Connecting all lands and peoples in her everlasting embrace, the sea bears to Limsa Lominsa the wisdom and voices of a thousand shores. In today’s edition, The Harbor Herald examines the events which led to the departure and return of a feathered friend.
The Tragic Ride of Ouranos
Allow me, if you will, to venture some hundred years into the past, as I recount for you today a tale of bravery, loyalty, and heroism the likes of which our Eorzea has not seen since. The date is 1468 of the Sixth Astral Era. The forces of Ala Mhigo have crossed the Velodyna River, whose waters form the border with neighboring Gridania, and now claim dominion over the East Shroud. With its invasion into these lands sacred to the forestborn, Ala Mhigo, a garrison state known for its jingoism and expansionist ambitions, sparks what will come to be known as the Autumn War.
But Gridania would not be made to stand alone for long. The following year, the three nations of Limsa Lominsa, Ul’dah, and Ishgard—keepers of the watch over Mhigo’s hegemonic belligerence—would dispatch reinforcements to the embattled area. By joining their might to that of Gridania, an alliance is formed, and the Ala Mhigan offensive is stifled.
Serving in the last altercation of the Autumn War, the Second Battle of the Shroud, is a young Elezen knight of Ishgard by the name of Beltrant Durendaire and his spirited warbird, Ouranos. Riding alone on a routine scouting, Beltrant discovers a flying column of Ala Mhigan infantry and archers on a clandestine march devised to maneuver wide of the allied front and flank it. But he, too, is discovered by the enemy, and before he can spur Ouranos to bolt, an Ala Mhigan volley of death rains down upon them.
For every ten archers who miss their mark is one who strikes true, and in the blink of an eye both rider and mount are riddled with arrows. Somehow, in spite of his wounds, Ouranos finds the strength to break into a full gallop, and only narrowly escapes the enemy’s grasp. And then the true miracle—from some inner fount of unending will and love, Ouranos, guided by instinct alone, bears Beltrant back to the allied camp, miraculously keeping his unconscious and near-death master in the saddle the entire way. The life of Ser Beltrant saved, he makes known the movements of the enemy flying column, and by his report the allied forces avoid encirclement at the hands of the Ala Mhigans, and in turn execute a counteroffensive that would turn the tide of battle and eventually deliver one of the most monumental victories in Eorzean history. Sadly, Ouranos would not know the victory for which he was solely responsible. The wounds suffered and the toll exacted by the return journey would prove too much for the bird—indeed for any bird—and mere moments after seeing his master back to the safety of camp, Ouranos collapsed, never to rise again.
Chocobo Barding Soon to Come?
Despite grievous wounds, it is thought that it was a single arrow to the side of the breast which in the end claimed the life of Ouranos. A single, crudely made arrow. One among a hundred. Such an insignificant thing to claim so grand and noble a life. Determined never to see such a tragedy repeated, the armorers of Naldiq & Vymelli’s have created a new set of barding from the fires of their forges. It weighs heavy on the heart to think that such armor may have perhaps saved the life of Ouranos, whose self-sacrifice born of loyalty saved the lives of so many others.
I have it on good word that designs for the new barding, which was commissioned by the Maelstrom of Limsa Lominsa, are now complete, and mounts are already being outfitted with the first batch crafted for testing in the field. Should the results prove favorable, Naldiq & Vymelli’s will begin mass production.
From what I have heard, the barding is ingeniously devised so as to protect the vital areas of the body and head, yet without hindering the speed or movements of the chocobo. Moreover, there are slated to be a variety of forms to appeal to as wide an aesthetic range as possible. It would seem we are finally drawing near the day when the heavily armored chocobo will at last be a reality—albeit it one hundred years too late.