I meet a lot of novice adventurers. They’re easy to spot. They’re the ones still wide eyed with an idealistic idea of adventuring life. They either outgrow this state of mind, quit or die.
I’ve left my subterranean home about a decade ago, with only a few gils in my purse, and a scepter at my belt. I wanted to see the world, be a hero and make a fortune. I had not yet outgrown my prejudices against the Wildwood Elezen, so I stayed clear of Gridania and slowly made my way to Ul’dah. I had heard about the Thaumaturge guild, and it seemed to me to be a good place to start my new life under the open sky. I arrived ragged and starving. One of the brass blades thought I was yet another refugee. When I told him I was to become a hero and make a fortune he laughed.
Bah! I’d laugh too if I could meet my past self. I was so pathetic back then.
He sent me to Momodi at the quicksand, and that’s how I started my life as an adventurer. I took jobs, completed them. Got some gil, bought food and equipments. Took harder jobs, bought ever better equipment. I learned new spells, and I was starting to feel confident. I liked this life. I was invincible! Maybe it’s because it was so easy for me, or maybe I’m just a slower learner than most, but it took me a long time to grasp to the reality of adventuring.
A request came to the guild to investigate Cutter's Cry. A while back, it had been cleared by an elite group of adventurers. A Chimera had been slain there only a week before. We were to investigate the location and make sure nothing more dangerous than the antlings were there.
We were a party of four. The classic arrangement: a conjurer, a gladiator, a pugilist and I, a thaumaturge. Cutter’s Cry is only a few malms away from Black Brush station, so we teleported to its Aetheryte crystal and made our way on foot. I remember their grim expressions: like soldiers going to war. I was joking and laughing. I was a fool.
We dispatched the antlings and cactuars barring our way easily enough and made our way to the deepest parts of the dungeon. There I learned: I was not prepared. You can never be really prepared.
A chimera was there, I remember it’s three heads, each with eye full of death. It looked to us like it was trying to decide which one would taste better and then it charged.
The gladiator didn’t even blink. He said something about his bad luck, as he raised his shield to meet the charge. The Roegadyn gladiator looked huge to me, but beside the chimera he was tiny. Yet he held his ground. From my relatively safe position, I threw fire, thunder and ice. The pugilist, she was magnificent. The three heads and sharp tail. None of that mattered. She ignored it all and flanked it. I remember the elegance of the Miqo'te assault. Not a movement wasted. Each punch connecting with deadly accuracy. The conjurer was keeping the gladiator alive. I’ve never seen a Lalafell stand so tall. We were doing it! We were going to kill the chimera. Like a fool I was grinning.
Then, the chimera eye glowed purple. Some kind of of thunder energy covered the ground. The Lalafell became paralysed, and we watched in horror as the chimera dispatched the gladiator. He was good. One of the best you could find in the guild, but how can you defend effectively against three heads? Then it turned to the pugilist, and stabbed at her with its tail. She managed to dodge again and again, but then using its goat head, it gored her. It then rushed our conjurer and split him in one fell swoop. It then turned its attention to me. Its bloody mouths seemed to have a sardonic smile, like it could already taste my flesh. I was exhausted. I had thrown fireballs after fireballs. It advanced, at full speed. How can something so big move so fast? I was going to die. I refused. I felt a burst of energy and called up a spell I never knew: Starstorm. The beast died.
I was told later that this is called a Limit Break: when your will to live is strong enough, you can reach and use the residual energy left from the synergy between the members of your party.
The beast had died. The gladiator was still alive, so was the pugilist. Both were unconscious and in dire need of succor. I teleported everyone to camp Bronze Lake. One burial, two long recoveries.
Since then, I see what adventuring really is: spending nights in the dirt and rain followed by sunless morning. It’s to hurt others and to be hurt in return. One week you’re delivering a letter and the other you go into battles against gods and demons with little hope for victory. It’s not a path for glory and fortune. It is not a path to tread likely. It’s a path where you need to run when you can’t even take a single step. It’s a path where you must win with a losing hand. It’s path for an unconquerable will!
Above all, It’s a chance to make a difference, for Eorzea.
Have no regrets,
And listen to the wind.