For Every Child a Star
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«Morsel of the Deep
«The Myth Takes Form
«The Notes of Bond Restoring
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There I was thinking that today would be a wonderful day, and who should appear before me but the Warrior of Darkness himself!
You've been keeping busy killing eaters and Wardens. We've heard all about it and been singing your praises the whole while.
Though you've not been content to make a difference that way alone, have you? You've been indispensable to all five facets from what the artisans have been telling me.
Speaking for the Crystalline Mean, believe me when I say that we cannot thank you enough, my friend.
If compliments put you off, then why don't I trouble you with a request instead? An odd but inevitable one, given that it's been a century since we've had the privilege of a proper night sky.
It's great and grand, to be sure, but some of the children aren't taking to the change well. The dark is a strange and unfamiliar thing, and they see their worst fears hiding in the deeper shadows.
So I've a mind to show them that they needn't fear the night. Interested in lending us a hand, Forename?
That's wonderful, because I haven't any inkling how to proceed. I myself was born after the Flood, so I've honestly no idea how people used to deal with this sort of thing...
Why don't you start by speaking with some of the children I mentioned? Ask them what it is about the night that bothers them, and we'll take it from there.
Hey, mister. There something you want to say?
Do I think the night is scary...?
Of course it's scary! Even if you closed the curtains when you were indoors it never got as dark as it does now!
It's so hard to go to sleep now, not knowing what might be out there...
Huh? What do you want?
Am I afraid of the night? Me?
It's just the sky getting dark─what's so scary about that!? All the adults are happy about it, too, so if they're not worried, why should I be!?
I mean, er, um...it's not easy walking in the dark when you need to take a piss...but that's only 'cause I'm afraid of bumping into something! It's not like I'm terrified of some evil monster grabbing me when I'm not looking! Nope!
Hmm? What is it, mister?
I don't know... The night sky is pretty to look at, I suppose, but I have my own room, you see, and when I have to go to sleep in it by myself, it's...a little scary.
And when you hear something out in the dark, you can't always tell who or what it is, you know? Like if it's my little brother...or a ghost...
Since the children are the ones struggling to adapt to the new normal, it only makes sense that you go and ask them what exactly bothers them about the night.
Back already? So, what did our little ones have to say?
Hmm... That all makes sense, I'll admit. Even the heaviest curtains never quite shut out the light, so we haven't been sleeping in true darkness for a good long while now.
At their age, it's all too easy for your imagination to run wild and put strange ideas in your head. Every little noise could be attributed to a slavering beast or worse.
Right, then! I think we know enough to put our people to work. It's time for the dedicated artisans of the Crystalline Mean to come together and create new products to put our children's minds at ease.
|That sounds like a wonderful idea!||Wouldn't want to spoil the little ones too much...|
Up to now we've devoted the bulk of our resources and manpower to shoring up our defenses against sin eaters.
But now that the danger posed by that menace is much reduced, I think we can afford to diversify our efforts. After all, it'll be the children who build upon our legacy in this new world of ours.
Besides, I imagine the solutions we'll develop will serve just as well to aid adults in living and working through the night.
First order of business will be to inform the leaders of the respective facets: Iola, Thiuna, Bethric, Qeshi-Rae, and Frithrik.
Brief them on the task at hand, and offer them whatever assistance they require.
I've slept in the dark before, but not the dark dark. Not like this...
Don't tell me you don't wonder sometimes too! Weird noises in the night could be all sorts of things! It's normal! I'm normal!
I've never met a ghost, but I'm afraid that I might really really soon...
Hey there, Forename. To what do I owe the pleasure? Don't tell me you're getting sweet on me?
Well, well, well. So Katliss wants us all to pitch in and find a way to comfort the little ones jumping at shadows? Good for her!
It's not as though I don't understand. Even big, strong adults like you and me have imaginations that can run wild, especially in the dark of night.
No need to consult with the others, though. I'll take the lead in this! Aye, I've a mind to show you and her what we can do, so you just sit back and wait.
You'll see, Forename─the only thing more beautiful and impressive than yours truly is the masterpiece we'll forge for the children!
If you could speak with the leaders of each facet and brief them on the situation, I'd be grateful. Hopefully they won't need much assistance from you, if any...
Forename, how does this evening find you? Is this a social call, or do you have a commission to make?
I see... Indeed, the creativity of a child's imagination is unrivaled, and the darkness makes for quite the canvas. I'm sure they've thought up all manner of terrifying creatures...
That reminds me─I've got to tell Noddy again to stop roaming about at night. If the children keep bumping into it, they're going to be too terrified to relieve themselves at night! Or so terrified they do it before they make it to the facilities.
But back to this project of ours. Honestly, I think we can handle this all by ourselves. I know Katliss asked you to help us out, but after everything you've done for us, I think it's past time we proved how far we've come.
I mean it, really! Head to the Stairs, have a cup of tea─or a pint of ale, even! Relax and leave the labor to someone else for a change.
Well met, Forename! How wonderful it is to see you again. Come to while away the quiet hours discussing amaro husbandry?
The children are afraid of the night? Interesting, very interesting. I wonder if some of the younger amaro are of similar mind? I shall have to consult with Skip just in case...
Wait─what were we talking about again...? Ah, yes! The key factors which determine whether or not certain recessive traits manifest in a given amaro!
'Twas a joke, a joke! When you give me that look, it's a joke...
Rest assured that this project to allay the children's fears shall have my undivided attention! I should think myself more than capable of determining and crafting the perfect solution to their problem. I was a child once, after all─and indeed, I am arguably still a child at heart!
The good captain returns! Come to rescue me from a life of monotonous toil and drudgery? Thank the gods for that. Precious few people are so skilled in the art of conversation as you, my friend.
The children are afraid of the dark? But the dark affords such ample opportunities for the creatures of the night to hunt and─ Ah, now that I think on it, that could well be the problem, couldn't it?
On the other hand, if we can help the children overcome their fears, they will surely delight in these new opportunities to study countless nocturnal creatures!
The question is, how best to go about it...
Hah, well, never you mind the minutiae! I'll come up with my own unique approach soon enough. No need for you to trouble yourself further!
Hullo hullo, Forename! Got business with the Facet of Fishing, or with me personally?
Something to put the little one's minds at ease in the dark, eh? It so happens I might have come across something ideal for this very purpose.
I'd need to cobble together this and that first, though it'd still be a largely natural solution─but one I'm confident the children will enjoy.
Yes...yes, I think this just might work. I'll not need long, though I will need to... Oh! I should say no more. Better to surprise everyone, I think. I promise you won't be disappointed!
Did you manage to speak with everyone?
Hmm, I didn't intend for them to develop individual solutions. It's sounding more like a competition than a collaborative effort. On the other hand, if they're so motivated to demonstrate their abilities, who are we to deny them...?
This is your fault, really. If only you hadn't gone and inspired them, hah! Anyway, let's call the children to gather in the Rotunda for the unveiling.
You'll wait with them too, won't you? I think the artisans are doing this as much for you as they are for them.
Go about your business, Forename. Let us have this opportunity to show off for a change.
Your assistance will not be needed today, friend. You really ought to go and have that drink at the Stairs as I suggested. Tea or ale, as you like.
'Twould be a shame if the children were unable to appreciate the night as we can. We must do everything in our power to bring them comfort!
You needn't fuss over me and mine, friend! We have matters well in hand. As soon as our little project is finished, I shall present it to the children myself!
Curious, are we? I don't blame you. But pestering me for hints will avail you naught. You'll know when it's ready and not a moment sooner!
It's so pretty!
'Course it is! For the finest smiths in all of Lakeland─all of Norvrandt, I'd wager─a little project like this is less troublesome than breaking in a new pair of boots!
I like the light of this one. It's nice and warm.
I see you are a young man of refined tastes. The light is the product of an alchemical reaction that can be sustained with minimal effort, generating a softer light that will not inconvenience the amaro in our care.
I think this one's the best!
Cute, isn't it? And if it stops working, you need only bring it to me, and I'll get it back in working order straightaway!
A glowing flower! I've never seen one of those!
I'll bet you've never seen something so amazing before, have you? But this is only the beginning─if you like, I can teach you about all kinds of rare and wondrous plants...
Talk about things you've never seen before. How does it glow like that?
Believe it or not, it's seaweed─a unique variety that glows in the dark. I first discovered it when fishing off the coast of Kholusia.
Curious methods notwithstanding, what matters is that the children all seem delighted, don't you think...?
My father looked so happy when he saw the night sky, so even though deep down I was scared, I didn't want to say anything...
It's not so bad, though, so long as we've got all those little lights up there and ours down here. It's like a whole new world when the sun's not out!
A new world...with new things to see and places to explore. And we wouldn't have it if the night never came in the first place, would we?
Wow, what are those!? So many explosions! They're like flowers blooming!
A little surprise I cooked up for the children with the Exarch's help─fireworks. And a taste of home for you, I'm told?
The Mean was all I had after I lost my own child, along with my husband. All the love I would've given them I poured into my work for the Crystarium instead, hoping to fill the hole in my heart, or at least help me to pretend it wasn't there...
Whether it was right or wise to try, I don't know...but seeing these little one's faces lit up in the dark, I feel I can finally say I don't regret it.
Those two would've enjoyed this, I reckon...
...But they'd want us to enjoy it for ourselves, too─as would all our other loved ones who couldn't be with us here today. Remember, Forename: the best way to honor the dead is to live.
I'm just as excited to see what our artisans come up with as you, I'm sure. It's out of our hands, in any case─all you need do is wait in the Rotunda with the children.
I may have a special surprise of my own, but don't hold me to that...