“Aries…” A voice called out in the distance, so far and echoed that it was hard to tell who it belonged to.
“Aries.” Closer, it seemed to be so far still, though. Likely it was yelling.
“Aries! Stop!” Stop? Was he doing anything right now?
“ARIES! STOP! HE’S DEAD!” The voice of the guild master rung clearly now as it all came into view.
Aries was in the middle of a gladiator match in Ul’dah when he had blacked out. Fighting his favorite opponent, an old unbeatable monk from the northern lands. Aries was never once able to beat this old man, but he regularly challenged him. It all came back to him now.
During the match, the old man commented on Aries’ reliance on a weapon being what limited him. Of course, the monk fought with no weapons and never lost a single match, not until Aries tossed his weapon aside and decided to let his bloodthirst take over. That was the end of it.
Shortly after, Aries was kicked out of the guild for excessive violence and he was forced to wander Eorzea for some time. By the time he reached Limsa Lominsa, he had landed himself a job protecting some small-time lord in the area. The guy was a pile of crap, but he paid well and Aries wasn’t one to shy from distasteful work.
It wasn’t until the lord’s bastard son came to pick a fight that Aries began questioning what he was doing. The son was unhappy with the lord’s doings and in an effort to be a hero, he was killed by Aries. Of course, the bastard son of a lord found dead on his lands would raise too many questions, so Aries was tasked with dumping the body in the local mines and making it look like a terrible accident.
Aries had never gone into these mines, so navigating them was a hassle, but what really caught his attention was the thick aether in here. At first, he dismissed it, but as he was finishing up creating the accident scene, the aether attacked him. A surge of aether sank into him and that was when his back was set ablaze. A marking appeared there and Aries had a vision of a large, black monster. For a moment he was reminded of the texts he read regarding monsters like the legendary Ifrit and Diablos.
When the vision ended, brown eyes had become golden and Aries felt a new surge of power in his body. He did what he could to brush it aside.
Little did he know that something important was left behind; a crystallized fragment of that aetherical outburst. It was weeks after the accident’s announcement that the grieving wife of the lord’s son found this crystal while exploring the site of her husband’s death.
Jianca’s discovery of this crystallized dark aether triggered quite an interesting habit. At first, she simply praised the crystal as the final link she has to her husband. Eventually, however, her love for the crystal took the place of her husband. Slowly, over the course of a few months, Jianca became more and more obsessed with the aether being emitted by this crystal, to the point of becoming more and more violent the more the aether faded.
Eventually, the crystal’s aether completely faded and Jianca fell into painful grief yet again. As if she had lost her husband all over again, she fell apart. Her mind and heart were broken. It all began with violent outbursts. Breaking things in her home and screaming in her rage. Eventually, she took to killing adventurers in the wilds in a twisted attempt to ease her pain. Finally, she took to drowning herself in the local tavern.
One of these nights was when she encountered the golden-eyed man that took her breath away; quite literally. The moment Aries entered the tavern that night, Jia’s skin set on fire and her lungs stilled. She felt it for the first time in months, that same aether that she had become addicted to.
At first, Jianca kept her distance. She wanted to know more about this man and why he carried that aura, but she was still battling with the guilt of looking at another man that wasn’t her husband. She followed him around from the shadows, watching his every move. It wasn’t until she saw him returning home that her heart sank.
Aries worked for the man her husband hated. Her husband’s father. It took a few days of stalking the man before he finally led her into a quiet forest and he confronted her. The two fought each other at first. Aries was convinced she was trying to kill him, but as she argued, he realized she had no idea that he had anything to do with her husband’s death.
The fighting eventually stopped and Jia pleaded with Aries, asking him to give her more crystals. He had no idea what she was talking about, but when she asked to feel his aether directly, he developed an interest in her. At first, Jia simply tagged along when Aries went off to complete tasks for his boss. It was likely that Jia, at some point during these jobs, connected the dots and realized what really happened to her husband, but she never confronted Aries about it. In fact, her ire was focused on Aries’ boss.
Aries regularly gave Jianca reasons they shouldn’t kill her late husband’s father. It was actually all too regular of a conversation topic between the two. Despite Jia’s desire to pursue it, though, she never argued, simply suggested new ways to go about it, as if Aries had an issue with the means as opposed to the end.
Of course, when the lord gave Aries the task to kill one of his other children, the conversation changed a bit. The mark was a young girl by the name of Nori. The mother was a courtesan and the lord could not have such a disgrace living in the world. He needed her dead. Aries wasn’t particularly one for pity, but when they met the small girl, something about her made him care. Maybe it was the time he spent with Jianca. Maybe it was just him being tired of his boss. Whatever the reason, Aries took Nori in that day and killed his boss. Knowing how to access much of the lord’s gil and how to cover up his death, Aries made sure that he, Jianca, and Nori lived comfortably for quite some time until the lord’s death was found to be the result of a terrible accident and Aries was named his sole inheritor.
For the next few years, Aries worked towards a single goal. Jianca and Nori had taken his name and marking on, this became Aries’ goal. To spread his marking and grow his family. To that end, he started the Viliatti Trading Company, and in the shadows of it, the Viliatti Syndicate.
Eventually, Nori decided to go off on her own, joining the Adventurer’s Guild and using the connections there to travel the world as she was able.