That ignoble, rusted chest turned up from the cluttered depths of Muckvix's Junk Shop in Lower Jeuno has divulged still more of its secrets. In the process, it continues to reveal the heretofore obscure history of the Crystal War in the form of biographical accounts of some of its most integral players. The archiving of the most recent installment of these priceless profiles has been completed, and the works released to the public for the first time in the latest scholarly journals.
Azima, Alchemical Arcanist
Azima (824 - )
Renowned by some and feared by others as the Bastokan area's most accomplished and dangerous bounty hunter. Azima has been dubbed by many the "Hermitess of the Highlands," for it is in the uninhabited and remote uplands of Konschtat that she resides, seeking undisturbed solitude and quiet. Here she devotes every spare moment to her insatiable thirst for higher knowledge, ravenously poring over her collection of ancient magical tomes and philosophical doctrines.
Azima pays visit to the capital only under the strict cover of deepest night. She hauls in tow a coarse, flaxen sack containing her sometimes charred (or occasionally frozen) quarry, to be turned in and the bounty on their heads collected. Her advance notifications to the authorities spread quickly amongst a populace that has come to know all to well the desperate screams and howls that echo throughout the city as her victims are drug to meet their fate, gripping all within earshot in an indescribable aura of fear and terror. And so in the late evening hours when all know her to be coming, doors and shutters are drawn and sealed tight, lest a little evil make its way in...
Those rare few who know anything of her eccentric and anchoritic ways reveal that she has recently met with difficulties funding her compulsive purchasing of alchemical publications. She has therefore taken a great interest in the newest addition to the abundant bounties visible on wanted posters around Bastok: the so-called "Dhampir Mithra." The exorbitantly high price on this Mithran head is due to her suspected involvement in deliberately propagating the Three-dawn Scourge (*1) amongst Allied troops. At present, Azima is pursuing this vigilante relentlessly.
Dalzakk, Affable Wayfarer
Dalzakk (835 - )
One of Bastok's greatest martial artists, Dalzakk champions his personal philosophy: only one who dives unflinchingly and headlong into danger and peril can truly be called an "adventurer." Surely, it can be said of this exemplary monk that he practices what he preaches.
In childhood, Dalzakk was diagnosed with a rare mental disease which caused him to suffer a relapse and experience several subsequent episodes of deja vu, throwing his own memories into complete disarray. It was in the midst of this identity crisis and personal tragedy that he first met the learned wanderer and teacher, Oggbi, with whom he would come to form an intimate master-pupil bond. At the urging of Oggbi, Dalzakk made a pilgrimage to North Gustaberg, where he engaged in stoic meditation directly beneath the tall, cascading waters of Drachenfall. There he honed his powers of concentration, and was at long last able to draw together his scattered thoughts and overcome his debilitating affliction. He continued his studies under the tutelage of Oggbi, who proudly passed along the esoteric knowledge of the Fist of Dancing Shades to his eager pupil. It was also at the insistence of his mindful teacher that Dalzakk took up literary studies at the Optistery in Windurst. Neighbored in the classroom by none other than Nyumomo (*2), another figure destined for greatness in these troubled times, Dalzakk excelled in his studies, showing a natural gift for the finer arts as well as for those martial.
After returning to his native Bastok and completing a tour of duty as a solider in the Great War, Dalzakk took up a solitary life of wandering. Making his bed on broad, starlit uplands, this determined and devoted monk committed himself to the never-ending pursuit of knowledge and skill. Yet as the Beastmen began to levy their atrocities on even the most remote corners of Vana'diel, he found himself unable to turn the other cheek. And as the fires of war burn brightly and inescapably, Dalzakk, overtaken by a sense of duty, has poured himself wholeheartedly into volunteer services in the name of the Allied Forces. It is even rumored that he has taken a young girl, orphaned by the war, under his wing...
Choh Moui, Venomous Verminess
Choh Moui (837 - )
Gaining worldwide notoriety as the inventor of multifarious foods designed to coax optimal performance out of pets, Choh Moui's name has come to be almost synonymous with the term "beastmaster." Another of her monikers, "Baroness of Bugdom," derives from her renown as the most accomplished tamer of insects that Vana'diel has ever known, capable of bending everything from antlions to wamouracampa to heel at her side in submission.
Such talents can no doubt be attributed to an unfortunate series of events which resulted in her incarceration, alongside her mother, the notable beastmaster Ghino, for crimes perpetrated by the latter. This guilt by association forced her to spend several years of her youth in the confines of a dank underground prison cell. It was here that a young Choh Moui would find her childhood playmates in the form of the insects and vermin she today commands to fight by her side, devising prodigious new methods that allowed her to communicate and interact with them.
Following an act of clemency by the state, a pardon was issued which granted her release. Choh Moui immediately threw herself into alchemical studies and syntheses guided by her intimate familiarity with the beasts of Vana'diel. She eventually succeeded in developing groundbreaking new edibles that would completely revolutionize traditional thinking about pet food. Prior to the Crystal War, she opened a humble teaching establishment in the main commercial district of Olzhirya, and in a short time came to amass legions of adherent disciples. She quickly rose to prominence and established a reputation as an industrious young entrepreneur amongst the people.
Upon hearing news of the outbreak of war, she placed all proprietary rights to her then numerous schools up for sale. With the money, she turned to bribery in to try and secure the release of her mother, still imprisoned and now bedridden with illness. After repeated failed attempts, she was left with no recourse but to abandon Ghino, and set out alone on a transcontinental voyage to war-torn Mindartia. Shortly thereafter, unsubstantiated accounts began circulating of her appearance on the battlefield, accompanied by her characteristic Chigoes (*3), allegedly to gather the blood of soldiers for some sinister aim of perverted science. Any truth to these rumors, as well as the original intent behind her voyage to Mindartia, remains shrouded in mystery.
|Illustration by Mitsuhiro Arita|
*1: Three-dawn Scourge
A lethal sickness causing chain-link bruises and high-pitched fever in the victim, much akin to the unforgettable plague which, in later days, held the Republic in its terrorizing grip. The scourge's full name comes from the fact that a complete cessation of symptoms and quick recovery ensue after a period of precisely three days, with a marked decrease in mortality rates thereafter. Following the onset of hostilities in the Crystal War, the Three-dawn, as it was simply called, spread like wildfire amongst the forces stationed in and around the Grand Duchy of Jeuno. It baffled alchemists seeking a cure due to its apparent lack of discrimination between races. Sadly, the epidemic would prove only a mild precursor of the great plague to come, the Bastokan Blight...
Current Patriarch Protector Principal of the Federation of Windurst, a station charged with the safety of all Patriarchs of Parliament. Formerly a leading pupil among the great beastmaster Choh Moui's disciples.
A small-bodied parasite native to the Near East. Classified an insect, this vermin is attracted to the movement and heat of passing organisms, onto which it leaps and clings. It then proceeds to burrow beneath the epidermal layer and infest its newfound host. While appearing as nothing more than a harmless cyst or swelling on the surface, the Chigoe below nourishes itself by gorging on the blood within. Its small and simple anatomy belies a moderately complex intelligence capable of counting, as well as facial recognition. Such cognitive faculties lent themselves to the Chigoe's commercially-exploited ability to entertain and warm the hearts of war-weary troops. To this end, troves of the species, being cheap and abundant, were imported from their indigenous lands to populate the traveling circuses of the day.