“I lost everything. My home, my family. My riches. I miss those most of all.” The Lalafell sighed and downed his mug of ale in one gulp, an impressive feat considering the mug was almost as tall as he. “Why does everyone keep insisting on calling down these primals? No one profits. It’s just not good business.”


“Preaching to the choir here, my friend.” The bartender poured another ale and set it in front of the Lalafell. “Everyone seems to have lost everything. And for what?”


The words echoed in Shae’s head as she sipped the thin minerally liquid that passed for wine since the Calamity. She had had everything – a thriving academy, the love of her life (ah, my Syhrsatz, my Fearless Dance, how I miss you!), money enough to live in comfort and drink better wine than this, at least. Now, at the tender age of 75, with nearly a third of her life passed, she was starting from scratch – she had only her harp, her glaives, the chocobo carriage she had wrested from Alfrond all those years ago, and the clothes on her back.


All right, that wasn’t really from scratch. She had some few assets and the ability to make coin. It was a far cry from when she had truly started from scratch after stepping off the ship onto the pier at Limsa Lominsa as a child of 18 summers. What had she been thinking? Even if her aunt had truly been so evil as her child brain had made it out to be (and, from the perspective of 57 years further on, she was certain that was probably not the case), she had had only two or three more years at most before she would have had her own bough anyway. She felt the familiar wave of grief at the loss of the Wood and guilt from leaving her younger siblings behind. Both emotions had become blunted over the years, and she quickly focused her mind elsewhere to keep from thinking about it further. There was no point in wallowing in pain she could never assuage.


What she needed was a plan. Unfortunately, Dance had been the one who had been good at the planning bits of their endeavor and he, along with the rest of their academy, was at the bottom of a hundred-foot gorge covered with a Calamity-made cairn now. All she knew to do was what she had been doing. She pulled out her harp and began to tune it.


The sound garnered immediate attention. “Oh, are you a bard?” “Play us something!” “Do you know ‘I Am the Sea’?”



This, at least, was one way things were easier post-Calamity – there were far fewer musicians around, so wherever she went, she had rapt audiences and could make enough coin to get by. A bittersweet improvement, at the very least. She nodded at the bartender and they worked out the usual deal – room and board and a handful of gil. Not as much as she would have earned before, but enough. She took her place near the fireplace and began playing, letting the familiar chords and tunes whisk them all away to happier times, at least for a brief while.


Author Sunscryer
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