Saturday, December 21, 2013

Skyla's Story: Being Lost and Enduring Loss

Being lost is a feeling of the worst kind, and it was something I had felt for a while after leaving home. I knew I couldn't turn back, but I had no idea where I was or where I was going. I had nothing to my name but a few dozen gil and a bag full of memories.
I did some odd-jobs around the towns I came across as I wandered. In one town I helped gather fairy apples for an old Roegadyn man who no longer could do so himself, and was able to stay at an inn for a week with the pay. In another town I hollered at passersby to come and check out the wares of shifty-looking Hyur woman, but in return I got a cluster of crystals that I later sold to a carpenter.

When I wasn't doing mundane work just to scrape by, I was reading the contents of the box and parcel. It turned out that my father was a Dragoon by the name of Reilig Leitero. I cried myself to sleep the night when I read the first letter, because it was basically an apology to my mother for having to leave her behind to care for me, their unborn child. He wrote that he wanted to give me a better future by protecting our homeland from the Empire. It hurt so badly to reflect on all the times that I had cursed his name, all because my mother had fed me lies about his departure.
Over the years he wrote small letters along with the coin he earned as a soldier, which became ever increasingly desperate as he received nothing in return. It seems that my mother stopped sending letters back shortly after I was born. In her delusions, she really hated him for leaving, and cutting off correspondence was perhaps the biggest punishment she could dole out against him. He told of his training and begged for a response, but always ended each letter saying he loved us both and hoped he could return to see us. His last letter mentioned that he had joined up with The Order of the Twin Adders in Gridania, a city unlike anything he had ever seen.
The parcel surprisingly didn't contain anything but a severely water-stained leather pouch and a tattered book. It was a musty old tome, but I knew its importance the moment I opened it. The book was a bestiary of many animals and monsters found in Eorzea, and had notes penned in the margins by my father. Some were funny, like on the page for the eft: "nasty slimy bugger, tastes like rubber." Others were frightening, like the tonberry: "met a hyur whose entire party was slashed down by a single one of these. AVOID" I tried to learn as much as I could from them.

I had read the letters over and over, often daydreaming of my father training with the lance. What did he look like? Did he know what color hair I had? Had my mother told him?
Somehow my thoughts always returned to my mother, and I'd feel the anger boiling in my chest again. I did my best to shake it off, but it was difficult sometimes.

Eventually living the life of a wanderer caught up to me in the worst way. I didn't have any idea how much time had passed since I had left home; honestly, I had stopped counting. My whole world was just doing silly errands in random towns, brooding over the past, and trying to just scrape by. At some point I was walking and trying to find another town to stay at, when I was forced to stop and make camp in an abandoned hut. I had lost the road and tried to find it again, but just got myself even more lost. After walking for hours, it had begun to get dark. The roof and some of the walls of the small building had collapsed long ago, and I shuffled into one of the remaining corners, exhausted. I pulled blanket out of my bag and over my head and tried to camouflage myself the best I could by covering my entire self. I fell asleep swiftly.
The next thing I knew, I was awake and soaked to the bone. In my exhaustion, I had failed to wake up from the rain. My bag wasn't spared.

That was my lowest point since leaving home, without a doubt.
My tears mixed with the rain as I knelt in the rubble, holding wet letters with blurred ink in both fists. I don't know how long I sat there, mourning the loss of the last remnants of my father. I tried to remember what they said, yet kept drawing a blank. The whole situation was too upsetting.
When the cold finally crept into my bones, I set off in the middle of the night leaving the letters behind. There was no point in bringing them with me. The box, at least, was salvageable.
It was when I at last reached some semblance of civilization that I checked to see what had happened to the book. Under the light of a lantern in a Chocobo stable, (I had no gil for a stay at the inn) I tried to peel the pages apart. Ruined. The dye and glue from the book binding and my father's notes had blended into an awful sticky, runny mess.

I threw it across the room, causing a nearby Chocobo to seemingly grunt in his slumber, and passed out in a pile of hay, hopeless.

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