Chapter 9: "Memorial Gardens"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Isaaru, Maroda, Auron, Pacce, Elma, Luzzu
Word Count: 2850
Summary: Journey to Djose. At the Mushroom Rock Crusader Lodge, Luzzu and Auron discuss an old friend.
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Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters
Our Story So Far: Thirteen years after Yuna falls in the Final Summoning, Auron has joined Isaaru on a new pilgrimage. A Cult of Sin has arisen, and some now call Sin the Lady, both destroyer and benefactor. Whatever Sin's nature, she seems to be attacking the temples, and Djose may be the next target.
Three days out from Luca, they were approaching the turnoff to Mushroom Ridge. The Highroad had once been a beaten shelf of dirt exposed to the elements and scoured by the wind, but now berms or seawalls shielded it on the seaward side. Out of sight, leaden waves sighed against the rocks. Ahead, a finger from the cliffs arced down over the road to form a flying buttress. Beyond it, the land was transformed.
It was difficult to make out individual shapes in the growing dusk, but swaying dark fronds draped over the arch in a lush curtain. Nodding white flowers as wide as a woman's hand winked between broad leaves. A profusion of plants carpeted the path below, crushed or snapped by the passing prints of travellers, despite which they seemed to thrive: blue blossoms from Besaid and the coral-pink orchids of Kilika, ivy and hibiscus, lilies and irises, even the glassy trunk of a Macalania sapling with glowing seed-pods in the forks of slender stems.
"Yevon," Isaaru breathed, reining in his chocobo and gazing up at the floral tapestry in wonder. "What enchantment is this?"
"Nobody knows," Elma said. "Good thing it's so remote. Even so, we rescue a few tourists from fiends every month. They forget the danger. Speaking of which, be on your guard. Those vines can hide a full-sized iguion. Nasty buggers— their bite can paralyze. We try to keep the path clear up to the lodge, but the plants grow back fast."
She turned into a narrow cleft in the cliff-face which widened into a ravine. Sentries drew back spears and saluted as they passed.
The path was mostly cleared, but creeping vegetation spilled over the lumps and crags of the cliffs on either side. Sea-fog had collected on rocky shelves and dimples along the edges of the winding track. The larger basins held mats of dark-green pads with pale flowers illuminating the shadowy ravine. Glowing wisps of pyreflies spiraled up from their fragrant blossoms.
"I don't believe it," Isaaru said. "Moon-lilies. I thought they were unique to the Moonflow."
"Well, it rains here fairly often now." Elma spoke in a hushed voice. "Folks say it's Sin's doing. Who knows?"( Read more... )