Greetings, new intern Gasian Gaond here.
What started as a simple search for information around The Shroud turned into something much more…unexpected.
I have to start off by saying that I am far from knowledgeable about either Gridanian laws or tribal cultures in the Shroud, despite being a Keeper of The Moon myself. I was born and raised in Limsa Lominsa, and everything about Keepers and their tribes… I know from my relatives who live in Gridania, those who have left tribal life behind and only insist on moving forward as law-abiding citizens. They always tell me that poachers spell nothing but trouble, that tribal life is unsustainable, that following the law is the only way to live for us the Miqo’te race.
However, today, everything I know about that was turned upside down.
I was hunting (heh) for information from locals in The Shroud for the paper regarding the posters that I saw around Gridania recently, when I stumbled upon Tris Delaney, a renowned adventurer who was sent there to investigate similar disruptions inside the forest, and Myr Duskmoon, a man both brash and enigmatic who is good friends with the Keeper tribes living in the woods. I tried to interview them about local disturbances around the Shroud, but before I could ask them more than a single question, we heard a commotion not far inside the forest.
It was the woman in the poster… masked, young, furious, but more than anything… scared. She tried her best not to show it through her voice though, and pointed her lance directly against Tris’s already drawn sword. A Wood Wailer, also with his lance drawn threateningly, was trailing her, so close to capturing her. At first, Myr did not interfere, but my sense of danger was already ringing inside of me. My father always told me, “Gasian, you must not be involved with the authorities. Always, always run from the authorities.” But something about this ordeal made me stay. Perhaps it was my thirst for information, perhaps it was pity for the woman of my kin, I do not know.
However, against all of my instincts, I stayed. Having been raised to avoid violence and blood, I attempted to try using my words to dissipate the tension (with minimal results, of course)…although it did give a chance for the Miqo’te, Pyha, to explain herself. She and Myr said things that I never knew before, about how Gridanians were enforcing the law to every living being in The Shroud according to their own interpretation, about how the Elementals had let the Keeper tribes prosper for centuries before the Calamity, about how her tribe was wiped by the Calamity, leaving her completely alone in the forest, where she only hunts common game for survival, where she only wanted to live how she and her tribe had lived for countless summers. And yet the punishment for what the Gridanian law deems as “poaching” is lifelong imprisonment, or death sentence.
The story moved Myr enough, and possibly reminded him of his difficult past, to interfere and even drew his sword against the adamant Wailer. I understand him, it also made me angry, probably a little too angry for my own good. Even the most ruthless pirate I know would not throw someone to rot in jail, when they are just trying to survive. And perhaps, I thought about how my ancestors would be imprisoned if they were still hunting today. This all sounded like a ridiculous misunderstanding. Myr and Tris were of similar mind, and they continued questioning the Wailer while defending Pyha.
As Myr and Tris continued to corner the Wailer with their weapons, and words, he gradually realised he was outnumbered, and fled.
A sense of relief washed over me when we managed to avoid any bloodshed…which was slowly replaced by growing anxiety that we had just loudly and openly defied the law.
I tried to justify it to myself…we were saving a life, right…?
Contrary to what I have learned my whole life, it turns out the law is not as black and white as it seems.
My not so ordinary day filled with revelations does not end there.
From there we moved to Buscarron’s Druthers, and met Nila Nhula, a plucky monster hunter from Thavnair, and Mihk’a Tayuun, the tribal huntmaster of Wyld Hunt. In there, there was yet another exchange of perspective. Nila, a Miqo’te herself, questioned why the Keeper tribes continued to hunt inside the woods when it was not and will never be allowed, a perspective that was shared by my relatives, but Pyha, Mihk’a, and Myr cited their cultural reasons and the draconian laws that dictated how life should be lived in the forest.
While Tris and Myr had offered their places for Pyha to seek refuge, in the end Pyha chose to seek refuge in Mihk’a’s hunting lodge.
Seeing how persistent the Wailer was to apprehend Pyha even after being explained, I do not think this debate would ever reach an impasse even among our own kind, despite all the new things that I have learned today. By the end of the day, they are two opposing perspectives that probably would never see eye to eye.
Have we made a grave mistake by not delivering Pyha to the Wailers? Maybe, but I think there is a perspective here that we have to open our eyes to see. Sometimes, the justification of a law is just not as a clear-cut as it seems.
[Disclaimer for the Gridanian version of the paper: This is an introspective work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.]