There's an odd phenomenon I've noticed, if I stop a random adventurer and ask them what they're up to. Often it's hunting a primal, sometimes they're investigating a heretic, other times they're in the thick of a war. Sometimes the war is a thousand years of feuding, sometimes it's to liberate countries invaded by the Garleans.
They're common enough tales, but mention wild roses and it gets uncanny. Recruited by the Scions--which one varies with the city--they know the same people, they're running the same errands. And then they have to report to someone that's no longer here, or start talking to someone I can't even see.
Urianger could probably wax poetic on it all. Y'shtola would be pouring over books and calculations for at least a week. Thancred would say I've had one too many, and Alphinaud would ask nervously about ghosts.
The physical aspects of it are beyond me, but I've found one thing we all share--the Echo. I've known that it's powerful--I can relive battles I never really had, after all--battles deadly enough that even I think twice about them.
But....are we all the same person? I doubt it. There's too wide a range of personalities and skills. We notice different things, care about different people, have our own lives.
So we aren't the same, but we walk the same path. It has the same twists, the same stumbling blocks, the same stunning scenery.
But ultimately...we don't affect each other. We can swap stories, share shoulders to cry on, but...that's it. Knowing where the path leads in advance doesn't help anyone change it, after all.
So why bring this up? Why document this at all?
Because the Echo is powerful enough to let us live other lives. Not of people we've met, or of people we can meet, but other lives all the same.
And...because I tried it. A new name, a new face, walking the same path from a slightly different start.
"Azem Steppe" is the name I decided to use on this path. The part of me that knows the names of nameless things wants to add on "of Excalibur", but I don't remember a place like that in Eorzea or Norvrandt, so it's ultimately meaningless.
She's a bit of Magnai, a bit of Sadu, and if either ever find out, they'd probably try to beat me to death with my own grimoire. But we'll see if I walk her path long enough for that--I can open my eyes and be "H'biki" again, after all.
The Echo is a bit overpowered, honestly.
It's a strange feeling, though--attuning to aetherite networks I've already memorized. Getting new robes I've already outgrown or worn to shreds. I can both summon primals and also nothing at all.
And yet--why bother? I already know I can't change anything. But knowing where the path goes keeps you from worrying about getting lost. Lets you wander off a little to smell the flowers, especially if the forest will burn later.
For example...there are members of my clan in Eorzea--Loonh and Bhowaka in Bronze Lake. And that A'aba and Aulie pooled their gil for Arenvald's armor--a gift for his first Scion assignment, guarding Noraxia. And Una and her friends knew a time before the Waking Sands.
That is to say, it's scary how much I missed when it was all still new to me.
And...I know every face I buried at Drybone now. It hurt, but I needed to know.
And there's still more I need to know. To understand. To read between lines I didn't know existed before.
My "first" steps in Coerthas were under a starry sky.
Some things haven't happened yet.
That alone is enough for me.