Note: I did these story quests on my alternate character, Diana, who is a Femroe Paladin and a First Lieutenant in the Maelstrom. Some dialogue may be slightly different for your character. I’ve also adjusted the format slightly from the one I used for the main Stormblood questline text files.
Quest: Arenvald’s Adventure
(Speaking to Lyse and M’naago in Rhalg’r’s Reach)
Lyse: Come to see how we’re getting on? We’ve made good progress since we took back Ala Mhigo, but there’s one big issue we still have to address…Leadership. The Domans had Lord Hien ready and willing to take the throne, but we’ve got no one like that here. Theodoric was our last ruler─and he wasn’t called the mad king for nothing.
M’naago: Suffice it to say, our people have had their fill of kings─which means we need to find a new way forward.
Lyse: If only it were that easy. Everyone and his uncle has an opinion. For the time being, we’re just going to have to keep leaning on General Aldynn and the Alliance for support, and see if we can’t find a solution together. Something tells me we’re going to be hosting a lot of meetings in the near future…But if that’s what it takes, I’m ready to talk till my jaw aches! The Reach is yours, Naago. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t.
M’naago: Aye, aye, Commander!
(Lyse walks off and Arenvald walks up.)
Arenvald: Ah, there you are! I’ve been searching all over for you. Don’t worry, it’s nothing bad. That said, this might not be the best place to talk. Will you join me?
(We move to a quieter part of Rhalgr’s Reach.)
Arenvald: I’ll get to the point: might you be interested in a spot of adventure? After all, we were “adventurers” before we were Scions, were we not? After routing the imperials and liberating Ala Mhigo, I reckon we’ve earned a bit of respite, don’t you? And what better way to spend it than by returning to our roots? So what say you: shall we call on Alphinaud and go adventuring?
(“Twist my arm, why don’t you!”)
Arenvald: Right then, let’s go and find Master Leveilleur. Actually, leave that to me. I want you fresh for our little adventure. Wait for us by the aetheryte, and we’ll be along shortly. See you there!
(By the Reach Aetheryte)
Arenvald: Allow me to explain. It’ll be something of a history lesson, but I’ll try to be brief. No snoring, if you please. Now, the events I would speak of occurred before the occupation─back when Ala Mhigo was still a monarchy, and Theodoric sat the throne.
Alphinaud: A uniquely brutal despot, by all accounts.
Arenvald: That he was. The King of Ruin suffered no rivals, real or imagined, and his dispute with the monks of the Fist ended with Rhalgr’s Reach being burned to the ground. In the latter years of his rule, he was seized by the unshakable belief that unseen forces were conspiring to steal his crown. And so he ordered that every soul with a claim to the throne be executed─including his own family. The wealth of the poor sods he put to death became the property of the king, and it’s said that these royal treasures were hoarded somewhere in the palace. Thus was born the legend of the “mad king’s trove.”
Alphinaud: Ah. I believe I see the direction our adventure is to take. I assume you have a mind to unearth this hidden bounty?
Arenvald: You assume correctly!
Alphinaud: And would I also be correct in assuming that this legend is widely known? Others must surely have gone in search of your prize, tempting as it seems.
Arenvald: Well, of course we won’t be the first to make the attempt. Following Ala Mhigo’s liberation, more than a few eager soldiers turned the palace upside down in hopes of claiming an easy fortune. But even after scouring every room from dawn till dusk, they uncovered not a single coin. Their gold-lust drained away as quickly as it had come, and the legend of the mad king’s trove remains simply that─a legend.
Alphinaud: But I see you have no intention of letting the story end there.
Arenvald: What self-respecting adventurer would!? Imagine: the three of us, delving into a decades-old mystery! Tell me the thought doesn’t set your heart to racing!
Quest: The Darkness Below
Alphinaud: The news of Doma and Ala Mhigo’s liberation has kindled the flames of revolution in every corner of the Empire. I hear the imperial province of Dalmasca has already risen up in rebellion……Which means the Garleans must surely have their hands full. What better time than now to indulge in such a diversion? Tell us, Arenvald─have we any clues as to where we might begin our search?
Arenvald: Well, judging by how the other treasure hunters fared, nosing about the palace isn’t like to get us anywhere, so…we’ll probably need to, uh…ask around.
Alphinaud: Would that be another way of saying “no”?
Arenvald: Well… Heh heh heh! Yes.
Alphinaud: I see. In that case, I shall pay a visit to the Allied archivists and request access to the records seized from the imperials. The Garleans are meticulous about such things. If they uncovered the trove during their occupation, the event is certain to have been recorded. In the meantime, the two of you can track down those who worked as palace servants and officials in Theodoric’s day. Given that they would have been at least twenty at the time, you will be looking for people who have seen forty summers or more. Anything they can tell you about the king and his bloody deeds may prove useful, so be sure to listen well. Arenvald, pray try your luck in the Fringes and the Peaks whilst Diana makes the rounds in the Ala Mhigan Quarter.
Arenvald: Hah! And there I was thinking I was the party leader. Not that I mind, of course! Let’s be about it, eh? We can meet afterwards at Gylbarde’s Gate!
(Off to the Ala Mhigan Quarter to question the locals!)
Middle-aged Highlander: …In the palace? No, not me, lass. Surely you’ve heard stories of the mad king? He used to hold public executions up on the Divine Audience. Anyone─and I mean anyone─suspected of conspiring against the crown was flung from the top of those steps. Suffice it to say that I stayed as far away from the palace as possible.
Mature Maid: You want to hear an old maid’s stories, do you? Aye, well most of what I know of the mad king is common knowledge. We’d only see His Royal Majesty when he deigned to attend the executions he’d ordered. And after a while, even watching his “enemies” die wasn’t enough to coax him out of hiding. They say he started seeing assassins in every shadow, and wouldn’t set foot outside the palace walls. I was offered work there as a royal servant once, but the mere thought of it left me in a cold sweat…
Retired Roegadyn: …Aye, I served at the pleasure of King Theodoric, and lived to tell the tale. One of the palace guards, I was. Truth be told, it was a dark chapter in my life, and one I’d sooner forget. Hardly a night went by when we didn’t hear bloodcurdling screams echoing from the inner chambers─which, of course, we were under orders to ignore. So we’d stand still as statues, trying not to imagine what horrors were unfolding within… If you’re hells-bent on finding out what happened in the palace, head down the street here and ask old Ernold─he was the king’s head scribe.
Ernold: Yes, I am Ernold. …What do you want with me? Hmmm, you would have me dredge up some decidedly unsavory memories. Yet if Ala Mhigo is to move forward, we must needs acknowledge the misdeeds of the past. Very well, I shall tell you what I remember. I take it you know of Theodoric’s paranoia and the public executions of his kinsmen? Those were terrible enough. But in his last days, the king’s fevered mind settled upon an even grislier method of “disposal” which only a chosen few were unfortunate enough to witness. His Majesty ordered the court thaumaturge to unleash a vile curse upon the remaining members of the royal family─a magic which transformed them into fiends of hideous aspect. The resulting…monstrosities were then cast into the darkness below the palace. Even now, my sleep is troubled by nightmares. If others of Theodoric’s blood were prone to share his madness, then mayhap it is a kindness that the monarchy ended with him.
(Rendezvous with Alphinaud and Arenvald)
Arenvald: Since we’re all here, why don’t we share what we’ve learned?
Alphinaud: Allow me to begin, then. As promised, I scoured the imperial records for any mention of fantastic treasures…and found precisely none. It is just possible, I suppose, that a corrupt official deliberately hid the fact of the trove’s discovery, hoping to enrich himself─but I find it rather unlikely that so valuable a find would stay secret for long. I conclude that our prize either does not exist, or that the imperials somehow overlooked it. But what of you, Diana? Were your investigations any more fruitful? …Turned into monsters? And what could he mean by this “darkness beneath the palace,” I wonder…
Arenvald: I met an old man in Ala Ghiri who spoke of the palace’s subterranean prison, but he said naught of cursed abominations!
Alphinaud: The imperial archives were also silent on the subject of fiends inside the palace grounds.
Arenvald: Could this scribe fellow have been spinning her a yarn, do you think? Did you believe him, Diana?
(“His fear seemed genuine.”)
Arenvald: If he was afraid, that does lend credence to the tale─though I’m not sure how that helps us in our search.
Alphinaud: Do not be so hasty─Ernold’s anecdote may very well have told us where the trove is hidden. But ere I share my theory, there is a matter I would clarify. Arenvald, you spoke of lighthearted adventure, but I sense a deeper motive for this expedition. Why are you so intent on finding this treasure?
Arenvald: …It wasn’t all pretense, I swear it. But…you’re right. My father was in the imperial army, a man of Garlean blood. I trust you know what I mean when I say that my Ala Mhigan mother did not welcome my arrival? As I grew, she would check my brow over and over, convinced that a spot on my skin was an emerging third eye─like the kind you see in pureblood Garleans. My mother did not care for this taunting reminder of my heritage, and took up a knife…War paint serves to cover the scar. In the end, she turned me out into the street, and I was left to haunt the alleyways of Ala Mhigo, a feral child who got what he needed through begging, cunning, or worse. The best I can say about the years that followed is that I survived. But I hated the animal I’d become. Eventually, I left the city behind me, and joined a group of refugees bound for the other side of the Wall. It was then that I turned to adventuring, and that road led me into the company of the Scions. I tell you this so that you understand I know all too well what poverty and hunger can do to a person. I drew steel on ordinary folk for a measly crust of bread. With Theodoric’s gold, I could spare my countrymen the shame of living like that.
Alphinaud: Thank you, Arenvald, and I apologize─that cannot have been pleasant to recall. But I felt it best to be clear in our intentions. Well, Diana? Are you content to surrender the treasure to Arenvald’s noble cause, and claim the thrill of adventure as your reward? Then I should be glad to tell you my theory on the resting place of the mad king’s trove…if you are minded to hear it?
Quest: The Mad King’s Trove
Alphinaud: …Actually, mayhap it would be better if we first adjourned to a more suitable location.
Arenvald: …In case a rival treasure hunter overhears our plans, you mean? Good thinking!
Alphinaud: That…was not exactly the reason, but ’tis certainly a valid concern. Let us reconvene on the southern edge of Loch Seld.
(By the shore of the salt lake)
Alphinaud: Forgive me. ‘Twas not my intention to draw out proceedings. I simply wished to have the loch in sight while I explained things. Prior to the great flood of the Sixth Umbral Calamity, the salt lakes you see before you were yet dry ravines. And this, believe it or not, was the site of the ancient city of Skalla, which rose and fell during the Fifth Astral Era. From what we know of the period, the city was already deserted by the time the waters began to rise, having been all but destroyed by war. Yet its ruins remain to this day at the bottom of Loch Seld. It is my belief that the “darkness beneath the palace” mentioned by Theodoric’s former scribe was not a reference to the prison, but to a place still further below: the ruins of Skalla. I further surmise that the mad king’s unfortunate kinsmen were cast down there not simply out of a desire to punish them, but to discourage exploration. Theodoric wanted to keep the ruins secure…
Alphinaud: Prior to the great flood of the Sixth Umbral Calamity, the salt lakes you see before you were yet dry ravines. And this, believe it or not, was the site of the ancient city of Skalla, which rose and fell during the Fifth Astral Era.
Arenvald: Wait…you’re saying…they were meant to guard the mad king’s trove!
Alphinaud: Precisely. And since we know the court thaumaturge was involved, we can safely assume that any entrance into the old city will have been magically concealed.
Arenvald: …Which would explain how a legion of imperial soldiers and the gods know how many Ala Mhigans never found a trace of the trove.
Alphinaud: We, however, have certain advantages which they did not enjoy. Diana─would you be so good as to swim down to the bottom of the loch and search for an underwater route into the ruins? While you do that, Arenvald and I will seek out an ensorcelled portal within the palace.
(Deep under the lake’s surface is an ancient stone door)
(The linkpearl chimes)
Alphinaud’s Voice: Diana─it’s Alphinaud. We have searched the prison beneath the palace, and found a door concealed by enchantments. Have you aught to report? …And you believe it leads into the ruins? Excellent. Then I propose we proceed from our respective entry points and look to meet somewhere in the middle.
Arenvald’s Voice: Oh, come on, you two─we might as well make it a race! Victory goes to the first adventurer to find the treasure! Godsspeed!
Dungeon: The Drowned City of Skalla
(Upon defeating monsters in here, most of them transform back to Hyur)
(After defeating Hrodric Poisontongue, a hole cracks open in the ceiling and Alphinaud and Arenvald tumble through.)
Arenveld: Bugger it. (Note: It’s not in the chat text, but he definitely says it!)
Alphinaud: Are you all right?
Arenvald: Aye…aye… Everything’s still attached.
(Alphinaud looks up and sees the Warrior of Light)
Alphinaud: Ah… It seems both our paths led here. Very good. We spent altogether too much time fleeing fiends horrid and numerous. How fared you? Much the same, then. ‘Twould appear this place is yet inhabited by King Theodoric’s kin─or what is left of them. The work of terrible magicks, I fear…
Arenvald: Terrible, aye, but their misfortune is our…fortune?
Alphinaud: Quite… By the Twelve, there is even more than I imagined…
Arenvald: Oh, I can’t wait to see the look on Lyse’s face! Thanks for believing in me, you two!
(We exit the Drowned City and emerge back on the streets of the Ala Mhigan Quarter)
Alphinaud: Arenvald and I forged ahead at the fastest pace we could manage, but I was not surprised to find you waiting for us. I suppose it serves us right for challenging the Warrior of Light. Next time, we should agree on some manner of handicap…
Arenvald: Ah, we may have lost, Alphinaud─but think of what we found!
Alphinaud: Quite. I am still reeling at the sight of that mountain of riches…
Arenvald: What, like how you reeled at the sight of that floating specter, you mean? You should have heard him scream, Diana!
Alphinaud: M-Must we dwell on such momentary lapses!? We found the mad king’s trove, and that is all that matters!
Quest: The Butcher’s Blood
Arenvald: All jesting aside, we must tell people the good news. And I think Lyse should be the first.
Alphinaud: Seconded. There is to be a meeting of representatives from across Ala Mhigo, so she is sure to be in the city. Shall we seek her out?
(We meet with Lyse elsewhere in the Quarter)
Lyse: Oh? You three look pleased with yourselves. What’ve you been up to?
Arenvald: I’m glad you asked, Lyse. And I’m pretty sure you’re going to like the answer…
Lyse: You’re joking… The mad king’s trove!? I thought it was a myth!
Arenvald: So did plenty of people. But they didn’t have Diana and Alphinaud in their party. The credit for finding it should really go to them. As for what to do with it all…I vote that it go towards alleviating the suffering of Ala Mhigo’s poor.
Lyse: Gods… If there’s as much as you say…
Alphinaud: Arenvald did not exaggerate, I assure you. We could not hope to carry even a fraction of it out on our own. I have taken the liberty of sketching out a rough map of the ruins─if you will assemble a squad of your most trusted freedom fighters, they should be able to follow the route to where the treasure lies.
Lyse: Understood. I’ll make sure every coin is accounted for, and that goes for the spending of it as well!
Arenvald: Thank you.
Arenvald: Oh, there is one other thing: when the times comes to draw up a plan for distributing the spoils, I would ask that you consult Alphinaud. I don’t have a head for details. I’m not…educated. I see that simply handing out sacks of gil won’t solve everything, but I couldn’t rightly tell you what to do instead.
Lyse: Oh, I know the feeling! I’d welcome any advice you could give us, Alphinaud.
Alphinaud: Of course. I shall be at your disposal.
(A member of the Resistance comes running up)
Resistance Fighter: Commander! We’ve got a problem!
Lyse: Deep breaths. Tell me what’s happened.
Resistance Fighter: A mob’s gathered outside headquarters, and they’ve started making demands. You’d best come and see for yourself!
(We run off to see what the problem is.)
(At HQ, M’naago is holding off a group of several dozen angry Ala Mhigans.)
M’naago: Step back, all of you!
Tattooed Troublemaker: Like hells we will! We know who you’ve got in there!
Wrathful Resident: We’re not leaving till you hand her over!
Raging Resident: Bring her out! Bring her out!
Lyse: What’s going on!?
M’naago: Someone let slip about Fordola…
Tattooed Troublemaker: It’s true then! The bitch really is in there! I knew it! I bloody knew it! We demand vengeance! Bring her out! Today we butcher the Butcher!
Lyse: Butcher the…? Come on, you don’t mean that. We’d be no better than the imperials! If you’d all just calm down─
Wrathful Resident: Calm down!? That monster and her thrice-damned Skulls dragged my man from our home and beat him to death in the street!
Raging Resident: Aye! And my dad! That bitch has spilt enough blood to fill a loch!
Tattooed Troublemaker: We all know her crimes! She’s a traitor and a murderer! How many of your Resistance friends have died at her hands, eh? And here you are protecting her!
(Raubahn walks up)
Raubahn: So that’s what all the fuss is about… Hearken to me, brothers and sisters of Ala Mhigo! My friends─you are not alone in your anger, your grief, your despair, for it is mine as well! That gnawing pain in your breast…it is enough to bring an old bull to his knees. But I ask you, brothers and sisters, to think not only of the family and friends who were cut down before your very eyes, but to think also of the ones who were abducted─the ones who may yet live! Where were they taken? What became of them? These questions demand answers! I share your thirst for justice. For vengeance. But we will gain only fleeting satisfaction if we give in to our base appetites─we will never know the truth! Now is the time that we, the people of Ala Mhigo, must decide what manner of nation we will build for ourselves, and for generations yet unborn. When they look to our example, will they see a people who held fast to their principles, or one who cast them aside when tried? I say to you, it is our responsibility to give these prisoners a fair trial, that they might answer to all of Ala Mhigo! The Garleans called us savages, and I’ll be damned if we prove them right!
(The crowd applauds Raubahn’s impassioned speech.)
Tattooed Troublemaker: I know you’re right, I do, but…I can’t…
(Raubahn looks at the man. The man looks down. The crowd disperses.)
Lyse: My thanks, Raubahn. Listening to their anger, I could feel myself being swept away…
Raubahn: ‘Tis a difficult tide to stem. ‘Twas that same rage which brought us to our feet, and carried us to victory. But now the war is over, all the unspent fury is being channeled into vengeance.
M’naago: Aye, and it’s not just here─we’ve reports of mobs forming all over. They’ve been targeting folk known to have cooperated with the Garleans. It starts with insults most often, then someone picks up a stone… Some industrious souls even thought to seek out the graves of Zenos and his officers. It was…grim.
Lyse: I want to build a country where everyone, regardless of race or origin, can live side by side in peace. But maybe the time isn’t right. Maybe people just aren’t ready… But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try. The representatives will be here soon, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to give up before I’ve even begun.
Arenvald: Who are these representatives exactly?
Lyse: Oh, village elders, refugee leaders and the like. It wouldn’t be right for us to dictate the nation’s future on our own, so we’ve planned a summit of sorts. We’ve even invited the Ananta and the Qiqirn to participate.
Raubahn: Ala Mhigo stands at a crossroads, and this meeting will decide which path it takes. The matter of Fordola’s sentence cannot be suffered to disrupt proceedings.
M’naago: Then let’s execute her and be done with it. She herself asked to be put to death.
Lyse: Naago! I already explained why we wouldn’t do that! Sending her to the gallows might satisfy people right now, but where would it end? Should we round up everyone who collaborated? And everyone who didn’t resist? There would be no one left! And we’d be no better than Theodoric and Zenos!
Arenvald: Begging your pardon, but…might I be allowed to speak with Fordola? Only, I caught a glimpse of her past. A moment of it, anyway─during the fight. She’s done terrible things, aye…unforgivable things… But…in some ways, she’s a victim of the circumstances in which she was born. And that’s something I can understand…
Lyse: All right. Speak with the prison guard when you’re ready, and I’ll come and join you. I want to talk to her too.
Raubahn: I’ll return to my other duties, then─we’ve barely begun to investigate the facility where they gave Fordola her powers. Be fairly warned, friends: she will test you. Don’t let your emotions color your judgment when she does.
(We enter the building to speak with the prisoner.)
Fordola: Well, well, well… So many visitors. Come to have a good laugh, have you? Or do you mean to put me out of my misery? To finish what you started? It’s about bloody time.
Lyse: That’s not why we’re here, no. Do you remember what I said? How I promised you you’d live long enough to see us win our freedom? Well, I meant it. And not to mock you, either.
Fordola: You’re wasting your time. All of this is pointless. There’s no reason to keep me alive, and you know it! I killed your men─I killed my men! And you know what my only regret is? That I didn’t kill you when I had the chance!
Arenvald: That’s a lie, and you know it! You think we can’t tell what you’re trying to do? That we’re blind? You’re a fool, but you’re not stupid. You’re ruthless. Relentless. You’d give up anything and everything to get what you want. You didn’t come this far, climbing over the bodies of your own brothers and sisters, just to piss it all away! I see you, Fordola! I see you for what you are!
(An Echo hits the Warrior of Light suddenly. A scene from Fordola’s past appears.)
Fordola’s Mother: Come along, Fordola! We mustn’t be late! The imperial viceroy will be attending today’s banquet!
Fordola: All right…Father, what’s Lord Gaius like? Is he nice? Are you friends?
Fordola’s Father: There you go again with all your questions…Lord Gaius is a great and honorable man who looks after all of Ala Mhigo. He’s very busy, and if we don’t hurry, we’ll miss our chance to see him.
(As they walk down the street, a rough-looking Ala Mhigan man glares at them.)
Ala Mhigan Malcontent: Filthy tinhead-lovers…
Fordola: Father, what did that man call us?
(The Malcontent walks up to Fordola’s family)
Ala Mhigan Malcontent: The little tinhead-lover doesn’t know what she is, eh? A traitor, sweetheart. A backstabbing bitch who’d gladly betray her kith and kin to gnaw on what few scraps the imperials deign to toss her. Like your bastard father and whore mother!
Fordola: That’s not true! My parents are good people! They’ve never done anything like that!
(Fordala’s eyes well up with tears and she runs off)
Ala Mhigan Malcontent: Oh but they were quick to help themselves and their bitch spawn, weren’t they? You’re just as guilty as them!
(Fordola runs into a rough area. A woman throws a rock at her. Fordola ducks. Her father runs after her, shielding her as more rocks start to fly.)
Fordola’s Father: Fordola!
(Fordola’s mother runs up to a pair of nearby Imperial soldiers.)
Fordola’s Mother: Please! You have to do something! My husband and daughter are in danger!
(The senior soldier is unmoved.)
Imperial Pilus Prior: Soldiers of the imperial army are under no obligation to intervene in the disputes of Aan.
(Note: The word “Aan” is not defined. It seems to mean something like “non-citizen” or “non-Garlean”.)
Fordola’s Mother: We’re citizens! We have rights!
(The mob is getting uglier, pelting Fordola’s father with stones and debris as he tries to shield Fordola from the attack.)
Fordola: Father, I’m scared!
Fordola’s Father: It’s all right, it’s all right. They don’t understand. But they’ll see in time. They’ll see that this is the only way to survive.
(The mob is shouting “Traitors!” A burly man picks up a large rock and hurls it. It strikes Fordola’s father square in the head, and he falls.)
(The junior Imperial officer moves to help, but his senior stops him.)
Imperial Pilus Prior: Let the savages have their fun. They’ll be more compliant once they’ve tired themselves out.
(The scene shifts. An adult Fordola walks up to a pair of Imperial soldiers. Her aged mother follows after her.)
Fordola’s Mother: Fordola, please! You already have citizenship! Why would you want to become a soldier!?
(Fordola turns. She is wearing the same face paint pattern her father wore on the day he died.)
Fordola’s Mother: Oh gods, what have you done to your face!?
Fordola: Forgotten it already, have you? I’m honoring Father’s memory.
Fordola’s Mother: By telling the world that you’re no better than a common savage!?
Fordola: Am I, though, Mother? Are any of us? Can’t you see? Citizenship means nothing to them. If you’re not a pureblood Garlean, you’re no different from any other savage. So I’ll play the part. I’ll join the legion and I’ll make them respect me. And when the mob see that, they’ll think twice before throwing their stones.
(She turns to her Ala Mhigan friends who are joining up with her.)
Fordola: Ansfrid, Hrudolf, Emelin. It’s time! It’ll be hard. Humiliating. They’ll try to break us─send us crawling back to our “own kind.” But we won’t, no matter what. We’ll bleed for them─die for them if we have to. We’ll do whatever it takes to be free!
(The scene fades back to Fordola’s present-day prison cell.)
Arenvald: So, you mean to play the part one last time, eh? The unrepentant traitor, whose death will serve to unite the people?
Fordola: Shut up!
Arenvald: You had every chance to kill yourself. Fashion a noose from your clothes, wait for the guards to leave you alone long enough to slip it over your neck─
Fordola: I said shut up!
Arenvald: But then it would all have been for nothing, wouldn’t it? Whatever it takes. That’s what you said.
Fordola: …Been in my head, have you? Had a little peek at my past? And what, a few stolen memories tell you everything you need to know, do they? Don’t you dare patronize me! You don’t know a godsdamned thing about the life I’ve led! The bastards that killed him, the bastards that let it happen─my father deserved better! I swore I’d do whatever it took to make them pay!
(Fordola’s eye flashes red and she cries out as she is hit with a set of Echoes from the Warrior of Light’s past.)
Fordola: You…y-you… All that power…all that pain… It’s too much… Too much for anyone! The things they’ve done to you. The lies, the betrayal, the endless fighting…yet there you stand, unbroken. How…? Why…?
(“You know why. You saw.”)
Fordola: Damn you… Damn you all…
Lyse: You still have time, Fordola. Think about how you want to spend it. Let’s go.
(Fordola is left alone in her cell.)
Quest: Echoes of an Echo
Lyse: I don’t know that we solved anything exactly, but we’ve given Fordola something to think about at least.
Arenvald: Aye… And I’ve found something new to think about too.
Arenvald: I don’t know about you, Diana, but the visions only come to me every now and then. From the way Fordola kept wincing, though, I get the feeling she’s having them almost all the time. That’s a lot of bad memories to deal with…Hmmm… I wonder… Could there be some fundamental difference between one who is born with the Echo and one who has been artificially imbued with it?
Lyse: Well, the Immortal Flames have been scouring that research facility ever since the liberation. There’s a chance they might have some answers for us. General Aldynn’s there overseeing the investigation. Let’s go and pay him a visit, shall we?
(At the Resonatorium)
Raubahn: What news? You spoke with Fordola, I take it?
Lyse: Yes. As expected, she didn’t say very much, but it wasn’t a total waste of time. Arenvald noticed something odd about her. He thinks she might be having visions almost constantly, which is not how the Echo normally works. Have you found anything here which might explain why it’s so different for her?
Raubahn: Hmph. We’ve been hard-pressed just to organize the research materials, let alone study them. To be frank, I’d welcome the Scions’ expert assistance, if you have time to lend a hand.
(The device in which Krile was held seems even more ominous now you know its purpose. The surrounding pods are marked “Supply Subject” while this one bears the label “Master Subject.”)
Ironworks Engineer: The Ironworks received a request from the Alliance to analyze these devices, and I’ve been recording everything of interest. Did you notice the labeling? All the pods are designed to drain the aether of the occupant…save that one right there. Unlike the others, the interior’s been fitted with an array of sensors to measure aetheric wave forms. To what purpose, however, I couldn’t tell you.
(There are black body bags laid out everywhere along the edges of the room.)
Flame Investigator: So many bodies… Every one of them a victim of these “experiments.” Few show any signs of external injury. From what we’ve been able to determine, they perished from forcible aether extraction. Such a miserable way to die…
Raubahn: I know little and less of science, so any light you can shed on this facility’s operations would be much appreciated. Diana, shall we start with you?
Alphinaud: Taken in combination with the testimonies of Krile and Thancred, I do begin to see exactly what the imperials were attempting here. The enhancement procedure entailed infusing a single candidate with aether siphoned from a multitude of “supply subjects.” As for the “master subject”─in this case, Krile─the patterns of her aetheric activity would provide the model upon which they would artificially engineer the candidate’s aura.
Lyse: …In other words, they were trying to recreate Krile’s Echo?
Alphinaud: I believe so─which would explain our prisoner’s present state. Krile is possessed of an unrivaled ability to hear the whispers of the soul, and it seems probable that the procedure engendered the same acute sensitivity in Fordola.
Lyse: The soldiers who guard Fordola…many of them lost friends and family to the Skulls. And there’s a sentry at her door, night and day. If she can’t help sensing their thoughts and seeing their past─
Arenvald: But you don’t just see their past─you live it. All the emotions; all the pain. Imagine what it’d do to you. You’d never be the same again.
Alphinaud: Indeed. As you may recall, Ysayle was completely transformed by a single glimpse of Hraesvelgr’s past. Fordola has been forced to experience the agony of those whose lives she destroyed. The guilt must be unbearable.
Lyse: That explains her request to be executed…
Raubahn: Sounds to me like a kind of justice. Regardless, she can suffer on for now. We have more pressing matters to consider. If the results of these experiments have been relayed back to Garlemald, there will be naught to stop the Empire from repeating the trick. They could give the Echo to anyone─to an entire legion. We must be ready. We must learn all we can of these godsforsaken procedures─and Fordola remains our best source of information. She’ll not be getting her wish. Not yet.
Raubahn: Keep faith, lass. If you’re to convince others to follow you, you must believe what you’re telling them. People will respond to passion─but not if it’s feigned.
Lyse: I understand. Thank you, General. We should leave the Flames to it. Let’s go.
(Outside on the street)
Lyse: I go looking for answers about the Echo, and end up getting schooled by Raubahn. Yet more evidence that I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s no wonder people listen to him and not me.
Alphinaud: General Aldynn is a veteran of countless campaigns, Lyse. You cannot compare yourself to a commander of his experience.
Lyse: I know. But I also know that I couldn’t have convinced that mob to give up and go home. It makes me realize how much we rely on his authority…and how much I still have to learn.
Arenvald: I wonder what he’ll do when everything here is settled… I mean, it’s his homeland. After going to the trouble of winning it back, might he not want to stay?
Alphinaud: ‘Tis a quandary which countless refugees now face: to continue the life they built in Ul’dah, or start again in the land of their birth…
(Raubahn’s son Pipin walks up.)
Pipin: Diana! A moment! I am newly returned from Ul’dah, with a message from the sultana. Her Grace desires an audience with you. She understands that you have responsibilities here, but asks that you visit the palace at your earliest convenience. Well, I must away and attend to other business. Until next time, my friends!
Alphinaud: An audience with the sultana! Depending on the nature of her consultation, this might be the perfect opportunity to inquire about the General’s future plans.
Lyse: Yes, we’d all like to know about those, Alphinaud─but not everyone’s as comfortable interrogating royalty as you. Take no notice of him, Diana.
Quest: A Sultana’s Strings
Alphinaud: Well, the question of how to put the mad king’s treasures to good use shows no sign of answering itself. Shall we be about it, Arenvald?
Arenvald: I am at your beck and call!
Lyse: …And I should be getting back to my own tasks. I’ll organize a squad to head down into the ruins, and then start preparing for the big meeting…Oh, send Nanamo my regards, Diana!
Alphinaud: And ours too, if you please. We shall see you on your return.
(In Uldah at the Chamber of Rule)
Bartholomew: My lady! It was an honor to face you in the tournament. Since that day, I have spent my every spare moment in the practice yard, striving to attain some fraction of your skill with the blade. Ah! Forgive me! You are here for your audience with the sultana! Please proceed.
Nanamo Ul Namo: I thank you for answering my summons in these most interesting times. You have been busy. The liberation of Ala Mhigo will have far-reaching consequences, and there is a matter upon which I would seek your counsel. I speak of Raubahn, and his future. All know the tale of his rise from penniless refugee to member of the Syndicate, and General of the Immortal Flames… Yet though he has come to call Ul’dah home, it will never be his homeland. He is a son of Ala Mhigo. And now that she is free, I thought it only a matter of time before he sought my leave to return to her. Indeed, I had resigned myself to his loss. Suffice it to say, I was…greatly surprised to hear him speak so lightly of handing over the reins in Ala Mhigo, and retaking his place at my side. I will welcome him with open arms, of course─he is my most trusted advisor…and my dearest friend. But I have known the man a long time, and beneath that steely gaze, I spied a flicker of doubt. Whether Raubahn chooses to remain in Ul’dah or return to Ala Mhigo, I only wish that he do so with a heart unburdened by guilt or regret. Yet how can he freely make such a choice knowing how much I depend on him? It is past time that I learned to discharge my duties as a sultana alone. I must go forth and see my realm with my own eyes, and hear the wind with my own ears. Might I have your company for a brief adventure? Wonderful. Allow me a moment to change into something a touch less conspicuous, and I will join you outside.
(Outside the Quicksand, Nanamo is wearing her “Lady Lilira” disguise.)
Nanamo Ul Namo: What do you think of “Lilira, the merchant’s daughter”? This is the disguise I don when I wish to leave the palace and observe my subjects unnoticed. Ordinarily, Papashan would accompany me, but for this particular outing I need an advisor─not a minder. And that is why I requested your company. Over the course of your many adventures, you have met people from all walks of life, in every corner of Eorzea, and I would make use of your worldly experience. Now, let us be on our way. Our first destination is Stonesthrow, just beyond the Gate of Nald.
(Outside Ul’dah, near one of the refugee camps.)
Nanamo Ul Namo: Look upon this procession of tattered tents…These refugees camp in squalor, at the mercy of the elements and Thanalan’s predators both. The city’s mighty walls offer safety, but the streets overflow with people as it is. And unless blessed by the hand of Nald Himself, no refugee could ever hope to afford a dwelling in Ul’dah. Twenty years have passed since the fall of Ala Mhigo and five since the Calamity, yet the plight of the poor has grown more desperate, not less. As sultana, the blame falls upon me.
(“Your hands have been tied, Your Grace”)
Nanamo Ul Namo: Yes, my authority is limited. And that is an obstacle I must work to overcome…Shall we press on? I would follow the road to the Unholy Heir.
(At the Unholy Heir, a huge tree east of Black Brush Station)
Nanamo Ul Namo: It was here, in this wholly unremarkable place, that my mother and father met their doom. I was but a child at the time. My parents were returning from an inspection of our interests in eastern Thanalan when an untimely rockslide crushed their carriage. To this day, it is not certain if the incident was simple misfortune or an expertly planned assassination. Raubahn once offered to re-open the investigation and bring me the truth he assumed I must surely crave. But I refused. Even if my parents’ deaths were orchestrated by the Monetarists, we could only have brought their hirelings to justice. The true villains─those who plotted to put me on the throne as a biddable puppet─were ever beyond our reach. Thus did I plan to strip the merchants of their power and place our nation in the hands of its citizens…quite unaware of the consequences my actions would have for you and yours… I shudder to think how many goodly souls paid the price of my naivety… But I am no longer a child reciting words with witless obedience, and I will not be used as a pawn in the Monetarists’ damnable games! Forgive me my outburst. You are one of the few people to whom I feel I can speak my mind. Come. Let us return to Ul’dah and visit the Coliseum.
(Back to Ul’dah. The Coliseum.)
Nanamo Ul Namo: From the moment I became sultana, I found myself thrust into an endless parade of document signing and ceremonies. For years, I simply signed where I was told to sign, and sat where I was told to sit, blissfully oblivious to what any of it meant. Yet one good thing did come from that ignominious chapter in my life. For it was during an “official” visit to the Coliseum that I first met Raubahn. The match I had been invited to attend was not at all what I expected. They had pitted the Bull of Ala Mhigo against some dozen or so rival gladiators… Blinkered though I was, I would not stand for so obvious an injustice, and demanded to see a fair fight, one man against another. And my royal wish was duly granted. It was not until later that I learned of the gambling ring which had arranged for Raubahn to die on the sands that day. Regardless, my intervention meant that Raubahn had but a single opponent to dispatch─which he duly did. And when he knelt before me to receive the winner’s purse, he swore that he would one day offer me his blade in service. Surrounded as I was by liars and manipulators, I confess I dismissed it as a pleasant piece of theater. But as you know, Raubahn is a man of his word. Though it took him another five years of fighting on the bloodsands, he amassed a fortune so great as to buy not only his freedom but a seat on the Syndicate. And then I had my blade.
(Echo Flashback. Raubahn fights on the sands. After a furious battle, he is hailed as victor to the wild cheering of the crowd. The gate to the arena opens and Nanamo runs in, evading all attempts to stop her.)
Marcechamp: Your Grace, you mustn’t! The danger is too great! Please, Your Grace, come back! I beg of you!
Nanamo Ul Namo: It seems you’re the one who needs looking after, Marcechamp!
(Nanamo launches herself into Raubahn’s arms. He catches her and sets her on his shoulder.)
Nanamo Ul Namo: Raubahn!
Raubahn: Your Grace! I have kept the promise made.
Nanamo Ul Namo: So you have. And, in turn, so too shall I keep mine. With your winnings, you have become one of the six most wealthy souls in all Ul’dah. And so, as tradition dictates, Raubahn Aldynn… …You have earned yourself a seat on the Syndicate! May your new station garner you still greater glories!
Raubahn: I am honored, Your Grace, and vow to serve with every fiber of my being, from this day till my last. Long live the sultana! And long live Ul’dah!
(Back in the present)
Nanamo Ul Namo: Words cannot well express what that man means to me. There are others who care deeply for my well-being, of course─Papashan’s love for me is as that of a grandsire for his grandchild. But upon matters of governance, I cannot turn to bodyguards and maidservants for counsel. Raubahn, with the authority of his Syndicate position, was the first sword I could wield. His was the only edge which could cut the strings that bound me…
Quest: A Sultana’s Duty
(At the Arzanath Ossuary)
Nanamo Ul Namo: And as you well know, our artisans’ school shall be waiting to accept any who wish to learn new trades. Realistically, however, it will take years for such training to yield tangible benefits. But we do not have years. These people will need shelter and employment if they are to survive, and this time the Ul’dahn treasury shall provide! Precisely where and how to allocate the necessary funds is, of course, another question…
Nanamo Ul Namo: …Nothing? Hmm… If even one of your worldly experience is at a loss, it would seem I have no choice but to seek out someone more well-versed in monetary matters… I wonder, are you acquainted with Godbert Manderville? Then I need not explain his eccentric nature. Let us make our way to the landing, and I will see that word is sent to the Gold Saucer. Godbert should be only too glad to receive us.
(At the Airship Dock in Ul’dah)
Nanamo Ul Namo: I have ridden aboard a public airship before, but this shall be my first visit to the Gold Saucer. I must confess to some excitement!
(At the Gold Saucer)
Nanamo Ul Namo: I had heard descriptions of its splendor, yet I never dreamed it would be so bright and inviting… N-No! I couldn’t possibly─! We did not come here to fritter away the royal coin! Godbert will be expecting us. Come, let us head directly to the lounge and ignore these…these…gaudy temptations!
(Wonder Square West)
Nanamo Ul Namo: I believe this is where we are to meet Master Mandeville. Shall we sit while we await his coming?
(Godbert Manderville arrives)
Godbert: My apologies, Your Grace, I have kept you waiting!
Nanamo Ul Namo: No apologies are necessary, Godbert. My request was sudden, and you were kind to make yourself available at such short notice.
Godbert: When my son’s good friend and the sultana herself come calling, there is no more important engagement!
Nanamo Ul Namo: As to the purpose of my visit, I would have your thoughts on how the crown might best aid the refugees residing in Thanalan. You are aware, I am sure, that many of Ala Mhigo’s displaced sons and daughters long to return to their newly liberated homeland. And you are also aware of how they will suffer without shelter and work to sustain them. I would use our nation’s wealth to spare them that suffering. What advice have you for me on the matter of how it might best be distributed?
Godbert: …The unusual circumstances of our meeting, and Your Grace’s choice of companion, would suggest to me a desire for an honest and unvarnished opinion. I shall give you one. My advice to you is: “Stop.” Taxing Ul’dah’s wealth to save Ala Mhigan refugees is a terrible, terrible idea.
Nanamo Ul Namo: You oppose my proposition?
Godbert: Most emphatically. I agree with Your Grace that the refugees must have housing and employment, but what profit is there for Ul’dah in this arrangement?
Nanamo Ul Namo: Profit? After all you have done for Gyr Abania’s displaced, I thought you the very last person to seek to benefit from their misfortune!
Godbert: Forgive me, Your Grace, but you appear to laboring under a misapprehension. It is a fine endeavor to support one’s fellow man. I fear, however, that your stance is one born of pity─your intent is to “save” the refugees, is it not? For all our potential, we are indolent creatures by nature. If unconditional charity is all we know, then we begin to rely upon it─to expect it. And then we must consider Ul’dah’s own poor and downtrodden. Should they hear of you spending the nation’s coin─not to improve their lot, but to nurture the distant citizens of Ala Mhigo─it is unlikely they will applaud your generosity. Surely it is not Your Grace’s intention to foster new resentments, but to spread good will?
Nanamo Ul Namo: Indeed. …Then any support I pledge to the refugees must promote self-sufficiency, whilst also serving the interests of the people of Ul’dah.
Godbert: Exactly so! Such an arrangement will create a far more equitable relationship with the returning Ala Mhigans, even as it generates the revenue required to win the approval of your subjects.
Nanamo Ul Namo: You have given me much to ponder, Master Manderville. I thank you for your candor.
Quest: A Sultana’s Resolve
Nanamo Ul Namo: Profit… The thought never even crossed my mind. But standing about lamenting my naivety will not do anyone any good. I shall consider my lesson learned, and press on. Diana─are you perchance acquainted with any successful merchants? If my attempt at philanthropy is obliged to reap a profit, it would seem wise to consult someone with a knack for business. Hm… Ordinarily, I would not trust any agent of the East Aldenard Trading Company─but if you hold this Hancock fellow in high esteem, I am content to be led by you. You may repay my faith by journeying to distant Kugane and speaking with him on my behalf. Eager though I am to visit those shores, I have not the leisure for a lengthy sea voyage. Now, assuming you will travel as adventurers are wont to do, I shall await your report by the aetheryte in Ul’dah. A fair journey to you, Diana─and a swift one, if you please.
(Off to Kugane and the Ruby Bazaar Offices)
Hancock: Diana! To what do I owe the pleasure? Or are you here on business? …I beg your pardon? Her Grace the sultana would have my opinion on how best to invest the wealth of Ul’dah? My dear Diana… I have you to thank for this…recognition, I am sure. And I am flattered that you came to me. Truly flattered. But why settle for a lowly apprentice, when you could have the master! Upon matters of profit, there is no living soul better-qualified to advise Her Grace than Chairman Lolorito─a man whose morning “exertions” are said to fill his garderobe with gold! I should be happy to arrange a meeting for you…say, at the Scions’ former headquarters in Thanalan? The Waking Sands would seem a suitably neutral venue for negotiations, don’t you think? Fare you well, Diana, and may your dealings prove fruitful!
(Back to Ul’dah to report to Nanamo)
Nanamo Ul Namo: Welcome back, Diana. Did your merchant friend have any useful advice to share? …With Lolorito!? And you agreed to this!? I am well aware of his standing in the field of business. But I had hoped to keep the Monetarists at arm’s length, and him in particular… …Nay. I cannot live in fear of the man. I must learn how to treat with him if I am to rule Ul’dah effectively. Very well! I will meet with Lolorito. Let us go on ahead to the Waking Sands, and prepare for his coming.
(At the Waking Sands)
Nanamo Ul Namo: So this is where the Scions first congregated… I have heard many tales, but never had occasion to visit. To work, then. The hour of the meeting draws near, and I would gather my thoughts. Pray see to it that we have the appointed room to ourselves.
Lolorito: A personal summons from the Scions─this must be important business indeed. Though if it concerns anything so underhand as an assassination, I fear I can be of little help.
(Nanamo appears wearing a facemask like Lolorito’s)
Lolorito: Hm hm hm hm. You have made your point. ‘Tis indeed unsettling to find oneself seated across from an impassive mask.
(Lolorito removes his mask)
Lolorito: There. Would this better please Your Grace? Or should I address you as “Lady Lilira,” hmm?
Nanamo Ul Namo: Nay, the deception has served its purpose. I am glad to see you found amusement in my little jest, Lord Lolorito, but shall we proceed to the business at hand?
Lolorito: By all means. I must say, I am most eager to hear your proposal.
Nanamo Ul Namo: Simply put, I would aid the refugees camped in Thanalan in their efforts to return to Ala Mhigo. The reparations you paid in the wake of your earlier misdemeanors will be used to fund the endeavor─together with the fortune seized from the late Teledji Adeledji’s estate. But this plan is not intended to benefit the displaced alone. I would make of this an investment which shall enrich Ul’dah and Ala Mhigo both. And who better to consult on matters of profit than the wealthiest man in all of Thanalan? I beseech you, then, Lord Lolorito…share with us your mercantile wisdom.
Lolorito: Ah heh heh… ‘Twould seem Your Grace has matured beyond acts of earnest yet misplaced charity. Pray tell me more…
Lolorito: To summarize: in return for facilitating the repatriation of refugees, and assisting in the establishment of new industry in Ala Mhigo, you ask that a proportion of all subsequent profits be promised to Ul’dah. I am impressed, Your Grace. ‘Tis an elegant solution─albeit one lacking certain crucial details, specifically which industry and where.
Nanamo Ul Namo: How swiftly you identify the weakness in my plan, just as I knew you would.
(Nanamo turns to the Warrior of Light)
Nanamo Ul Namo: Your travels have taken you across the length and breadth of Gyr Abania, and you know the land far better than I. Which of the settlements you visited would best provide a home for our refugees? Which has the greatest potential to flourish, given the appropriate investment?)
(The choices are: Ala Gannha, Ala Ghiri, and The Saltery)
Lolorito: Yes, a quarry town certainly does carry the potential for profit─at least, it would do, were it situated anywhere near a lucrative market. It would cost more to transport the materials than they are worth. In my humble opinion.
Lolorito: Yes, if a stable trade route can be established between Ul’dah and Ala Mhigo, then Ala Ghiri would once more become an important waypoint. But while such growth would greatly benefit its current residents, I am afraid it could sustain little beyond that…
(“Clearly you want me to say ‘The Saltery’.”)
Lolorito: I know the Saltery and its products well. The imperial invasion brought an end to their more widespread distribution, much to the dismay of many a wealthy gourmand. Myself included. Salt has ever been a transformative ingredient. And in this instance, I daresay it could transform a modicum of effort into a mountain of gil.
Nanamo Ul Namo: The local citizens will need to be consulted, of course, but I trust the East Aldenard Trading Company can be relied upon to provide its assistance in negotiating a mutually beneficial arrangement.
Lolorito: Naturally, Your Grace. I shall dispatch representatives well-versed in the extraction of this “white gold,” and wring every last onze of profit from its production. The loch’s bounty will contribute to Ala Mhigo’s enrichment, whilst easing the burden on the Bull’s aching shoulders─just as Your Grace desired.
Nanamo Ul Namo: A deal is struck, then!
(Outside the room)
Nanamo Ul Namo: I fear it will be many years before I feel comfortable taking part in such negotiations. But I shall not complain. We have piqued Lolorito’s interest and secured his invaluable expertise. Thank you, Diana. I could not have done it without you.
Quest: Securing the Saltery
Nanamo Ul Namo: Our course is decided. I shall return to the palace and have my ministers begin work on implementing the particulars of the plan. If I could prevail upon you one more time, Diana, I would ask that you convey the details of our negotiations to Commander Hext on your return to Ala Mhigo. My thanks again. Together, we have laid the groundwork for an endeavor which promises to benefit the peoples of Ala Mhigo and Ul’dah both.
(Rendezvous with Lyse in the Ala Mhigan Quarter)
Lyse: Diana! You’re back! What did Nanamo─ Oh! Sorry… Are you allowed to talk about your audience with the sultana? So…Raubahn says he’s going to return to Ul’dah…but she isn’t sure he wants to. Hmph. Tell us something we don’t know… But I’m pleased to hear she’s committed to helping our refugees come home.
Alphinaud: And this plan to revitalize the Saltery does make a lot of sense. Quite how you convinced her to seek Lolorito’s help is another question. After all that has happened, he is the very last person I would expect her to turn to for advice. But on a more practical note─Lyse, assuming the interim government elects to accept Ul’dah’s proposal, I have one caveat I should like you to include in the bargain. Ala Mhigo must be permitted to cover a portion of the investment. We have a fortune at our disposal, after all, and allowing Ul’dah to provide the entirety of the capital will afford Lolorito too much control.
Lyse: Honestly, Alphinaud─it’s like Kugane never happened. What exactly does a ruthless profiteer have to do to earn your trust? But yes, you do make a good point. First things first, though, we need to discuss this proposal with the Saltery’s residents. Wiscar─how do you fancy explaining the sultana’s plan to your grandfather? I’d like to hear what Watt thinks of the idea before agreeing to anything.
Wiscar: Right away, Commander. Would you mind coming along, Diana? I might need you to fill in the details.
Alphinaud: Then I shall come as well. Should Watt wish to discuss figures, my knowledge of the nation’s finances may prove useful.
(At the Saltery)
Watt: What manner of mischief brings you young ‘uns to old Watt this time, eh?
Wiscar: They want to rebuild the Saltery, Grandad! Diana, tell him about the deal!
Watt: Well bugger me… We’ve never had the coin or the hands to put the place back to how it was─but it sounds like that’s about to change! …There’s just one small wrinkle in your plan: it doesn’t account for all the nasties queuing up to eat anyone who goes near the shore. The king used to send soldiers to cull the buggers, but the imperials weren’t about to help the likes of us.
Wiscar: Don’t worry, Grandad─we’ll take care of all that. Commander Hext has been talking about starting up regular patrols, and I’m sure she’d assign me to the loch if I asked.
Watt: I’d appreciate that, Wiscar, my lad, truly I would. So, does this mean you’ve gotten better with that blade of yours?
Wiscar: I’ve been training, aye…but mostly to kill imperials.
Wiscar: You’ve some experience hunting monsters, don’t you, Diana? Think you could cast an eye over a few of the local beasties and teach me how to deal with ’em? Let’s not waste any time, then! I’ll see you by the loch!
Alphinaud: Whilst you are busy attending to the local fauna, I shall have Master Watt explain to me exactly what is required to restore the Saltery to its former glory. Good hunting!
(Monster hunting with Wiscar)
Wiscar: Right then, Diana. I’ve got a spyglass here you can use to take a closer look at these pests. Once you’ve got their measure, you can tell me what to do, and we’ll see how well I get on!
[Search your surroundings for yabbies. You may move the camera as well as zoom in and out. Target a yabby and inspect it with .]
[The yabby’s entire body is protected by a hard carapace, but the underside of the head looks soft and vulnerable.]
Wiscar: Ah, looks like you’ve found a yabby. They say hitting their shell’s like smacking a rock. Any suggestions?
(“Aim for the soft underside of the head!”)
Wiscar: Vulnerable under the head, are they? R-Right then! Wish me luck!
(Wiscar dispatches the Yabby.)
Wiscar: Thanks, Diana. I did just as you told me and the wavekin went down like a sack of popotoes! Let’s find something else! I think I can handle the yabbies now, so we should try something different. What else is out there…?
[Search your surroundings for phoebads. You may move the camera as well as zoom in and out. Target a phoebad and inspect it with .]
[The phoebad’s hands are large and powerful, but destroying its crystallized core should render the salt golem inanimate. You sense power pulsating from behind its brow.]
Wiscar: Ugh…a phoebad. How do I defeat one of those?
(“Go for the core within its brow”)
Wiscar: Inside its head, is it? I’ll try to stab it right between the eyes, then!
(And so he does)
Wiscar: It’s not easy…fighting with the liberator of Ala Mhigo watching your every…move. But I got the job done. Thanks for the advice, Diana! I feel a lot better prepared for my patrols now. Anyroad, we should head back to the Saltery before Grandad starts to worry I’ve been snipped into pieces and fed to a yabby’s hatchlings.
(Back to the Saltery)
Watt: I see you’ve returned in one piece. Dealt with those beasties then, did you?
Wiscar: Aye, fought them myself…after a bit of instruction from Diana here, like. Once I’ve shared what I’ve learned with the others, we should have no trouble keeping the shoreline clear.
Watt: Good lad. A fine young man you’ve become, Wiscar. A fine young man, indeed. Too often of late, I hear tales of folk over in the city, drunk on victory and hungry for revenge, their heads stuck firmly in the past. But we need to set our sights on the future─on things which’ll improve our lot. Things like getting the Saltery ready to welcome our long-lost countrymen.
Quest: A Blissful Arrival
Alphinaud: It seems Wiscar has the Saltery’s security well in hand. I, meanwhile, have discussed the next steps with Master Watt, and completed my inspection of the site. With a little work, the vacant buildings here could be made into very presentable dwellings.
(A messenger runs up)
Flame Scout: Message from General Aldynn! Apologies for the interruption, miss, but the General would speak with you at your earliest convenience!
Alphinaud: Do not feel obliged to wait around on my account. I will remain here to hammer out the finer details with Watt, and act as an intermediary with our business partners in Ul’dah. You should go.
Flame Scout: General Aldynn asked that you wait for him by the main gate in the Ala Mhigan Quarter. My apologies again, miss! Fare you well!
(Back in the Ala Mhigan Quarter)
(Raubahn and Pipin walk up)
Raubahn: Apologies for the wait. People are screaming for the Butcher’s blood again. No sooner have we broken up one mob than another forms. Thankfully, all have been amenable to reason…thus far. But it is no concern of yours. We must speak of the men Arenvald and his comrades apprehended in the Peaks.
Pipin: By their uniforms, the captives were first judged to be imperial troops…but after further investigation, their true identities came to light. I daresay you remember Yuyuhase and Laurentius─the fugitives who conspired with Captain Ilberd in the Crystal Braves’ betrayal. Aye, well…it would seem they followed him all the way to the Wall. It was they who orchestrated the slaughter of the Resistance fighters prior to the Griffin’s infernal ritual.
Raubahn: Were it in your hands, how would you punish these men?
(“Their lives would be forfeit.”)
Raubahn: Hear, hear. There is no more fitting sentence for the perpetrators of such a massacre. And that is but one of their crimes. In any event, I thank you for your honesty. When the time comes for the Alliance to pass judgment, I’ll see that your opinion is heard. Well, that concludes our business here, but there is more I would say. Walk with me. I bear a share of the blame for Ilberd’s atrocities. Had I openly supported the cause of Ala Mhigan liberation, he might not have felt driven to do what he did… Things could have been different, and I’m sorry they aren’t. But even after all that has happened, my homeland is free. With the Scions and the Alliance at their side, my countrymen have reclaimed what many thought lost forever. Under her new leadership, I have every confidence that Ala Mhigo will emerge from the shadow of the Empire and rise once more to greatness. Which means my work here is done. Soon, I will return to Ul’dah, and take my place at the sultana’s side.
Raubahn: I’ll not deny there’s a part of me that wants to stay… The same part that contemplated renouncing my rank and joining you as a wandering sellsword. But I pledged my blade to Nanamo. And I will not betray that oath.
Pipin: Is this truly what you want, Father?
Raubahn: It is. Ever has my sword been hers to command, and ever shall it remain. Thank you for lending an ear. When all the rest are clamoring for me to stay, I trust you’ll send me on my way. That took longer than I intended, but at least you know where I stand. Now that’s settled…Arenvald─what news?
Arenvald: We may have a problem, sir. A group of Ananta has arrived at the main gates. And I don’t mean the Vira. These are Qalyana─the ones that summoned the primal. They’re insisting they be allowed to attend the council. Lyse is trying to reason with them, but she may need help…
Pipin: Hmm… An invitation was extended to all of the native beast tribes…but we assumed the Qalyana would refuse it out of hand.
Raubahn: We had best go and see for ourselves. Pipin, take command of our forces and be ready for battle. Diana─you’ve dealt with these Qalyana before. I’d have you at my side.
(Near the gate to Ala Mhigo Palace. Lyse and a handful of Qalyana Ananta are there.)
Lyse: Diana! Raubahn! Gods, it’s good to see you…
Shanti: Ah! The ssslayer has come. We have not forgotten how you sssinned againssst the Lady of Blisss…but we did not come here to shed blood. You claim to ssseek harmony with all who call Gyr Abania home. If thisss is truly your wish, you will welcome usss as envoys of the Ananta!
Lyse: It is our wish, and you are welcome. But we cannot condone the summoning of primals. If you want to enter the palace, I must ask that you first surrender any crystal jewelry. You have my word that it will all be returned to you when the meeting is over.
Shanti: …We will do as you asssk─but you will not have our weapons. We are not ssso foolish as to place ourssselves entirely at the mercy of our tormentors…
Resistance Captain: I reckon that’s the closest we’re going to get to a compromise. And we will have people standing guard…
Raubahn: Aye, let them keep their swords.
Shanti: Then we have an agreement. Lead the way to your meeting chamber.
Raubahn: Why do I have the feeling we’ve welcomed a viper into our midst…?
Quest: Return of the Bull
Raubahn: This Qalyana elder’s intentions seem at odds with all we know of her tribe. What think you, Diana?
(“The enthralled cannot be trusted.”)
Raubahn: Aye, it is said that once a creature has fallen under the sway of a primal, there is no salvation. And I strongly doubt the Qalyana have suddenly broken free of Lakshmi’s will. Whatever the truth, I would take no chances. The guard must be strengthened─ideally with people who know a thing or two about primals. Can we rely on the Scions?
Arenvald: I’ll round up our comrades, and send them to the Ala Mhigan Quarter. You can go on ahead if you like, Diana.
Raubahn: My thanks. I will see you in the palace.
(Back to the Ala Mhigan Quarter)
(Arenvald shows up with Alphinaud, Y’shtola, and Thancred)
Arenvald: Diana! I’ve brought reinforcements.
Alphinaud: Arenvald told me of the arrival of our unexpected guests, and I agreed that it would be prudent to call upon Y’shtola and Thancred as well.
Y’shtola: One can never be too careful when dealing with the enthralled.
Thancred: I am not familiar with the Qalyana tribe myself, but Alisaie’s report suggested that they shunned contact with other races. Despised it, in fact. Even compared to other Ananta.
Alphinaud: Indeed. This apparent reversal in attitude is most curious. No one expected a response to our invitation, much less an envoy, and I imagine Lyse was forced to make some rather hasty arrangements in order to accommodate them.
Arenvald: Speaking of which, how should we deploy ourselves?
Y’shtola: If the meeting is to be held in the throne room, ‘twould seem wise to have eyes both inside and outside the palace.
Thancred: Y’shtola and I can stand guard without. That leaves the three of you to keep watch over proceedings in the throne room itself.
Alphinaud: Understood. We should join General Aldynn inside, then.
Arenvald: Diana, do you know of the rear entrance to the palace? It’s on the eastern edge of the city, at the top of the stairs. The guard there should have been instructed to let us pass.
(At the rear entrance to Ala Mhigo Palace)
Lyse: Thank you all for coming. I am Lyse Hext, and I speak for the Resistance. Among you are village elders, refugee leaders; envoys from the Ananta and the Qiqirn. You’ve come from every corner of Gyr Abania to help decide the future of Ala Mhigo. But before that, I want to ask you a question. What was the first thing you noticed when you came in? For me, it was that empty throne. It has no one to sit on it now. No viceroy. No king. Would any of you like to take their place?
(Shaking heads all around)
Lyse: Or should someone else sit there?
Lyse: Then let’s sit here, in a circle. As equals. And, I hope, as friends.
(Lyse and the local leaders sit on the floor in a circle and begin to talk.)
Alphinaud: Expertly done. Lyse has removed monarchy as a choice early in the game, and positioned them to consider a joint government. All things considered, I would say events have got off to a fine start…
Raganfrid: …and that is Ala Gannha’s stance on the matter.
Lyse: Thank you, Raganfrid. Another vote in favor. Next, let’s hear from Shanti of the Qalyana. Tell us, how do your people feel about the idea of a republic…?
Shanti: The Ananta wish only that those who dwell within Gyr Abania devote themssselves to our faith… You shall all worship Sri Lakshmi!
(Shanti’s hands begin to glow)
Shanti: Lady of Bliss! Grace usss once more with your beauteousss visage!
(Sparkling light in the room coalesces into the form of the Primal, Lakshmi.)
Lyse: This can’t be happening… No crystals were allowed through the door!
Alphinaud: We can worry about the how of it later! We need to evacuate these people right now, or the primal will make thralls of them all!
(Arenvald looks to the Warrior of Light)
Arenvald: It’s up to us!
(Raubahn cuts down Shanti as people run for the door. Lakshmi casts an Enthrall, but the Warrior of Light steps in and deflects it away.)
(The fleeing people reach the doors but there are more Qalyana there, along with enthralled Ala Mhigan guards.)
Raubahn: Godsdammit! The guards were already turned! Fools!
(The guards and Qalyana move to attack. Lyse moves to stop them as Alphinaud summons his Moonstone Carbuncle.)
Lyse: No you don’t!
Raubahn: The Qalyana would see us all enthralled.
Lyse: Then they’re going to be sorely disappointed. We have the Warrior of Light and Arenvald to shield us.
Raubahn: Aye, but they can’t well defend your guests and attack the primal, can they? We’re stuck on the back foot.
Lyse: Uh… All right. I think I have an idea. Keep these people safe, General! I’ll be back as soon as I can!
(Lyse vaults over a spear-wielding enthralled guard and bolts through the doors. Raubahn cuts the guard down.)
Raubahn: Come, then! Who will be next to die on my steel!?
Arenvald: How do we fight her without leaving our allies wide open? We can’t stay on the back foot forever… …No, dammit, if I think like that we’ve already lost. I have the Warrior of Light at my side! W-We can do this! Isn’t that right, Diana!?
Lakshmi: Leaders of Gyr Abania…Accept my love. Worship my light!
Arenvald: She means to enthrall everyone…We have to stop her!
Alphinaud: They’ve done a fine job of blocking our retreat…
Raubahn: We must break through! Forget the primal and focus on the foe before you!
Lakshmi: Why…? I offer you peace and ssserenity…Sssurrender yourselves to me…
Arenvald: And give up the freedom we’ve worked so hard to win? Not likely!
Lakshmi: Do not your mortal bodies tire? Far better to dwell in dream.
Arenvald: We’ll keep our eyes open, thanks very much!
Lakshmi: I shall free you from your hate.
Arenvald: There are too many…We can’t stop them all! Damn it all… It’s only a matter of time before we miss one…
(Lakshmi unleashes a huge barrage of aether spheres, far too many for Arenvald and the Warrior of Light to intercept…
(But the moment before the spheres strike, Fordola bursts into the room, her eye flashing red.)
(A brillant shield surrounds Fordola and intercepts every sphere.)
Fordola: What of it? Do you want to kill this thing or not?
Lakshmi: Why? Why do you deny my blessing!? You who defy me shall ressst in death!
Fordola: They brought you into this world over a mistake I made…And I’ll be damned if I let you taunt me with it!
Raubahn: I’ll cut us a path. Stand ready!
(Raubahn Limit Breaks all the guards and Qualyana, but Lakshmi teleports in between the escapees and the door.)
Lakshmi: You cannot flee my radiance. You will all be my dreamers.
(Arenvald and Fordola pin Lakshmi in place.)
Arenvald: We’ll lock her down as best we can. The rest of you need to run!
Alphinaud: Quickly now, while the primal is─…Lyse!?
Lyse: I can’t. I can’t run away from this. They need us!
Raubahn: …Then we stand and fight together. Alphinaud, the envoys are in your care!
Alphinaud: Surely you do not mean to… Very well. I shall see our guests to safety.
(Lyse and Raubahn stay to fight, despite not having the protection of the Echo.)
Fordola: Why are you two staying!? She still has more than enough strength to addle you both!
Lyse: You need more than three to best a primal! And if we let you fall here, then who’ll be left to stop her?
Lakshmi: Pitiful, misssguided children. Lay down your weapons, lay down your heads…
Arenvald: Wha─ I can’t move! She’s going after Lyse and Raubahn!
(The Warrior of Light breaks free and intercepts the Enthrall once again.)
Raubahn: My thanks, Diana! I’ll make sure my steel is worth the effort!
Lakshmi: Again and again you refuse my gift…Do not your sssouls weigh heavy?
Fordola: She’s building up to something big! Come close to me, all of you!
(Fordola once again makes a shield to withstand Lakshmi, but the effort appears to cost her.)
Arenvald: Nice work, Fordola! …Are you all right, though?
Fordola Lupis: This… …This is nothing!
Lyse: Ugh, it’s one thing after another…We have to fight as one!
Lakshmi: Why do you cling to your misery?
Lyse: She’s starting to weaken! Don’t give up!
Lakshmi: Behold…my divine brilliance!
Fordola: What in the─? Her power’s out of control! I’ll shield us, but you’ll have to finish her off!
(Lakshmi begins to blast the room repeatedly. Fordola’s shield holds…barely…)
Fordola Lupis: …Quickly! I can’t hold her off forever! …Kill her! You need to kill her now!
Lyse: Hold on, Fordola…We end this now! For Ala Mhigo!
(Lyse Limit-breaks all over Lakshmi’s face. The Primal collapses into sparkles and vanishes.)
Arenvald: We…we did it! We beat her!
(The Warrior of Light looks at Fordola, and an Echo flashback kicks in. )
(In the recent past: Lyse throws open the door to Fordola’s cell and tosses a sword at the prisoner’s feet.)
Fordola: …What is this?
Lyse: …I’m only going to say this once. The Ananta just summoned their primal in the throne room. My friends are fighting her, but they need help. They need someone with the Echo, and by the gods, I wish I had it. But I don’t. I told you before that you still had time, but things have changed. I need your answer now. You can end it like Zenos…or you can fight for Ala Mhigo. Your choice.
(Fordola looks at Lyse. Then she picks up the sword and gets to her feet.)
(With the Primal threat gone, Alphinaud and the Ala Mhigan leaders re-enter the room. Raganfrid stops dead on seeing Fordola.)
Raganfrid: Seven hells… It’s her…the Butcher!
(The assembled leaders stare at Fordola. She stares back, then is hit with several Echo flashbacks. She drops her sword.)
Fordola: It’s done. Take me back to my cell.
(Fordola starts to walk out of the room.)
Raganfrid: You are not forgiven.
(Fordola stops and looks at him.)
Raganfrid: Not you. You I will never forgive.
(Fordola turns away.)
Raganfrid: But I will thank you.
Raganfrid: For standing against a primal and saving us from servitude─you have my thanks.
(A single tear drops from Fordola’s eye. Then she strides out of the room.)
Lyse: Well fought, Diana. Arenvald. That was a near thing.
Raubahn: Aye, our stand against the Qalyana would have been brief indeed had you not volunteered for guard duty. We’d be enthralled as surely as our sentries were. They must have planned this far in advance…
Lyse: Security was my responsibility, and I know how dangerous primals can be. I should have─ Gah! It’s my fault. My stupid mistake.
Raubahn: Nay, lass, we were all caught unawares. We will take this as a lesson, and watch our own more carefully in future. You can be sure that the lackeys who smuggled the crystals into the throne room weren’t the only thralls in our ranks. The soldier who first spoke up in favor of the Qalyana keeping their weapons springs to mind…
Y’shtola: A primal’s servant is betrayed by his aura. If you mean to conduct an investigation, I can identify any others acting under Sri Lakshmi’s influence.
Lyse: Thanks, Y’shtola. We’d appreciate the help.
Arenvald: Speaking of help, I almost fell over when Fordola turned up. What was she even doing there?
Lyse: I asked her to come…
Arenvald: Well, that explains it, then.
Lyse: It’s sad, but Raganfrid was right: her victims will never forgive her for what she’s done. But I don’t think Fordola picked up that sword looking for forgiveness. She just…she wanted to fight for her country. If you say the world in which Fordola grew up is partly to blame for what she became, then as an Ala Mhigan, I feel responsible for improving that world. We can’t ignore what’s happening right now─we have to show people a better way than vengeance, or we risk giving birth to a new generation of Skulls… I know it’s idealistic, but I want to help people to let go of their old grievances and make peace with each other. And I’ll hold a thousand meetings and talk till I’m blue in the face if that’s what it takes.
Alphinaud: ‘Tis a long and arduous path you have chosen, but one well worth walking. Rest assured that I will do what I can to help you reach your destination.
Lyse: Thank you, Alphinaud. The first step will be to get our representatives back in the throne room. They’re a little shaken, but not one of them seemed ready to run. We’re all determined to finish what we started.
Raubahn: I will see that you’re not interrupted. Diana─you and the Scions are to stand down. Get some rest. You’ve earned it.
(Night falls. Raubahn finds the Warrior of Light in the Royal Menagerie, looking up at the stars.)
Raubahn: A fine spot to contemplate the heavens… The meeting is over. The envoys have chosen to instate a government modeled on Ishgard’s House of Commons─a ruling body of representatives elected by the people. ‘Tis a fair decision, and one which signals the end of my part in all this. But I would gaze upon Gyr Abania’s stars one last time before I leave…
(The Warrior of Light starts to leave Raubahn alone with his thoughts, but Nanamo appears at the doorway and approaches Raubahn.)
Raubahn: Forget something?
(He sees Nanamo.)
Raubahn: Your Grace!? I─ There was no word…
Nanamo Ul Namo: Raubahn Aldynn. You are hereby dismissed as General of the Immortal Flames, and relieved of your seat on the Syndicate.
Raubahn: But, Your Grace…
Nanamo Ul Namo: Raubahn, I am no longer a child. Stay here, in your homeland. Work with your brethren. Rebuild Ala Mhigo!
Raubahn: You desire to stand alone─I understand. But remember what happened…
Nanamo Ul Namo: I remember full well the consequences of my naivety! And thus did I consult at length with a most trusted advisor ere I embarked upon this course!
Raubahn: A most trusted advisor!? And what of me? Am I no longer deserving of your confidence?
Nanamo Ul Namo: What trust can there be between us when you withhold the truth from me!? Did you think me oblivious to the anguish in your eyes when you spoke of returning to Ul’dah!? For years and years, we have trusted one another, yet now you refuse to confess your heart’s desire!?
Raubahn: I swore an oath to you that day on the sands. I pledged my sword─
Nanamo Ul Namo: And it has served me well. But in Pipin you have forged a new sword, as sharp and deadly as the blade you bequeathed him. I will show you a sultana who can wield every weapon at her disposal─including Lolorito and his Monetarist cronies! So follow your heart…please. You are home. You are free.
Raubahn: Nanamo, I…
(Raubahn begins to weep.)
Nanamo Ul Namo: Smile for me, Raubahn. I would have this parting be a joyous one.
(Nanamo’s eyes are also filled with tears.)
Raubahn: Thank you, Your Grace. It has been an honor to serve you and Ul’dah.
Nanamo Ul Namo: Tomorrow you will serve Ala Mhigo, and fight for the good of all Eorzea. Am I understood?
Raubahn: Yes, Your Grace…
Lyse: Thanks for shielding us from Lakshmi, you two. If you hadn’t been there, the rest of us would be worshipping her by now.
Arenvald: You’re kind to include me, Lyse, but we both know who did most of the work. I could scarce keep track of the battle, let alone land a telling blow. No shame in admitting it. The Warrior of Light has put far better men than me in the shade.
Alphinaud: Ahem. Did I mention that I encountered the sultana in the palace? It would seem Her Grace has come to Gyr Abania to oversee the final stages of her relocation project. She was in search of General Aldynn, and I directed her to the rooftop garden. I do hope he was still there…
(Nanamo and Raubahn walk up.)
Nanamo Ul Namo: Are you in the habit of gossiping about the affairs of royalty, Master Leveilleur?
Alphinaud: Certainly not, Your Grace! I was merely informing my companions─
Nanamo Ul Namo: Be at ease, Alphinaud. ‘Twas only a jest. But I must yield the floor to Raubahn. He has an important announcement to make.
Raubahn: As of yesternight, I have been relieved of my post in the Immortal Flames and the Syndicate both…
Pipin: …I shall be assuming my father’s duties. And may I say that Tizona has never felt heavier upon my back.
Raubahn: ‘Twould seem I am in need of employment. Mayhap one of my old acquaintances can introduce me to a mercenary company or some such…
Pipin: You may be getting on in years, Father, but you’d struggle to find a band of sellswords who wouldn’t snap your hand off─your…remaining hand.
Nanamo Ul Namo: Yes, the Bull of Ala Mhigo need not be put out to pasture just yet…
Raubahn: Your Grace has developed a wicked edge to her humor. And you, Pipin, would do well not to laugh when the future may hold the same for you!
Lyse: So…does this mean you’re staying?
Raubahn: Aye. That seems to be the way of it. I would be glad to aid you in rebuilding our nation. If you’ll have me.
Lyse: “If,“ he says! Welcome home, Raubahn.
(Alphinaud looks to the Warrior of Light)
Alphinaud: Well, that was unexpected…though you seem distinctly unsurprised. Either you are more astute than I give you credit for…or I am losing my touch. In any event, one thing is certain: Ala Mhigo will rejoice at the homecoming of her dearest son.
Lyse: I think it’s about time I headed back to Rhalgr’s Reach. What’s next for all of you?
Alphinaud: Alisaie will be eager to hear of recent events, so I shall join you, if you’ve no objections.
Lyse: I’d welcome the company! Diana, why don’t you come along to the Reach as well once you’ve said your farewells to Nanamo and the others.
(Back in Rhalgr’s Reach)
Lyse: Well, here we are again!
Alisaie: Alphinaud has regaled me with a thrilling tale of hidden treasure troves, mid-meeting betrayals, unlikely alliances, and joyous homecomings. It would seem I missed…everything.
M’naago: I was patrolling the palace grounds with Thancred and Y’shtola when we heard the report of a primal in the throne room. I honestly doubted my own ears. As others have said, we were lucky to have our Echo-blessed champions nearby this time, but we’ll need to keep a closer eye on the Qalyana…
Lyse: You can say that again. This whole episode has reminded me just how far apart our kinds still are. It looks like centuries of fear and mistrust really can’t be washed away in a day. But someone has to make an effort at reconciliation if these conflicts are ever going to end. Naturally, a lot of people are crying out for vengeance, but I’ve been doing my best to calm things down. Violent reprisals will only lead to more summonings.
Alphinaud: Indeed. Violence will ever beget violence─as the Empire has learned to its cost in recent times.
Lyse: In any case, summoning Lakshmi was the broodmother’s doing, and whoever replaces her might not be so keen on the idea. We’ll just have to watch and wait. Which isn’t to say we won’t be putting the safety of our allies in the Vira and M tribes first. I plan to have Resistance scouts keep track of the Qalyana’s movements at all times.
M’naago: My parents will be relieved to hear that. What are your plans for the rest of the Resistance army, out of interest? Are we to prepare for imperial counterattacks?
Lyse: That would be a question for the Resistance’s newest recruit─a military commander with far more experience than me!
M’naago: What? The Bull of Ala Mhigo!?
Lyse: We call it an army, but the Resistance is really a collection of smaller, independent groups. And when Conrad passed his command on to me, that authority only extended to the freedom fighters based in Rhalgr’s Reach. He just happened to be serving as the Resistance spokesman at the time, and needed someone to take over the role while everything was in disarray. But that time has passed. When I speak with the other leaders about reforming the army under the new government, I’ll be nominating Raubahn as the overall commander of our forces. He has more experience than the rest of us put together, and we stand to learn a lot from him.
Alphinaud: Indeed. He is in all respects the ideal choice. Assuming he accepts the post, Ala Mhigo will have added a formidable weapon to its arsenal. And given the progress of Nanamo’s resettlement initiative, I see great cause for hope. The seeds which we so carefully sowed have begun to quicken, my friends.
Lyse: I like that. We tend to our promises, and watch as Ala Mhigo blooms.
(The scene switches to Kugane, where a familiar gray-haired Roegadayn Samurai sits on a bench.)
Gosetsu: I do give thanks to the kami that my makeshift raft withstood the fury of the seas… But there their generosity ended. Without coins in our pockets for new attire, we are doomed to look like so much jetsam. O, woe betide the poor man in a city of rich merchants…
(A woman walks up with two dango treats and holds one out to Gosetsu. It’s Yotsuyu, but she doesn’t seem to be herself. She’s wide-eyed and smiling.)
Yotsuyu: These dango are delicious! Will you have one?
Gosetsu: Hm!? More sweetbreads!? I surrendered my blade to secure what few coins we have!
(Yotsuyu gives him a puzzled look, then sits down and begins to eat her treat.)
Gosetsu: Bah! ‘Tis like talking to a child… Why fate saddled me with this burden I shall never know…but I am alive, and I must return to my master’s side! Come, Tsuyu. We shall find a ship to carry us across the Ruby Sea!
(Yotsuyu looks at him in surprise, then gets up and scurries after him, treats in hand.)
(Meanwhile, in the Imperial Palace)
(Two imperial soldiers are talking.)
Imperial Pilus Prior: Have you read the reports? First Doma, then Ala Mhigo─and Lord Zenos put to the sword!
Imperial Tribunus Militum: Do not believe everything you read. I hear the viceroy was merely wounded, and that he has already returned to the capital. Naturally, the savages beat their chests, and boast loudly of taking his head, regardless.
Imperial Pilus Prior: Nay… Lord Zenos lives?
Imperial Tribunus Militum: Deplorable. That our own officers should be fooled by Eorzean misinformation…Small wonder the provinces have begun rising up in rebellion. We must prepare an official, and above all accurate announcement to quell these pernicious rumors.
Imperial Pilus Prior: They would wage war with empty words…Let them produce the viceroy’s remains, then! We shall soon put the lie to their claims.
(A mysterious figure in white armor with gold trim watches them from nearby. He or she clenches a hand into a fist, then walks away.)