Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Great Googely Moogely! (Spring, 898)

I guess it shouldn't have really surprised me the way it did. I mean, everyone has a house-Moogle these days. Well, everyone except for a farming family on the outskirts of the Konschtat Highlands. I had heard of Moogles before, but had never seen one up close before.

It wasn't nearly as big as I thought it would be. Even hovering off the floor, his head was about level with my chest.

A Moogle is one of the inhabitants of Vana'diel. They are an intelligent, hardworking race that, for some reason, absolutely loves to take care of other people's homes and belongings. You give a Moogle a place to sleep, and he'll keep it sparkling clean for you. It's odd.

I was actually alright with having a Moogle in my new home. Truth be told, I'm sure I can be a bit of a slob sometimes. Having someone else around to help take care of that would probably be really nice.

"Hello," I said, inclining my head slightly to the Moogle. "My name is Aspen. I'm moving into this home, so I guess you're my house-Moogle." I smiled, attempting to put him at ease. Was it even a 'him'? How do you tell these things?

"Good evening, kupo!" the Moogle said, bobbing its head back at me. The pom on top of his head waved back and forth comically, and I had to struggle to keep from laughing. "They told me you were coming today, so I cleaned up and kept the fire nice and hot for you." He waved his hand toward the fireplace, where a large fire burned brightly.

"Thank you," I said with another smile, even though the weather was hardly appropriate for a fire. "That was very nice of you." It felt a bit odd to be making small-talk with a house-Moogle, and I briefly wondered if other people talked to theirs.

"So do you have a name?" I inquired, determined to stop thinking of him as 'the house-Moogle'. I turned to look him over, getting my first close look at a Moogle.

His body was actually covered by a fine white fur, and his facial features resembled that of a cat. The pom in the middle of his forehead was bright red, and didn't seem to serve any other purpose than to gauge his emotions. On his back was a pair of shiny purple wings, which was currently letting him hover.

"My..my last owner called me 'Mog'," he said, not meeting my gaze. "But I was named Moguri by my mother." His pom drooped a bit as he spoke, revealing his feelings about his given nickname.

"Well, I think I can call you Moguri, if you like," I said slowly, watching his pom to gauge his reaction. It stopped its drooping almost immediately, and Moguri's bobbing grew a little more enthusiastic.

"That would be great, kupo!" Moguri chirped. "Moogles have never been happy with nicknames. Especially not such a generic one." His energy level seemed to double, and he flitted over to me. "Can I take your pack? You must have come a long ways."

I nodded, shrugging the pack from my shoulders. Moguri took it, and, with some difficulty, moved it over to a small closet by the entrance door, hanging it over a peg. I took the opportunity to look around the room.

As I had expected, it was sparsely furnished. The best feature of the room was the fieldstone fireplace, in which Moguri had kept a nice, big fire going, as promised. There was a small, rough-looking bed in one corner, and a wobbly wooden chair in front of the fire. A door in the far wall led into what I assume was the privy, and there was a small cubby near the front door. Otherwise, the room was bare.

"We'll have to do something about that soon," I muttered, making a mental note to myself. First priority would be to find steady work, and then the furniture could come later.

I walked over and sat in the chair, looking into the fire as ideas for furnishing my new home raced through my mind.

"Is something wrong, kupo?" came the soft voice from somewhere near my elbow.

"No," I replied, "everything is just fine. Happy to be home, is all."

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Home, at last? (Spring, 898)

The walk back to the main gate was a bit shorter than before, mainly because I didn't stop to ogle the buildings and people. Actually, I went a little out of my way to avoid the auction house. I could probably lose most of my day spending my meager supply of gil.

Rashid was standing in the same place as the last time I saw him. It actually looked like he hadn't moved a single step in the entire time I was gone. This time, miraculously, there wasn't even a line of people waiting to see him.

"Hail, future citizen," Rashid intoned flatly as I approached. "Your housing application has been processed..almost an hour ago." He held his hand up, offering a shiny object toward me. "Here is your new housekey. The scrap of paper with it has the location of your room. Replacement keys will cost two hundred gil apiece, so be careful with this one."

I nodded, taking the large key from his hand. "Thank you," I said, nodding my head slightly.

"It's my job," he stated, finally cracking a smile. "By the way, did you make any decisions on your military service? I heard through the command chain that they are licensing inexperienced adventurers at this time." He shrugged, adding, "Might be worth your while, that's all."

"Thank you," I said again, nodding my head. "I'll keep that in mind." I wondered how many other people he had told the same lead, and what my chances were of being chosen.

"Not a problem," he replied with another elusive smile. "Always happy to help out someone in need. I'm storing up some karma." He smirked, then turned away as a dark-haired Hume stepped up to his post, presumably another registrant for housing.

I turned east toward the residential district, which took me right past the large pens for the riding chocobos. So that was the wonderful smell hovering around the main gate. I guess we do learn something new every day.

Luckily, the residential district was situated far enough away from the pens to reduce the smell significantly. I didn't think it would be a problem when I got to my new home, which was still a short ways away according to the directions. I shrugged my shoulders, and kept walking.

The residential district was surprisingly clean, with well-kept houses lining both sides of the cobbled road. There wasn't much in the way of plantlife, which can be expected in the dry terrain Bastok was in, but there were a few scrubby-looking short trees between houses. It was an effort, anyways.

I found my new residence with little trouble. You have to expect some when most of the houses look alike. Obviously this was one of the mass housing booms after the crystal wars, which meant the housing was about twenty years old. For stone houses, that shouldn't be too bad.

I found the matching house number to the one on the paper, and stepped up to the front door. The house didn't look as well-kept as its neighbors, but I guess that's to be expected when a house sits unoccupied. I made a mental note to try and do some basic repairs, then slid the key into the lock, twisting it gently to unlock the door.

Before I could push the door open, it was pulled open from the inside, nearly pulling me off balance with it.

"Welcome home, Kupo!" came the voice from inside the dim room.