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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 54, 8th Year of Braska's Calm

Enchanting. Perilous. Mysterious. The trees of Macalania will haunt my dreams now, I believe. There is something intoxicating about a place where magic seems to have shaped itself into living, tangible forms. And like magic, it can seduce or overwhelm you, or devour you.

We had just grown accustomed to the rhythms of this cold and dangerous wood when we came to the end of it. It's just as well. Our Aeons were spent and my magics drained, for the clawed and fanged beasts of Macalania are deadly. At least my love of lightning came in handy.

We were stumbling gladly towards the promising gleam of distant lights, yet another Al Bhed agency, when the trees thinned out. A coarse, cold crust lying upon the ground began to crunch beneath our boots. I knelt, touched, tasted it. For five years now I have wielded with unsteady skill an element I have never seen. Now, at last, I have trodden upon it, felt my cheeks burned by tiny invisible ice-needles blown off the distant lake. The strength of snow is not the burning flash of fire or lightning. Its power is inexorable, unseen. I can feel it now like the weight of stone or the massive depths of sea. Chill steals in, muscles cramp and stiffen, and sooner or later one becomes as immobile as the dead trees encased in ice at the fringes of the forest.

Again, I was reminded of Kimahri. I can well imagine him striding across this frigid landscape, where all is shrouded in scalloped waves of white. It is a lonely land where silence reigns and even water ceases to speak. However, it was not a Ronso that greeted us here.

We were hurrying towards the Inn when the most unlikely of figures appeared upon a blue snowbank: Lady Belgemine! Who is she? She challenged Ginnem to a duel on the spot. My protests again were brushed aside: great challenges, Belgemine said, do not wait for a well-rested Summoner. She is right, but I still do not trust her. She restored Ixion before the battle began -- we had to rely on him often today against the water fiends, to conserve my magic -- but her Valefor still flew circles around him. I was terrified when he dropped to his knees. I would have tried to save him with a lightning bolt, had Ginnem not stopped me. She assured me he would recover by tomorrow morning. (I suppose it makes sense; the spirits of the dead cannot die twice!) Afterwards, rather than accompanying us to the Inn, Belgemine insisted on discussing Ginnem's progress right there in the snow while the shadows lengthened.

This sat ill with me. I kept guard and heard the distant sounds of beast and bird howling from the forest. But nothing troubled the Summoners' consultation, and at length we parted ways. Once we reached the Inn, my lady went straight to bed with barely a bite of supper.

After a blissfully hot bath, I found myself restless and slipped out to the lobby to rebraid my hair. To my surprise and his, I had a long chat with the proprietor. He was not the famous Mister Rin -- I have yet to meet the man, although his name seems to be everywhere in Spira -- but an old man by the name of Vindus. He said the last "Yevon" who talked to him for any length of time was Braska, and "that didn't count, as he's one of us." A disturbing reminder, but for Yuna's sake I plied him with questions. I'm sure she'd like news of her father.

Unfortunately there was little the innkeep could tell me. Seven years ago, Lord Braska and his two Guardians came stumbling into his lobby after dark, after a fight with a "four-arm giant" that Vindus described in a bewildering mixture of Al Bhed and common. Apparently it had been menacing pilgrims for some time and cutting into business. I think we may be glad that Braska's party dispatched the creature; it sounds like something more a match for Ifrit than for my spells.

The "leatherhide" Guardian had many broken bones, and Braska's spells were spent, so they availed themselves of some Al Bhed remedies. Vindus laughed in his beard, describing how the "leatherhide" had grumbled and growled while taking his medicine. It sounds as if Sir Auron was not comfortable being aided by heathens. I gather that Sir Jecht was far more open-minded and didn't seem like a "Yevon" at all. Interesting. Yuna has told me some odd stories about the man; I wonder if he was really an Al Bhed whose memory was taken by Sin?

So, after causing a commotion in the common room, our High Summoner and his companions retired early and left at dawn. Apparently one of them had a sphere camera with him. Vindus said they posed outside in front of his sign, and he was very disappointed when I said no recordings of their pilgrimage have survived. I think he was hoping to use it for advertising.

Thus we follow in Lord Braska's footsteps, and I pray to Yevon that we may fare as well. We should reach the temple tomorrow if we press our pace. We shall have to be careful; Vindus thinks a weather front is moving into the area. We do not want to be caught beyond the lake, where he says there are great cracks in the ice. His description of "snow-blind" blizzards is sobering.

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