It was quiet; rather dark out for such a wide open space such as the Calm Lands. The moon was only half full, sailing in the heavens above the land. A rather chill breeze stirred the grass at the girl's feet, blowing stray wisps of hair in her face.
It was the perfect place for a summoning, plenty of space and fairly flat ground.
They say that when the moon's like that, it's Sin's finger pointing at you for the crimes of humanity from so long ago. Yuna liked to think it was a symbol of reliability instead. It would always go dark, but soon it would be just as bright and full again and shine light on the world. It was a childish thought, she knew, but it gave her comfort in her pilgrimage.
Her staff was lifted, twirled in her dance, and the pyreflies of summon magic surrounded her and faded into nothing as quickly as they appeared.
A bright flash...
Squawking and startled, a pheasant flew up and away overhead, swifting winging to the other side of the Calm Lands.
Valeforce appeared, spreading his great wings to sail downwards and glide to a stop next to her, looking around for enemies. He cocked his head to the side and looked at her questioningly, almost as if to ask where they were.
She smiled a little, shaking her head, a little embarrassed now that she'd summoned him. "There's no monsters... I just... needed someone to listen."
The Aeon understood after a moment of pausing, and nudged her side as if to say "I'm here, then."
She smiled again, feeling better already, and rubbed his forehead, as she did the first time she'd ever summoned him. Valeforce crooned a little, enjoying the attention, and relaxed from his battle tension.
The girl sat on a rock nearby, tucking her legs underneath her, and turned her face to the moon. It made her so sad to know that this was one of the few times she'd be able to see the gray sphere before she gave everything up for this world... the world she grew up in, and loved. There would be so many things she would miss, people she would miss... she wondered if the stories about life on the Farplane were true, then determinedly removed her mind from that train of thought.
Valeforce moved to the spot just beside the rock and settled down. Warmth radiated from the Aeon, and Yuna briefly wondered what they were, exactly. They acted so lifelike, warm and caring, she couldn't believe that they were only dreams... the Fayth, the dreamers.
"Things will be all right, wont they? I mean, when we reach Zanarkand, we'll stop Sin, right?" Yuna didn't turn her head, but she knew Valeforce had lifted his head to look at the sky as well. Even Aeons stopped to look at the stars sometimes.
She sensed an deep feeling of acknowledgment, his way of telling her. She smiled, albeit only briefly. "I'll... really die, wont I?"
There was sorrow, sorrow so deep she felt it stab in her heart. The Aeons were sad? Regretful? She couldn't quite understand it. It was so much easier talking to the Fayth, but for that she would have to travel back to the temple... Valeforce's beak nudged her shoulder, rubbing against her softly.
"So many others passed before me... are you sad because they died?"
The bird-aeon chirped, and sighed. It seemed that was it. So much sadness, so much lost, over the centuries, the millennium. Thousands of summoners made the trek, only a few made it worthwhile... and the aeons could do nothing more to help them. Regret... for being weak, for failing the summoners so many times.
She placed a comforting hand on his beak, scratching his neck with the other. "It'll be all right, if it gives everyone hope, I'd do anything. It just hurts, seeing so much pain on everyone's face... and Tidus... I don't want to hurt them, either, but... I have to do this."
Valeforce seemed to agree with her, but there was something else there, something that was hinted at. Was he hiding something? Something they couldn't tell her, they were bound not to tell her...
No, it couldn't be. The aeons wouldn't hold anything back, would they? Then again, they were ageless spirits that bestowed powers on summoners deemed worthy enough to bear it... they could.
The bird-aeon let loose what sounded like a snicker.
"Oh, you are, are you? Maybe I should just not summon you anymore..." Yuna's smile was soft, her words lacked conviction. Valeforce snorted. She sighed, he was right, she would summon them. "Yeah, I guess you're right... I'm no good at fighting by myself, huh? You'll help me in the last battle, right? I'll need all the help I can get... I'm so scared, Sin is so big and I'm so small..."
He nodded, rubbing his beak against her hair, and she felt much affirmation. Then more... and more, all different types of affirmation, high and low and happy and sad, and suddenly everyone was there. Shiva, Ifrit, Ixion and the rest, were all beside her, throwing in their agreements.
Shiva knelt in front of her and wiped a tear away, which crystallized and dropped to the ground. "We'll always be beside you, no matter what you choose to do, or how you do it. We trust you, and have faith in you. Have faith in us, and everything will make itself aright again."
There was a whoosh, and then they were gone again... Valeforce remaining only briefly before disappearing, leaving her with one last nudge. A feather drifted slowly down by the crystallized tear, as if it was a promise.
Yuna picked them up, mildly surprised to feel the tear wasn't cold at all, didn't even seem to be made out of ice, and the feather felt soft and downy as a chocobos'... she held them to her chest and nodded. "I promise! I'll have faith in you." Turning slowly, she walked back to the inn, tucking the marble tear and feather into her sleeves.
She went to bed that night with a smile on her face, knowing she went to her doom. Whatever happened, she'd enjoy the time spent with them to the fullest, aeon and guardian, no matter the trial.