Final Fantasy – Crystal Beacon #19

They found Dah’Marra where Nora had left her, sleeping peacefully in the grass under the willow tree and midday sun. Like always, they had barely finished saying her name before the miqo’te ranger was up and ready. Dah’Marra always slept well but also never seemed to be caught off-guard. Nora wished she had some of that.

Walking away from the village alongside her friends, Nora could not help but remember a little over a year ago when she had left her own home in much similar company. She would return home after all this was over, though if she would stay for long, truthfully she did not know.

Zedlei forest was colder than she remembered, though that could just be because she was aware of it now. They had drifted into their usual pattern, with Bodvar in front and Deormund in the back, and Nora and Erroix in the middle. Dah’Marra ranged around as she pleased so the group would not be surprised by anything wandering the forest, though Nora did wonder if the perceptive woman could also detect angry spirits.

Now that she was aware of the unrest, the low tension was evident throughout the forest. The cold was not equal throughout the whole forest, and where it was less, so was the spiritual unrest. Likewise, the colder it got, the angrier the spirits seemed to be. One clearing that the ranger showed Nora was so cold that a the little lake that sat among a few small streams was covered in ice. An elemental drifted through the clearing, clearly visible to every member of the group. Even observing it from the frost-covered bushes around the edge of the clearing, it gave no hint of noticing their presence. For lack of a better way to put it, Nora felt she could understand. Even without being in a proper state for spirit-seeing, she could feel an overpowering presence from the west. The materialised spirits senses must be even further dulled than her own. Even so, they took a more circuitous route to avoid undue attention. Continuing west, they found more areas like that, slowing their progress, and the further west they went, the greater the imbalance.

Eventually, as the sky began to redden above the thick forest canopy, they found a cold clearing thankfully devoid of elementals, though it still housed a few spirits. Spirits of winter, roused like their fellows by the unseasonable awakening of the great winter spirit. A single oak had survived the harsh shift in temperatures, its leaves falling into a small pond a its base.

“Can we hold here?” Nora asked, looking at Dah’Marra. Spirit-seeing or no, the ranger still had the best sense of the forest around them. Dah’Marra simply nodded in way of reply, then disappeared into the bushes.

“Why are we resting here?,” Deormund said while looking about the little glade, “None of us need the rest currently.”

Nora walked into the clearing, trying to size up where she should sit. “Neither do I, Deormund. I need to know a little more before I can really say what happened and how we should proceed,” She found a rock next to the pond and beneath the tree and sat down, smoothing her travelling robe under her, “And I think I can find some information here. Erroix, you wake me if you have any trouble. I might not sense it during the spirit-seeing.” The elezen simply nodded in response.

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