"I, Yuna, Daughter of Braska -" there it was again, that stirring of displeasured unease. Not from myself, but the fayth that resided inside of the statue - Valefor. Her carved eyes seemed to glare down at me reproachfully as I swallowed pointlessly and continued. "I, Yuna, Daughter of Braska, present myself to Yu Yevon and humbly request the fayth to place their trust in me -" another stirring of not-quite-anger. The rest of the prayer died on my parched lips as the dull ache in my throat returned. What tears were left in me coursed down my cheeks again as I fell on my hands, crouching before the statue. I had been in here for - for - I had no idea, though Wakka would later say that it was over a day. Why won't you listen to me?! I screamed in my head, unwilling to break what remained of my outward composure. "Please," I pleaded. "I, Yuna, Daughter of Braska-" there it was again! The realization of its meaning struck me so hard I was astonished I hadn't picked up on it the first ten times.
"Is that hk/-it?" I demanded. "Do you think I'm /hk only doing this for my father's name?" I felt a yes roll off of the statue. My brow furrowed in anger. "Well, you're-" I paused, calmed myself. "You are wrong. I, Yuna, daughter of Braska, present myself to Yu -/hk/- Yevon and humbly request the fayth to place their trust in me, so that I may become a Summoner and vanquish Sin to bring about a Calm." Another twinge of skepticism, but not as intense as it had been before. "I place the good of Spira before my life." I had deviated from the set prayer long ago. What I said now was mostly my own invention. "I honor the spirit of my father, High Summoner Braska, and pray that he will watch over me on my pilgrimage. Fayth of Valefor, I humbly request you to believe in me, and I will not fail you."
If a statue could snort in disbelief, Valefor's would have done so. She still did not believe me! I tried again. "Honored Fayth, if I were only doing this for the sake of my father, I would not be here," I told her. "I am tired, hungry, and thirsty, but I will not leave this temple until you give me your blessing." The fayth seemed to hesitate, doubt its conviction. Sensing this, I pressed onward determinedly. "I honor the spirit of my father and give praise to Yu Yevon, and I will sacrifice myself so that others may live in Calm. I, Yuna, Daughter of Braska, present myself to the Fayth...."
I felt my way along the temple walls, my eyes closing and opening on their own whims. I was starving. I needed water. My energy was totally spent. But I was happy - happier than I had ever been. A deep, reassuring presence seemed to hum through my bones, and although its arrival had sapped me even more, it was thanks to her that I even had the strength to walk. Valefor had finally become my Aeon.
I could hear Wakka and Lulu and - someone else downstairs, but it didn't matter who. I stood at the top and looked down, barely registering the stranger. I started to walk downstairs, I think - but I guess it didn't work, because a second later I was in Kimahri's arms. It took me a second to readjust myself and I stood up, facing them with a smile. "I've done it," I declared. "I've become a summoner!"
The next few hours seemed to go by in a blur. I felt a great sense of accomplishment as I summoned Valefor, but humbled as well. After all, most summoners didn't take an entire day to recieve their first Aeon. But I felt better after I had had something to eat and drink, and I finally got to talk to the odd stranger - Tidus, according to Lulu - who had been in the temple. Lulu had told me about him, "barging into the temple and upsetting everything," she'd said, and apparently he'd been close to Sin sometime recently. He'd kept talking about how he was from Zanarkand, "like some heretic."
Actually, nobody seemed to like him very much - probably because of the way he rushed into the Cloister of Trials. I could see why they were upset, but all he had wanted to do was help, and besides - you can't expect a person to remember temple propriety after they've been hit by Sin's toxin. I thought he was lucky to be alive, much less running around trying to help apprentice summoners. "You heathen, stay away from her! You're a bad man! Be careful, Lady Yuna!" they shouted at him. I shook my head.
"But it was really my fault to begin with." I moved over to him and introduced myself. "I'm Yuna. Thank you somuch for your help earlier."
He looked a little sheepish. "I'm sorry about that... wasn't that... wasn't I not supposed to.... Guess I...kind of overreacted."
"Oh, no. I was..." I struggled to find the right word. "Overconfident."
"Um, I saw that aeon thing," he said, thankfully changing the subject. "That's amazing!" I beamed.
"Really? Do you think I can become a high summoner?" He nodded immediately, but if he had anything to say I didn't get to hear it - the kid who had warned him of before was demanding my attention again. "So, tomorrow then?" I said as I started away. He looked confused, repeating the word in a question.
"We're going on the same boat, aren't we?" I asked, hoping the answer would be yes. He seemed nice, and, well - all right, I thought he was good-looking. I didn't acknowledge that at the time, but I think it was a part of why I wanted to know him better.
"Oh, really?" He seemed to brighten up at that. I smiled.
"We can talk more," I told him, and added, "You can tell me all about Zanarkand!"
Well, even he was only dreaming from Sin, it might be interesting to hear, I thought as I headed off to play with the child and pack my things. I wanted to be up early to start on my pilgrimage the next day.