“I do not believe staying here will do you any more good, Eni,” The old Miqo’te woman simply said, standing by the kitchen stove. She was stirring a pot of chicken curry, a favorite of hers and her guest of the last 5 years.
Eni looked up through his black and white bangs that hung on the sides of his face, his tail swished around nervously. He couldn’t help but shake the bad habit of tapping his fingers against the table when he was nervous.
“I don’t understand,” He replied. “I haven’t been a bother have I?”
“No, you are not a bother, my young Miqo’te. Those nightmares you have of the calamity, and the days prior, without ever remembering them. It is time you moved on to find your memories, and just what happened the day you received that scar,” The elder calmly stated, pointing to the very obvious scar across Eni’s left side of his face with her wooden spoon. Eni subconsciously moved one of his bangs over the scar, before looking away.
“How…?” Eni questioned the empty space. The elder looked over. Her eyes shined with unshed tears, but stern determination.
“That, young man, is a loaded question, with five years worth of answers.” She answered calmly.
The small cottage house quiets, with just the sound of the stoves fires and the bubbling curry sauce. While Eni loved this meal, he found it hard to stomach the strong smell that comes with the spices, chicken, and vegetables.
“How much longer?” Eni quietly asked
Seeing through the hidden meaning of yet another loaded question, the elder smiles. She takes a spoon and tastes the sauce.
“You’ll have about half a bell to ‘think’ away from here. Do not go malms away like you did last time you went hunting,” she simply said. She heard Eni get up and grab his lance by the doorway. He opens the door, but before he leaves, he asks one more question.
She turns to look at him. She waves around a small one-handed wand, and a map falls by Eni, who leans over and picks it up.
“An old friend of mine will be taking you to Gridania in 5 days. I believe you will do well to start there.”
There is no confirmation from Eni, the door shuts and he is gone. She stops what she is doing and stares up at the roof, hoping that the heavens can see her stare and hears her pleas.
No man or woman can simply recover from his previous ordeals, and no being can presume what will lie ahead. All she asks for is that he will meet the others and they shall keep him safe.
There is no response.
It’s good enough.
Eni knew the old cottage was very out of the way of most outposts and city-states to travel through, but what he didn't realize was just how far out it seemed to be. Two days into the carriage ride and not much has been said between him, the hyuran old man (Bremondt, he must remind himself) who his elder talked about, and an elezen pair of twins with shockingly white hair. Despite how cut-off they were from Eni and Bremondt, Eni still felt some odd unidentifiable emotion grab hold of his heart. He tries to push it back and stares as the forest becomes greener.
It doesn't go away
It never goes away for the rest of the trip.
To say he struggled to sleep on the jostling carriage most nights was an understatement. It would be only about 3 bells before he would end up being accidentally launched into the air by a stray rock that hit the wheel. He would always be on full alert after that for quite some time. Partway through the third day, it was really beginning to show on the young Miqo’te. His ears drooped back against his head, and his eyes bags were beginning to get bags themselves. Eventually, he knew he was going to pass out and possibly not wake up until the day after. What he didn’t expect was to see a bright blue light fill his vision, as he promptly passed out while the sun was directly overhead.
Blackness takes the horizon, as he seemingly awakens to a void. He is upright, but he does not feel like he is standing. Over the horizon, a faint blue light trickles into sight. On the other side, a man in a black robe, and suspicious-looking aether surrounds his steps.
A voice from the blue void called out to the Miqo’te torn between two entities of uncertainty. An orange light descends to the lancer, who takes it in hand. The light grows into his lance however, it is glowing brightly. The man does not look happy and strikes at the lancer.
He defends himself.
“Are ya al’ight there lad?” A voice called out to Eni. He glanced over and saw Bremondt, whose hand was reached out. He pulled it back and smiled.
“Ah, good. I was get’in worried for ya lad, So pale, ‘tis like you never saw the sun.” Bremondt explained. He smiled and looked around the carriage. He stopped to smile at the two sleeping twins, before turning back to Eni.
“Ya would’t mind ta keep me a little company for the rest o’ the way? They twins are’t very social ya see.” He signaled to the twins, to which Eni smiled at.
“They are young souls, it is expected.” Eni simply stated. He looks around and stares at the bottles laying by Bremondt. He sees Eni’s sight and offers the Miqo’te one, who politely holds his hand out and shakes his head. Bremondt goes to take a drink.
Suddenly, a horn is blown by Eni’s head. He turns to see…. What are those ….
The flying creatures continue to blow the horn, their white fur, and light on top of their heads are swaying with the wind. Suddenly, they stop, and one approaches Eni.
“Are you feeling better, kupo?” Kupo, what in the hells is a kupo? Eni looks at them questioningly.
“Ah, so I was right. You can see us. We are moogles, and the Twelveswood is our home!” The Moogle spun in place, while the other roomed around the Carriage. None of the others seemed to notice the Moogles.
“None of the others can see us, which means you’re special, Kupo!” Eni had to hold back a laugh as he saw one of them take an open bottle and chug it where Bremondt couldn’t see. He bit the inside of his cheek and was able to not burst out laughing at the now slightly tipsy Moogle.
“Hey, since you can talk to us, have you noticed anything odd?” The Moogle questioned. Eni just tilted his head, confused with the question.
“The woods have been restless as of late - Lot’s of strange things happening. You are sure you haven’t witnessed anything?” Eni just shook his head at the Moogle.
“But of course you haven’t, you’ve only just arrived…” The poor Moogle said dejectedly. Before lifting its spirits back up, and flew around.
“Well, There’s nothing to it then. We will just keep looking. Nice to meet you, kupo!” The moogle said, before both of them flew up and out of the carriage, back to wherever they were last, Eni assumed. He turned back to Bremondt, who was looking rather disappointedly at his now empty bottle.
“Well, that’ll be. Nevermind that.” He threw the bottle onto the floor, before staring at Eni with a smile. “Despite ‘er warnin’, she never quite told me why ya needed a ride ta Gridania.”
Eni looked at the twins, who still looked like they were sleeping, before turning back to Bremondt. He sighs and leans back while kicking his foot over his leg.
“Ever since the calamity, I had lost all memories. Terrible nightmares that I don’t recognize. It was her idea that I try and learn in any way possible.” Eni explained. Bremondt was still smiling, but it was a more saddened expression.
“Well, Good luck ta ya. O’ piece of advice, The most important thing while adventurin’ is breathin’. Ain’t no profit from bein’ dead.” He said before the carriage suddenly came to a stop.
“Halt, go no further!” a voice could be heard up ahead, but Eni could not see where it came from.
“What’s this, then?” Eni assumed to be the driver asked.
“A skirmish has broken out up ahead with the Ixali. For your safety, you must remain here ‘till-” The voice broke off.
A gasp from the voice, a yell from Bremondt, and a quick move from Eni. all happen simultaneously. An arrow shot from the woods attacks the Carriage, but Eni was quicker, pulling out his lance, and batting the arrow away from harm.
“Bloody hells…” The voice grumbles. “We shall hold them here! Try to break clear of here!” He yells to the driver, who takes off with a jolt. Eni almosts loses his footing and toppling out of the carriage if it wasn’t for the twin with the red hairband catching him last minute.
“For protecting us.” Is all she said before going back to her normal, non-social self.
‘Well, I can respect their privacy after that. ’ Eni thought to himself. A few minutes pass and the skirmish sounds fade completely before anyone talks again.
“That was too bleedin’ close…Thank ya fer the save.” Bremondt said, which Eni simply waved off.
“‘Tis the least I could do for such a generous ride.” Eni smiled.
“T’was nice of them ta give us a welcome gift, eh?” Bremondt laughed. “Jokes aside, this probably won’t be the last time ya meet those feathered fiends.” Eni nodded, already aware he would more than likely have conflict moving forward. It’s the main reason why he brought his lance, even if he doesn't remember how he was trained in it beforehand.
“Well, since you ‘ought ta know, I’ll tell ya a bit about Gridania. It lies in the middle of the Black Shroud, the biggest and lushest place in all of Eozea. Though, it ain’t near as lush as before the calamity, laid half the forest ta waste, ya see. The destruction prompt nasties to move in, Ya’r already familiar with the Ixal. Those Birdmen had’t needed more encouragement, but raids have been a daily occurrence.” Bremondt looks over his shoulder.
“Ah, at long last. Behold Gridania, the forest nation beheld by the elementals!”
The Black Shroud...The ancient forest close to the heart of Eorzea. Beneath the boughs of it’s towering treetops, lies the woodland city-state, Gridania. Once a sanctuary, Even the mighty elementals, guardians of the forest, could not forestall the coming of the Seventh Umbral Era. However, the goddess Nophica is wont to leave her children. On this day, she welcomed yet another soul into her forests. Ones whose dream, was to find his place, and leave a mark in the tales of this great realm
-”The memoirs of Eni Solaris, Dragoon Warrior of Light.”