"A story? We've no time for stories, we've a kingdom to build!" Arthur's passionate words emanated in time with the fire's roar as one of his companions, a Dragoon named Richter Sarkany, stoked it to life. The Paladin's eyes roamed over his three companions sitting restfully about Camp Black Brush after a day of traveling from Gridania to Ul'dah.
"And are we to build this mighty kingdom in the middle of the night, dearrrry?" Elsa Friis, their Miqo'te friend gifted in healing offered a catty brow quirk from her seat near the fire. The jest evoked a hearty laugh from Crelyos Highwind, the last of their company and a Monk whose punch lines were as deadly as his punches.
"Ha! There's an idea! Get the marmots to join! They're the only docile creatures scurrying around at night! People'll go positively nuts over them!" Crelyos grabbed his stomach, laughing at his own joke. Richter finished bringing the fire to life and took a seat next to Elsa shaking his head.
"Oh Highwind, if only your fighting wasn't as dull as your wit." The dragoon removed his helmet and set it next to him on a patch of grass, inhaling as the grasses' crunch released the dusty smell of Thanalan's desert into the night air. Crelyos retorted, "Oh, I suppose my fighting should be sharp as the useless jagged sticks pokin' outta that purple dodo excrement you call armor?!"
"If not, at least your wit." Richter grinned at the frustration of his companion.
"Marmots... jagged. Aha!" King Arthur exclaimed, tapping his fist against his palm to announce: 'Eureka!'. A devilish grin spread across his face as he crept to the flames, hovering over them. "If you want a story, I shall tell the tale of Jack, the most evil marmot that haunts the plains of Thanalan. Even the Twelve fear it with their lives!"
"You... want to scare us with the storrrry of a raggedy marmot, Arthur?" Despite Elsa's sarcasm, the group leaned forward with anticipation as Arthur began in an eerily embellishing voice.
"It began on a windy night like this one when I was a fledgling honing my skills in the merciless desert. As I knew little of attack and defense, I targeted the harmless critters plaguing the countryside near Ul'dah's gates. Though Momodi warned me of hunting alone at night, I believed myself invincible! No marmot or coblyn was safe from my blade!
Hours later I perfected the art. The lashing coblyn tentacle and the powerful marmot kick were too easy to avoid, and the vitals of these vermin were too easy to find with sword's tip. It was such a killing blow, perhaps one of thousands of marmots, that provoked a blood-curdling squeal. Instantly I felt eyes on my back.
I whirled about to face this new adversary but was brought to my knees inwardly. Within the darkness upon a distant hill stood a marmot unlike the others. It stared with purpose and intelligence. Its fur bristled aggressively. Its eyes, normally adorable pools, were endless obsidian voids of aimed hatred. It unleashed a screech like the banshees of old and charged down the hillside. Its hops were as thunder rolling across the La Noscean plains! I ran blind and afraid into the darkness. After several hundred yalms, I was lost but confident I gave the demonic marmot the slip.
As I rustled about, the crinkling of Thanalan's dry brush at my back coaxed my attention. As I slowly turned, I felt the marmot's breath at my heels. My gaze met the black pits as its maw hissed open revealing sharp, pointy teeth! I screamed and swung wildly with my blade, connecting with the creature's ear and shaving off part of it!
After that I ran for hours, stumbling about until I met a couple near a camp fire. That couple was you, Elsa and Richter. Even today I don't know what happened to the creature I named Jack. When I see a marmot, I check for an ear wound and black eyes. No matter how far I travel, I feel its nearby, watching me and waiting for its chance to avenge its brethren... and its jaggedy ear."