– 28th Sun of the 4th Umbral Moon
With the Rising upon us, I felt it a good time to dust this tome off and pen once more. A lot has happened since I last wrote, and I believe I shall try to write of it later.
I have never written about the Crow. It’s been something that’s been on my mind recently.
The Raven, her successor, has recently returned to us, after some ridiculous legal implications from Reppu, and I believe it’s time for me to pen her story, so that I always have it within these memories.
When I left my tribe after my father’s challenge, I travelled the wilds of Vylbrand for a long while. It was awful. I had hunted for a few moons back home before I was whisked away to the forge, so I at least had some idea of how to defend myself, but… I’ve never been amazing with a bow. Even now I still can’t shoot one properly without almost shaving a nipple off.
I moved from town to town, offering smithing work where needed. It was enough to keep me fed. By the time a full year had passed, I encountered a curious crew. They spoke of a boat they’d sailed in on, but there was no coast for miles. They laughed when I asked, a cacophonous uproar of guffaws and giggles. I miss it.
They showed me the Crow. A decently sized airship of what looked to be mostly Bronco design. It was modified extensively. The cargo had been expanded, and there were two huge propellers sticking out the sides of the aft. They never worked.
Nevertheless, I was enthralled. The seamless blend of forgework and engineering captivated me and I could tell I had found my calling at last.
The captain, Ceigbroda, told me they had landed for equipment repairs and were making their way to Thanalan for a spell. I don’t think I’d ever offered my services so quickly, nor received as large a smile for doing so.
It was more than just their arms and armour that needed repairs. Many parts of the airship were in bad condition. I joined with the crew, offering to repair as much as I could in exchange for passage to Thanalan. I was accepted.
I’ll not forget them. Not a single one. Even Horoho, you perverse cunt.
Ceigbroda was the captain. He was a man of action; the first into the breach and the last to leave, always. He protected the crew and their interests like his own flesh and blood. I think perhaps to him we were. He never spoke of home, nor a family.
Horoho was our chef. If you could call him such. I’m not sure if Lalafell don’t taste the same way the rest of us do, or whether he really was just so awful. He used to try and sit in my lap often and use my chest as a headrest. Typical Lalafell, really.
Ilarryo was… amazing. Like the captain she never spoke of home, but it never seemed to dampen her spirits. When it was mentioned she would always say ‘I have my family beside me’. She and I fell in love. She taught me so much, both about the world and about myself. The amount of ribbing we got for it all was definitely worth it, although maybe we would’ve had less if she wasn’t so loud…
Aelyn was… odd. She was bookish, holing herself up in one corner of the cargo with tomes upon tomes and would just sit there reading. I don’t know what she studied; I couldn’t read at the time, but Ilarryo would tell me it was boring any time I asked. In hindsight, it was probably just cargo manifests.
And then we had Crimson Garment. Poor bastard. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a man survive being keelhauled over Dravanian skies, being run down by a rampaging mirrorknight, inhaling toxic spores from the Lost Township of Ampador, and mooning an entire Garlean patrol under fire only to finally meet his end on a stale biscuit.
All of that ended during Carteneau. We were conscripted by the Flames to ferry troops and supplies about the battlefield as necessary. The Captain hated it. The Crow had always flown free before, following our own misadventures.
When the Red Moon cracked, we fled. The Captain turned us around quicker than I had ever seen. He had tears in his eyes. Fear. We didn’t get far. The shockwaves from the first shards of moon falling swatted us from the skies like a fly.
Horoho didn’t survive. He was crushed beneath a section of the hull as it caved in. We buried him as soon as we were able.
We scuttled the Crow. Torched it to the last beam to prevent it being reclaimed. We built a cairn for her, and Horoho. We swore we’d never disturb the resting place of the Crow, and any that did would face the old bastard’s cooking in Thal’s realm.
We blamed each other. Ilarryo blamed the captain for fleeing. She called him craven. I couldn’t believe how she acted. The moon burst open and the very manifestation of fury was unleashed and she expected a man with no loyalties to his Company to remain stalwart in the face of it.
I sided with him. It stung deep within my very soul, but I knew I was right. She cussed at me. Swore. She said she regretted ever considering me family, that what we had was nothing to her anymore. She slapped me. I didn’t react, save for my tears.
Aelyn left without a word once the fighting began. She made the intelligent decision. I don’t know where she returned to. Home to Ishgard, perhaps.
Ceigbroda and I left together, travelling towards Ul’dah and leaving Ilarryo behind to weep at the wreckage. We parted ways in Thanalan, and that was the last I heard from him, or any of the crew, save for Aelyn.
Aelyn returned recently. She applied as a mercenary for MGTK and I accepted her. She possesses the Echo, and claims to be a primal slayer. I had no idea.
Perhaps the pieces of home are returning. Perhaps Ceigbroda is still doing well. I hope so. The man was more a father to me than my own flesh and blood.