As the warm winds of spring loosen winter’s icy grip on the realm, slowly laughter returns once again to Eorzea. Yet it is not the mere changing of the seasons that has ushered in this blossoming of joy. A strange, new festival is underway and people young and old are finding themselves caught up in the celebratory mood.
A weekly Gridanian tabloid entitled The Raven was one of the first outlets to pick up on the story behind this fledgling holiday and its fast-growing popularity.
High above the Twelveswood, the Raven circles, evermore seeking out truth hidden amongst the shadows of the trees.
In this edition, field correspondent Oliver Goodfellow has set his sights upon an odd, new festival recently arrived in Gridania, called Hatching-tide by its founder and followers. We try to learn more about what it is, whence it came, and what it portends.
● Prophet or Pretender?
No doubt you have all heard rumors of a motley crew of street urchins and spriggans, singing strange songs while dutifully dispensing outlandishly colored eggs to wary bystanders. These are the propagators of Hatching-tide, a lavish new festival conceived by an eccentric Miqo’te named Jihli Aliapoh, who to her followers is simply known as “the Dreamer.” To learn more about the celebration, I attempted to speak with Jihli. It only took a few moments with the young woman, however, for me to realize I would need to take a different approach if I were to glean anything of value from our conversation. You see, the Dreamer only ever speaks when she is reciting from what I later learned was called the Dreamer’s Gospel. Rather than attempting to decipher her cryptic musings, I instead opted to speak with a boy who appeared to be the Dreamer’s famulus. And as it turned out, the boy, Bricot, was more than happy to answer all my queries.
As Bricot tells it, the idea for Hatching-tide came via a revelation experienced by Jihli late one starry evening. After drifting off into slumber, she was supposedly visited by twelve magnificent Archons who descended from the heavens on brilliantly colored eggs. As she stood in awe, one of the Archons stepped forth, placed his hand on Jihli’s shoulder and whispered into her ear, “Rise, young Dreamer, and make ready the vessel for our return.” The remaining Archons then began to sing, reciting the one hundred and twenty verses of the Dreamer’s Gospel, and only when the echoes of the last line had faded did Jihli awake a changed woman.
● You Can’t Make an Archon Without Hatching Some Eggs
After penning all one hundred and twenty verses of the gospel, which rang clear in her memory long after her vision had passed, Jihli set forth to begin what she believed was the bidding of the Archons. To do this, she first needed eggs. Hundreds and thousands of eggs. Realizing that she could not achieve this daunting task alone, she enlisted the help of the city’s children, whom she sent out in search of spare eggs lying about the city. In another move of genius, she convinced a local bury of spriggans to steal eggs from dodo nests, utilizing the voidsents’ natural instinct to hoard small, ovoid objects. Once the eggs were gathered, she then began coloring them in the same vibrant patterns she recalled from her dream.
At first, the public scoffed at this wide-eyed Miqo’te and her queer troupe, but the more they witnessed the passion with which she sung the gospel, the raw determination with which she painted her eggs, the more they, too, began to believe themselves that the Archons were destined to return. And now, the Dreamer has scores of followers busy “warming” eggs in preparation for the Hatching Hour, a final ceremony in which the eggs are used to beckon the Archons back to Eorzea.
● The Maddening Crowd
Even as we speak, the Dreamer’s congregation continues to grow, but is this phenomenon truly a result of the masses belief in the prophecy Jihli sings, or is it something else that drives them, something less divine? It was only after further investigation, that I learned Jihli is offering specially crafted “egg caps” to all those who assist her in preparing for the Hatching Hour. Could it be that material lust is the true driving factor behind this festival’s popularity? Perhaps we will never know, but what is certain, when the Hatching Hour comes and the celebration reaches its climax, all eyes will be on the Dreamer and her eggs. Will the Archons descend upon Eorzea, or will Jihli and her gospel fade into obscurity? The answer will be clear only when the Keeper’s sands have run their course.
Jihli Aliapoh, it appears, is not the only one claiming to have had visions of the Archons’ return. Similarly garbed Dreamers have appeared in Limsa Lominsa and Ul’dah as well.