|It's time once more for that most breathtaking and bewildering of Vana'diel's annual observances—the Buffalo Blitz! Why do otherwise sensible individuals risk life and limb by intentionally incurring the ire of these belligerent bovine beasts? The answer might not be what you expect...
This vast world of ours positively abounds with creatures so curious, relics so remarkable, and events so extraordinary as to exhort even the cleverest among us to point a finger in their direction and pose the all-important question, "Why?"
Take heart, for it is the duty of your humble scribe to let not a single such query go unanswered!
So begins the prologue to "The Whys and Wherefores of Vana'diel," a large, leather-bound volume presented to me by my dear grandmother, a wise woman who wanted nothing more than to see her grandchildren grow up with a healthy curiosity about the world around them.
The weighty tome became my constant companion during the long and chill San d'Orian winters, warming my heart and mind with its fantastic tales of monsters, myths, and legends. So many nights did I peruse those pages that I can recite the details of my favorite entries from memory even today. Of these, perhaps that which left the deepest mark on my impressionable young mind was the tale revealing the origin of that most peculiar of festivals...
The feral bovine, or buffalo, was known to our ancestors merely as the most ferocious and ill-tempered of beasts.
This comes as no surprise—it was rare for the average townsperson in those days to travel further than a neighboring village, let alone to the bleak northern habitats these creatures call home.
Their monstrous head crowned with two mighty horns like to swords, they boast a gargantuan frame rivaling in size even the largest specimens of giant ram found roaming Konschtat and La Theine. Each ponderous step taken is filled with such force as would cause earthquakes and avalanches. Even a playful charge from one of these brutes would carry the clout of a champion jouster blessed with the wind at his back.
With little else known—and none brave enough to investigate further—tales of their ferocity spread far and wide.
Then, one day, a company of San d'Orian knights on patrol in the Northlands espied an extraordinary sight. As a herd of the fearsome monsters lumbered menacingly across the snowswept plain, a contingent of armored Orcish warriors came suddenly upon them. They hunted the beasts with alarming tenacity, even as many among them fell, skewered and gored.
For what purpose would the Orcs engage in such a foolhardy and rewardless endeavor?
Nowadays, it is of course widely known that buffalo meat is in fact quite palatable and nutritious, and serves as a staple food of the Orcish diet. At the time, though, the knights could only surmise that this was a barbaric ritual carried out by bloodthirsty savages.
Even still, the commanding officer spoke of being strangely enthralled by the spectacle of it all. A veritable legion of Orcs brandishing axes and spears, bounding across the snowcapped crags of Uleguerand, roaring and screaming as if possessed, with no apparent regard for their own well-being. His account reads, "Having emerged victorious—albeit at no small cost—the Orcs raised their bloodied fists to the heavens and let out a triumphant roar that rose above even the bellowing winds. Mindless barbarians they may be, but at that moment, they seemed to us as heroes, and not a man that day stood unmoved by their single-minded display of bravery."
Reading those words and gazing at the vivid illustration of the scene—the Orcs pressing onward, undaunted, even as their comrades lay trampled and broken—I soon found myself moved much as the knights must have been.
The tale continued on. In the aftermath, while the Orcs were left bloody and battered, the awestruck San d'Orians, too, found themselves with their pride mightily bruised, as if they had just been bested by their detested foes in battle. "If the beastmen cower not before these ferocious beasts," they avowed, "then from this day forward, neither shall the Red Lion!"
And so it was that this band came to hold the inaugural buffalo hunt, an event that would evolve through the years into the unique celebration of courage and derring-do that it is today.
Illustration: Mitsuhiro Arita
Buffalo Blitz 2009 will come stampeding into the three nations on Friday, September 25 at 1:00 a.m. (PDT), and mosey off into the sunset on Monday, October 5 at the same hour.
How to Participate
During the event, herds of wild buffalo will be released into the areas listed below. Observe their patterns of behavior and skillfully lead them to the moogles stationed in the vicinity, and rich rewards await you! For detailed instructions, simply speak to the moogles at the following locations:
West Ronfaure (I-6) / East Ronfaure (G-6)
North Gustaberg (L-8) / South Gustaberg (L-8)
West Sarutabaruta (J-8) / East Sarutabaruta (G-11)