Dragon's Eyes
By Kitt

Disclaimer: Every name, place, and thing from FF4 belongs to Square.

She was like no other woman in the village, although the entire village of Mist could be considered a bit odd by normal standards. She was a soothsayer, a prophetess, with a sixth sense that could put most Mysidian scholars to shame. Perhaps it was inherited; perhaps it had been passed down from generation to generation. She couldn't put a finger on it herself.

But she knew that one day it would be of use. Any gift of such caliber had to be destined for a great purpose.

Not that she had ever anticipated that day. But today, this day, it would come.

The first rays of dawn touched upon the small hamlet nestled in the foggy valley, glowing fingers that raked the rooftops of homes and shone through their windows. Like a fireplace the village was aflame with sunlight, driving away the tides of the mist and revealing the city's verdant splendor.

The sunlight had easy access to the woman's room in her small cottage near the village's northern outskirts—her window faced east. It did not wake her, however. She had already been awake.

Last night's sleep had been dreamless for her, yet she had awoken with a fragment of something fleeting across her weary mind: The dragon is restless...

The dragon is restless? My dragon?

She was facing away from her window, looking at the wall beside her small bed. Even as she lay there, motionless save for blinking and breathing, she could feel it. No, not the restlessness of any summonable beast, but rather of something much deeper than that.

The tides of the mist are changing. I can feel them. Something malicious is afoot.

She sat up amongst her sheets, bleary-eyed. She was a fragile creature by appearance, tall, thin, pale, her eyes gray like dusk. Serena her name was, serene, like the ocean at calm after a storm. Long tresses of the palest blue completed the look of a china figurine, a pretty doll meant to stay on a shelf. Had she strayed beyond the borders of her village, the common folk of other cities would have looked upon her as a fluke of nature. Only in Mist could such a hair color as hers be considered commonplace. As the morning light touched upon her, it turned her nearly colorless self into a beacon of vibrant light.

She looked stronger then, but she was already strong. Spiritually strong. Her feisty little daughter turned out the same way, the little green-haired product of a marriage to a first cousin.

It had been her parents' greatest wish, to see her marry the son of the most prominent members of their family. The summoning trait had to be preserved; it was by village law that she wed a relative. So was picked a boy she'd known for a long time, someone whom she'd considered to be a good friend above all else. Of course, with such fragile beauty as hers, she was a desirable object to many of the men of Mist, but parental wishes were parental wishes, and thus she obeyed.

The marriage fell apart not too long after little Rydia had been born, but Serena had carried on like the trooper that she was, even turning down requests from those who still pursued her after all those years. She really didn't want to be married anymore, not after all the arguments with her cousin. No, her daughter brought her enough joy as was befitting in such an imperfect world.

Little Rydia, her beautiful, blue-eyed, only offspring. Ah, bless the gods for such a wonderful child. No woman could have been graced with better.

But enough reminiscing. That beautiful offspring would want breakfast soon.

She slipped out of her sheets and off the bed and into a pair of well-worn slippers. From there she padded to her dresser and began to brush that seemingly never-ending wash of pale hair.

She noticed some small creases at the corners of her eyes, but that had her pausing for only a second, maybe even less.

More effects of motherhood. She smiled at herself.

She couldn't smile away the feeling of dread at the mist tides changing, however. She could still feel them move irregularly, hinting that something of an unwelcome nature was abroad. Yet since the feelings were vague, Serena had no idea what to make of them.

She would have to consult the Horns then. Maybe they could reveal what that something was.

She placed her brush on the dresser top and headed for the back of the room, on the wall where there were many shelves from floor to ceiling. All six of them were lined with various corked phials of things and small bowls. In some of the glass containers—those that weren't murky with some strange-colored liquid—floated some rather grotesque things: the fat round eyeball of a Floating Eye, the fingers and toes of goblins, and round blue-green scales from the fishlike Waterhags. The latter in particular were especially rare; they had to be purchased from merchant caravans whenever their trails wound through the Misty Valley. None of those mentioned were of use to Serena now, however. She stooped to reach the third shelf, which was about level with her waist when she was standing, and grabbed a jar filled with small, dark, curved objects resembling dragons' nails.

They were, in fact, from reptiles, but they were not nails. They were the horns of black lizards, and they weren't as rare as one would think. Serena had bought a jar of them in Mist's marketplace for a mere three gil. They were widely available because they served as a flavoring for stew, but to those few who dabbled in the arts of the supernatural, and with the right ingredients, they could be used much in the same way as a scrying mirror.

Too, Serena reached for a larger jar of dark red liquid, a mixture of the blood of both demon and human mage, the second and last ingredient.

The jar of horns was in her left hand; the jar of blood was in her right. And it was that hand that could feel the almost unexpected warmth exuding from the latter jar. Supposedly the blood mixture was unbearably hot to the touch, if one were to stick one's finger directly into the liquid. Serena had never confirmed this of course, but a part of her doubted it, as the glass container had never been more than pleasantly warm whenever she held it.

She placed both jars on her dresser top, then went back to her bed and knelt down beside it, lugging out from underneath a great porcelain bowl, glazy white and at least eight inches across. This too ended up on the dresser top, and the preparations for the Horns soon followed.

First came the jar of blood, poured into the bowl until it was about halfway full. Then the Horns came next. Serena uncorked the jar, reached in, and came up with a handful of them. She cast them into the blood mixture and the two ingredients met with a hiss, much fizzling, and thin wisps of yellow smoke.

The smell was terrible, thick and choking; Serena ran coughing to the shutters of her window and flung them wide open. It would soon dissipate, but for now, everything had to settle. In about ten minutes all would be ready. Then she could return and scry the concoction the way she was taught, and see if its power couldn't reveal anything out of the ordinary.

I know something's the matter; I just want to know what.

She left her bedroom, closing the door behind her so as to ward off any curiosity from Rydia when she awoke. Serena was quite confident that her secret practices were safe with her daughter; nevertheless, she was careful enough to take precautions so that the Horns' preparation would go undisturbed.

Really, she didn't want the whole village knowing what she did. That was her own prerogative, and besides, what would everyone else make of such activities? Serena had a good reputation in Mist and she didn't want to see it get soiled.

She flew down the stone steps to the lower floor like a bird, her nightdress flowing out behind her like lacy yellow wings. The stairway curved the further down one went and at the bottom Serena made a beeline for her small kitchen. As she walked through the entryway she was taken aback by the bright green hair of her daughter, who was already seated at the table. Serena gasped and stopped momentarily, then recovered.

"You scared me there, Rydia."

The girl beamed, but her face lost its glow as soon as she realized how serious her mother was. Her lips fell into a their usual pout. "I'm sorry, mommy. I was jus' reeeally hungry, so I came down and waited for ya." She slid off the chair at the table and ran to her mother, wrapping her little arms around her mother's hips.

Serena ruffled her hair good-naturedly. "It's all right, Rydia. I didn't think you'd be up right away. Go sit down now, and tell me what you want for breakfast."

That her daughter did; she ran back to the chair and climbed back up on it. "Eggs!" she announced.

"Eggs?" her mother said, reaching for the icebox now, which was by the window on the table, resting in a bigger box filled with ice. The people of Mist had long believed that if they set their iceboxes by an open window at night, the Mist Dragons would come by and keep the ice cold with their breath. It was an old Summoner's tale, but one that was readily believed by many Mist residents. "What kind of eggs?" Serena asked slyly, her fingers grazing the spotted brown surface of a coctrix egg. She knew what the answer was going to be, but it never stopped her from asking the same question whenever Rydia wanted eggs for breakfast.

"The kind I like," Rydia replied guardedly. She probably knew that her mother would try to suggest something else to her. It was practically routine in their house.

It was truthfully what Serena had in mind. She looked up at her daughter. "Are you sure you don't want a coctrix egg? They're good for you..."

Rydia's face twisted into a sneer. "No! They're gross!"

"Well, how about if I mix it in with the ones you like?"

"Nooo! You did that the last time and they tasted even WORSE that way!"

Serena frowned. "All right, Rydia, I won't argue with you." She reached toward the back of the icebox where the bigger eggs were nestled. "Chocobo eggs are big though, so you're going to have to tell me how much of one you want."

"A WHOLE one!" said Rydia, perking up in her chair.

"A whole one?" echoed her mother. "Are you sure? I was going to have one myself, but I really only want half..."

The little green-haired girl looked thoughtful for a moment, then conceded. "All right, I'll have half too."

Serena smiled at her daughter. "Coming up." She lugged out a chocobo egg and placed it on the table, then went to get a bowl. "Oh, Rydia—can you get the fire started for me?"

I just want to see if she's got it down yet.

As Serena passed her daughter, she watched her from the corner of her eye. Little Rydia climbed off the chair and trudged over to the fireplace, looking into its soot-covered depths, her expression lost somewhere between boredom and a slight twinge of fear.

"Do I have to?" she asked her mother, frowning up at her.

"I would really like it if you did," came the response. "You're going to be starting mage classes soon, and one day you'll be casting spells like that on your own. The knowledge never leaves you." Serena took a bowl down from the kitchen shelf and carried it back to the table and made to prepare the chocobo egg. All the while, she was keeping an eye on her daughter. Rydia was picking up logs from the small pile beside the fireplace, placing them one by one inside it.

C'mon Rydia, I know you can do it.

Serena cracked the egg on the edge of the bowl and dropped in its gooey contents. She paused afterward and looked away again. Again Rydia was standing before the fireplace, mute. She sighed. "Please, Rydia...for mommy? How about if you do it for mommy?"

"I forgot the words," said the little green-haired girl. She bowed her head shamefully and said no more.

Serena felt bad then. Maybe I shouldn't force her so much. She knelt beside Rydia and gestured for her to move aside. "Watch closely, and mind what I say." She extended her arms and held her hands out before the fireplace, closed her eyes, and then chanted those words of old. In seconds the logs caught ablaze with the smallest fire spell a black wizard could conjure.

"There, see?" Serena spoke to her daughter. "Do you think you could try that for me someday soon?"

Rydia said nothing. She stared into the fires, pouting. Her mother saw this and gave her a reassuring hug.

"Don't worry, it's not hard to learn. I know you'll be doing it one day. You can try it later today, if you like."

Rydia said nothing, but pulled away from her parent and climbed back onto her chair. Serena stood up to her full height, her eyes still fixed on the small blaze.

A dark figure flickered in the fireplace, then disappeared. Curious more than frightened at first, Serena kept staring. The figure reappeared, but did not go away this time. It was the shape of a person, tall, strong, no doubt that of a man. Two great horns jutted from his head however, which caused Serena to doubt her initial speculation.

"Mommy?" Rydia's voice intruded. Serena lost her composure and consequently the image as well. She spared the fires a quick final glance before getting back to breakfast. There was nothing there but blazing logs.

The image frightened her terribly. I don't think that's the last I'll see of that thing, whatever it was. The Horns are probably ready now...

The dread in her heart grew heavier, but nevertheless she got back to her task at hand.

* * *

After breakfast had been served and the dishes washed and put away, Serena returned to her bedroom. She was right; the Horns were ready. In fact, they had been ready for quite a while now.

She took the bowl off her dresser and placed it on the floor, then sat cross-legged before it. Before she started her scrying, she calmed herself with a few deep breaths. Her heart was hammering. The figure she'd seen in the fireplace had left a deep impression, and now she wasn't looking forward to seeing it make another appearance. Surely it had some sort of connection to that bad feeling she'd been suffering with all morning.

I'm almost too scared to look...

But she had to look; there was no sense in wasting what she had prepared. Common sense dictated that knowing the source of her apprehension was part of solving its mysteries.

Serena inhaled one last time, then leaned forward, overlooking the bowl.

The surface of the mixture of blood and lizards' horns had grown very dark, almost black. Tendrils of vermilion swirled about, refusing to settle into the rest of the mixture. The surface rippled and shimmered slightly. As she gazed, Serena felt herself slip into a hypnotic state, one that was all too familiar to her. Any second now, her questions would be answered.

Or so she hoped.

In the reflection of the liquid mixture, images began to appear. They were born dim, but grew clearer as time wore on. Serena recognized the first image: the narrow grassy plain of the Misty Valley. Her village. It looked as it should have looked at that time of day: golden with sunlight, yet half-covered in shadow due to the surrounding mountains. A thin veil of mist lingered near the rooftops of homes and grew thicker at the village's edges, almost as though it were protecting the city.

But why would it show me...

No sooner did Serena form that thought than the image changed. Now she saw the interior of the Misty Cave in the dark reflection of the liquid. It wasn't much of a cave, just a rough tunnel carved through the mountain range just south of the Village Mist. Like the city that it led to, it too was blanketed with fog.

But the pass was usually pitch dark. Nothing within it could be seen, not unless there was a source of light from somewhere.


The horned figure reappeared then, and this time it was accompanied by something else. It had a companion.

Serena nearly gasped and made to draw back from the bowl, but something held her fast. She panicked. She was breathing heavily and it was causing the surface of the liquid to warp and bend, distorting the image.

Oh, calm down, calm down, she willed herself, but her heart continued to hammer.

The seconds dragged on for minutes, while the horned figure and its companion became ever clearer. The horns actually turned out to be white, but the rest of the shape was black. Serena could see the light of a torch it carried. That explained why the Misty Cave had been so easily seen. That torchlight also reflected over the figure so that it shone fiercely.

Armor. Black armor. There was only one type of person who would wear that. But why would a Black Knight of Baron be heading toward Mist?

The torchlight the Black Knight carried also revealed its fellow traveler, another man by the looks of it, wearing blue armor, his helmet topped with great spikes and a feather-crest at the crown. A clubbed tail of blond hair was dangling out the back.

A Dragon Knight. Taller, long-legged, yet more lithe than the Black Knight. Whatever would cause a lone Black Knight and a lone Dragon Knight to join forces and travel to Mist? They certainly weren't on their way to Damcyan, or even to Kaipo—no, the Horns had shown Serena the image of her own village first thing. That had to be the pair's destination.

The horns had answered Serena's questions, but they also created new ones. And she was still frightened, even more so now than before.

Her eyes then fell upon a package in the Black Knight's arms. A bit wider than it was long and completely unmarked, it looked harmless at first. But in gazing upon it, two words managed to flash through Serena's mind, repeating themselves over and over and over again:





"No!" she hissed into the bowl. The liquid trembled violently. "Turn back, the both of you!"

An automatic reaction, considering her distress, to order something so far away to stop as if it could hear her. As if the two knights were aware that she was watching them.

::Turn back!::

Her voice carried a peculiar echo, one that was not coming from her own room.

"Go back! Go away!" she cried out again, confused now. Where was that echo coming from?

::Go away!::

Was something imitating her? Was someone watching her just as she was watching the knights?

"You from Baron...!"

::You from Baron...!::

She shouted into the bowl repeatedly, and only after a minute or so did it occur to her that the knights had heard her. She could see them stop in their tracks and look about themselves. They had heard her voice. Her voice was echoing throughout the Misty Cave.

Serena gasped and finally pulled back successfully, away from the bowl, away from that image. She toppled over and landed on her back, but quickly pushed herself upright again. She was breathing hard and heavy.

Danger. Fire. She could still see that package. It was so plain, so unassuming, that if it weren't for the message in her mind...

Danger. Fire. Those men were coming to burn Mist. The package they carried concealed a deadly power, some sort of volatile magic. Since Serena had only watched the knights' approach through a scrying bowl, she couldn't decipher the true nature of the package's contents. But her mind wouldn't lie; it wouldn't send her a false warning.

And the most chilling aspect of it all was that no one expected it. No one in Mist knew it was coming, not unless someone had done like Serena had and scryed for a source of inner terror. Not unless they felt something like that in the first place.

The knights hadn't frightened her, but the package the Black one carried did. She couldn't get it out of her head. Now its plainness had served to make it all the more intimidating. The unlabeled poison, the unmarked vial of acid, the unspoken danger.

There was no time to think; she had to act fast. Serena pulled herself to her feet and dashed downstairs. An idea had struck her, a way to stop the impeding disaster. She bolted to her door, passing by an innocent Rydia, who was playing on the floor with a few homemade dolls.

Serena had reached the door; her fingers graced the handle, but did not get to open it.

"Mommy? Where're ya goin'?"

Serena slowly looked over her shoulder. There was her pride and joy, her little Rydia, sitting on the stony floor, innocence sketched vividly in her bright eyes. For a moment, her mother even caught a twinge of fear in her look, as if she had picked up on her only parent's feelings. In a heartbeat Serena abandoned her front door and crossed the room to where her daughter was sitting and knelt down beside her.

"Stay in the house!" she whispered harshly, her eyes severe. "Don't go outside!"

Rydia's innocent look had quickly become indignant. "Why? Why're you leaving?"

"I have something to take care of," her mother hurriedly replied, not knowing what else to say. She couldn't possibly explain her situation to a seven-year-old. "Just promise me you won't come out of the house, okay? Promise me."

Rydia was still stubborn. "But WHERE are you going? Why can't I go outside?"

"Just PROMISE me!" her mother repeated, her voice strident. "Please! Promise me you won't go outside. Not until I come back in," she added as an afterthought. Yes, let her departure seem temporary. That should hold her daughter off for a bit.

Truthfully, Serena hadn't thought of the consequences of her plan. She could only think of keeping Rydia out of it, at least for the moment.

Her added remark seemed to have its intended effect. Rydia didn't say anything more, but her brows knitted and she looked skeptical.

Serena seized the moment. She stood up and left the house before her daughter could come up with any more questions.

Of course she didn't know it, but it would be the last time she would speak with her daughter and the last time she would leave her house. Serena hadn't thought of coming back from her mission any more than she had thought of dying because of it. She just wanted to carry it out before it was too late. The knights from Baron had to be stopped, or Mist would burn. Her own fate was inconsequential.

Outside, Serena had made it only as far as halfway down the short path that led from her doorstep, down to one of the dusty main roads that carved through her village. The sunlight of early morn stung her eyes. Her sudden rushing out of her house caused her neighbors and some passersby to spare her curious glances, but she neither cared about nor completely perceived those looks. She knew what she had to do, and if it went well, those who stared at her would get to live another day.

She stood tall and closed her eyes. A light breeze ruffled her hair, but she took no notice. She concentrated and whispered the memorized chant. She sent her summons out to one of the guardians of the Misty Valley, the Mist Dragons.

It was said that the dragons lived in the fog of the Misty Cave and around the village. No one could see them unless they were summoned. It was also said that when it rained over Mist, a Mist Dragon had died. The Mist Dragons were the subjects of many legends in Serena's village.

Serena's summons were swiftly answered: In her mind's eye, she could see and hear the response of one of the beasts. It had called back to her from the depths of the Misty Cave.

Her dragon.

::Go find these knights,:: she bade the beast, sending it a mental picture of the vision the Horns had shown her earlier. ::Kill them, but leave their package. My people will tend to it once everything is finished. Do not let them pass through the caves alive.::

Of course, there were moral consequences to Serena's actions, and she was aware of them. Those knights more than likely had nothing to do with the creation of the dangerous spell they carried. Knights were not wizards, although those of the long-gone Paladin order were known for wielding white magic with some degree of efficiency. But if the Black Knight and the Dragon Knight were not destroyed, they would surely return to their king and be sent back out again with a new package.

Or even worse, more knights could be sent, accompanied by trained magicians. Did Baron have those kinds of sorcerers? Well, who else could have created that ominous package?

Serena kept in contact with her dragon, following its trail through the caves using their mental bond. It did not take long for the beast of the air to find the knights. Both of them were well armed and would prove to be more than just a match.

Then perhaps I should bond with my dragon. Perhaps I should lend it my own strength.

Doing so could have a lethal outcome. If the knights managed to slay the dragon while Serena was still bonded to it, she would die as well...and she knew what that meant, ultimately. Rydia would be an orphan. Rydia, the only thing in Serena's life that had any real value.

Oh, Rydia... I don't want to leave you like that...

Serena scrunched her eyes tightly, trying vainly to force away the oncoming tears.

But if I die slaying these knights, then you will get a chance to grow up and live your life. If no one stops them before they enter the village, there may be no more Mist for you to grow up in. There may even be no more you.

I can't risk that. I can't risk you, or any of the people of this village. No one knows about this save me. I must do this.

There are... There are relatives of mine who will take you in, just in case. Your father's parents. My parents...

A lone tear escaped her closed eyes and careened down her cheek. It felt as heavy as iron.

If I can kill the knights, then I shall not die in vain. And I may not die yet; there's always a chance...

Oh, it's too late now, isn't it, too late to tell you to be a good girl, to mind your manners and eat your coctrix eggs, and...

But I do it for you. I do it for everyone here. Sometimes little bonds must be cast aside for greater causes...

She did it. At that moment, Serena bonded with her dragon. Now was her hour.

All gifts come with a heavy price. May mine make some sort of difference.

Her eyes were still closed; she stood stiff and rigid, unable to feel the town around her or hear any of its sounds. She was now with her dragon in the Misty Cave, overlooking a pair of travelers and their deadly package.

::Ones from Baron...leave and I will not harm you.::

Serena felt her voice echo throughout the foggy passage. It vibrated off the walls; she could feel it ring in her dragon's ears. And she could hear the knights' brazen refusals.

"We have orders to deliver this package to the Village of Mist!"

Serena's face twisted into a scowl. Over a pair of dead bodies you will.

::Then I must...!::

There was a rush and a great howl of wind. For a moment the two knights looked helpless. From the fog of the caves emerged the full form of Serena's dragon, sleek, tall, the great expanse of its wings vast and shrouding the intruders' visions in mist. The beast snorted, sending two puffs of fog into the still air of the passage.

The Dragon Knight brought his spear into position; the Black Knight drew his sword.

And thus it began.

Serena's dragon made the first move and pelted the Black Knight with the package with a wave of icy breath. But the sly Dragon Knight had already leapt into the air, making the second move, coming down onto her dragon's back.

Serena felt his spear. It dug into her dragon and into her as well. She felt what her dragon felt, the sting of the iron spear tip as it poked, prodded, and gouged. Hot blood raced down the beast's white flanks. Shocked, Serena lost her footing and fell face forward, onto the dirt path leading away from her house with a loud cry.

The last thing she saw through her dragon's eyes at that time was a great black blade being brought down upon her. It sliced into her dragon's shoulder, eliciting another cry from her before her connection with her beast was temporarily severed. Serena's dragon returned to the mists for a time to recover; it was waiting for its mistress to resume contact. As long as it remained as mist, it could not do harm or be harmed. It was safe.

With her consciousness now back with her own body, Serena was fully aware of the damage the knights had done to her own self. Her wounds were like fire, burning, singing with pain. Through the maddening thumping of her own heart she could hear the cries of the other Mist villagers. She could feel the ground reverberate with their oncoming footsteps. Their voices, even when they reached her, seemed so far away.

"Serena, can you hear me? Look at me!"

But Serena had no idea who was talking. She could barely see.

It was then that she heard her daughter's voice coming from far behind her. "Mommy!" She was dashing down the path to her fallen parent. "Mommy! Mommy!"

Serena couldn't speak. She opened her mouth, but she couldn't summon the strength for words. But I told you, Rydia, she thought deliriously. I told you to stay in the house...

The voices of the surrounding gaggle of villagers blended into one great wave of sound, perforated only by the high-pitched cries of Rydia, who didn't know what to do or what to say other than to call her mother's name over and over.

Oh, run away, Rydia, run away... It is finished here. Run away, all of you. Maybe, if you're lucky, you can make it into the desert... They'll never get to you there... They couldn't...

Through the din, Serena could hear her dragon calling back to her. It was willing to try and fight again.

Oh, but I barely have any strength left. I can't be of much help to you, old friend.

But she did it, she did it anyway. Again Serena bonded with the Mist Dragon for the final time.

A pox on you, Baron. I'll finish this one way or another.

Again Serena's mind's eye was back in the Misty Cave. Again she could see through her dragon's eyes the oncoming knights as the one helped the other come around from the icy attack of earlier. Then the pair gave it everything they had, slicing, hacking away. The dragon, using the last of its own strength and Serena's, tried to parry the blows and strike back at once. Both were mad with pain, lashing out at everything that moved. Back in Mist, it appeared as though Serena had lapsed into seizures. She had scratched one of the villagers in the face.

Back in the caves, her dragon had mauled one of the knights, but like Serena's scratches, it had no major effect. The knights still kept at it, just like the villagers still kept calling Serena's name, calling for help.

Don't help me! Help yourselves, you fools! Get out of here! Get out!

But they could not hear her, because she could not speak.

She kept on lashing out, even up until the end, when everything grew hazy and she felt herself growing weaker and weaker. Her sacrifice had been in vain, and that fact only served to magnify her suffering.

She just wanted to hurt one of them, any one of them. To take one of those knights with her would be of some relief. But they were too fast and too strong and her life was slipping away, hers and her dragon's, ebbing like the tides.

Run, Rydia, run away...

She felt herself fall limp. Her great gift, her great foresight, had served its destined purpose.


Just a few notes: According to a friend of a friend who translated the FF4 handbook, the Mist Summoners were assumed to practice inbreeding to keep the Summoning line pure. I'm really disgusted by incest of any kind (even implied), but in this case, it's only to add color to the culture of a certain race.