"The first time I entered, I couldn'taru believe my eyes. To think-wink that such a place was created by human beings! It is said to be designed by a grave-grand-great mage, but it's amazing thataru anybody could have such incredible-wedible skill."
The young Tarutaru had just explored Vana'diel's hot new area, Diorama Abdhaljs. Eager to show how up to the minute he was, the trendy little Tarutaru spoke excitedly at a million words a minute, and I struggled to jot it all down.
"The feel of the earthy-wearthy at the soles of your shoes, the brutal-bleak mountainside, the rough-raging wind and a camp of terrible-werrible Orcs with an ever-evil hobby of making jewelry out of human skulls! The Ghelsba Outpost thataru I visited so often as a cub had been recreated in painstaking-waking detail! But the Orcs who would usually be running amok-wok were nowhere to be seen. Instead, there was a marvel-mystic-mysterious silhouette waitaruing for us. Afraid it was a new dark stalker, I tippy-toed and creepy-weeped up, and..."
...And it was just a Herald and Pursuivant, who we all know well from Ballista matches!
This marvelous miniature world was named after its creator, a Hume mage named Abdhaljs. Its popularity made him instantly famous, but he had previously traveled Vana'diel arguing the importance of battle exercises and actively promoting Conflict.
Abdhaljs's fabulous garden can be likened neither to the miniature gardens that artsy elderly couples create on weekend evenings, nor to toy replicas placed by students in school reference rooms as pranks. Diorama Abdhaljs was created exclusively for Ballista and lovers of the game.
However, Abdhaljs's magnificent little world would be meaningless if nobody could enter, wouldn't it?
I visited an Elvaan maiden named Tillecoe, who claims to be Abdhaljs's pupil, and pressed her for the facts. From her explanation, I gathered that one must do the following to gain entrance to Diorama Abdhaljs:
1. Talk to Tillecoe to reserve the area two days (Earth time) prior to the desired time of use. At this time, you will receive a Ballista Rulebook, in which special magic from the great Abdhaljs himself is sealed, in exchange for Ballista Points.
2. The applicant must tear out pages of the Rulebook one by one and distribute them to the additional participants.
3. On the day of the match, you must speak to Tillecoe and give her a page of the Ballista Rulebook within the previously reserved time slot.
- Tardiness on the day of the match will not be tolerated. In the event that the players do not arrive at the appointed time, the right to enter Diorama Abdhaljs will be passed on to another team, and the tardy team must wait for the next open time slot.
- Before entering the arena, a small transportation charge will be collected from the player on top of the regular usage fee, so all players should bring a bit of extra gil.
4. Tillecoe releases the seal on the book and Abdhaljs's magic is released, shrinking the players to a miniscule size! Before the players even have a chance to blink, the team is suddenly transported to Abdhaljs's miniature world!
- It is said that Diorama Abdhaljs is hidden somewhere on the Tavnazian Archipelago. Perhaps the great Abdhaljs chose a rather isolated area in order to protect the warriors from vicious monsters and overly curious children.
If I had heard such a tale at the local pub, I would laugh my head off, along with everyone else there! But with so many players and fans already entering Diorama Abdhaljs, I have no choice but to believe. Ballista lovers and those who simply harbor a curiosity in the world's tiniest arena should try out the aforementioned method and check it out for themselves.
After finishing a series of data collection runs, I was trying to think of a way to put off going to the Ru'Lude Gardens, when a line of adventurers with clinking swords and armor walked up to Tillecoe. I inquired about their actions and learned that they were indeed a Ballista team headed for Diorama Abdhaljs.
"Yo! We's headed overrr to super-secret training in Diorama Ad...Ab...Absdiss...whateverrr. We's planning to enter da upcoming toinament, so we have to prrractice or else end up like a buncha damselflies on an airship window! Rowrrrahahaha!!!"
The "toinament" of which she was speaking is the first of its scale in Vana'diel, the Ballista Royale tournament. Fierce warriors of all nations are clamoring to enter and discover which team is fit to be called the true Ballista champion.
"What!? What if we all get a buncha frrreak chance wins and surprise everyone by making it to da finals dat way? We'd get smacked arrround like a Mandragora in Dynamis! Rowrrrbwahaha!!!"
"C," the enthusiastic Mithra leading the team, grinned excitedly as she spoke.
I bade them good luck, and as I turned to leave, C and her band of nine turned to me and gave a triumphant cry.
Perhaps, from wherever he is, Abdhaljs himself is watching over the young adventurers involved in Conflict, beaming with satisfaction at their spirited voices...