The charm wand—that endearing single-handed weapon that has become synonymous with Valentione's Day...
Word has it that, this year, a certain activity has become popular among adventurers who possess this heart-adorned wand.
Artis was your average warrior and a pleasant enough lad. Like most of his peers, his definition of a good day involved a plentiful haul of treasure and some improvements in endurance and weaponry prowess. And like most others, he had a regular crew with whom he traveled. More often than not, though, he would be seen in the company of a certain lass. Her name was Velte, and she was a white mage by trade. The two of them had been adventuring together for as long as anybody cared to remember.
It was three Valentione's Days ago that Velte first began giving chocolates to Artis, a tradition that she had religiously maintained ever since. While Artis accepted the gifts gladly, he had always been a tad slow on the uptake—thick, some might say—and had never read deeply into his friend's gesture, much less thought to return the favor. But with this year's festivities fast approaching, it finally dawned on him that perhaps it would be appropriate to do so.
"N-nothing to see here! I-it's just something for a friend, that's all," the overly self-conscious Artis mumbled to himself, attracting cautious stares from passersby about the auction house as he bid successfully on what would be his first Valentione's Day gift to Velte—a white cape lovingly crafted from lavish squares of silk cloth. A nervous smile spread across Artis' face as he visualized the supple garment draped over Velte's slender shoulders. Just three days until this mental image would become reality.
His latest purchase neatly folded and stowed away inside his Gobbiebag, Artis made his way back to his Mog House with a spring in his step. Once there, he picked up the special linkpearl reserved exclusively for contact with Velte and called her. No response. Perhaps she would pick up later in the evening, thought Artis, but there was no luck then either, nor the next day.
Valentione's Day finally arrived without so much as a word from Velte. This was a cause of deep concern for Artis, as the two of them had never gone longer than a day without contact of some description. Where could Velte have gone? Had something terrible befallen her? This and countless other dreadful thoughts battered ceaselessly on the walls of Artis' troubled mind.
"That's one gorrrgeous cape you got there! A prrresent for Velte, yeah? Why, you ol' dog!"
Startled out of the dreary reverie he had been having in front of the auction house by this flurry of playful words, Artis spun around and was greeted by a familiar face wearing a grin that promised mischief. It was the Mithran ranger Cha Shya, mutual friend and fellow linkshell comrade. Ever ready with a jest or two, Cha could always be relied upon to brighten up dampened spirits, but Artis' sullen mood that day was beyond the help of words. Sensing something amiss at her friend's uncharacteristic response, Cha became serious.
"You were supposed to turn as rrred as a faerie apple when I said that. What's botherrring you?"
Artis wasted no time in sharing his fears with his friend. Upon hearing the story, a look of horror crept over Cha's face.
"P-prrromise you won't be angry with me? I, uh...told Velte about this rrrumor I'd heard...an enchantment of sorts..."
Defeat one hundred sheep with a charm wand and you shall be granted whatever your heart desires...or so the legend says. While most adventurers would dismiss such claims as mere fairytale—even a child yet tender in age would know to be skeptical—it was just like pure, innocent Velte to take this story to heart. Likely she was roughing it out at La Theine at this very moment, thwacking one sheep after another. Small wonder, then, that responding to a linkpearl call hadn't been her highest priority these past few days.
Somewhat relieved but deciding that he would not be satisfied until he had at least heard his companion's voice, Artis pressed his linkpearl to his ear, but Velte beat him to it by a split second with a distress call of her own.
"Art! H-help! Being attacked...<huff>...by a giant ram...<puff>...at La Theine!"
Without the luxury of time to observe common courtesy, Artis and Cha cut short the nearest white mage's visit to the auction house, commandeering his teleportation spell to the Crag of Holla. A blinding flash and a few heartbeats later, they stood atop the stone structure's teleportation platform in the heart of the plateau. From their vantage point, they promptly spotted Velte—thanks in part to her shrieks of panic. Hot on her heels was an enraged mountain of white fluff, murderous intent playing in its bloodshot eyes.
With the aid of her two friends and a kindly—if not entirely enthused-stranger to turn the tide, the giant ram went down without a fuss, its massive frame kicking up a cloud of dust. Cha apologized emphatically to Velte, eyes glistening with remorse for having misled her friend with tall tales, but her pleas for forgiveness were waved away with a never-you-mind smile. Artis, unable to suppress his curiosity any longer, asked the question that had been hot on his lips.
"In sweet Altana's name, Vel, what wish was it that you wanted so badly to come true?"
But Velte would not give in to Artis' furrowed, scrutinizing eyebrows. She simply stood resolute with chin down, cheeks flushed, and lips pressed tightly shut as if fearing the truth would spill out. In an unashamedly blatant act of diversion, she reached into her Gobbiebag and produced a heart-shaped box of chocolates. Ever silent, Velte thrust the daintily decorated package out at Artis' chest.
Knowing better than to press further, Artis allowed his eyebrows to unfurrow and let out a sigh. "As long as she's safe and well," he thought, as he reached into his Gobbiebag for his own present for Velte. With the fondest smile he could muster, he accepted the chocolates and placed the white cape into Velte's up-turned palms.
"Happy Valentione's Day, Vel."
A look of shock emerged on Velte's face.
"Could that ram have been the...hundredth one?" She breathed out in marvel. Noticing Artis' confused expression, Velte continued.
"Y-you see. My wish was to receive a Valentione's Day present...from you, Art."
A smile of boundless delight, vibrant as the breaking morn, beamed forth from her dust-mottled face.
It is said that from that day onwards, the sight of adventurers setting upon sheep with charm wand in hand became commonplace across the windswept wilds of La Theine.
|Story: Miyabi Hasegawa|
Illustration: Masae Shindoh
Thursday, February 4th, 2009 at 0:00 am (PST) – Monday, February 15th, 2009 at 0:00 am (PST).
Festival moogles will appear at the locations listed below during the event period. Speak with any of them to get the skinny on how you can join in on the festivities.
- Southern San d'Oria (J-9)
- Northern San d'Oria (D-8)
- Bastok Mines (I-9)
- Bastok Markets (G-8)
- Windurst Waters (north side) (F-5)
- Windurst Woods (K-10)