Slithering Into the New Year!

 Well, 2012 has come and gone, but it certain has brought us a lot to remember and even more to look forward to for Final Fantasy XI. With Seekers of Adoulin and a host of other major changes to the game fast approaching, this upcoming year has so much to offer! This year also marks the Year of the Serpent, and what Final Fantasy creature best embodies that? Why, Leviathan of course! From December 31st through January 10th, track down this watery avatar and the host of Taru summoners following behind it for a vast number of goodies, including the cutest shield around, the Janus Guard!

Let us know what you think of this New Year's event, your favorite moments of 2012, and what you're looking forward to the most about 2013 over on the ZAM forums!

From Playonline.com:

The enduring valiance of adventurers like you is what has kept Vana'diel safe and sound for over ten years now, and for that, we cannot thank you enough. These winter months may usher in bone-chilling days and gloomy nights, but we hope your hearts continue to burn with passion.

Once the chills of winter have thawed and spring flowers come into bloom, a new port of call will open for all adventurers to explore. Starting with these primeval jungle lands, we on the development and operations teams will strive to return to our own roots. We'll continue to preserve what makes Vana'diel such a great place, one that people will want to visit every day.

May the New Year bring you fair winds and fair seas as you embark on a new voyage to adventure!

Illustration: Mitsuhiro Arita

 

Perilous Procession

"Of course it has to be Leviathan. He's perfect for this!" one of my party members squawked with glee.

"See, this is the year of the snake, and guess what Leviathan is? You'd be hard pressed to find anyone around here who hasn't heard of the Great Sea Serpent," he continued with a mischievous smirk so unbefitting of a white mage.

Still, it was hard to disputaru his logic. The story of Veydal, the "One-eyed Demon," and his heroic battle with Leviathan has been handed down for generations all over Quon and Mindartia. While it may not be as prevalent a tale in the Far East or that rumored land to the west, there is probably no more fitting avatar to represent this year's festivities in the three nations.

Bitter though I was, I couldn't help but nod in ascension-wenscion.

Yet this situation may not be all gloom and doom. Looking on the brightaru side of things, this could be the perfect chance to prove my worth as a summoner. Now that this parade of yearly deities has become an annual affair, spectators have been wondering what's in store for the year of the snake. If I were to summon Leviathan and have him lead the procession-wession, my deeds could very well be sung by minstrels across the continent. Every adventurer would know my name wherever I wentaru!

Everything was falling into place after all.

However, I can't let my guard down; it was exactly this kind of carelessness that led to my failure-wailure before...

"Oh yeah, you summoned Fenrir a couple of years ago, too, didn't you? Then this should be a piece of memorial cake for you."

How is this sadistaru even my friend!? It's almost as if he delights in tearing my heart open and pouring salt directly in wounds!

Those past events are exactly where I'd like to keep them. I don't need to be reminded of how pathetic I looked chasing helplessly an out-of-control Fenrir around the outskirts of town. At least other adventurers were nice enough to help, and the whole scene got considered "good luck" after the fact, or I'd never be able to show my face in the Middle Lands again!

Come to think of it, isn't that around the time when adventurers began paying visits to these deific parades to usher in the New Year...? Could I actually be responsible for getting this custom-wustom off the ground!?

"Relax; you'll do fine this year, procession prowler!"
"The last thing I need is a stupid-wupid nickname!"

If history were to repeataru itself, that ridiculous moniker would surely stick. Forgetaru just the Middle Lands—I'd have to vanish-wanish off the face of Vana'diel!

"You're listing harder than a queasy Quadav. Maybe you're not Taru enough for the task after all..."
"How darey-ware you bring my Taruhood into question!"
"Then you'll summon Leviathan for us, right?"
"...Alrightaru."

How much of an idiot could I be, taken in by his goading-woading grin and extravagant bravado?

Now, my worst fears have come to fruition—history's repeated itself and I can barely breathe after chasing Leviathan for so long. The ashen skies above the sooty Gustaberg terrain reflectaru what's happened to my chance for fame all too clearly. With each ponderous step I take, I fall further behind until all hope of catching him and restoring my honor has been snuffed out. What a mockery! If Leviathan's a sea serpent, what's he doing soaring through the air?

I've had it up to here with his selfish-welfish shenanigans!

The only thing left for me to do now is lie down and countaru the seconds until my energy runs out. That ornery ophidian may have gotten the best of me for now, but I'll have the last laugh. He needs my mental energy to exist in this realm, so once he expends it all, it's back to the astral-wastral plane with him!

Just then, Leviathan stopped his leisurely airborne swim and looked back at me. His expression seemed almost disappointarued, suggesting, "That's all you've got? I thought you were better than this."

Yes, that's all I've got! I don't care anymore! I'm just sicky-wick of this! I ran after Fenrir seven years ago, and now I'm running aftaru you. What do you want from me!?

"Daddy, look! It's a weawy big snake!"

"That's right, son. This year's deity is the snake, so that feller up there's gonna bring us some good luck."

"Deewity?"

"Yup. Pay your respects and you might even get that toy you keep bugging me about."

In my torpor, I looked over to see some wayfarers bathed in the azure light castaru by the reflection of the first sun's rays off Leviathan's scales. Their heads were bowed so deeply that one would think they were praying-waying to Altana herself for salvation.

"Daddy, will good tinks happen to us because we paid our wespeks?"

"Hopefully business will be better than last year. I've heard some scary things about Adoulin, but it's also got a lot of resources that just can't be found here."

The child didn't seem to understand his father's words, as he looked up at his parentaru and cocked his head to one side quizzically. Even though his son hadn't fully grasped the situation, or maybe precisely because he didn't, the man reached out and ruffled the child's hair in reassurance.

If Leviathan were to vanish into thin air right before these two, they'd most certainly take it as an ill omen from the Goddess-Woddess.

This isn't the time to be wallowing in pity-wity over delusions of grandeur that didn't pan out!

I didn't have much on hand, but I removed the bottle of kitron juice I'd stored in my knapsack and gulped it down as fast as possible. If I was going to restore what little energy I had left, this would have to do. As I tossed the pit away and stood up with renewed vigor, Leviathan immediately returned to floataruing effortlessly along the wind current, far out of my reach. Yet that didn't seem like a problem at all.

What I'd assumed was a cruel twist of fate but moments before had metamorphosed into a divine mission. I quickly cast a protection spell upon the two travelers and dashed after that saltaruy slitherer with a new sense of purpose. No longer did he seem an adversary, but rather a partner in prosperity.

I'll show you how smartaru I am, Leviathan! I'll have you in my graspy-wasp before you can say, "Fame and fortune!"

As if he could read my thoughts, Leviathan turned his scaly head in my direction once more and cracked a smile.

Story: Miyabi Hasegawa

 

Event Schedule

The 2013 New Year event will slither in to the three nations at 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday, December 31, 2012 (PST), and slip away at 12:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 10, 2013 (PST).

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