Bingo Challenge: Dawn. Just before the events of The Great Revival, Anais Nin searches her soul on the eve of the final battle.

Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles or any characters or locations within, nor do I own the song preceding this story. The only thing that's mine is the caravan from Tipa and the plot of this story.

Darkest Before Dawn

When the cold of winter comes
Starless night will cover day
In the veiling of the sun
We will walk in bitter rain

But in dreams
I still hear your name
And in dreams
We will meet again

When the seas and mountains fall
And we come to end of days
In the dark I hear a call
Calling me there
I will go there
And back again—Fran Walsh and Howard Shore, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring original soundtrack

Beyond the turbulent miasma stream west of Rebena Te Ra, where the great green carbuncles slept in ageless repose, lay the silent village, if it could be called that, known as Mag Mell. The air was warm and stiflingly thick here, but not with miasma, as the caravan of a motley five from the humble peninsular village of Tipa—a grizzled Yuke woman, two somber fair-haired Clavats (a man and a woman), a strangely humbled green-eyed Lilty lad, and a despondent lavender-haired Selkie woman—found that they could venture into it without feeling sick or poisoned.

While Dimo Nor and Lydia, the Lilty and the Clavat woman, set up camp on the outskirts and prepared a cooking fire for an evening meal, Anaïs Nin, the Selkie, wandered away to explore this strange place that bore neither crystal nor miasma. She supposed that since there did not seem to be a myrrh tree here either, these large carbuncles would remain harmless as long as she and her fellow caravanners let them sleep as they pleased.

Around a bend in an odd sort of path where the grass did not grow quite so tall, she found a rocky clearing where it looked as though there was a small water-hole in the midst. She cautiously approached, expecting to find no more than a murky pool, but the water looked perfectly clear—and surrounding this small pool were both the marsh-violets that bloomed in Conall Curach and the desert sage that Anaïs Nin had discovered in Leuda. It struck the Selkie as odd—it was both too dry for marsh violets here and too wet for desert sage.

But what was this? An inscription in the stone bottom of this mysterious pool?

Know this: that from the people of the sea shall spring one Daughter of the Revival, chosen by the Lady Mio to stand beside the motley and to march upon the edge of night, and even unto death, from whence she will return to bear the light of shining dawn.

From the people of the sea shall spring one Daughter of the Revival…she was a Selkie, one of "the people of the sea," and her name, Anaïs Nin, was, in fact, Old Selkic for "daughter of the revival." Chosen…to stand beside the motley…she was the lone Selkie aboard the motley caravan from Tipa, was she not? To march upon the edge of night, and even unto death, from whence she will return…she had a bad feeling about what it meant; if she really was the person of whom this prophecy (for it had to be a prophecy of some kind) spoke, did it mean that she would indeed die in a decisive final battle only to be resurrected? Resurrection of the dead was certainly possible, given the existence of both Life magicite and phoenix down, but Anaïs Nin knew that she would not have any wish of being resurrected were she to die. To march upon the edge of night…this strange settlement lay in the shadow of a great forbidding mountain, the very Mount Vellenge of which the most obscure legends spoke. Was this where the source of the miasma lay? Did Khetala, the Yuke woman who led the caravan, intend for the Tipa caravanners to bring an end to the miasma by cutting it off at its source?

To bear the light of shining dawn…at the thought, Anaïs Nin's attention was drawn again to the mingled desert sage and marsh violets that grew in a circle around the tiny pool. Desert sage and marsh violets…her mind flashed back to her first night in Leuda, when the earthy scent of the desert sage had reminded her of De Nam, the ambitious Selkie alchemist with whom she had fallen in love at Shella…and hadn't he written, in one of his many letters, that the marsh violets, with their pale lavender tint like her pretty purple hair, reminded him of her? Anaïs Nin removed from her pocket the torn piece of purple-and-grey cloth that had once been De Nam's bandana, all that she could find of him after the letter that bade her come to Conall Curach with her caravan to meet him. Tomorrow it would be two hundred and fifty days since she had learned of what could only have been his untimely death, and only for the past two months, out of those eight, had she been able to think of him without crying.

But from whence she will return to bear the light of shining dawn…did those words, coupled with the mingling of desert sage and marsh violets here, mean that somehow, against all odds, De Nam was alive—that he waited for her among the living instead of the dead? That if she, Anaïs Nin, died in battle, someone would definitely resurrect her, if only to see her and her love reunited? "Or do I have to die and find my way to the afterlife, whatever afterlife might be in store for me, before I even find out if he's alive or dead?" she thought miserably. She glanced in what she thought was the direction of Mount Vellenge, though she could not tell in the fog that loomed so thick over Mag Mell. Perhaps that fateful judgment-day was closer than she thought.

Perhaps this too was part of the Lady Mio's plan.

Only tomorrow would tell.

It was with an uncertain heart that she returned to camp. "Where were you?" Khetala asked quietly, wary of disturbing the silence of this strange settlement, but radiating concern.

"Soul searching," Anais Nin answered simply. She didn't need to say anything more; her Yukish friend probably already knew in what direction her thoughts had been going. She wondered if Khetala, too, was thinking of Vellenge and what lay in their path were the caravanners to ascend that dark mountain.

Only tomorrow would tell.