I returned to the Drowning Wench late in the evening to the sound of cheers. All manner of men and women awaited my triumphant return from Swiftperch. News had traveled fast of my deeds defending both the town and Limsa Lomina’s new warship from pirate attack. I was slapped on the back many times by over enthused Roegadyns and congratulated repeatedly by the locals. In less than a week I had managed to become a hero. And in fact my actions had drawn the attention of several big names in Limsa Lominsa.

Commodore Reyner, the man in charge of the Yellowjackets, was there. I had never liked the man, having given me a sour impression when I first met him many years ago. When I originally found myself in Limsa Lominsa and registered as an adventurer the man had verbally accosted me. Like everyone else though, he didn’t remember me at all and now he spoke to me as though I were his best friend. I ignored him for the most part as he chatted away at me, Baderon giving me a sly smile as though he knew what I was going through. There was a sudden shout in the tavern and everyone stood up from their seats quickly. I rose from my seat and saw none other than Admiral Merlwyb Bloefhiswyn herself enter the establishment.

Many people began saluting the Roegadyn Admiral, some forgetting to remove the tankards from their hands before doing so. I swallowed hard, unnerved. Things were happening way too fast. It wasn't supposed to be this easy. I couldn't just waltz back into town, run a few errands, save some people, and all of a sudden be in an audience with the most powerful woman in Limsa Lominsa. And since when did the Admiral of the Maelstrom Grand Company come to visit a lowly adventurer like everyone assumed I was?

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Admiral Merlwyb approached me and expressed her heartfelt gratitude to me for all the deeds I had done in the name of Limsa Lominsa. She was proud of the achievements I had performed in such a short amount of time and felt that I was a true hero. She presented to me a ring with a blood red gem as a reward, telling me how much she personally wanted to give it to me. And to make matters worse, she insisted that I attend a banquet as an honored guest. I just nodded dumbly, unable to refuse.

I retired to my room at the inn shortly after, still dumbfounded at the mess I had gotten myself into. It’s true that I had dealings with the high-ranking officials of all the nations in the past, but never a formal dinner party. There were more pressing matters like saving the world for instance. There wasn't time for a hoity-toity gathering with Dalamud looming high in the sky. I went to sleep dreading the next morning far more than I had before.

When I awoke in the morning I found a wrapped package sitting on the table by the door. I groggily approached the box, eyeing it suspiciously. The note attached explained that the enclosed was a gift from Baderon and everyone I had recently aided. I felt a pit growing in my stomach, and it only grew worse as I opened the wrapped gift. As I pulled the voluminous length of white cloth from the box I was beginning to wonder why in the world Baderon would purchase me frilly drapes for my inn room. It wasn't until I saw the fancy shoes at the bottom of the box that I realized the tacky material I held in my hands was in fact a dress.

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I spent the next hour staring at the dress laid across my bed, frowning at the mass of white lace and blue frills. Did they honestly expect me to wear that? And the bonnet that was delivered mere moments after I discovered the dress! Is this what high society wore to their fancy banquets? The prospect of the banquet began to worry me more as concerns of using the wrong utensil and other social faux pas flooded my mind. This was growing ridiculous. I had faced down Primals, fought Voidsent, defeated Nael van Darnus at Rivenroad and survived the killing fields of Cartenau as Bahamut rained down death on Eorzea. I stood up forcefully, determined to wear that dress.

The catcalls as I entered the Drowning Wench did not help in the slightest. The low neckline did little more than draw attention, and Baderon was kind enough to comment that fact. I thanked him for the fancy clothing all the same and decided to spend some time about town while I waited for evening and the banquet to draw near. As the day drew on I became more accustomed to wearing the dress. If I really thought about it, it was no different than wearing robes really. I had worn plenty of robes while I learned the conjuring arts in Gridania. It was really no different, no different at all.

Evening eventually came and I found myself in the highest tower in Limsa Lominsa, the Mizzenmast. Despite being a banquet full of dignitaries the whole affair was rather informal. For most of the evening it was finger food and dancers and amusing anecdotes about everyone’s daily lives. The sit-down dinner even went smoothly without me dropping food all over the fancy dress. As things wound down to a close Admiral Merlwyb raised her glass in a toast and began to speak about my recent deeds. I wished right then and there that I could shrink away and hide, the attention and flattery far too much. The Admiral’s speech changed from the topic of myself to the Warriors of Light and the Battle of Cartenau. As her words filled the quiet room I began to feel light headed. I staggered and collapsed to the hard ground, my last thought about ruining the dress.

I was standing on a high cliff, the sky a burning red above me, the sounds of battle raging far below me. I looked up and saw Dalamud continuing its descent toward the earth, directly toward the battle below. I looked over to my side and saw the leaders of the Eorzean Alliance standing tall against the end of the world. Admiral Merlwyb, commander of Limsa Lominsa’s Maelstrom. Flame General Raubahn, commander of Ul’Dah’s Immortal Flames. Kan-E-Senna, commander of Gridania’s Order of the Twin Adders. I watched as they gave orders to their respective Grand Companies, lending aid to the army of adventurers that rose up to fend off Garlemal’d VIIth Legion. No one knew more than they that this was a losing battle.

I noticed that Kan-E-Senna was looking away from the battle, up to a higher cliff in the distance. I turned my attention in the same direction and could see a black figure standing against the burning sky. Someone else had been watching the battle closely, but who? My vision shifted and when I looked to the sky again Dalamud had already erupted, releasing Bahamut from his cage. The elder Primal raged, raining down his judgement. I watched as the leaders of the Eorzean Alliance tried to regroup their men, their contact with the armies broken by aetherial disturbances. A stray blast from Bahamut came close, blocked by a powerful barrier spell generated by a retinue of mages.

The leaders of the Alliance argued quickly, then called for a retreat. As they began to flee I saw Kan-E-Senna give one last look to the cliff in the distance. I too looked again and the dark watcher was still there. I shuddered, not wanting to think about who would stand and watch this destruction while everyone ran for their lives. I turned my attention back to the battle below. I saw Louisoix begin his binding spell, attempting to imprison Bahamut in the sky again. I closed my eyes tight and turned away. I was down there somewhere, and I preferred not to see what was about to happen again.

I awoke with a start, finding myself back in my bed in my inn room. My dress hung in an open armoire, the shoes sitting just in front of it and the bonnet sitting on the table. I saw Baderon sitting at the table waiting. I made to stand up but he bid me to sit still. I peered under the covers and found that I was indeed in only my smallclothes. I glowered at the tavern keeper and he reassured me that there had been no funny business. I had collapsed at the banquet and was quickly rushed back to the inn. There had been nothing wrong with me found, and so Baderon sat and waited for me to awake. Baderon informed me that Admiral Merlwyb was deeply concerned, then joked that I best not fall asleep during another one of her speeches.

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I insisted that I was alright, that I had just been overdoing it recently and partied a little too hard. The tavern keeper just nodded, but I know he didn’t believe my explanation. I insisted that all I needed was a good day’s rest and I’d be up and causing trouble again in no time. To this Baderon grinned and decided he’d leave me to my rest then. When the tavern keeper left I slipped out of bed and stepped to the window.

It was definitely the Echo that had shown me those visions, but I had never fainted from them before. Was it because of the events that I saw? The powerful emotions from the Battle of Cartenau or because of the wild Aetherial disturbances that occurred that day? Could Bahamut’s power have transcended time and affected my Echo? I began to shiver violently and hugged myself tight. Memories of Cartenau came unbidden to me. I began to feel constricted, confined. I was safe in my room but I wasn’t safe inside my mind. I could hear the screams, smell the foul smoke of wrecked Garlean magitek.

I stepped gingerly on weak legs toward the armoire. With my mind assailing me with things I longed to forget I reached out, removing the dress from its hanger. I slipped down to my knees, holding that frilly dress tight to me as I was forced to relive Cartenau all over again.

—-

I really meant to have this up over the long weekend but it was mostly a blur of actually playing XIV rather than writing about it. In retrospect, it's probably better that I waited. I've now reached the end of the city specific starting quests and will start to get into the things that are the same for everyone, which means actual progression of the main story. Like I said before, three dungeon crawls to aid the city-states of Eorzea in their growing time of need. I'll be trying my best to streamline the missions afterward to get rid of some of the padding and fix the flow. Having completed the main quests over the weekend I got the chance to look back and reflect on it as a whole and see where things were good, and where things just dragged completely. Staging a full scale war against the enemy and you want me to deliver soup to a handful of our troops? Really?

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This part of the game was really the epilogue of a starting adventurer's journey, truly just the beginning of a far greater tale, and so it wasn't a whole lot to work with. But, luckily, that meant I got to put a load more characterization into it than normal. The part with the banquet? All you really get are fancy dress shoes. As a friend said, "Limsa Lominsa is really slack on their dress code, but really strict about their shoes. I went to that banquet in nothing but the shoes." So I did some researching and based the dress off of a sketch shown by the developers during one of their live letters. I don't know if the dress is actually going to make it into the game, or if it already is on some NPC somewhere I haven't seen, but I didn't completely pull it out of my arse.

And of course, the massive flashback from the Echo to Cartenau and the Calamity doesn't help Rosalyn at all. I have very little experience with post traumatic stress disorder, never actually experiencing it myself but have seen some people with it, and I'm not really sure if I'm getting it right. My words do it no justice, and if you've seen the video End of an Era from XIV 1.x then you know what I'm talking about. I can't begin to imagine what such an event would do to a person, much less someone who was saved at the last minute by a deus ex machina. All I can really say is that I hope I'm pulling this off correctly and if this is how she reacts to an Echo flashback, just wait until she actually has to return to Mor Dhona and Cartenau.

I welcome compliments and criticism alike as well as discussion pertaining to XIV. Got a question about the game? Need some advice on where to level or how to spec out a class? Please, ask. Please, however, keep complaining about 1017 to a minimum. Massive maintenance tonight to hopefully fix that once and for all. So, with that glimmer of hope not far away I can gratefully say, please look forward to it.