Morning sun, eternal light - where mother dusk exhales her brightest rays upon the Spiritwood - a fluttering solitary petal falls upon the fountain waters.
A silken-haired Mjrn basked near the fountain ledge, watching the petal drift and ripple across her wavy reflection. Carefully swiping up the petal, she runs it across her nose, then inhales. The scent of morning nectar, beautiful morning blessings, she thought. When the season was right, the land's fruit would ripen, and its flowers would burst with white and pink hues, then drift skyward into the wind before raining its gentle bounty upon the Spiritwood square.
She glimpsed above and saw how the leafy canopy cast a perfect balance between shade and sunlight. The sanctity of this timeless altar was unquestionable: a history of mighty ceremonies conducted and innumerable prayers whispered. She admired this sanctuary, because it too was her abiding refuge whenever her tender spirit cried for retreat. Today, however, she was without her troubles. She had only ascended the Wood's spiraling boughs and walkways for a simple cosmetic errand: a haircut. Only recently did the spurring desire arise although no solid words would clearly explain it. Perhaps just mere instinct, or perhaps redemption: a return to her former look - and also a time when she was free and unrestrained.
Another petal lands upon the waters. And then another. Truly the forest gardens afar were in full bloom. Mjrn felt the cool water spume over her face, so she closed her eyes and permitted the water pearls to collect on her glistening lips before dripping into her yellow corset. Even when alone, she found pleasure in these fleeting moments.
The fountain waters now emitted a pearly glimmer, a perennial layer of scintillating light. The floating petals continued to collect upon the waters. Mjrn unbuttoned and slowly disrobed her black oversweater. Still crosslegged in feminine pose, she then scooted closer over the water and peered again at her youthful image. Then tilting her head sideways, she removed her black embroidered hairband. One by one locks of silver hair collapsed beneath her shoulders. Her reflection was striking: the Viera she saw looked feral and untamed. Her chin-length hair of yesteryear had matured into tresses and curls, a style akin to her elder sister Jote. Still crosslegged, she readjusted her posture until her head clearly hovered over the pool of water. She would cut her hair, and the locks would fall into the rush of purifying rivers below.
She held steady and leaned even closer, uncovering her tender curves and comely physique. She unsheathed a small stiletto blade and carefully proceeded to cut her hair. It had grown longer since her last encounter with Vaan and his party. Such faraway feelings trickled into the present again: memories of Archadian soldiers and scientists, the open sea, dewdrop pebbles, talkative vigilante cockatrices - how long has it all been, she thought, since outsiders and wily events had chanced upon the hallowed grounds of the village? She struggled to mark time the way Humes did. Time here instead was frozen and still. But perhaps, she thought, it was just her who can feel the fine differences, for she was one of the few who had ever escaped the forest's embrace to seek the free winds of Ivalice.
No one talks about the outsiders that had rescued and returned one of their kin. It is strict canon that once a Viera leaves, she is forever exiled. Way of the Wood - the Green Word - but Jote, village elder and diviner of the law, had reluctantly accepted her back. Ever since those days, Mjrn thought, the village returned to vibrant slumber. After those bitter events she doubted the return of any Humes, whether warm-hearted vulgarman or cold-armored soldier. Never again would any outsiders be permitted, even for asylum, save the Moogles and their wares. Woodwarders guarded the gates, and vowed to cut down any trespassers without question and without remorse.
Hume ways are simply that: their ways - a pronouncement of Jote's, she remembered. She would declare that Ivalice remains for the Humes, and the Wood for the Viera. It was the Wood - divine unseen and First Cause - who had always guarded the meek from strife. In turn, the villagers would admit nothing laudable of the Humes who were entangled in their illusions, waste, and perpetual wars. Conflicts which had almost infected their land. Mjrn had once risen to kindly challenge the notion, where she pleaded to Jote that she may lay down her ignorance and listen: that Ivalice was a young magnificent world that shared its wealth with all, not just the Humes. Amidst darkness and death even outsiders could realize the highest potentials of beauty and divine graces. She was witness to it. But Mjrn could never ease Jote's dense convictions. Jote's ways would remain hers, while Mjrn's newfound truth of the world outside was hers alone.
The last lock of hair fell into the water. Now the tender nape of her neck was exposed, and once more she felt the caress of the forest breeze sweep across her soft skin. She felt reborn, but remiss in knowing how to carry forth with her elusive memories. Strong intangible feelings were these, she thought, but dreams she could never act upon, so dreams they continue to remain while etched into the depths of her Viera heart.
Looking into the eyes of her reflection, she shook her head, shifting pose from side to side to examine every nuance of her haircut. She was satisfied. And even with the remembrances returned and yearnings untold and unfulfilled, she manages to smile.