Open Arms, Closed Gate
|«A Still Tide|
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Assuming you have no objections, let us make our way directly to the city outskirts.
If we time our arrival just right, you may be lucky enough to see why I have yet to set foot in Eulmore─despite my best efforts to do so...
Come. From here, we must head west, and then cross a small bridge...
Kholusia seems peaceful, does it not? Almost...familiar? I had a similar impression of the Crystarium. Even in this distant world, people are much the same.
<sigh> To think that whenever a calamity struck the Source, a reflection such as this one─with all its culture and history─was being erased from existence...
N-No! Get away from me!
Quickly, someone's in trouble!
Oh, thank the fates, y─ Look out!
My poor heart... Thank you, young sir.
Ah, there you are! In my haste, I lost my bearings... But I see you have the situation well in hand. Fine work!
Are you alright, madam?
Just a few bruises from where I fell. Nothing compared to what was in store for me before this brave soul came to my rescue.
I honestly thought I was done for. My feet are not as swift as they once were, and I knew there was no one left to hear me scream. Not that I let that stop me!
<sigh> I should probably leave my old house behind and queue up outside Eulmore with the rest of them.
Doubt those fancy lords and ladies would welcome an old crone like me... Still, even a shack near the gate has to be safer than staying here!
One would hope. Either way, I suggest you avoid wandering alone, lest you make the sin eaters' task any easier.
Thank you again. You saved my life. Now, I'm sure a strapping lad like you has little to fear, but I wouldn't linger long in this place. There's naught to be had here but cobwebs and memories.
'Tis as the lady says. Many in these parts have abandoned their homes to live in Eulmore's shadow.
Should the sin eaters descend upon this region, there are precious few with the strength to fight them off...
Speaking of which, what have you been told of these monsters?
Ah, yes. Alisaie would be well qualified to speak on the subject.
Compared with Amh Araeng, Kholusia is almost a haven... But as you saw, we cannot let our guard down. Had you arrived but a few moments later, the sin eaters would have claimed another victim.
A brief history, then... 'Twas not long after the Flood swallowed the better part of the world that the sin eaters first appeared, some beastly, some beauteous.
Yet regardless of their form, all seem incapable of speech, and all are driven by the same insatiable appetite for mortal aether. They are predators─and we are their prey.
Kholusia suffers from far fewer attacks than most regions, but even so, the list of the sin eaters' victims grows longer by the day. A tragedy without end...
Still, we have won a small victory this time, at least. Now, shall we press on?
We need to return to where the road forks and follow the path that leads west...
And here we are.
Mmm, do I savor it piece by piece, or gobble it all in one go...?
Ah, Eulmore, you taunt me with your promised bounty...
Now you understand why my attempts to enter the city have thus far come to naught. The dubious privilege of residency must be won via a contest with ever-changing rules...
They say this policy has been in place for the past two decades, ever since Eulmore's current ruler came into power.
Yet from what I have seen, it does more harm than good. Not only does it distract people from our shared struggle against the sin eaters, it robs them of their self-sufficiency. I have tried to propose ways they could improve their lot, but my words invariably fall on deaf ears.
The attitude is so entrenched now, I worry that─ Well, mayhap you should take a turn around Gatetown, and judge the situation for yourself.
Go, take the measure of Gatetown. I shall wait here.
Still here, are you? Can't blame you for wanting a slice of Eulmore's pie. If you ask me, you should ditch that sour-faced brat and make a home for yourself here!
Gatetown's not much to look at, aye, but at least it's safe. And the meol is the best thing I've ever tasted!
Just look at it... Can you imagine a more beautiful city?
Every day, I dream of the life that waits for me inside those walls. Oh, will they ever pick me...?
You've seen what Gatetown has to offer?
These people can no longer fend for themselves. They've become dependent on handouts of meol, and believe Eulmore is the answer to all their woes.
Yet no matter how I frame my encouragement, they seem unwilling─nay, unable─to conceive of any other way of life...