The Lightsby Narratorway
Terra and Gau: The Learning Lights
Relm: The Wandering Light
No amount of censorship can deny it, we live now in a new world. A world that for a long time we feared deeply. A world in which we felt little or no hope. A world that was taken from us and given to a demon from on high. I speak of these things which are now unspeakable to make the point that that time is over with. We, as a people, have moved on. Hope did not fail us and by a miracle of the goddesses, we were delivered from pain to salvation. But what have we accomplished in that time since our fates were returned to us? How have we contributed? How have we repaid our debt?
With the expansion of our minds and our hearts. New forms of expression have now been accepted into the cultures of the world and a renaissance of the arts has been born. Music, drama, and fine arts all have been affected by this new surge of innovation and creativity. But where to we find the source? By the revolutionaries that began the fight for change when hope was still cautious and minds still remembered the old fears. A time not only a precious few years past. And among those original innovators, none is more mysterious than The Wandering Artist.
Yes, the child prodigy of whom we know so little beyond age and ability. Creator of the what has become known as graffiti or 'wall art', artistic masterpieces painted against a building, fence, or any structure from which paint can be applied. She would visit and town and seemingly overnight, paint it's spirit onto the very building and then vanish as mysteriously as she had arrived. Many imitators have come after, producing works that lend themselves to so many different aspects of the fine arts spectrum, but none reaching the level of artistry accomplished by the originator, a child prodigy of only twelve.
Yet this is the only true fact amongst a thousand myths that have surrounded this amazing child. This, dare I say...magical child. Though I dare to risk that word, it shows the allure of the mystery of this prodigy and what I've decided to be my own personal quest to destroy myth with fact. I will find her and discover for true what legends have truth and those that do not. To understand why she wanders and what does she hope to find, and how one so young has survived our world alone.
-Foreward to "The First Quest of Our Age" by Toby Borten
Q: Mr. Owzer, many would say you've led a very diverse life. A rags to riches story with all the usual cliches.
A: Almost. I didn't come into my inheritance through a kindly old man who decided he was bored and needed a grandchild before he died.
Q: Don't you find that cynicism a bit hypocritical?
A: [sighs] I was trying to be ironic Mr. Bortens.
Q: I see. And just how did you come to know the girl now known as the Wandering Artist?
A: Heh. Nice lead in! That's what you're here for if I remember right. Wanna find out where she's scampered off to eh?
Q: That's right. Her artwork can be seen everywhere in the world after all and it's made her a sort mythical legend. All anyone knows of her origins can be traced...well, here Mr. Owzer.
A: Then might as well get to it then. [clears his throat] Well, when [The Great Disaster struck], our little corner of the world took it perhaps just a little bit harder than most. It's not always a good thing standing between a mountain and an ocean when the world up and rearranges itself. Jidoor survived mores the pity and in fine tradition, we denied our plight by diving even more into our own decadence. As you may perhaps guess, by that time I was a very bitter old man who was quite sick of this so-called 'cultured' corner of the world. I was very close to giving up on living when she came to me.
Q: And can you tell me the date perhaps?
A: Of course not! I can't even remember what today is. Back then, I rarely ventured from the house anymore and after [The Great Disaster] I didn't leave it at all. There was no reason to. [The Wandering Artist] came to me as I said. Actually kicked open the door to my private quarters, if you'll believe me. Gave my servant quite the shock. She walked right up to the table I was sitting next to and claimed she had a business proposition for me.
Q: So this is how she came to be under your employ?
A: As a matter of fact, she never really did work for me. Turns out I was dealing with a corporate wolf in a ten-year-olds clothing. She knew exactly what she was doing. That was quite a disappointment to me, I assumed she'd be easy to take advantage of, being so young.
A: Oh yes, she was a prodigy alright. Her paintings surpassed anything I'd ever seen before. Better than artists almost as old as me. Unfortunately, she was very much aware of her talents and the value of her paintings and what started out as a little surprise I could do to pass the day playing pretend business with a little girl ended up becoming long and serious business negotiations. After a large back and forth battle, a deal was eventually struck and the papers were signed at around two in the morning. I'm not sure when I forgot, but it wasn't until after I signed my name on the contract and looked up that I realized I'd just done one of the hardest business deals of my life...and it was to a girl too young to legally ride a chocobo. I actually started laughing.
Q: And so she began living with you. I remember it created quite a stir. Such an old man mysteriously bringing such a young girl into your home with little or no explanation. There was even talk of having you arrested.
A: What can you expect? People around here need scandals like that to keep them from realizing how boring their own lives are. Let 'em think what they want, nothing I can do to change their minds and it's none of my business anyway.
Q: Okay. Then what did happen?
A: Well, the deal was that in exchange for studio space, she would allow me the first and last bid for her work at auction. It was really a joke since any bids I made were almost inevitably the first and the last. Eventually we just skipped the formality and I'd simply the buy piece of off her immediately after completion. She was still entitled to sell to other buyers of course. To my knowledge, she never did. It was a mutually beneficial situation for the both of us.
The other part of the deal was that I could watch her as she painted whenever I wished. She was apprehensive at first, and it showed in her work. Thankfully she eventually accepted my presence and would even start idle chatter with me as she worked. I discovered amazing things about her.
A: She swore for one.
Q: Excuse me?
A: Oh yeah! Like a sailor! Quite a thing really. I mean, I've met my fair share of artists that will never be satisfied with their work, but she was something else entirely. With her, I didn't get the impression that it was a matter of pride. It seemed more personal than that. Of course, even as a professional art critic, I could rarely find the flaws that she seemed to see, and I was known as the biggest hard-ass in the business. It was the ones that weren't technically perfect that usually most satisfied her. That always mystified me and in my arrogance, I just dismissed it as artistic eccentricity. Still, it was always a surreal experience watching her get frustrated over a masterpiece. That was another thing, her temper. If you ever meet her, don't get on her bad side!
Q: Is that why she left? You made her angry?
A: Oh no! Not at all! She left for a completely different reas-wait! Which time are you referring to?
Q: There was more than one?
A: The first time, she left with some strangers that I'd seen before, but never actually met. She was putting up her most beautiful painting yet and it actually came to life and started to attack us. Now you must remember that this was back in that terrible first year when magic was running rampant and so were the long buried evil spirits. Now it seems that because of her special powers, she inadvertently-
Q: I'm sorry Mr. Owzer, but I don't think we should be talking about this. That's a very controversial topic.
A: Oh poppycock! It's insane! All the world is destroyed and yes those ancient powers are to blame, but they're gone now...for good. To suddenly make a taboo, hell, to the outright censor something that no longer even exists, plain stupidity if ya ask me. Besides, it was no secret that she could-[comments deleted] -and you can quote me!
Q: Very well. But that was the first, so that must mean she came back.
A: On an airship no less! Hovered right over my house. My goodness, but it was huge! Most amazing sight...glad I took the effort to come out and see it. Out from it came a small ladder that looked no bigger than a loose thread dangling from a shirt, and down she came. As soon as she was on the ground she told me she wanted me to meet a friend of hers. Turns out it was a dog. A dog that actually jumped from the ship onto my roof and down to the ground next to her. Most fearsome son of a bitch I'd ever seen if you'll pardon the pun. He didn't take too kindly to me either, so I told her to keep him out of the house. She agreed, though I think she'd sneek him in without me knowing on occasion.
Q: Did she take the dog with her the next time she left.
A: Absolutely! You don't think I'd keep it do you? No...no, she left with him and there's no doubt in my mind that if you find that dog, you'll find her.
Q: Thank you, that's much appreciated. Can you give any reason why she would leave? What happened?
A: Well, she was just beginning a brand new painting of what looked to be her as a young woman. She'd been going at it for hours on end and I could tell that this one was special to her. She didn't say anything while she painted it. I'd never seen her look as focused before. Eventually I noticed that she would look at something on her hand from time to time. Soon enough, I noticed a ring on the index finger and it seemed familiar so I asked her about it. I was afraid that I would make her angry, she seemed so intense about the painting. Actually she became very excited when I brought up the subject. I didn't expect that and I felt sorry that I could only say that it looked familiar and nothing more. Then next day, she had her things packed and she left.
Q: Just like that? Without a word of explanation.
A: Oh she said goodbye before leaving and explained her decision to me. She apologized, but I told her there was no reason to, especially after I found out why she was leaving.
Q: And why did she leave?
A: She asked that I not tell anyone why and I would honor that.
Q: Yet by allowing this very interview and giving me the information you've given are you not breaking that promise?
A: No. She didn't want me to tell you why she left because that was personal to her and I respect that. She didn't care if I told anyone where she went because for one, she never told me-I don't think she knew herself-and two, nobody else cared either. When she left, nobody was looking for her or trying to find her. Besides, I don't think you'll really find her anyway, but don't let that stop you. I'm eager to find out what you discover.
Q: Why is that?
A: I don't know if you'll understand all of this, but I knew only a small part of her. I knew her as an artist, but after looking at her paintings, I discovered something. She was right. Her more technically proficient paintings that she disliked were indeed inferior to the very few works that she actually did approve of. They weren't as 'pretty' but they were alive. Not in that sense, but you had sense of life when you really looked at them. You felt something when you looked at them. It was something I wouldn't have noticed if I'd never actually met her, I was too much the 'art critic'. That's how I know there's something about her that makes you feel alive, but I don't know what it is.
Q: I'm not sure I understand you Mr. Owzer.
A: I don't expect you to. You just continue your search as you originally planned. All I ask is that you bring back what you find so I can take a look at it. Will you do that for this old man? Tell ya what, I'll even pay you.
Q: That's okay Mr. Owzer. I owe you for this interview anyway.
A: It's such and odd thing...
Q: I'm sorry.
A: Oh just an old man thinking. Y'see, even the paintings she did like she didn't really think of them as truly complete. As far as she was concerned, she'd simply stop painting them because she couldn't add anymore too them and this frustrated her. I said she could improve them in technical ways...those lifeless techniques that improve only the superficial aspects. It made me wonder just how far she thought she could go with her skills. Actually I can understand why she'd pursue it, but I can't tell that to you.
Q: Why not?
A: It's that most naughty of things that people don't really talk about. That most intimate and basic power deep within us that we've come to suppress for reasons I've never understood. That's right, I'm talking about magic.
Toby Areth was hanged today after being convicted on two counts of theft and one count of attempted murder. He was convicted on the twenty fourth of last month and his execution was suspended two times for appeals to the court which were immediately denied. He has no known relatives or relations of any kind. His age was fourteen.
-Zozo Herald pg. 4 Obituaries
Q: Will you state your name, for the record sir.
A: Toby ya dumb fuck. I already told ya that.
Q: Yes, but it's for the record. That means-
A: Oh great! For the record, right. Now ask me if I give a tin shit.
Q: Right. Uh...could you tell me your full...
A: Fucking aye man! Toby fucking Aretch. That's with a silent 'c' between the 't' and 'h'. Remember that ya fucking screw. No one ever gets that shit right...
Q: Absolutely. Now, to the point as they say. You knew the Wandering Artist rather intimately or so it's been rumored.
A: 'Rather intimately'? What the fuck izzat supposed ta mean? Fuck man, I'm only twelve! What the fuck is wrong with you?
Q: Uh no no, I mean, you knew her better than most others. It has been said you and her consulted each other in relation to your artistic talents quite often and that you had a personal camaraderie.
A: Ya mean like friends?
Q: Indeed. Was she your friend?
A: [hesitates as if thinking about it] Yeah okay. Sure. I guess I'd call her a friend. [pauses, then laughs] Well fuck man, she gave me food. I'd call her a fucking goddess for that.
Q: I don't understand. You called her a friend because she gave you food?
A: Fuck you man! What do you know huh? It was Zozo. It was a fucking war zone man! You took what you could and you were grateful. Grateful to the fucking heavens. Man, you don't know. You'll never know...
Q: But it's been changed. Since the disaster, people have begun to reform that once desolate waste. Law and order have been restored. There's even an orphanage there now that has taken in all the street urchins and given them food, clothes and-
A: Oh you're gonna shut that shit up right now. Man, you just don't know a damn thing do you? Not a damn thing. It aint no law that's been restored. It's fucking tyranny is what it is. Fucking better off when it was everyone for himself. It was dangerous then, but it was free. It ain't free no more I can tell ya that, but it's just as fucking lethal. And don't fucking say it's just the criminals and they deserve it. Fuck man, everyone's a criminal there. There wasn't no one in the world that didn't know it. Now it's just some of the criminals wised up and got together and then called themselves the police. Fuck man, it's worse than before.
Q: Well some people would disa-
A: Yeah and they can kiss my ass. Look, drop the subject now 'fore I get really pissed. You didn't pay me for a fucking political rally.
Q: Right. Then let's get down to business shall we? So, is it true that she, that is the Wandering Artist, first taught the art or shall we say idea of painting on walls in Zozo? It is said that the city is where wall art or what is known as graffiti first made its appearance.
A: Okay first off, stop calling her the Wandering Artist awright? Getting on my nerves. Her name's Relm. And no, she did not teach graffiti here.
Q: I'm not sure I understand.
A: Yeah, no shit. She came around plenty enough. Fucking be sitting there and she'd pop up asking me for help on her art. Goddesses but I couldn't believe her when I first met her. There she was in my back alley of Zozo, decked out in this getup that was loud enough to make ya cover up your ears, staring at this shit I'd put up on the fences and buildings to pass the time. So I pull out my knife and tell her to get the fuck away from my shit and get outta my alley and what does she do? Fucking blows me away. She actually turns to me and asks if I can tell her how to do that shit. It's like she doesn't even notice the fucking blade in my hand! Well y'know I don't what to think other than something aint right up there y'know what I mean? One of those doped up rich shit types, though she looked real young, but nowadays...well fuck, they poppin pills 'n shit while there still in the fucking crib. Anyfuck, I suddenly notice this notepad and pencil in her hand so I figure I'll get those for my trouble. I say hand 'em over and she tells me to fuck off. She actually tells me that! While I got the knife out! Then she says that she'll give me some food if I tell her how I did that shit on the wall and there'll be more if I teach her how to do it. Now under normal circumstances, I would've just knocked her out and stripped her of all the shit I could use and throw her out on the street, but then I hear this noise behind me. I turn 'round just in time to have this big ass dog launch at me and land me on the ground. The knife's knocked outta my hand and all I see is a rainy sky, lotsa teeth and a lil girl bending over me asking if we gotta deal. Man, I tell you, that was a day and a half man! Y'know what I mean?
Q: Well, that is indeed quite the lil story Mr. Aretch. But I'm afraid I'm not quite ready to believe that you are the true originator of the art of graffiti.
A: Whose originating? That shit's been round for years.
Q: Excuse me?
A: Oh hell yeah. People in Zozo been doing that for who knows how long. Marking territory man. It's how the gangs kept boundaries y'know? Started out just simple shit, like KEEP OUT with different colors to represent. Then they started making there own like, logos 'n shit. Fuck they were getting all sorts of crazy on those walls. Well I was what they called a 'merc'. Didn't have no gang to call to. I was too young, so I'm shit outta luck see? But I thought those pictures were the shit man, so I decided to make my own. It was just fun as fuck, so I did it a lot. One day I found this piece of charcoal and some pieces of paper and just started drawing and shit. Got to where I was doing it most of the time. Y'see, aside from scrounging and fighting for your home and shit, there aint a lotta shit to do up there. Most people just started doing what they could to pass the time. Help 'em forget where they are, y'know. I was young, and I liked making those pictures. They pass the time till your hungry and ya gotta go out and start surviving all over again.
Q: Are you trying to tell me that wall art has existed for years, hidden under the artistic radar so to speak, a hidden treasure of Zozo that no one has ever suspected of that rancid center of human villiany? That it was the Wandering Artist now discovered to be known truly as Relm who took this revolutionary form of expression and brought it forth to the masses.
A: Uh...yeah sure. Fuck, why not?
Q: This is amazing...it's almost revolutionary! Do you know what this means?
A: That your gonna give me more money?
Q: I'm sorry, Mr...ah...Aretch, but I must leave now. This leaves me a whole new slew of questions to ponder.
A: Yeah, well whudeva.
Q: Thank you for your time.
A: Huh? Oh sure...yeah. Fucking weird girl I tell ya. Y'know she actually thought I was better than her? Aint that some shit?
Q: How do you mean?
A: What do ya mean 'How do you mean'? I mean she thought I was a fucking better artist than her. I mean, I gots to where I saw the shit she did pretty often and it was some sweet ass shit lemmee tell you. Then she'd look at the stuff I'd done and start a fucking fit. Start pissing and moaning about how she couldn't do what I was doing. Getting mad at herself and shit. I didn't get it man, her stuff fucking kicked my ass six ways to Sunday, but I guess she saw something I didn't. She'd start huffing at me to tell her why she couldn't draw like me. I didn't know what the fuck to say. Finally I asked her why the fuck she'd want to draw like me when she's putting out the stuff she's got.
Q: And what was her reply?
A: She says her drawings aren't alive or some shit. Say they just look pretty, but she doesn't care about that. They don't move you, don't make ya feel when you look at 'em. Ya just see a nice drawing. So I go like, "Yeah? So what?" That pisses her off plenty and we get in a rumble. Girl's fucking vicious man! You don't even know! So I get her off me and she gets into another tirade about why her drawings aren't as alive as mine or some such shit.
Q: And what did you tell her?
A: Well I was pretty pissed by then so I gave it to her hard, y'know? She wasn't getting any pity from me and I said so. Of course her drawings weren't alive. What did she know about living? She was just some spoiled little brat, some sheltered rich kid who only knew art from the money that made it. She never had to fight for her meals or sleep in the rain and wake up retching and vomiting from the sickness it gave. She'd never been left alone to the world. What the fuck did she know about living?
Q: And then what?
A: She starts screaming at me. Tells me I don't know anything about her. Tells me she came from a poor village with people who had known nothing but hardship because of who they were. How she'd been left alone too and now searched for those who may have left her. She actually started crying. It's always raining in Zozo so people find it hard to tell when someone cries, but those of us who lived there, who saw it plenty enough, we knew. I saw her cry and it was the first time I'd ever seen her cry. It made me feel...funny, really uncomfortable y'know? Like I was some sort of lump or something. I felt like the world was tilting or something. I don't know why, but told her about something that had happened a few days earlier. I had taken out my knife and put it to my neck. Before I knew why I was doing it, I felt the blade pushing against my neck and I knew, and I mean really knew that I could die. I stood there on my knees in the middle of my alley for hours with that knife at my neck thinking. Not really bout what would happen if I did it, but what would happened I didn't. Finally I drew it across my throat with a kinda jerk of my hand, but nothing happened. The blade had been dulled too much. Suddenly I'm looking at her staring at me and I realize that I'm crying, so I turn away like a fucking pansy. I felt real sick like and...well, just real bad. She put her hand on my shoulder like she's gonna baby me or something and I knock it away. I tell her to go away and never return and when I turn around, she's gone.
Q: I'm...I'm sorry. I didn't know...
A: No, you don't know. People like you never know. Awright, this shit's over so fuck off.
Q: Very well, I'd just like to thank you for your hel--
A: Fuck off!
Maranda. Not a lot can be said about this decidedly sleepy little town. The last of the southern towns to fall to the Empire before the Cataclysm, due not to resistance so much as to geographical location and general lack of political gain. Simply put, the only reason the Empire took the town was because it could. Maranda carried on as it always had, quiet and steady. Then the world went into the greatest upheaval of all the ages and still Maranda did not change. It was hurt, but it had been hurt before. Nothing changed and the town carried on, quiet and steady.
It has only one possible claim to fame, however. To the best of anyone's knowledge, Maranda was the first town where the mysterious 'wall paintings' appeared. During this early era of the art form, it was believed that only one person was responsible and if the people of the region knew who it was, they never bothered to tell. The wall next to the weapon shop wear the painting is located is cleaned and preserved on a regular basis, but little to nothing is done to advertise the spectacle. Ask any of the townsfolk why they work so hard to keep it clean and you're likely to get a plain a simple answer.
"I like to look at it."
-excerpt from "Study of a Communities Great and Small"
Q: For the record, could you state your name and age?
A: 'o course. The names Jeremiah Stokes and I'm sixty four, give or take a few.
Q: And how long have you been living in Maranda?
A: Bout as long as you haven't. [laughs] Just joshin ya, been here m' whole life.
Q: Now you are the local innkeeper so-
A: 'ats right. Been workin 'ere me whole life too just 'bout. 's a family business y'know after all.
Q: Right...well...uh, that must mean you see a lot of people not native to the region.
A: How's that? Not catching you there young fella.
Q: Travelers I mean. Uh...folks, not from around here you might say...
A: Nah, not really. I mean sure, we get the travelin sort as much as any I suppose, but mostly it's just farmers 'n such round for town business and need to stay overnight. We're a fair ways distance from anything-now more than ever, if I may say-so travelers are a more rare sort than I'd expect...now more than ever.
Q: What about travelers from Jidoor? Or Zozo?
A: No! Those kinda folk don't hold no business with us and I bless the heavens for it. People like them hold trouble 'round them like dark lil clouds and they ought not bring 'em round to rain 'ere. Zozo's far away enough that we don't worry, and Jidoor just don't care. All the better for us I says.
Q: Well, then, might I ask what kind of travelers you do get?
A: Well...lemee think. [pauses in thought] I suppose most are the sort much like them Jidoor folk, but from different parts. They aint from Jidoor, but they have the same problems if ya catch me. Too much money than they know what to deal with. They stop here to rest while they head to that big ol opry house. Want to watch them worl' renound plays or some such nonsense. They stay only as long as they need, though some have themselves a fancy to look round at that there picture. 'n fact, they been doin that a lot lately. Even a few times, they just head back the way they came after seein it.
Q: Ah yes, the mural! How much can you tell me about it? More specifically, how much can you tell me about who drew it?
A: Who drew it? Hmm...well I don't rightly know. If I remember correctly, I had just finished washin meself and heading down stairs to put the kettle on when I here this bangin on the side door like someone's laying siege to me inn with a batterin ram! Now I know right off it's an emergency cause they's bangin on my door and not the inn's. I'm also the local doctor 'o sorts. Now I aint even dressed proper, but I know that don't matter, so I yank open the door and there's ol Jim Tawlen-he owns the pawn shop down the road-just jumpin up and down like he went and turned seven again and forgot to tell his body bout the trip. He was looked at me long enough trying to tell me something, but not know which way to go about it and finally just up and grabbed me, half near draggin me off to the old weapons shop down the corner. And me stumbling along in my nightshirt 'n slippers. I felt damb near the biggest fool till I finally saw the ruckus was about. It seems like it just up and painted itself there overnight, that picture. The most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Course, I aint seen lotsa art, so I aint no judge.
Q: What about the artist? Do you know anything about her?
A: Her? What makes you so sure 'twas a woman? Oh but that's right! Everyone thinks it's some lil girl what been doing all them pictures like that now don't they? Hmm...well I can't say I saw anyone paintin it. There was already quite a crowd when I'd gotten there. Damb near half the town to be honest. I did see a lil girl though. Actually three or four. See there was this big rich family off to see that opry like I told ya earlier. They was a mom, a pop, a servant, and three lil girls, twins and then a young'n with the family dog. The first two was like fourteen 'r fifteen 'r such, but the youngest was more like eleven 'r twelve. Now she was a firecracker! She came in after the rest of 'em like she was her own lil traveler and she asked for a separate room! Damb near busted a gut right then, but the dog stopped that quick. He looked like a downright nasty lil creature and he growled at me with a sound like the rocks o hell grindin together. Lords, but that dog was scary, and that girl seemed pretty strong over him which just amazed me, let me tell you. I told her she couldn't have him inside if'n he gonna be like that and all she did was give him a nod to the door and he left. Then, and I swear by the grave of my father, she reaches into her pocket and pulls out a hunderd gold pieces worth a coins. Well, it don't make no sense to me, but I talk to her parents and they don't seem to mind, though they did give me a strange look, so I set her up in her own lil room.
Q: Did you ever talk any more to the girl? Did she actually mention those people directly as a part of her family?
A: Well...no, but then I had no need to. She was strange 'n all, askin for her own room, but being strange is normal for these rich folk and their kids, if ya take my meaning. 'Sides, she didn't seem much like the paintin sort. She was a real firecracker. I may not know the world or the ways of other folk, but I know a strong soul when I see one and she was as strong as any. There was a fire in her , no mistake and I just don't see how those kinda folk can waste time paintin onna wall in the middle of the night.
Q: Very well... Are you certain that you never spoke with her again?
A: Hmm... [pauses once again] Well, I don't know really. I mean there was a lotta talking after that, so it aint easy to recollect and my memory aint what it was after all. But...y'know, I think I do remember something...yeah, I'm getting pretty sure I remember something 'bout that girl. Oh yeah! She left with the family, but she stopped to talk to me. I kinda thought it odd that they sort of ignored her as they left, but then again they're one of those kinda folk who have other raise their kids for 'em I guess. Anyway they left, but she stopped at the desk and...asked me something... Let's see...it was about someone...
Q: About someone?
A: Yeah...about...a feller. Yeah! About some feller...and...the...the...ring! Yeah, the ring! She had on this ring y'see and she said someone else had one just like it. Said he's wanderin bout with this ring on and she needs to find him. Yeah, now that I remember, she was real hard set on this and it bout broke my heart when I saw the look on her face as I told her I aint seen a feller like that. I could tell she was trying not to cry and it made me hurt, lemee tell you. Right here. [puts his fist to his chest] But I didn't know what to do, so finally I says that maybe she should try the pawn shop. Ol Jimmy would know more bout rings than I would. She told me she'd already been there and then said goodbye 'fore walking out. Never saw her again, but that aint no strange thing actually.
Q: I see. Well Mr. Stokes, I thank you for your hospitality and information. You've been very helpful.
A: My pleasure Mr. Borten. [offers a handshake and I accept] Say, you look like one of them world travelin types. I don't suppose you'd know where her ring would be made from?
Q: No I wouldn't, but as a matter of fact, that's what I'm going to try and find out.
A: Well, good luck to you young man.
Q: Thank you, it's most appreciated.
"We were kings once dammit! An empire better than Vector could ever dream of and now what? Huh? What are we now? Lapdogs to a fallen angel, that's what! Fuck Kefka!"
-reported quote that caused the "Light of Judgment" to befall Tzen
Q: Good evening sir. Could you state your name for the re--
A: I said no. People round here know my name and if ya want you can ask them. I aint gonna stop ya, but I don't want ya to. I don't want my name on no damn record.
Q: As you wish. Now you are the proprietor of the local relics and antique shop is that right?
A: That's right.
Q: Would it be fair to say that you're the one to go to in Tzen if your looking for the origins of certain relics and objects of old.
A: It would.
Q: I see. What about rings and ornaments of that nature?
A: What about 'em?
Q: Uh well you see I was wondering about the Wandering Artist and...
A: The owner of the ring that's just like hers. What bout 'im?
Q: But how did you...oh, of course. She would have also inquired wouldn't she?
A: Guess so.
Q: Now do...
A: Stop! [sighs] Alright look, shop opens up in five more minutes and I aint got time to waddle through all your hullaballoo, so you just sit back, shut up and I'll tell ya everything ya need to know in one sitting and then I can get to work and you can be on your way. No interruptions, no more questions got it? Just nod. Okay, so she comes in the day before she paints that picture up on that brick wall right under my house, down in the courtyard. Wants to know about this ring she got on her finger and if anyone's been round with one just like it. Says it's really important. I tell her no and get her on her way. That's it. Sorry if it aint as exciting as you'd hoped, but there it is, plain and proper.
Q: I'm sure there must have been something-
A: No. There isn't something...that's it. I thought you was thick headed when ya came in here and damn if I wasn't right. Look 'round sonny jim. This aint no special place. There's nothing out here in our lil spot of the world that deserves mention. This is a simple and dumb place and that's why people are leaving it. We aint got half the population we had 'fore the quakes and not just cause of the deaths. How many people you see wandering round the streets out there hmm? I heard once that was one of the strongest kingdoms in the southern continent. Kingdom! We was the first settlement to survive when man first landed. But that was ages ago. 'fore even the wars with the Mage Beasts. Well that aint how it is no more. We don't mean nothing now. We're just a boring, simple and dying piece of the old world. This isn't the place to look for answers, so I suggest you just pack up your pen and paper and move on.
Q: Where should I go?
A: Figaro. That's where everyone else's been going. The last kingdom of the world. I dunno, maybe people feel safer in places like that. Yeah, everyone's going there, not just us...I mean everyone. The whole world's trying to make the last castle. By laws it'll prolly crumble too. It's from the old world and that world's dying if it aint already dead. Wonder what they'll do after it falls? Eh, doesn't matter. Alright sonny, I said my piece and I've got work to do so if you'll excuse me.
Q: What about you?
A: I lived here, I'll die here. Goodbye.