Thanks to the tireless efforts of adventurers from the four corners of Eorzea, all save a handful of the eggs stolen from the Dreamer’s tent were returned just in time for the Hatching Hour. But was the rite of summoning a success, or did poor Jihli end up with egg on her face?
The Raven was there with a front row seat to the ceremony.
High above the Twelveswood, the Raven circles, evermore seeking out truth hidden amongst the shadows of the trees.
In this final chapter of a three-part series on Hatching-tide, field correspondent Oliver Goodfellow brings us a first-hand account of Hatching-tide’s highly anticipated climax.
● Advent Averted?
The festive decorations have been taken down, the spriggans have returned to their dens. Where heavensent melodies rang out amongst the city’s boughs, the all-encompassing hush that defines our city has once again been restored. After weeks of roistering and revelry, Hatching-tide has at last come to a close.
But not before the unfolding of a series of queer events. As the Hatching Hour drew nigh, followers of the Dreamer gathered in a small clearing near her storage tents to witness Jihli attend to the rite of summoning. After a full recital of all 120 verses of the Dreamer’s gospel and some frenetic waving of hands, Jihli climbed atop her mountain of Archon eggs and proceeded to fall into a deep state of meditation as the eager crowd watched on silently and waited.
And just when it seemed that the onlookers were on the brink of abandoning hope, the impossible occurred. A crack appeared in one of the eggs. A hush fell over the crowd as they slowly stepped forward to take part in what could only be defined as a miracle. And as hundreds collectively held their breaths, the shell gave way, and out crawled…not a god, not an archon, not a savior, but a baby dodo.
Yet even after the crowd cleared, leaving Jihli alone with the newborn skykin, the Dreamer remained with the eggs, a somber look full in her dark, round eyes. It was as if her mind had accepted the fact the Archons were not coming, but her heart refused to abandon the faith that had been placed there by her vision. I watched in silence from afar until she finally collapsed, the exhaustion of the day—and perhaps the whole festival—finally taking its toll on the young woman. With the help of her assistant, Bricot, I carried her back to her home and put her to bed.
However, when I returned the next morning to receive one final comment on the ceremony’s unfortunate outcome, I was dealt a blow most unexpected. The vision, the festival, the betrayal, the failure—what came to her in a single night, several moons ago appeared to have been taken from her just as suddenly. Jihli’s mind had been stripped of every last memory concerning Hatching-tide. She was even unable to recall me and our numerous conversations. For her, it was as if the past few months were but a mere figment of my imagination.
As a reporter, it is my job to seek the truth, and over the years I have come to hone a sort of sixth sense, if you will, that allows me to discern whether or not I am being subjected to a falsehood. And after all I’d seen over the past few days, it would have been simple to chalk the various happenings surrounding Hatching-tide up to an elaborate ruse conceived by Jihli and her followers. When I looked in the Dreamer’s eyes that morning, however, there was no question Jihli was telling the truth…or at least believed she was.
But what did the public believe? It was when I interviewed the people of Gridania regarding their impressions of the festival, its outcome, and Jihli’s transformation, that I was treated with one final surprise—a fitting end to what had proven one of the most surprising events to befall the city in recent memory—not one person had ill words for the former Dreamer or her bizarre band of followers.
The festival, no matter what its original purpose, ultimately succeeded in bringing laughter to our city in a time when spirits were at their lowest. When the celebration seemed as if it might be sullied by a dastardly deed devised by a rogue spriggan, the people of Eorzea banded together to recover the lost eggs, ensuring that the Dreamer might have her opportunity to conduct the rite of summoning. Yes, it is true no archons hatched from the eggs that day, no saviors descended from the heavens to save us and the realm, but perhaps we were simply looking in the wrong direction all along, for something truly great was born of all this. Something that just might save each and every one of us when the coming darkness falls.
And that, my loyal readers, is the rest of the story.
Somewhere along the banks of the Black Tea River in Gridania…
“I see the mind purge was a success,” mutters a hooded man as he slowly folds a copy of the Raven and slips it beneath his dark cloak.
“I did only what was necessary. Had we let her continue before we had completed our preparations, the consequences would have been dire,” replies a similarly garbed woman huddled in the shadow of a nearby tree.
The man pauses for a moment, then slowly lifts his head to gaze upon the twin moons hovering in the night sky before whispering, “Yet time is of the essence. There are those who have already begun to piece together the clues laid out before them, and soon our secret will be a secret no longer. But until then, we must remain vigilant…”