number.
“Master?” Quinn looked at him, questioning. The last thing they wanted was to deal with a trial over a broken law.
With a swift motion Majnun threw his hand forward, his magic reaching ever-outward until it met with the force it sought, dragging back one of the opposing fighters through the woods where he was dropped and scrambled to stand at the foot of a God.


“You.” Majnun’s low growl shook the ground and caused Quinn to smirk. “You are to speak on behalf of your master. I have seen no formal declaration of war, so what is this?” He gestured to the forest.
The man scrambled to his feet, trying to maintain a facade of bravery. He swallowed and attempted to look upon Majnun’s face. “T-This land is part of my master's realm. W-We have rights to it, unless you wish to claim and... and fight for it... to which would… would be a formal declaration of war anyways.”


Quinn watched Majnun step forward and before the man could scurry away from him sent the scum flying back against the nearest tree. He clawed at the magic that choked him, gasping and gagging as it threatened to crush his windpipe. That was a satisfactory end, but Quinn knew there was more to come. Majnun never caused a show unless he was looking to make a point.


They all watched him dangle as Majnun approached Kefka, gesturing to the open wound on Kefka’s cheek. “You think yourselves clever, yet you’ve forgotten that this is my son you’ve made bleed with no warning as is custom. So sure, you can have your fight, but you’ve made it personal, and so you shall fight me." 


Oh. Quinn’s grin was spreading faster than he could even check himself. His master had found the loophole. If those idiots wanted to fight, they’d have to fight a god.
A guarantee that they’d most certainly lose.
No one wants to fight for a losing side.


His master released the man from his hold and watched him run back into the forest as they waited.
Quinn was minorly annoyed that there was so little in terms of desertion. They really wanted to fight this? Even though they would die? He supposed they would die either way - desertion or here in battle. Maybe they assumed his master would be far quicker about their deaths than their own master would be regarding deserting their posts?


Quinn took up his stance with a sigh.
As long as they didn’t make him late for dinner.

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Esmerelda had gotten that familiar panic crawling into her gut as she stared at the skies.


She’d been out here for a few hours now, but every moment had felt like an eternity. She could feel her nerves screaming for her to run. Flee, it told her. They’re coming.
She never stayed still for this long: weeks, maybe, but months?


The winds had a bite in them, chilling her to the core.
Everywhere seemed empty and eerie.
She knew this feeling.
They’re coming.
She had come out here to play her music, yet she had long since shoved her violin away in favor of gaping at the skies that continued to roll in dark and ominous.


She had no idea how long she had sat there until roaring thunder made her jump, gripping the handle on her violin case.
It was just a storm.
Just a normal storm.
They’re coming.
The sky was rumbling, dark, and ominous.


They’re coming. Run.
Esmerelda gripped the case of her violin until her knuckles turned white as she moved in a hastened walk out of the park. Her gaze checked over her shoulder every few steps as the rain began to fall one steady droplet at a time.


She hated this weather. The slow rain that slowly became a downpour.
The terrifying winds that threatened to rip trees from the earth.
The rolling thunder that drowned out the sound of her racing heart-


-and the sounds of their footprints.
They weren’t coming.


They were here.



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Nym Translation -
Usdh- "Get Out!" 
Gwesgna - "Pathetic!" 
Pia nettë - "little girl" (diminutive).
Anon - "Boy"
Pia Quinë - Directly translates to: 'little stirrer,' however it's more a saying that is associated with "troublemaker," often directed at young children. One would not use this term for an adult unless trying to be patronizing. Can be exercised/used much as one might call a child a "sponge," however this one can have a slightly negative undertone if that's how it is implied.
Puhin laminwa - The direct translation makes no sense, closest English translation: "fucking idiots."

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Playlist
"Flesh and Bone" - Black Math
"Runnin'" - Adam Lambert
"Lost Girls" - Lindsey Stirling

1 comment:

  1. (wheezing)
    There was so much dying for me here
    Like at first seeing how sucky Quinn's past is, but that Majnun was there?? And it's so pure and wonderful! Like this dad hood
    Actually Maj as a dad in general is so sweet to see. And everyone gathering up to defend Kefka's home, like WHAT A FAMILY, I ADORE.

    Fuck though, EZZIE RUN, RUN RUN. Quinn is busy but like JUST RUN BABE RUN

    ReplyDelete