A Knight of Enchantment (02/01/2016)

A fine day to you, dear adventurer. I, Layne of the Royal Knights, have been tasked with spinning a fantastic tale of romance to spur your emotions as we head into Valentione's Day.

Ah, yes, the time for showing affection to your beloved--or pining for them if they are far away--is upon us once more.

Lovers exchanging gifts are a common sight on this most festive of days, and many couples elect to reaffirm their commitments to each other in the spirit of the seasons.

As a brief aside, though I am a medal-bearer of the Royal Knights, my skills lie not in the blade and shield, but rather in the quill and parchment, delving into the secrets of San d'Oria's history so that we may learn about those who came before us.

But permit me to return this cart to its proper track. Not long ago, I journeyed to a humble abode in East Ronfaure at the behest of my dear father. This stone edifice, situated squarely between King Ranperre's Tomb and the capital itself, was erected during a time of strife, when the Royal Knights fought tooth and nail to protect San d'Oria from the Orcish hordes. Though I called this building a humble abode, it is in fact naught but a shell of itself former self, with its once-burgeoning gardens overgrown with weeds and walls crumbling as nature threatens to reclaim it.

My father believes that this building is related to Valentione himself, and the patriarch of my family made an invaluable discovery within its halls.

...Or so he claims.

The tale I would tell is one of what my father discovered there.

Father sighed and rubbed his temples, muttering something about my shelves being lined with such sordid works of fiction. Yet I had said nothing but the truth.

He was a historian of the highest repute, and it was often joked that he single-handedly put the local chandler's son through university.

No surprise, then, that he forgot Starlight...and Mother's birthday, their anniversary, and most likely Valentione's as well.

He also dabbled in architecture and archeology, and when he went to survey the house in question, he meticulously picked apart the first floor before ascending to the second, the third...and finally finding what he was looking for behind a false wall in the dusty attic.

"Amazing! Come, look at this journal?"
"A journal? But who would..."
"Let me take a closer look... Yes... Oh, how intriguing!"

Most tales of Valentione told of a headstrong young knight who fell head over heels for a woman far above his station, yet who exactly this woman was had puzzled scholars for generations, and there were as many opinions as there were experts.

"Why, Layne, this is the journal of Valentione himself! After all these years, Vana'diel may yet know the truth!"
"Why do you so easily put your stock in this tattered book?"

If my father's assumptions were correct, this find would be the biggest of the year--perhaps the decade--but I know how my father's passion sometimes clouds his sensibilities.

"There's the woman's name, right there in black and white! Oho!"
"She was born to a merchant family that later ascended to a noble title of some repute. The two met when Valentione was appointed a member of her guard."
"Her guard? Was there some threat to her or her family?"
"When they were still a mercantile clan, her family made its living by steal rabbits and sheep right from under the orcs' noses."

If there's one enemy that normal San d'Orians should keep a distance from, it's the orcs. But what proof did he have that this abode once belong to Valentione?

"It says here that a 'visitor' dispatched pounced upon him from the shadows during one of his tours."
"Pounced upon!?"
"And to make matters more grave, that was the birthday of our hero's love interest. That would be a day when many guests would have doubtless come to celebrate. A figure with the statue of a Tarutaru had concealed an ornate knife beneath his cloak and snuck it past the guard.

I failed to stifle a gasp.

"Doubtless a tonberry assassin."
"A tonberry! Of course!"
"It was during the grand banquet held for the guest of honor. The guards were faced with an impossible decision: protect the patriarch of the household, or let his daughter be taken hostage."
"How dreadful!"
"They made the only decision they could--and so she was kidnapped and brought into the forest."

Distressing, indeed.

"The orcs sent back a missive saying the daughter was to be executed for her father's crimes."
"What other savagery could be expected from those brutes?"
"The father offered a king's ransom to anyone who brought his darling child back, and the knights rushed into the woodlands to root out the scum."

Though it was clear she had been taken to Ghelsba, cracking the orcish stronghold would be no easy task, and it was not exactly the kind of place one strolls into. Half the retinue was convinced her life was forfeit.

This sordid episode sent a chill up my spine. What kinds of cowards were these knights that they would give up before they had begun? Were all the tales of gallant men in shining armor rescuing hapless maidens just that--tales?

"Presumably she got saved in the end?"
"You know what lanolin is, correct?"
"Of course. A type of oil extracted from fleece often used in making candles and soap."
"The stench of those goblins make for themselves would knock out the stoutest Galka, but those intended for humanity has more of a floral kick to it. Nobles of the time often put more agreeably scented soaps into small bags and carried them around as a perfume of sorts.

Oh, sure--Father knows this, but couldn't bother to give me mother so much as one bottle of fragrance for her birthday.

"Wh-what's with the scowl?"
"Never mind that. So? What does this have to do with rescuing her?"
"She was a quick-thinking, resourceful woman. As she was being lead throughout the forest, she surreptitiously dragged her bag along nearby trees, thus creating a scent for the more astute to follow."
"She certainly kept her wits about her."
"Valentione, realizing this was the case, return to San d'Oria, where he borrowed a hound from the royal guards to track her..."
"Hold on. How would Valentione realize this?"
"Well, I can only guess, but picture it--lanolin requires the fleece of many sheep to create, right?"
"And only those a select few would be able to procure that much fleece in La Theine. It's likely that the scent was given to her by one of her own knights for her birthday."
"A tenuous conclusion to draw, but I'll allow it."

I suppose there was a certain logic to it.

"Valentione slunk into the Orcish lair, broke the daughter bonds, and the two fled under the cover of night."
"Then the story does have a happy ending."

Something just felt right.

"Father? Why are you laughing?"
"I knew that kind of tale would pluck at your heart strings."
"Ah, yes, a father knows her daughter more than she knows herself."
"Wait...if this story is true, then Valentione...gave her soap as a birthday present?"
"Funny, isn't it?"
"I suppose."

Yes, "felt right" is the operative phrase.

"It wouldn't be difficult to find a good gift for someone whose likes and dislikes are evident, like is the case with you."
"Oh, nothing. Just wondering what a knight actually would have gotten her."
"Well, if they were dedicated to serve her, then it wasn't likely to be something quite so personal--and none of this explains why you are laughing."
"Ah, it merely struck me that you, too, are a young woman in the prime of her youth."
"Father, you are making me feel ill at ease."
"Oh, hush. Hear me out--if the daughter of a nobleman gets kidnapped, then the fault lies with the knights assigned to protect her, correct?"
"...I suppose."
"Her father rightfully directed his anger at the retinue, and was set to mete out a grave punishment."
"That would be his right, but still..."
"But his daughter intervened, pointing out that though her father may be correct, it was in fact those self-same knights who rescued her as well."
"Wise beyond her years."

"'Mother, father...thoughtful noblemen and merchants...thank you all for these lovely gifts. I will treasure them always. Yet these are all things that could be purchased with money. My humble knights have given me something that goes beyond monetary value.'"

This did pique my interest. Would could her knights give her that the rich could not?

"'Loyalty. They would lay down their lives for me.'"

"And that's how she convinced her father to spare the rod. Not only did he respect her will, but he honored the knights for their efforts in ensuring his daughter's safety and permitted Valentione--the knight at the heart of it all--to court his daughter."

And thus concludes my father's latest research.

Which leaves only the question of which parts are true and which are fiction--an exercise which will require further study. Either way, I am proud of my father for uncovering something historians have been searching for for decades.

It also helped me reaffirm what a true knight should be.

As I knight myself, this is a story that I can hold dear to my heart--not just as one of loyalty and duty, but as one that keeps everyone's image of Valentione pure.

My mother returned home several weeks later. As to whether or not my father actually gave her a gift... Perhaps that's a volume for someone else to chance upon in another hundred years.

Story: Miyabi Hasegawa
Illustration: Mitsuhiro Arita

Event Period

Friday, February 5, 2016 at 12:00 a.m. (PST) to Friday, February 19 at 6:59 a.m.

Help the lovelorn find their special someone!

Help the lovelorn find people to bring them cheer this season by speaking with moogles location in the following locations.

Southern San d'Oria / Northern San d'Oria

Bastok Mines / Bastok Markets

Windurst Waters (north side) / Windurst Woods

The moogles have prepared a variety of special rewards for those successful in their mission.

Help chocobos find mates!

Participate in an exciting minigame by speaking with NPCs in the following locations.

Southern San d'Oria / Bastok Mines / Windurst Woods

Emerging victorious will reward you with a tender bouquet and a variety of other goodies.