Bingo Challenge: Clear. David reflects on a trip to Conall Curach. Takes place in the middle of the fourth year of the Tipa caravan as my readers know.

Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles or any characters or locations within, only my Tipa caravanners and their kin.

Clear the Marsh of Dead Dreams

I had long ago lost count of the number of times I had needed to cast Clear in Conall Curach, even before we engaged the massive Dragon Zombie hell-bent on blocking our path to the myrrh tree. Lydia had fallen prey to many of the Blizzard spells that nearly everything in this marsh could cast, from sahagins to ghosts to gigan toads; Khetala had frequently been slowed when those nasty little flans successfully landed Slow spells; even fleet-footed Anaïs Nin couldn't always dodge a curse, for those abaddons in the rocky gorge were surprisingly fast for such large creatures.

Oh, yes, and Khetala had needed to cast Clear on me early on, when we had just finished off a thunder-bomb and upon fleeing its self-destruct I had tripped and fell just inside the blast-radius. Hence I was paralyzed and unable to get up until I felt the wave of spell-energy dispel my paralysis.

Fortunate, indeed, that my armor had been forged of mythril and blessed with holy water, lending me resistance to the poison of the Dragon Zombie's breath, among other monster-borne poisons. It was also fortunate that Dimo Nor was so fond of wearing those golden gauntlets into battle; those made him impervious to the monster's petrifying beam-attack. That was why Khetala bade him be our chalice-bearer in that battle; she usually assigned the defensive roles to the best-protected among us. I understood now why Lydia insisted on buying some cactuar needles and a yard of blue silk from the Selkie merchant who hawked his wares in the fields of Fum; those intricately stitched bracelets that she could make (I believe she called them blue misangas) were widely reputed to lend the same resistance to poison that my "Blessed Armor" did. Khetala and I were at Conall Curach for myrrh twice before, and Lydia once; we knew that we needed all the help we could get.

"Damn sahagins really like to give us a hard time, don't they?" Dimo Nor had grumbled at least twice on our journey, once on the way to the myrrh tree and once on the way back to our wagon. "Especially those blasted stony ones!"

"Perhaps Fen Del may have been biased when he gave his explanation for why," Khetala explained with a heavy sigh, "but he believed that the reason why sahagins roam the marsh in such numbers is because long ago, when the Lilties were determined to make themselves the conquerors of the known world, a great many Selkies died here in Conall Curach when they were driven out of the places they called home and forced to search for a new haven."

I agreed. "Don't remember where I heard it, but there's an old saying," I added: "Where Selkies fall, sahagins rise. Not always the case, of course, since we don't see sahagins anywhere east of the Jegon River, but true enough here."

"The name 'Conall Curach' is Old Selkic for 'marsh under the clouds,' in the literal sense," Anaïs Nin offered by way of explanation, "but its history is certainly miserable enough that I can see why some people say that the name is Old Selkic for 'marsh of dead dreams' instead."

Alas, how right she was. One could cast Clear to purge the body of poison, curse, or stasis, but no spell in the world could clear Conall Curach of all its dead dreams. But for the sake of the all-too-maligned race of Selkies (certainly for Anaïs Nin), I wished that it could.