The Egg Hunt Egg-stravaganza is upon us, and it seems that more and more people are taking in the holiday spirit by displaying various jeweled eggs in their places of residence. Those of you who have collected more than two types may have already noticed the design differences amongst the eggs of varying nations. What are the histories behind these decorative furnishings and what can they tell us about the world and its people? I've decided to travel across Vana'diel in search of the answers.
I began my journey by flying to San d'Oria to learn of the revered wing egg. My sources informed me that its elegant design, graced with brilliant inlaid fire crystals, remains one of the most popular in the Elvaan kingdom. After arriving in the Port District, I walked to the Northern San d'Oria residential area, where I found a tiny shop selling wing eggs of varying shapes and sizes. Hoping that I would be introduced to some royal craftsman, I asked the shopkeep, an aging man named Calemaunoret, if he could tell me who had made the fine eggs he sold. However, I was not expecting the answer I received.
"I apologize, young lass. I am unaware of who constructed these. I make all my purchases through a buyer from Bastok."
And so I headed back to Port San d'Oria and boarded the next flight to Jeuno. After switching airships in the duchy, I finally arrived in the Republic of Bastok nearly twelve hours after my journey began earlier that morning. I was already exhausted from a day of flying, so after a pint of fine Steaming Sheep brew, I retired to a bed at a local inn to rest up for the long day that lay ahead.
Awoken by the bellowing horns of local steamships departing to sea, I dressed and made off for the Goldsmiths' Guild in Bastok Markets. I hoped that they, of all people, could inform me of who constructed the beautiful wing egg I carried at my side. However, when I arrived, I realized that they would not need to tell me. The craftswoman I sought was standing directly in front of me, working on her next masterpiece.
After she put the finishing touches on her current work, I showed Guildmaster Reinberta the egg I carried and asked her if she could tell me a little of the history behind it.
"Yes, this does look like one that my staff and I made earlier this year for San d'Oria. According to kingdom documents I was shown after being asked to make the pieces, wing eggs were once used in royal weddings as a part of an elaborate test for the bride and groom. The decorated egg would be hidden, and the couple would have to work together to find it. Overcoming this obstacle was said to have helped in strengthening the bonds of the newlyweds. Perhaps it is this fairy tale-like story of love that makes the eggs so popular in San d'Oria today. Or perhaps it is the festivities surrounding the Egg Hunt Egg-stravaganza that have everyone going 'egg-wild.' Or maybe it is simply the bragging rights a person can have by displaying one of these exotic treasures in their home. Don't ask me to try and understand those materialistic Elvaan. As long as they provide the gil, we will give them the best our guild has to offer."
After thanking Reinberta for all her help, I asked her for one last favor. I inquired if she knew where I could find the craftsman who constructed the second egg I carried with me--a lamp egg. Fortunately enough, the guildmaster told me that she was certain it was the work of her counterpart in the Bastok Blacksmiths' Guild.
Located on the first floor of the massive Metalworks, the Blacksmiths' Guild is managed by a soot-ridden, muscle-clad Galka named Ghemp. Not wishing to disturb him while he worked (the last thing I wanted to do was anger anyone a good sixteen ilms taller than myself), I waited quietly in the guild salesroom until he had finished his daily work. When he emerged, I greeted him in a humble manner, trying my best to hide my fear of the massive craftsman. However, to my surprise, he replied in a cheerful tone and said he would be delighted to accompany me to the eatery on the second floor, and answer any questions I may have...as long as I paid for his dinner of Galkan sausages and iron bread.
"There was a time when the Bastokan eggs were just as fancy as the ones those snobby Elvaan like so much. Back then, the Goldsmiths' Guild handled all the orders. However, unlike the San d'Orian nobles, most of the folk around here didn't have a fortune to throw away on a fancy paperweight. That's when I came up with a less expensive alternative. I removed a lot of the gold and jewels, sized down the design so the egg wouldn't be cluttering up our already cramped houses, added a lantern filament so the thing would be of some practical use, and what do you know? Within three weeks we had so many orders, we had to put all our men on egg-duty! Gwah-hah-ha!"
While I was finally beginning to uncover the history behind the different styles of decorated eggs, there was still one mystery that perplexed me--that of the Windurstian flower egg. Tired of airship food, I decided to make my trip from Bastok to the Federation by ferry. After a long chocobo ride to Selbina, I caught a cargo ship to Mhaura, where an escort from the Rhinostery met up with me. The journey from Buburimu through the canyons of Tahrongi was quite relaxing, and when I arrived in the Windurst Waters district, I was in full form to collect the final piece of the puzzle I had been putting together.
I waited only a few moments in the Rhinostery lobby before one of the institution's coveted scientists, Kenapa-Keppa, greeted me and proceeded to explain about the origins of the flower egg.
According to the researcher (whose comments I have taken the liberty to edit due to the space restrictions of this article), flower eggs were originally empty shells that were filled with soil and a single seed. The eggs would be buried immediately after they were purchased, and then one would leave them in their garden until the day of the Egg Hunt Egg-stravaganza. If, on that day, a flower had bloomed, that person would be blessed with luck during the festival. If the flower had only merely sprouted, or if worse, the flower had withered and died, it would mean that the year's festival would be a long one...
However, in recent years, due to the increase of people wishing to display flower eggs in their homes even after the Egg-stravaganza ends, the Rhinostery has come up with a special kind of magic egg with a flower that never dries out.
Though, according to Kenapa-Keppa, "Because...all of them...bloom......you can't...really tell...your fortune...anymore..."
And with the last piece of the puzzle in place, I was finally able to bring my journey to a close. While decorated eggs may be commonplace all across Vana'diel, the design and makeup of each one tells the stories of those who crafted them as well as those who keep them in their homes. They remind us all that our land is one of diversity, and that it is diversity that makes us great.