Upon arriving at Camp Tranquil in the South Shroud I met with an Elezen Wood Wailer named Landenel, a former member of the Company of Heroes. He seemed cautious in admitting that he had been a member of the famous mercenary brigade but finally owned up to his past. He told me that he had left the life of mercenary work for the steady income and quiet life in Gridania. After being accepted into the forest by the Elementals he didn’t want his past to return to cause trouble for him now. He swore me to secrecy concerning his previous life and only then did he tell me what the first ingredient I needed was.

Camp Tranquil was an elevated encampment about Rootslake, a large marshy area in the Southern Shroud close to the edge of the forest and the Thanalan border. Rootslake was home to various flora and fauna, most notably the Adamantoise and Marlboro. As I had suspected, the first ingredient I needed to collect would be tricky. Landenel informed me that I would need to collect an Adamantoise egg, which was easier said than done. It was breeding season for the large land turtles and even going near them was prohibited. There were numerous Wood Wailers throughout the marsh protecting the Adamantoise from poachers.

Our conversation had been in hushed tones up to this point, but Landenel began speaking loudly as though he wanted to be overheard. He told me that if Agaric Flies were spotted feasting on the brownie bush crops located south of the camp that he’d be forced to send all of his sentries to guard the crop. I blinked in confusion at the man’s sudden change of topic and almost dropped the bottle of some concoction he had thrust into my hands. He spoke quietly once more and told me to pour the liquid on the brownie bushes and bring back a sample of the result. I realized what he was intending for me to do and left quickly for the brownie bush crops.

I found the crops unguarded and poured the contents of the bottle onto a batch. I waited for a minute until I was sure I heard a buzzing. A swarm of Agaric Flies, attracted by the odorous liquid I had just poured on the bush, assaulted the brownie bush. I waited just a moment longer until the damage they had cause was apparent, broke off a cutting of the bush, and rushed back to Landenel. The mercenary turned Wood Wailer overplayed his part, bemoaning loudly the horror of the devastated brownie bush. I’m pretty sure every resident of Camp Tranquil had been watching us at that point. Landenel ordered me to seek out his sentries across Rootslake and send them to fend off the Agaric Fly swarms.

Before I could step away, Landenel pulled me aside and informed me that his men wouldn’t be distracted for long. As soon as I sent away the last one I would need to claim an Adamantoise egg immediately. Landenel told me where to find one, but insisted that I would surely die if I were to attempt taking it. He made a remark about there being other heroes who would rise up in my place and defeat Titan after I was gone. I glared hard at the Wood Wailer and he said he was only warning me for my own good. He then told me where to meet him after I absconded the egg and I left the elevated camp for the marsh below.

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I was thankful for my high boots as I walked through the knee high waters. I had nearly fallen in a dozen times, each near-fall prompting Eos to flutter away from her seat on my shoulder and snicker at my lack of poise and grace. I briefly entertained the idea of seeing if the fairy could stay airborne after being doused but dismissed the idea. I found the four sentries that had been posted across the lake and sent them off to defend the brownie bushes.

With the Wood Wailers gone I hurried to the Adamantoise nest that Landenel tipped me off to and found the egg unguarded. The egg was easily as large as some Lalafell and I was wondering just how I’d manage to carry it away. I knelt down to pick up the egg, only managing to get off the ground a few inches before Eos landed atop the egg and insistently pointed in the opposite direction we had come from. I dropped the egg back in place, expecting to find a Wood Wailer returning back to the lake already. Instead I saw a massive Adamantoise bearing down on me. The turtle’s shell was covered in moss and plants grew atop the peak. It moved quickly despite its size, snapping at me with its curved beak-like mouth.

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Landenel went so far as to warn me, but he couldn’t tell me that the mother Adamantoise was still hanging around the nest? Though, in retrospect, I should have expected this. I flipped open my book and casted a Miasma about the tortoise to slow it, then stacked as many poisonous spells on it as I could. Eos flitted above my head, sparkles of light drifting about me. I could feel her magic imbuing my spells with alacrity and I tossed spheres of Ruin faster than I ever had before. The Adamantoise finally retreated from my attack for which I was glad. I would have felt bad killing her on top of stealing her egg. I reminded myself that what I was doing was all so I could defeat Titan and I returned to the egg.

I managed to heft it up into my arms and waddled awkwardly through the marsh toward my meeting place with Landenel. Sure enough, the Wood Wailer was waiting for me there. He congratulated me on being able to fend off the Adamantoise protecting her nest and admitted that he was quite impressed by my bravery and resolve. He took the egg from me and assured me that he would see it delivered to Wheiskaet immediately. According to Landenel I’d find the next ingredient by speaking to U’odh Nunh, another former Company of Heroes member, in Forgotten Springs in Southern Thanalan. I thanked Landenel for his help and went on my way to the location of the next ingredient.

I arrived at Forgotten Springs by midday the following day. I had traveled to Little Ala Mhigo and spent the night and was given a guide through the Red Labyrinth when morning came. Forgotten Springs was a small Miqo’te community on the edge of the Sagolii Desert and could only be reached by traveling through the maze-like Red Labyrinth or by the more direct route of risking your life by going through Zanr’ak, the Amalj’aa encampment due north of the Sagolii.

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My presence in Forgotten Springs was a mixture of disdain for an outsider and flirtatious catcalls, no pun intended, from some of the more outgoing members. The Seekers of the Sun, the diurnal tribes of Miqo’te, could be considered the more fun-loving of the Miqo’te tribes. I had seen many a Seeker of the Sun dancing girl in Ul’dah plying her wares in hopes of earning a few extra coin in private. While I enjoyed the attention I knew I needed to seek out U’odh Nunh and inquire the whereabouts of the second ingredient.

U’odh Nunh turned out to be the leader of the tribe in Forgotten Springs. I learned that Nunh was not his last name, but a title. Male Miqo’tes bearing the title of “Nunh” were the strongest men in the tribes and were heralded as being breeding stock. As flirtatious as the Miqo’te may be, it seemed that should they wish to have offspring, U’odh Nunh was the man to see. I was completely perplexed at the results of this, wondering just how many of the children in the community I had seen that he sired.

I cast away all troubling thoughts of genealogical pursuits and introduced myself to U’odh Nunh. He already knew who I was and why I had come and outright refused to help me. His tribe was not one to offer help to outsiders. For the second time in a month, I had been ostracized by a community living in the harsh environments of Southern Thanalan. I asked if there was anyway he would reconsider and I was tasked with another ridiculous test. Before he would even consider telling me what the second ingredient was I would need to prove that I was a mighty hunter. I strode off into the Sangolii desert, tasked with slaying seven sundrakes and bringing back their blood.

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Drakes were not the kind of monster to be handled lightly. Growing to be over eighteen fulms in length, they’ve been known to relentlessly pursue their prey. The massive lizards came in a variety of types, some capable of spitting flames while others could spit lightning. They were protected by a hide of rocky scales, and it had been said that the scales of an aged drake were hard enough to break a steel sword. And I needed to hunt seven of them. It was a grueling task that took me the remainder of the day as I tracked drakes, slung magic, figured out how to even collect a vial of blood from a creature with scales like a rock, all while fighting the heat of the desert.

When I returned to Forgotten Springs with the seven vials of sundrake blood, weary from exhaustion and suffering sunburns, I marched to U’odh Nunh and presented him with the blood. He was quite impressed with my skills in hunting such ferocious creatures, but still refused to tell me the ingredient. He suggested I rest for the evening and meet with him in the morning. Word of my successful hunt had spread through the community and the locals were more receptive to me. One very generous Miqo’te was kind enough to give me lodging for the night where she offered to treat my sunburns with cactus aloe. To say the least, the night had more than made up for my day.

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I met with U’odh Nunh at the crack of dawn, knowing that time was ticking away for me to complete my quest. I felt a dread in the pit of my stomach, knowing that at any moment I’d receive the call over linkpearl that the Kobolds had summoned Titan. U’odh Nunh presented me with an elaborate spear and told me that I was to slay an Amalj’aa known as Stonespike Tanadd Gah and bring back proof of the deed. The Amalj’aa warrior was a weary prey and would not show himself easily. I wondered if U’odh Nunh had intended for me to kill the beastman with the spear or if it was for another purpose.

I left to the northeast of Forgotten Springs to the edge of Zanr’ak. I watched the large Amalj’aa settlement for some time, wondering if there was a way I could sneak in. I moved south atop a sand dune to see if the elevation would offer me a better view. I stuck the spear into the sand, the tip of the blade pointing skyward, intending to watch further. The sand shifted underneath my feet and I tumbled backward down the dune. Eos danced about in the air laughing lightly as I dusted myself off. I scowled at the fairy, feeling as though I had sand in places that sand did not belong.

I trekked back the dune to where the spear was still standing in the sand. As I crested the dune I was taken by surprise. Just topping the dune from the other side was a tall Amalj’aa warrior. He seemed just as surprised to see me as I him. The beastman eyed the spear curiously and grew enraged. I moved quickly to avoid the Amalj’aa’s attack, cautious not to fall down the dune again. I buffeted the beastman with magic, poisoning and weakening him between blasts of Ruin. The fight raged on and I was forced to use one of my new Scholar stratagems. In a single spell I healed my wounds and erected a magical barrier about myself to protect me from injuries. With that spell as an upper hand I defeated the Amalj’aa.

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I began to wonder why only one beastman had come out of their encampment. If they had seen me, surely they would have sent more. And this one had a curious interest in the spear. Perhaps this was the Amalj’aa I had been sent to slay? I gathered the spear and removed the beastman’s necklace as proof of the deed and returned to Forgotten Springs. Just from the necklace, U’odh Nuhn had confirmed that I killed the correct beastman. He explained to me that he himself has grappled with the Amalj’aa over the years and it was his spear that was meant as bait for the trap.

The Miqo’te patriarch was finally willing to tell me of the next ingredient. I would need to collect a slab of meat from a Wellwick Worm, a rare variety of the large sandworms that lived in the Sangolii. To lure one of the Wellwick Worms out of hiding I would need bait. In the old days the Miqo’te tribe would use rotting angler fish as bait when hunting the rare sandworms. U’odh Nuhn just so happened to have a ripe specimen ready for me. As the Miqo’te handed me the bag containing the rotten fish the smell hit me like a twenty ponze rock in the gut. I heard the little gasp from Eos and she fell off my shoulder gagging. The fairy flew a few fulms away, holding her nose and eyeing the bag suspiciously.

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I went out into the desert once more, this time sporting a hat to protect me from the harsh sun and traveled to the traditional Wellwick Worm hunting grounds, Eos following yalms behind me. I laid the rotting angler fish out in the desert sun and retreated a distance. It wasn’t long before the ground began to shake and the massive form of the Wellwick Worm erupted from beneath the sand. I emerged from my hiding place and began throwing everything I had at the beast. The worm bellowed at me in rage, it’s many tiny legs wiggling, saliva oozing from its gaping maw. I knew that the earth-dwelling creature was blind but it was more than capable of determining where I was as it turned on me and blew a great blast of sand in my direction.

I pulled my hat down tighter as I was buffeted by the sand. The wind coming from the worm was strong and the sand scraped across my exposed skin, irritating my sunburns further. If this kept up any longer I’d be worn away by the sand in no time. I pressed my assault, not giving the beast an ilm of respite. Just as I was reaching my limits the beast finally fell with a soft thud into the sand. It took me some time to carve into the Wellwick Worm’s rough hide but I claimed the prize all the same. With a large round chunk of white Wellwick Worm meat in hand I returned to Forgotten Springs.

This return to Forgotten Springs was the best reception I had had yet. The community regarded me as a mighty hunter, and had I been a Miqo’te male I surely would have been given the title of Nunh. U’odh Nunh took the meat from me and told me that it would need to be prepared and that he would see it delivered quickly to Wheiskaet. I asked U’odh Nunh if he knew the whereabouts of the third ingredient, but he did not. It seemed I would need to return to Wheiskaet for that information.

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I decided to spend one more pleasant night in Forgotten Springs to relax and recover from my tribulations and to use the Aetheryte Network to return to Costa del Sol. Before I left I was approached by U’odh Nunh once more. He requested that I deliver a bottle of Onyx Brandywine to his former captain of the Company of Heroes. With the gift in hand I used the large Aetheryte Crystal in Forgotten Springs to travel halfway across Eorzea in the blink of an eye.

How can I explain the feeling of the Aetheryte Network? To have your body travel through the Lifestream from one location to the next without having to take a single step. It was an invaluable resource to adventurers, but it came at a cost. Upkeep of the massive crystals was astronomical and adventurers who used the service were required to pay a fee based on the distance traveled. I prefered not to use the Aetheryte Network myself, it had always left me with a queasy feeling afterward, like the earth beneath my feet was slanted at an odd angle. With an Aetheryte Crystal at every large hamlet and encampment across Eorzea, it was a handy way of travel when time was worth having.

I arrived in Costa del Sol and staggered over to a nearby decorative bush and bent over. I had not eaten any breakfast purposefully and after the bout of dry heaves I was feeling better. I found Wheiskaet at the bar and offered him the bottle of liquor from his comrade. Wheiskaet happily received the gift and we got down to business. The Roegadyn admitted that he had never intended for me to obtain the third and final ingredient on my own. His former quartermaster, Brayflox Alltalks, was going to be delivering the last ingredient himself. However, the goblin was due to be in Costa del Sol and had yet to arrive.

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Wheiskaet had heard rumors that something bad had happened at Brayflox’s Longstop, the little civilization the goblin had built up in the heart of the jungles of Raincatcher Gully. I had a feeling I would be going to the goblin empire immediately in search of the final ingredient.

—-

The Miqo'te in XIV sure are more interesting than the Mithra in XI. One has to admit that a race of nothing but catgirls is an incredibly Japanese idea. For XI to last so long and for you to only see one male Mithra in the entirety of the series is a shame. The female only race lead many wild theories to come about as to why the males were so reclusive. Many thought that perhaps the Mithra were a race that had a higher female to male ratio birthrate and males couldn't be risked to go out into the world and possibly be killed in battle. Some thought that perhaps Mithra were a race of amazonian-like women who just kept their men in cages and pulled them out only for breeding purposes. Honestly, I think we can just chalk it down to the fact that a race of catgirls is an incredibly Japanese idea and they thought it worked. There was a huge outcry for male Miqo'te and female Roegadyn in the end days of XIV 1.x, and it was a welcome addition to A Realm Reborn.

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The Seekers of the Sun tribes of Miqo'te seem to work on a very lion-esque mentality with a single alpha male that is leader of the tribe and most desirable. While there are other Miqo'tes ranked "Nuhn" in a single tribe, there's clearly a preferred mate. This brings up an interesting point with the Seekers of the Sun. They are most definitely the more frisky of the two tribes of Miqo'te. Most, if not all, of the dancing girls in Costa del Sol and the dancing girls/prostitutes in Ul'Dah are Seekers of the Sun Miqo'te. Yes, those girls in the bikinis dancing outside of the adventuring guild in Ul'Dah are definitely prostitutes. I'm not saying that because they're Seekers of the Sun they've decided to take up this line of work, it could be because Ul'Dah, despite being the richest nation, is in desperate times with all of the refugees flocking there. Turning tricks could just be the easiest way for these people to make a few extra gil. I haven't noticed any Keepers of the Moon in these professions. And wherever I go, I always seem to run into a Seeker of the Sun ready to flirt with me.

I remember one particular one at the hot springs in La Noscea who was sure to tell me that she was indeed into the ladies. Square Enix sure has some balls when it comes to XIV.

Brayflox's Longstop is up next and it's a very fun dungeon. Please look forward to it.