(authors note: contains spoilers)
Memory sphere 2
I woke up this morning and found myself in a cottage. I blinked my eyes trying to focus my brain and remember where I was. Then it dawned on me. I was in Il Mheg and it was the day after a party.
I got out of bed and went to the kitchen. The was no sound so that either meant I was up before my hostess Chloe was or she was out... doing Chlie things. Either way, I scribed a note to her saying i would be back later in the day.
Given the area was now open for general exploration, I decided to not miss the chance to poke about unhindered. I checked with my work boss first, though, and he said I could take the day since there was more help enlisted over the course of the past day or two.
Not sure how to take that, honestly.
Anyroad, I flew with my amaro mount (who wasn't old enough to talk according to some of the talking ones from the night before) over much of the land, taking in an in-depth aerial survey. Hey, just because I wasn't told to work doesn't mean that the work must halt. All sorts of things can be turned in by those that have sufficient initiative.
The lake was mostly clear though heavy evidence of underwater moss was evident. I flew a bit closer to the lake surface. Handmirror lake, it was called by the textbooks and maps of the region. As to why it was called that, the histories I read didn't say. Perhaps if I ask one of the pixies more about it. But that question wasn't high on my priority list.
Circling to the west, I saw another cottage. Wasn't where Chloe lives so I figured I could see if anyone was home. I landed and cautiously knocked on the door. There was no response and to my surprise the door opened slightly. Weighing curiosity versus respect, I went with respect...until my pixie dashed in with a giggle. "Come on," it taunted. "I've spoken with the local pixies here. The occupant moved out the day before our Queen's return. Come, come!"
Looking apologetic anyway, I pushed the door further to go inside. What I found amazed me and wondered how much the main custodian of the Curiosities would kill to get their hands on what I saw.
Books. Shelves of books. Books on a table. Books in stacks. Books scattered on the ground. I did note one small opening on a shelf, suggesting that a book was taken from there but that was not important. Curiously I search over the cover titles of them. The text held several different subjects from aetheric manipulation to how to read the stars beyond the sky. Pretty obvious that this book was written prior to last nights' events.
Then something caught my eye. On the far west wall was a very familiar diagram. On Eorzea it would be known as the elemental wheel. I suppose here it would be the same. Astral elements over umbral in the familiar dual-triangle pattern held in check by a circle of power that I learned in my early thaumaturge lessons.
Several books were open beneath it scrawled with notes and smaller diagrams. Looking around and seeing my pixie 'encouraging' a plant to grow larger than it should, I began to read one of the open books. It seemed more like a journal than a treatsie of any kind. I idly flipped through the pages, then frowned. I went back a few pages and read in earnest.
My eyes widened in shock horror.
I now know why the frequency of aetheric standstills were occurring back home.
This'll take a bit of explaining; bear with me.
This world, termed 'the First' is connected to Eorzea, termed 'the Source'. There was a growing imbalance on the First with the Flood of Light that occurred at the hands of heroes a century ago. They mysteriously vanished for an unknown period of time. When all hope was lost, a strange woman appeared and held back the Flood and stopped it cold. She was termed the Oracle of Light. That connection, however, is still trickling minute amounts of light-based aether back to the Source. So it was safe to say that the majority of the Flood was repaired, but not in its entirety.
A similar crack on the Source also appeared though the time scale seemed very different. Stating already that time between the First and the Source was already different but slowly moving to be in parallel with each other. If things had developed further here, this world would be broken into aetheric components and sent racing back to the Source in a process called 'Rejoining'.
Here's the most interesting thing to me: how the First defined aetheric use. Rather than looking at the elemental wheel and defining the elements by its process, here it was defined by its results. The umbral elements were defined as 'light'. Meaning tranquility, stasis, and stillness. The astral elements were defined as 'darkness'. Meaning change, chaos, and progression.
No wonder people were so unfriendly with the term 'Light' and reverent about the term 'darkness'. Passiveness was all that was left when the balance tipped heavily in the favor of light and nearly destroyed the place. The notes theorized that a rejoining between the First and the Source wouldn't be possible as there was no balance and would effectively be similar to the Void. But since recent events and the banishment of Light in now two areas, it was possible that a rejoining could happen.
And have dire consequences to both worlds. Aside continued reading, the writer postulated that the First would be consumed in the rejoining, the Source would obtain those same property: aetheric statis. In what form that would take the author references something called 'Black Rose'. I wasn't sure I liked the sound of that. It was also familiar somehow, but I couldn't put my finger on it.
The notes of the Black Rose summerized that anyone caught in its grasp would become overwhelmed with light-aspected aether and immobilizing them to the point of death, if it didn't kill them outright. My head began to spin. Such a force of nature would destroy civilians without damaging cities; halt battles with catastrophic losses to both sides; lay waste to whole countries.
This...this was too much. I put the book down and sat, attempting to go into a meditative state and allow my mind to process what it has read. I sensed my pixie come close and I felt concern through the pact. "Drail, Drail. Are yae all right?"
I didn't know how to respond. My home...my wife and children...the people I work with both here and there...all under danger. Someone out there was undoing the damage caused and I was at ease with that, but knowing the danger and knowing that I could do something about it galvanized my will. After a moment of meditation I came to my own decision. I reached into my pocket and drew out something that I haven't really used since I found it years back.
A scholar memory stone. Some would call it a soul stone, but I know better.
The soul is not just a source of energy. It is the summation of a life's work; their reason for being; their heart, blood, and struggles that was endured and overcome. I've felt it from my own black mage stone, to a degree from my red mage stone, and from my white mage stone. Though the last has become weakened with what happened between my wife and myself I do not begrudge it.
I turned to my pixie and held out the stone. "I have a pact for you," I said with all seriousness. "Tap into the power of this and you'll have greater knowledge. You'll even have to chance to stay with me so long as I bear this in my possession. The potential for exploration, sensation, and growing more than you are now will be multiplied."
The pixie looked at me with a mix of awe and thrill. "Never a dull moment with yae, huh? I agree of my own will and accord." It landed tip-toe on it and it began to glow the same color as the stone. It closed its eyes and inhaled deeply. I could sense that it was drawing power into itself and slowly it merged down inside so it could explore. A moment later it popped out. It has also changed color, though it wants to still keep its privacy on the subject. It was also a he, so I have to keep this pronoun in mind for further writing. That much he allows me to mention.
I may not be much of a hero, but I'll do my best at being one with the Darkness while I'm here. I found and picked up a blank book, intent to take up Scholarly persuit as time would permit. Perhaps I may not have much time left, but I'll make every second count.
I flew back to Chloe's cottage. She was all packed and ready. We flew quickly to the Crystarium and I introduced her to a few friends I've made in the Horatorium. "If you want to be a good healer," one said as they walked off in the distance, "you have to know what materials you're going to work with.." The conversation became less distinct at that point.
I joined my group of gatherers and set out back for more minerals. Good, solid work while the mind reflects of what's been learned.
(Edit: lore buff had me correct astral and umbral definitions per First terminology)