On behalf of all members of the development and operations teams, we would like to wish all FINAL FANTASY XI players a very happy New Year!
It is due entirely to your passion and devotion that 2011 will see another year of high adventure in our beloved world of Vana'diel, and for this you have our most heartfelt gratitude.
The development team will see changes and new challenges in the coming year. More than ever before, we will be counting on you, our players, for feedback as we usher FINAL FANTASY XI into a new era.
We are confident that, together, we will show that the greatest adventures are still yet to come.
Harbinger Hares of Happiness
"You...you cannot... You cannot be serious!" The willowy Elvaan lass slumped forward with her hands on her knees. Unaccustomed to running such long distances, she required a moment to catch her breath.
Her Mithran companion standing beside her was at no such loss for energy. Not even the Snow Bunny Hat that adorned her head could conceal her ears, pricked up in excitement. "Just you wait. You'll see just how serrrious I am!"
"Chocobo feathers, I say. Absolutely—" Her eyes drifting up as she spoke, the Elvaan maiden's heart sank at the sight before her. The quarry she had expended such energy in pursuing was bounding merrily away, off toward to the horizon.
With the light of the new year's first dawn shining down upon them, the two companions looked out over the rolling verdure of La Theine. In the distance, rabbits, hares and rarabs of all colors and sizes hippity-hopped along to their hearts' content.
At first, the sight was so preposterous it seemed an optical illusion—a rabbit with jet-black fur that towered above not only its brethren, but much of the surrounding flora and fauna as well. This was the Rhinostery creation that the Mithran girl had heard in rumors.
"A rabbit of fortune, you say?"
Since olden days, rabbit tails have been held among folk of the three nations as auspicious objects—good luck charms, as it were. While many adventurers consider it merely an old wives' tale, there are also those who would not think of leaving home without a wild rabbit tail tucked safely away in their gobbiebag. The Elvaan lass—for all her professed skepticism—could count herself among them. After all, what adventurer couldn't benefit from an extra dose of good luck in their travels?
So it was that the interest of a particularly superstitious researcher at the Rhinostery was piqued.
"Why, if we could breed a giantaru rabbit, then we would have ourselves a giantaru rabbit tail! And with that giantaru rabbit tail, why, just think of the oodles and woodles of fortune that could be ours!"
...No doubt his thought process went something along those lines.
There's plenty of good fortune to go around this year, it would seem... So the Elvaan girl thought to herself as she gazed out at the veritable horde of hares hopping merrily off in the distance. If only she could muster up the strength to snag that great beast's tail, a year of unbounded happiness would certainly—probably? possibly?—await her.
"What say we suck it up and go grrrab hold of our own destiny, eh?" Her Mithran companion turned to her with a gleam in her eye.
Why not? the Elvaan maiden thought to herself, After all, an opportunity like this only comes along once a year.
"Hah! I was waiting for those very words. Let us be off!" And with that, the two companions were off, charging forward toward their bushy-tailed quarry, and toward another year of adventure.
As they raced across the lush green fields of La Theine, they did not speak, but the thoughts occupying their minds were one and the same. To be able to share the thrills of adventure and bonds of true friendship—surely this is the greatest fortune of all.
Story: Miyabi Hasegawa
The 2011 New Year event will come bounding into the three nations at 7:00 a.m. on December 31, 2010 (PST) and hop along on its way at 12:00 a.m. on January 17, 2011 (PST).