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Starlight Celebration 2011
| Merry Starlight, everyone!
'Tis the season where the nights are long and the snowfalls heavy, where whole cities are decked in shades of red and white, and smilebringers prance to and fro, delivering presents to good boys and girls the realm over.
A single glance at the cheerful faces of passersby during this joyous time of year is enough to warm the heart of even the most misanthropic misers.
Yet even the power of festivity cannot wend its way into all the nooks and crannies of every side street. While the faces of most San d'Orians shine with a jolly glow, one girl's remains dark and gloomy in her own isolated corner of the nation.
What fate has befallen this fair maiden to lower her spirits at a time when everyone else's are soaring?
Youstia's cozy cottage was nestled beside the cathedral, blanketed in a layer of freshly fallen snow. That pristine, white veil lent an air of purity to the house's exterior, rather befitting this sacred night. The inside, however, was the very image of suffocating oppression, punctuated by Youstia's forlorn sigh.
So still was the night that even the faint sound of logs crackling in the fireplace screamed like a mob of naysayers in her ears, and the fire branded her eyes with an accusing, relentless glow. She tried to dispel some of the heat by fanning herself with her blouse, but to no avail.
Her last strand of resolve burned away when she glanced over at the snowknight decoration peering at her from beside the hearth. The roly-poly paladin had no mouth, but she could hear its unspoken indictment of her all the same.
You're going to spend another Starlight Celebration alone!?
It was all she could do just to look away.
I should just take that thing down. Then I won't have to be reminded of him.
"An uncharted land..." she sighed, remembering one of the two things he told her of his destination, the other being a rumor that its sunless sky remains a permanent blood-red hue.
That's all it is?an absurd rumor.
"Just because I'm still a rookie doesn't mean I'd believe something so stupid..." Yet Ranord was surely fighting in that far off, mysterious land at this very moment.
Youstia and Ranord grew up next door to each other and would go absolutely everywhere together. The woods of Ronfaure were their favorite destinations, and on days when snow fell, they would craft gigantic snowmen amongst the trees. Those were the days?the days when they would roll on the ground in laughter together. But things were different now.
I should never have decided to become a woodworker. Now I'm nothing but a glorified shopkeep to him.
With that thought, Youstia retreated back into the comforting recesses of nostalgia. After playing in the woods all day, her parents and Ranord's would come looking for them. On their way home, the two young explorers would each break off a holly branch and hang them in their houses as a way of warding off evil spirits. Finally, they would celebrate their triumphant return with a bowl of piping hot stew.
The sudden jingling of a bell shook her from her reverie.
"I must be hearing things," Youstia mused as she rose and walked to the door?clinging to some dim hope that someone would call on her at this late hour. Upon opening the door, she was bombarded by a raging blizzard. Snow clung to her clothes as it gusted inside, covering the floor while a howling wind bit at her face.
In the instant before she closed her eyes to shield them from the vicious storm, she caught a glimpse of two bright red boots, a matching jacket, and a dream bell firmly clasped in a hand.
A...smilebringer...? At this hour?
"Merry Starlight!" rang a familiar voice from within the maelstrom. As Youstia picked her head up and gazed upon the visage of this intrepid visitor, a look of recognition crossed her face.
But that's impossible! He's off fighting monsters in an unknown land...
"Don't tell me you've already forgotten what I look like, Youstia," he said as he smiled the same smile she'd seen in countless dreams.
"I would've known in an instant if it weren't for that ridiculous white beard you're wearing," she joked as she led him inside and gently brushed the snow from his face.
"When did you return?"
"Just now. My apologies, but I didn't have time to get you a present." He seemed conflicted as she sat him down in front of the hearth.
"Would you like some stew? I can put it back on the fire and have it piping hot in an instant," she asked. Ranord nodded. "Stay right there. I won't be long."
Ranord may have come giftless, but in Youstia's eyes, he had already given her something far too precious to purchase with gil; something that cannot be sent by moogle delivery, something that cannot simply be handed over, something not for sale in any auction house?his smile.
As she heated Ronard's stew, Youstia could feel the silent snowknight's gaze on her back once more.
This time, she knew in her heart that it was smiling too.
Story : Miyabi Hasegawa
Illustration : Mitsuhiro Arita
The Starlight Celebration will commence at 12:00am on Friday, December 16, 2011 (PST) and come to a close at 7:00am on Saturday, December 31, 2011 (PST).
A few Goblins haven't quite grasped the spirit of the Starlight Celebration and have mistaken other people's presents for their own! The MHMU is on the lookout for these precious gifts, but needs you to join the search and help set things straight. Simply talk to one of the moogles at the following locations to start saving the holiday season. If the Goblins seem a bit too stingy, talk to a moogle again for a hint or two.
Rewards from previous Starlight Celebration events can be obtained at the following locations: