There is a tale that has been told since long, long ago…
…about a gingerbread house tucked quietly away in the backwoods of Lavender Beds. Roads no longer lead to it and children are taught to fear it; even the animals avoid it. Despite all of this, the house remains fully intact and functioning as though still inhabited. And that, my dear readers, is where this adventure begins.
Ignoring the despair growing in the pit of my stomach, certainly stemming from growing up with the same stories as the other Eorzean children, I carefully checked over the map to ensure I was headed in the correct direction. Bacon bread in hand, cloak donned and map tucked away in my bag of provisions, I took a deep breath and stepped off the road into the uncomfortable (and sure to be dangerous) unknown. Hours later, the house finally came into view. I was utterly shocked. How could anyone be taught to fear such a warm and welcoming abode? I would soon regret allowing this question to cross my mind.
The house was unexpectedly inviting, almost alluring, with gingerbread walls, a pink icing roof and piles of sugar surrounding it. Towers filled with delectable goodies stood tall near the entrance, begging to be picked through and devoured. Bright pink cotton candy lanterns lit the yard with a faint, pink aura, barely bright enough to show off an impressive patch of sunflowers growing sturdy in a small pond. Linens hung to dry, tucked away in the back corner, definitely supported the theory that the house was indeed inhabited, a thought that struck even more fear than I thought possible into my core. Swallowing the knot that had formed in my throat, I began my descent towards the yard for closer inspection, and what would surely be the beginning of a great story, should I live to tell it!
After reaching the bottom of the rocky hill, I quickly ducked behind the sunflower patch to ensure safe cover from view of any windows – my first mistake. I couldn’t peer between the sunflowers as I had expected to be able to, as some dark mass blocked my view from within the patch. To my utter horror, realization sunk in that these innocent and vibrant flowers were hiding something so ominous that I wouldn’t fully comprehend what I was seeing until I had investigated the yard further. I heard a slight rattle coming from my right, distracting me from the dark object in front of me. My heart sank upon locating the source of the sound: a helpless little lalafell trapped inside of a cage, flashing little lights in an attempt to get my attention while not alerting the Faust guard! Desperately trying to shake off the shock, I glanced around to find some way to distract Faust so that I could set the lalafell free, but was too late. The front door had opened. A witch strode right past me and spoke unintelligibly to Faust before taking a key out of her pouch and dragging that poor lalafell back inside. Someone had to help her; I was her only hope!
I dashed to the door, ducking under the windows so as not to be seen. Thankfully, in her rush to get the lala inside, the witch had left the front door ajar. I pushed it open quietly and snuck in. Once inside, I glanced around in search of a good hiding space, but I was utterly floored by the sight before me. How could something be so heinous on the outside, yet remain so exquisite on the inside? I was surrounded by beautiful pinks and greens, cozy couches and mouthwatering treats! For a moment, I was absolutely enthralled with the captivating room in which I had found myself.
Suddenly, a majestic voice came from behind me, “Please, help yourself! The goodies in this house are to die for.” Unfortunately for me, I did not catch the slight connotation behind her wording. I glanced up at the stunning Elezen as she handed me an enticing cup of tea, “You look absolutely famished. Why not take a seat and allow me to fix that?” The tea gave off a strange yet sweet and alluring aroma as I lifted the cup to take a sip, completely mesmerized. All of a sudden, a sharp cry from below jolted me from my trance and I dropped my cup, spilling the tea all over the floor.
This outraged the Elezen; she grabbed my arm, briskly yanking me down the stairs to what I immediately believed would be my doom. Tripping over my own feet, I tried to take in my surroundings in an effort to prepare for a possible escape plan. The room was complete with beautiful bookshelves, a small kitchen and an elegant dining area. Despite how cozy and comforting the room appeared, I felt nothing but dread as my eyes settled on the camouflaged cage door at the back of the room that the witch was dragging me towards. She located her keys again and opened the door, thrusting me into the cage, which I noted already had three others within it’s confines. I recognized the lalafell from outside, but the other two were only vaguely familiar. Then it clicked, the story! I had grown up seeing these two faces in a book; they were THE Hansel and Gretel!
The three captives explained the dire situation to me as soon as the witch disappeared back up the stairs. Peering through the cage door, they pointed out the furnace in which she used to cook up the lalafells that wandered helplessly into her clutches. I was informed that once her victim had been lured into her house, the Elezen witch would provide them with delectable temptations, including the very same tea that I had fearfully spilled all over the floor upstairs earlier. According to my new friends, this tea contained a special sleeping poison that was created by the witch herself in her laboratory across the room. This cage would then house the captive until the day the witch decided she was ready to feast. Taking deep breaths to calm myself down enough to attempt to formulate an escape plan, I looked at Hansel and Gretel closer, only to note that they were the spitting image of the children in the book I had grown up with. How was that possible; how did they not age in all that time?
“When the witch captured us,” Gretel began to explain, “we attempted to escape. This made her incredibly angry, so she had her dolls put a dark curse on us and the house. None of us shall ever age, nor leave this property until the day the witch meets her death in flames.”
Now I understood what we had to do: that witch had to go into her own stove! We gathered up and came up with a plan to jump her from all sides when she came to take one of us away next. Fortune must have been smiling on us at least a little that day, as we didn’t have to wait long. It seems that my antics had made the witch hungry, and she soon returned for the lalafell.
As soon as she had fully stepped into the cage, we all swarmed her and pinned her down. Hansel located rope, bound the witch and quickly opened the door to the stove so the rest of us could toss the evil witch in! After ensuring the door was tightly latched on the stove, I noted that the dolls started to fade away as the witch went up in flames. We didn’t waste a minute; no hesitation, we rushed up the stairs to our escape! Thank the Twelve we made it safely and that my bacon bread trail hadn’t been eaten! Once we reached the road, the lalafell thanked me profusely and went on her way, running as fast as her stubby little legs could carry her home!
As for me, I don’t think another day has passed that I have been as thankful and blessed to be in my own, quaint little Mist house with my new neighbors, Hansel and Gretel!
Myscha Rehl would like to thank Seraphyn Light for his help in making this amazing vision come to life!
To view larger, better quality photos, see this Imgur album!
To see more, feel free to visit Myscha Rehl’s house on Lich in Lavender Beds, Ward 8, Plot 15.