(Authors' note: 5.4 and 5.5 are under my belt; this is an overdue entry and will contain spoilers of a sort)
Memory Sphere 5
Some weeks have passed since that instant in the First where I helped the Scions in their predicament. In summary of my time since then the local paper, the Harbor Herald, has reported the principle leadership of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn have awakened from their strange slumber and were moving about in their usual way. That cheered me up. In part knowing that they were able to come home and in another that I was able to lend some small assistance to their return in one piece.
Day to day activity has largely gone about as normal. Labor from the Ironworks continues, family life evolves, and on the occasion I can go on an adventure or perform adventurer duties comes and goes. I do regret not being able to make my Free Company meetings though. I miss the camaraderie from being around people I've known for years.
Aislinn shows up from time to time, both for maintenance and catching me up on Winters family business. Briefly they came back to Eorzea to settle some outstanding business affairs then went back to parts unknown. Beyond that they seem fairly happy with their lot in life.
In reflection, I am to. Knowing that whatever that happened in the First thanks to the Warrior of Light/Darkness,depending on whos terminology you use, has forestalled or stopped the destruction of that world and its potental Rejoining back to the Source.
On one occasion there, around the same time the Little Ladies' festival was taking place in Ul'Dah, I happened to have a chance meeting with Ryne. She was in the company of another young lady who...ah, was dressed in very unusual garb. Black leather with extremely thick soles and a spike heel. Black makeup and raven hair. What surprised me even more is that the two of them were getting along famously.
"Drail!" Ryne said as they were helping set up decorations. "Good to see you!" I nod back and she waves me over to a table where some refreshments were laid out. "You have got to try some of this! Imported form Mord Suuq; some of the best flatbread I've tasted."
The girl in black rolled her eyes, but had an amused grin on her lips. "Any friend of this ball of energy is a friend of mine." She offers me her hand. "Gaia." I shake it and get a very faint impression of restrained power being held behind that façade.
We grab a piece of flatbread each and sit down on some chairs. "Are you sure we should be taking a break like this?" Gaia says to Ryne.
"Sure! They won't miss us for a few minutes and we need a break anyway. Drail, you have got to come out past the Wall. We've been able to successfully bring life back to the wastelands!" Then without further preamble she tells a story of how she, Gaia, Urianger and Thancred had found what they called the first Sin Eater, tamed it and called it Eden. It was described as a part creature and part sentient ship. They had the help of the Warrior of Darkness as well in an off and on capacity.
Manipulating the core of Eden they were able to bring elemental equilibrium to a potent nexus of aether in the waste and made it alive again with life. "Urianger says that it'll take years if not decades for that nexus to spread the effect to the rest of the world," Ryne concludes, "But all the effort, pain, and heartache will be worth it. Just imagine it! New lands to explore made possible by the restoration of aether." She was grinning like a loon while Gaia was reflecting on some inner thought. I could almost see the wheels turning about in her head but knew enough not to intrude on a womans' thoughts.
Katliss from the Mean waved at us. "Better get back to it. These decorations won't hang themselves." Sighing, they stand and turn to leave. Ryne, however, looks at me and asks how Thancred was doing. Admittedly I don't have direct contact with him but I assured her that he was doing well and thriving. She looked relieved at this statement and shared another one of her sunny smiles with me...sunny smile with a mix of longing and determination. Inwardly I smiled as well. Good of her to stand on her own two feet.
About a week after this I was going about my duties in the Rhalgars office when I felt a sickening sensation slide across my aetheric sense. Other mages of the office report a similar feeling. We learn later that the gardens in Ala Mhigo had been attacked by a black-robed man and an entity that looked eerily like Bahaumut, defeated these past eight years ago. I arrive home in the Mist and the evening paper of the Harbor Herald confirms this fact. In addition strange structures have been popping up in select regions and one of their artisans had visited each location of a reported tower, a few notably with this entry.
A sense of forboding began to rise within me. Coupled with the fact that each spot had a lot of beast tribe and prior 'primal' activity made me wary of what was to come.
At last report, this morning, news of kidnappings of beast tribe members from within their own domains reached the papers. Along with troubling news that garleans were seen to patrol the outer picket lines of the towers. All grand companies were informing their enlistees to keep a good distance away from the towers at their own peril. They seem to emit a tempering effect to those that get near it. Only those that were recognized by the Scions as having "Special Defenses against the act of tempering were to approach, and even then at extreme caution" were permitted to scout beyond the picket lines.
A premonition of mine surfaces to the forefront of my memory. Combined with a fleeting feeling back from the First. Something nigh-cataclysmic is coming. A horror not seen on this world in many a millennia. I look back on my vow, made in the First, to protect my family. My wife's skills as a healer has grown in leaps and bounds. Even my children are more earnest in their studies of aetheric manipulation. One day I see them being formidable people, watching each others back and other family members encountered as well as the life of strangers.
We rush towards an unknown future, a glorious destiny or the worst ruin in living memory. Preparation can take us only so far. Will we be ready for it?