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Year 8 of Braska's Calm

Day 1:  Choices
Day 20: Lady Ginnem?
Day 25: Chappu's Reaction
Day 26: Ginnem's Arrival
Day 27: Besaid Cloister
Day 29: Chappu's Goodbye
Day 30: To Kilika
Day 32: Kilika Island
Day 33: Concering Sin
Day 34: Luca
Day 35: Mi'hen Highroad
Day 39: Mushroom Rocks
Day 41: Djose Shore
Day 42: Djose Cloister
Day 43: Concerning Magic
Day 44: Bevelle Festival
Day 50: Still in Bevelle
Day 52: Macalania Forest
Day 54: Of Summoners Past
Day 56: Lake Macalania
Day 57: Macalania Temple

Final Fantasy X characters, setting, locations, and original images/screencaps of Spira © Square-Enix. Photomanips and this journal created by Helluin.

Day 41, 8th Year of Braska's Calm

Today we ran into several basilisks. I am so grateful for Lady Ginnem's preparations; otherwise our journey would have been brief. Of course, she is quite familiar with these creatures, since this is her home territory. She wears a special ring to protect herself from their sinister gaze. I am not so fortunate, but we had discussed what to do should we run afoul of them. I soon learned to recognize the rattle of their breath and fling myself into the nearest crevice behind her. It is a nuisance trying to cast at what one cannot see! To add to the challenge, basilisks tend nest in a most disagreeable form of plantlife, one that bites back. I don't know whether the scent of scorched serpent or blasted fungus is worse.

I had one fright early on. Despite our caution, I was caught rounding the spur of a cliff, and was frozen in my tracks until Ginnem loosened the spell's hold with her own magic. It was not an experience I'd care to repeat. Also, a few times today, I found myself having trouble chipping away at the Fiends we came across, especially those squat round ones with the hard shell. So Ifrit and Valefor also had a good work-out. I am glad Ginnem warned me that most of the Fiends on this stretch of road are inured to lightning.

If all that were were not enough of a challenge, just after we finished off the basilisk that had pinned me with its eye, Lady Belgemine stepped out from who knows where and hailed us. Belgemine! Lady Ginnem has mentioned her once or twice as a helpful teacher, but I had assumed Ginnem meant someone at the temple and had let her name slip my mind. Now I'm not quite sure what to think. According to my mistress, Belgemine is a failed Summoner who shares her store of experience with others. I cannot doubt she is a Summoner after today's demonstration, and yet-- if she's comfortable prowling the Djose Highroad without any Guardians, I cannot understand why she was unable to reach Zanarkand.

I should describe Belgemine: tall, trim, middle-aged, sandy-colored hair gathered tightly in two knots capped by a double snood over both ears, prefers to wear greens and yellows similar to a nun's habit, but with more elegance. She speaks in a sardonic, warm, faintly husky voice laced with a seductive playfulness that sets my teeth on edge. I must admit, however, that it compels the listener to commit every word to memory. Maybe I can use the same trick on Wakka and Chappu when they're harassing me.

(Page from the Folio edition of Lady Lulu's Memoirs, Besaid Temple Archives)

It struck me as sinister that Belgemine happened to be waiting for us in that lonely place. She restored Ifrit -- I should like to know how! -- and challenged Lady Ginnem to a duel on the spot. I fear I embarrassed Ginnem with my protests. Laughing, Belgemine flattered me prettily for serving as a good Guardian. That was hardly going to win me over, but of course, I obeyed Ginnem's orders. Thankfully, the duel proved to be no more than a duel, after all, and I was greatly interested to see how Belgemine was able to coax her slow-moving Ifrit to brace against Valefor's harrying swoops and conserve itself for one devastating counterattack. After a few rounds resulting in a draw, they dismissed their Aeons and compared notes while I kept watch. Eventually we moved on, leaving the enigmatic woman standing like one more pillar among the rocks.

When I asked if Belgemine lived there, Ginnem grew subdued and said there were some questions one ought not to ask. We nearly had our first real argument, but it seemed boorish to press her about it then, as she was very fatigued from their contest. Luckily, we met no more basilisks.

Tonight we are resting in safety, although not altogether at ease. A new Crusaders' training camp is being erected on the Djose shore in a sheltered cove. It's good to taste the salt breeze and hear the surf's music again, instead of only imagining them! The little huts clustered along the shore with their brave banners seem to issue a cheerful wave of defiance against Sin lurking somewhere out beyond the bay.

Lady Ginnem seemed troubled to find the Crusaders mustered there, half a day's walk from Djose Temple. They offered us hospitality and a tent for our night's lodgings. Before we turned in for the night, she stood at the door flap gazing out at the soldiers polishing swords and mending armor by torchlight. When I called her into the tent, she abruptly reminded me that I was only escorting her as far as Zanarkand. Then she threw herself into her journals and notes, devouring them by the light of an oil lamp as if seeking some new secret that she and I had missed in all our previous perusals.

I don't like the thought of skulking behind her in some crevice while she fights her last battle, yet I cannot dispute her. Chappu, Yuna, and Wakka are waiting for me.

Enough! I must be sharp for the Cloister of Trials tomorrow, and Lady Ginnem needs rest for her vigil in the Chamber of Fayth. She is weary from the day's battles and her extra exertions with Belgemine. My lady will have to grapple with her ghosts some other night.

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