I return to the mainland today.

As much as I look forward to the trip, it isn’t entirely one of pleasure. I’ve become a messenger, as I’ll be visiting each of the cities with progress reports for mainland branches of the troupe. I’m due to pick up a new recruit as well, though in which city I’m unsure. For a mere Imperial Silver Piece, a young little one offers his services to teleport me to the upper reaches of Jeuno. I suppose I’d save a bit of gil on a boat ride and a Chocobo rental getting to Windurst from Mhaura (not to mention time), so I gladly accept the offer.

….I don’t know if I can do that every time. I land safely in Ru'Lude Gardens just moments later, only to collapse shivering. The of warping is so cold and dark, I felt as though I’d been enveloped in an opaque, icy mantle. Gathering myself, I make my way down to Upper Jeuno to see the doctor. He suggests chocolate, though I can’t fathom why. I hadn’t exactly been dealing with a Dementor, nor had I learned of one actually existing out of fairy tale. Nonetheless, it did serve to brighten my mood and help forget the feeling.

I look around. There’s an odd feeling that I’m being watched.

Moving on, I go down another level to the Merry Minstrel's Meadhouse in Lower Jeuno. Here, the envoy from the troupe’s Jeuno branch had arranged for the meeting, so I take my seat and order a drink. The Bard on the stage….ah that certainly brings back a memory or two. Or maybe they decided to add some liquor to this drink against my request….ah where was I? Yes, that Bard.

“Loyal children of Altana, arise and be sustained. Be nourished in thine undying faith, and bask in victory’s refrain.”

Younger, this phrase drew my curiosity as I heard it echo through the halls of the Necropolis, among other songs (mostly Requiems). In finding the source, I came across a hooded hume. A flute hung from his side and a harp sat across his arm, I stood transfixed as he sang on, almost ignoring my presence entirely. When his song finally came to an end, he turned to me and asked for a vial of holy water. Confused, I asked what he meant, to which he replied that it was payment for the song. With a shrug, I handed him one such vial (as I learned to come prepared to most any occurrence with the beastmen rampant). Smiling lightly, he places the vial into his pack with care and sets it on the ground next to his small stool.

“Could you teach me to sing like that?” With a sigh, Lewenhart pulled gently on the strings of his harp, nodding that I should follow along in his song.

It’s really been quite some time since I’ve made a living with song, traveling between the nations. I never fancied it on the battlefield over my Red Mage skills, but it certainly did prove itself useful at times.

“Wow that’s prrretty neat.” My vision comes into focus as a Mithra in full black garb sits across the table from me. It seems I’d told my short tale to a complete stranger. Taken aback and embarrassed, I apologize, only to have her lean forward and stare into my eyes. “Hmmm….yep you’re the guy!”

“I beg your pardon miss?”

“You’re that guy from the Al Zahbi branch! They said you’d have interesting eyes..and a funny uniform!” she finished with a giggle. She was, it seems, both the new recruit I’m due to pick up and the Jeuno branch’s envoy. Handing her the messages and documents, she hurries to her branch to drop them off, saying I should look around Lower Jeuno until she finished.

Feeling rather…inspired…I decide the shop run by goblins might be interesting. With a few palms greased, I manage to enhance my pack’s storage space, though oddly enough the pack itself hasn’t gotten any bigger. Just as I go to leave, an Immortal walks out from the back room. He staggers as he sees me (in my ‘Relic’ armor) and runs up to inspect me. A stuttering, rambling fool this one. I can see the beast inside has had its way with him to a decent degree. Even more shocked, he sees the sword at my waist. Claiming it to be a sword of legend, he asks to see it. Hesitant, I give him the haft, keeping my right hand on the second sword at my waist in case he should strike out. With a few words, the curved sword begins to glow in his hands. Handing it back, he assures me that with this blade, great things will follow. I wonder, just what did he do…

I return to the Merry Minstrel's Meadhouse to await the return of the Ninja to return so that we might continue on to the other nations. Taking the blade from my waist, I set it on the table, studying it to see if the incantation had really changed something about it. Suddenly a voice! “Ah, so my new master doesn't use swords, but stare at them?” Looking around, I see if this is some sort of trick. “Oh, and suddenly I’m not so good as to look at. I knew you were no good when you first took me in hand.” I feel a presence, pink in aura with amusement…from under the table. With a sweep of the feet, the Ninja escapes from her hiding spot, grinning so much that I could see it through her face mask. “Oh lighten up there mister, I saw you staring so hard at that thing when I walked in I just couldn't resist!” I do hope she doesn't play tricks like this for the duration of the mission. This stunt alone nearly gave me a heart attack.

Down in Port Jeuno, we wait in line to get a ticket for the airship to Bastok, as she proclaimed, “I need to get something from home! Can we go here first?” As long as the airships are up it really doesn't matter where we go first I suppose.

A whisper, “This touch, so warm” from the right of me. I see no one that could have made such a statement based on the actions and conversations. My eyes slowly drift down to the blade at my side, right hand nestled on top of it. Looking ahead, the Ninja is haggling with the ticket clerk. The sword it…it couldn't have….