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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 33, 8th Year of Braska's Calm

Lady Ginnem and I spoke far into the evening on the ship's upper deck, until the sea breeze drove us indoors. The sailors treat us with respect and a wide berth, a luxury I have seldom enjoyed in Besaid save when serving in the temple. Ginnem joked that I am already helping her as Guardian: she was swarmed by doting well-wishers on the voyage over, which gave her few chances to meditate. Apparently the crew and passengers find me intimidating. Good!

I have read through all of her notes on the first three Summoners, and discovered that she has been wrestling with a knotty problem which the priests discourage us from pondering.

Why does Sin return?

Five times, Summoners have managed to vanquish Sin. Eyewitness accounts of Gandof's battle are steeped in legend and surely exaggerated, yet the records for all their dramatic language seem adamant on this fact: during the Final Summoning's cataclysm, Sin was blotted from the sky, reduced to a fine dust that fell across the Calm Lands for days. Saying that Sin is a living expression of our imperfect souls is all very well, but I have seen our foe: it has eyes, claws, a head. It is an incarnate creature. Alive. And then dead. How can something like that remake itself from oblivion, after its body is destroyed?

Ginnem guesses that it may be coalescing from pyreflies, which can assemble into an image of the departed beyond the Farplane Gates at Guadosalam. But those are merely visible forms for the spirits of the dead, like a spot of light cast on a wall by sunlight shining through a keyhole. I don't know if they're tangible. Surely they can't be, or people would forever be going there seeking the touch of a loved one's hands.

On the other hand, no one really knows what Aeons or Fiends are made of, either. Again, the theory is that pyreflies endow them with physical structure. Maybe that's why it takes Sin such a long time to collect a new form, one pyrefly at a time. Perhaps it builds in the sea like coral, until it hits critical mass? Sinspawn fall from its carapace: do the spirits of dead sinners build up its skin scale by scale?

I don't know why I'm pondering Sin's nature. We must simply defeat it. It's foolish to ponder too closely what makes the back of a mirror reflect one's face. Use it, or break it. One might as well ask why the sky is blue, or the sun is bright.

Far more troubling is the brevity of Braska's Calm. He was a gifted Summoner. Despite his associations with the Al Bhed, he seems to have won the grudging respect of Yevon, even if they haven't yet installed his statue in all the temples. Yet his Calm lasted only seven years. So little time. High Summoner Yocun's lasted for thirty. Will Summoners keep offering their lives, if the promise of hope they bring lasts only a few seasons? I would not have Lady Ginnem's sacrifice be in vain! And what of Yuna?

Ginnem says the consensus of senior church officials is that Lord Braska's marriage to a heathen may have rendered the nobility of his character imperfect, and tainted the goodness of his self-sacrifice on Spira's behalf. Can Sin be that sensitive to our flaws? I suppose that's what the Teachings signify. It is discouraging, however. It suggests that as long as unbelievers such as the Al Bhed exist outside of Yevon's fold, the people of Spira will not achieve total Atonement, and Sin will never fully be vanquished.

Lord Jyscal's conversion of the Guado helps strengthen the power of Yevon; perhaps in some way that will weaken Sin. Maybe Ginnem's Calm will last longer. I wish Lord Braska had managed to use his alliance with the Al Bhed to help them find Yevon too. At least Yuna is being brought up in the temple, instead of damned to ignorance. But I am afraid. If Ginnem cannot find a way to destroy Sin once and for all, Yuna's pilgrimage may be inevitable.

On another matter, Lady Ginnem pointed out something peculiar about temple life. When the Calm comes, all Spira rejoices, great celebrations are held, and for a time there is peace. Then temples become merely quiet places of prayer and retreat for the devout, and serve as a hub for seasonal festivals. During the Calm, they are sleepy communities of nuns and priests who apart from high days are cloistered and removed from the world. Ironically, it is Sin that quickens life in the temples. As soon as the Destroyer reappears, believers flock to them in far greater numbers, praying for protection and giving generous donations. Would-be apprentice Summoners enter rigorous training under priestly supervision, and communities follow news from the trials and track the progress of every apprentice as sports fans do blitz players. Pilgrimages bring fresh visitors to the temples, news and ideas from far away, and generous gifts from those who believe that the Fayths' favor may be won by lavish offerings (Ginnem does not believe this).

In a strange way, it is in the best interest of Yevon for Sin to return. If it is ever destroyed, what will happen to temple life, to the Teachings, to people's faith? Or is that, in truth, the secret to Sin's resurrection? Fear lends fervor to prayer. Perhaps, lulled into complacency, people tend to fall away from piety during the Calm.

I don't know. I was a temple orphan like Ginnem, but I have no wish to take a nun's vows or study doctrine. Yet Lady Ginnem's fate and Yuna's depend upon such questions.

I must be careful; there is a fine line between examining the Teachings for clues and questioning them which a Guardian, of all people, should not cross. If Yevon is right about Braska's unorthodoxy undermining his victory, then I don't want to jeopardize Ginnem's pilgrimage with blasphemy.

Flee or fight. Those are a Guardian's two options. Lady Ginnem must consider the spirit hidden within things: that is a Summoner's sphere. I should stick to the road and its dangers. Sometimes, however, I can't help thinking more deeply. Yuna's life may depend on secrets we have not yet discovered.

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