Stormblood Text 1: Gyr Abania

 

[In the Rising Stones, Mor Dhona]

 Alphinaud: The question is, how will the Empire respond to the disappearance of Omega and the primal…

Alphinaud: Oh, I didn’t see you there. Forgive me. Word from Baelsar’s Wall is proving long in the coming, and my mind cannot help but stray to grim places.

Tataru: Alphinaud! A message from the Alliance!

Alphinaud: It’s about time! Pray summon the others at once.

Tataru: Yes, sir!

Alphinaud: …General Aldynn reports that his forces have secured the breach in Baelsar’s Wall.

Y’shtola: And what of the primal and Omega?

Alphinaud: There is still no sign of either at this time. He writes that they will begin a more thorough investigation shortly…

Alphinaud: And, as expected, he wishes to petition the aid of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn.

Lyse: As expected?

Alphinaud: The Alliance’s decision to capture a part of Baelsar’s Wall is…open to interpretation.

Alisaie: The Wall serves to demarcate imperial territory, Ala Mhigo included, from the rest of Eorzea.

Alisaie: To an observer, the Alliance’s actions could be seen as a prelude to invasion.

Alphinaud: Indeed. And the Alliance leaders have no wish to be branded invaders.

Lyse: You’re saying they won’t fight for Ala Mhigo? Even after everything that’s happened?

Alphinaud: Not without the consent of her people, no. Make no mistake, Lyse─the Alliance is in complete agreement that the Empire must be purged from Eorzea.

Alphinaud: However, they will not set foot in Gyr Abania until they have formally secured the consent and cooperation of the Ala Mhigan opposition.

Y’shtola: …They would have us act as intermediaries?

Alphinaud: Precisely. The Scions are uniquely qualified to serve in this capacity─that is to say, Lyse is, given her personal connection to the Resistance.

Alphinaud: Who better than you to broker an agreement between the Alliance and the people of Ala Mhigo? …Assuming you are willing, of course?

Lyse: Of course I am. You know I’d like nothing more!

Alphinaud: As for who should accompany you on said diplomatic mission…I had a mind to volunteer myself.

Lyse: Well, that covers the talking part. But you just know there’ll be trouble along the way. Are you available?

Lyse: Thanks. It means a lot, knowing you’ll be there.

Y’shtola: I too shall accompany you. Such endeavors are seldom hampered by a surfeit of healers.

Krile: Good point! Allow me to offer my services as well.

 Alisaie: I have spent quite enough time here of late, so I’ll be coming, but we will need someone to keep an eye on things.

Alisaie: I trust you have no objections?

Urianger: None, my lady. Gladly shall I continue to serve as caretaker of the Waking Sands, and there keep watch for signs of primal and Ascian activity both.

 Thancred: As capable as my learned friend undoubtedly is, there are some troubles that may prove too much for a single Scion─on account of which, I mean to stay.

Alphinaud: It is settled, then. Let us each see to our preparations.

 

[Packing and whatnot.]

 

Alphinaud: Ready, my friend?

Alphinaud: Well, then. Tataru─I leave the Rising Stones in your capable hands.

Tataru: Don’t worry, Alphinaud! I’ll see that the place is still standing when you come back!

 Yugiri: Mistress Y’shtola has unfolded all. You are bound for Gyr Abania?

Alphinaud: Aye. The Alliance would have us make contact with the Ala Mhigan Resistance as soon as possible.

Yugiri: It begins, then─as soon it shall in Doma, if the gods are good. ‘Tis but a pity that it must be now. I am sorry that we shall not be present to fight beside you in the battles to come…

Alphinaud: You have stood with us countless times, Lady Yugiri. Pray do not apologize.

Yugiri: Then let us thank you instead. You and yours stood with us from the first, when we came to this land as refugees in search of sanctuary.

Yugiri: Loath am I to think what might have become of my people had you not extended to us the hand of friendship. We will never forget─this I solemnly swear.

Alphinaud: Much has changed since first you set foot on these shores. Revenant’s Toll stands as a testament to that. I am sure your people will manage in your absence.

Yugiri: Indeed. They have built a new home for themselves, and no longer need me to shepherd them. The time has come for Gosetsu and I to return to our master─to our home.

Lyse: I know how you feel. It’s time I went home too…

Gosetsu: Though our battlefields be a thousand malms apart, our purpose is one! Let all men hearken to the clarion call of freedom─of liberation─from Eorzea to the Far East, that they may rise up and cast down the curs of Garlemald!

Lyse: Take care, you hear me? When all of this is over, we’re going to celebrate─together─just you wait!

Yugiri: I should like that very much. Fare you well.

Alphinaud: A thousand malms apart, yet united in purpose… Let us pray both our endeavors meet with success. Shall we, then?

Tataru: Wait, wait, not just yet! I knew I’d forgotten something important! Lyse, could you come with me?

Lyse: …Me? What, now? Um…all right, then. If you insist…

 

[Tataru has made a new outfit for Lyse.]

 

Lyse: Heh heh heh… What do you think?

Tataru: As you can see, I designed it to be light and loose─an outfit tailor-made to the needs of a skilled fighter like Lyse.

Alphinaud: Your work never ceases to impress. Much more of this, and I may have to stop introducing you as the Scion’s receptionist and start referring to you as our preeminent seamstress…

Lyse: It’s lovely, Tataru. Thank you. I feel like I could take on a legion…

Tataru: I’m glad you like it. And with that, I’ll delay you no longer. Safe travels!

Alphinaud: Then onward, to Gyr Abania! Our first stop will be at Amarissaix’s Spire, in the East Shroud

 

[In the East Shroud]

 

Raubahn: Greetings, Scions. On behalf of the Eorzean Alliance, I welcome you to Castrum Oriens.

Alphinaud: Thank you, General. We were relieved to hear that your forces secured the Wall without incident. Have the imperials made any attempt to retake the castrum since then?

Raubahn: None. Save for a few skirmishes between our scouts and their patrols, we’ve had barely any contact with them. But we all know it’s only a matter of time before things escalate.

Raubahn: As if attacking Baelsar’s Wall weren’t enough, Ilberd summoned a primal right on their doorstep─and Garlemald is not like to let such shows of defiance go unanswered.

Alphinaud: ‘Twas a declaration of war, even if it was not Ilberd’s to make. And now we are bound by it, for weal or for woe. The Scions stand ready to serve, General. What would you ask of us?

Raubahn: As stated in my message, the Alliance will not proceed without the support and cooperation of the Ala Mhigan people. We would have you serve as our emissaries and make contact with the Resistance.

Lyse: Consider it done, General. We won’t let you down, I swear.

Raubahn: Then I’ll leave you to it. Godsspeed!

Cid: Hah! Of all the castra in all the world, you walk into mine.

Alphinaud: Master Garlond! What brings you here?

Cid: A certain missing Allagan weapon and draconic primal. Omega and─Shinryu, I think the shinobi called it? Anyway, we’ve been studying their trail of destruction, hoping it might lead us somewhere─which it has singularly failed to do.

Raubahn: Then ’tis like Omega fell to earth in occupied territory…meaning it may already be in imperial hands.

Cid: Even so, it bears repeating that we engaged the stasis systems. Assuming the command was received and executed successfully, the weapon will be of no use to them. Assuming. We should hurry up and find it, regardless.

Raubahn: All the more reason to reach out to the Resistance. If we want to press on into Gyr Abania, we’ll need their blessing.

Lyse: Everyone’s counting on us. Let’s not waste any more time talking!

Lyse: I learned a route that should allow us to avoid imperial patrols. Stick with me and we’ll be there before you know it!

[Past Baelsar’s Wall at last.]

Lyse: I don’t see any soldiers. Good. Let’s cross.

Lyse: You’re wondering about the tower to the south?

Lyse: It’s part of Castellum Velodyna. That’s what the imperials decided to call the old bridge after they fortified it.

Lyse: I call it a great big eyesore. Honestly, you can see that rotten banner from absolutely malms away. <sigh> They never miss a chance to rub our noses in it, do they… Come on, we should keep moving.

[We keep moving.]

Lyse: We’re here. On the other side of this pass is Rhalgr’s Reach.

Alphinaud: So you say, but all I see are rocks. I presume there is some sort of trick to this?

Y’shtola: …Indeed. A glamour.

Lyse: Good eye, Y’shtola!

Alphinaud: I take it they have a talented mage in their ranks─or mayhap an artificer trained in the modification of glamour prisms…?

Lyse: Something like that. The important thing is that it fools the Garleans.

Lyse: Oh, before we go in─I don’t know if Tataru told you, but my friend Naago, the messenger who came to the Rising Stones, is a member of this faction.

 Lyse: So they know us, and they shouldn’t attack us on sight. That said, they can be a bit jumpy, so let me lead the way, and, uh…don’t go reaching for your weapons or anything.

 Lyse: And with a sprinkle of demasking dust, all is laid bare!

[The glamour dissolves, revealing the way through] 

[Lyse narrates: “I remember crossing the border. Standing in Gyr Abania once more. Me and my fellow Scions…the Warrior of Light among us. Behind us, Baelsar’s Wall, cutting the land in two. Freedom on one side, tyranny on the other. Tyranny…and the promise of a new beginning. But one that could only be bought with flames and blood.”]

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[In Rhalgr’s Reach]

 Conrad: You’ll forgive us our precautions, but we couldn’t be sure who had crossed the barrier. We see you now for who you are, though─the Scions of the Seventh Dawn.

Conrad: Now, I know you would not have come all this way unless you had something important to discuss, and I’m eager to hear what it is you have to say…

Conrad: But let’s not do this on our doorstep, eh? Come with me.

[Lyse narrates: “I remember the old stories. How the breaker of worlds came down from on high and cleft the earth with a single blow. Rhalgr’s Reach. A holy place, and a fitting home for the Resistance. For the brave and the true, the loyal sons and daughters of Ala Mhigo. They were waiting for us there. Men and women whose souls still cried out for what was lost. For what could be ours again.”]

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Conrad: Allow me to welcome you once more to Rhalgr’s Reach, our humble headquarters.

Conrad: My name is Conrad Kemp, and I have the dubious honor of overseeing operations here.

 Alphinaud: It is a pleasure to meet you, Master Kemp. I am Alphinaud Leveilleur, of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn, as are my comrades.

 Alphinaud: Before I speak of our purpose here, pray allow me to thank you for sheltering Yda─forgive me─Lyse and Papalymo at great risk to yourselves.

Conrad: Now, now, there’s no need for that. They risked their necks for us enough times. ‘Twas the least we could do.

Lyse: I-I wanted to… I mean, about the mask and…

Conrad: Ahhh, don’t fret over that. You’re not the first person to take up arms against the Empire under a false name. We’d do the same if we had any sense….My condolences for your loss, child.

Lyse: …Papalymo laid down his life to save us─to give us a chance to make a better future for ourselves.

Lyse: There will never be a better time to drive the Garleans from our lands. But we have to take the lead on this─we can’t leave it to fanatics like Ilberd.

Conrad: More than a few of our people were taken in by his promises. Followed him all the way to the Wall. Good men and women who never came back.

Conrad: When M’naago told us what had happened─how the bastard had made sacrifices of them for his twisted ritual─by Rhalgr, it filled me with an unholy fury… But what’s done is done. Best we can do now is see that it wasn’t all in vain.

Alphinaud: That is why we are here today, sir─to see that some good comes of this tragedy.

Alphinaud: On behalf of the Eorzean Alliance, we do hereby extend a formal offer of military assistance to the Ala Mhigan Resistance.

Conrad: Do you, now? Well, go on then. I’m sure there’s more to it than that.

 [Alphinaud explains]

 Conrad: …So that’s the way of it, eh? The Alliance, hoping to avoid a direct confrontation with the superior forces of the Empire, wishes to engage them by proxy with our vastly inferior ones?

Conrad: My comrades and I must confer on your proposal. A moment, if you please…

Alphinaud: Of course, Master Kemp. Take all the time you require.

Alphinaud: So…it would seem we find ourselves with a surfeit of free time─

Conrad: Ah, forgive me. You are free to look around Rhalgr’s Reach. In fact, I would encourage you to do so. It’ll give you a better grasp of our current circumstances.

Alphinaud: Thank you, Master Kemp. I believe we will do just that.

Alphinaud: Let us make the most of this opportunity and assess the Resistance’s capabilities.

Alisaie: Free to poke our noses wheresoever we will, eh? I like the sound of that.

Lyse: Well, I already know this place inside out. I can show you around if you like, Auric?

Lyse: Great! Let’s get started.

Lyse: I’ll bet you think the Resistance is mostly made up of Ala Mhigan Highlanders like me, but the truth is that we don’t even account for half.

Lyse: We’ve got Hellsguard from all the way over by the Spine in here, and plenty of Seekers of the Sun like Naago.

Lyse: There’s even some beastmen─well, beastwomen, I suppose─like that one over there. She’s an Ananta. They’ve been with us for a while now.

Lyse: Well, one of the smaller factions has. The rest won’t have anything to do with us. We’re no different from the Garleans to them.

Lyse: They keep to themselves, spending all their time crafting. Ananta make the most amazing jewelry, by the way. They use magicks to twist metals and crystal into shapes you wouldn’t believe. It’s a pity people hardly ever get to see their work. But then most don’t even know they exist.

Lyse: That’s enough about them, anyway. Let’s take a closer look at the statue of Rhalgr, shall we?

Lyse: Pretty awe-inspiring, isn’t it? The breaker of worlds, who guided our ancestors to these lands all those centuries ago.

Lyse: Yda used to tell me the story on stormy nights. She wanted me to understand. To remember…

Lyse: “At the end of the Fifth Astral Era, when the waters rose higher and higher, people all across Eorzea beseeched the heavens for a sign. And lo, a burning star appeared in the eastern sky, and led the way to these mountains of Gyr Abania…“

Lyse: “They who were saved by His grace pledged to honor and revere Him. To devote themselves to great works without and within…”

Lyse: “A storm of blood approaches fast,

Hells open, Heavens weep.

For no one soul doth lie beyond

The measure of His Reach.”

Lyse: That last part was inscribed on this stone by a monk of the Fist of Rhalgr. Yda explained it to me.

Lyse: “A day will come bringing strife and sorrow that none may escape. Waste not these precious hours, but in quiet preparation make strong the body and mind.”

Lyse: I don’t know if that “storm of blood” is finally upon us. But if it is, I have to believe that everything we’ve been through, everything that has led us to this point, will see us through in the end.

Lyse: …Agh! Sorry. That was all a bit melodramatic, wasn’t it? Let’s keep moving, shall we? Off to the infirmary!

Lyse: This is the infirmary, as you can probably tell. Here’s where the Resistance healers patch up the wounded and tend to the sick.

Lyse: No matter how carefully we planned our operations, casualties were inevitable. It’s a sad thing to think about, but…it’s also important to remember the cost, as Conrad would say.

Lyse: We should go. I’ll show you the Aetheryte Plaza next.

Lyse: When you’ve seen one aetheryte, you’ve seen them all, right? Not quite. This one’s an older design, dating back decades, to when the Fist of Rhalgr was still here.

Lyse: It may look a little different, but it works just as well as any other. I’ll show you where the sutlers are next─but don’t forget to attune to the aetheryte before we go!

Alisaie: Come to take the measure of our friendly neighborhood merchants?

Alisaie: They’re a bold lot, that much is plain. If the imperials found out they were peddling their wares to the Resistance, they would be lucky to escape with their lives.

Alphinaud: ‘Tis a gamble, aye, and I admire their courage. But their motives could hardly be said to be altruistic…

M’naago: Ah, here you are. I’ve been looking all over for you.

M’naago: We’ve finished discussing your proposal, and we’re ready to receive you all back at the tent.

M’naago: I’ve sent someone to fetch Y’shtola and Krile, so if you’d like to follow me…

Conrad: Thank you all for waiting. We have reached a consensus.

Conrad: I, Conrad Kemp, do hereby accept the Eorzean Alliance’s proposal. You must understand, however, that our cooperation comes with certain caveats.

Alphinaud: Those caveats being…?

Conrad: I take no joy in this, just so you know. Were it within my power, I’d offer you more assistance.

Conrad: But the Resistance is far more fragmented than you realize. The men and women in my care belong to but one of many factions.

Conrad: Simply put, I can only speak for the people of Rhalgr’s Reach.

Conrad: Now, I have every intention of appealing to the others, and I expect many will agree─but it will take time, and I cannot guarantee universal support.

Alphinaud: Understood. I shall see that the Alliance is under no misapprehensions as to your position.

Conrad: Much obliged…but that’s not the whole of it. As you can imagine, the loss of those who cast their lot with the Griffin left us short on numbers.

Conrad: Some of our most trusted veterans died at the Wall, and we’ve had to fill their posts with the young and inexperienced. Frankly, everything’s in a right bloody mess.

Lyse: Oh, we’d be more than happy to help you get back on your feet. If we’re going to work together, we’ll be doing ourselves a favor!

Conrad: Well, there’s no shortage of work to be done, that’s for sure. We’re in dire need of new blood too.

Krile: Y’shtola and I could lend a hand in the infirmary. From what I saw, they could do with a few more healers.

Alphinaud: Very well. I for my part shall return to the Rising Stones. I am certain there are others among the Scions who would welcome the opportunity to fight for Ala Mhigan liberation.

Lyse: Um… Is there anything else we can do to help?

Conrad: I had something else in mind for you lot. M’naago and Meffrid will tell you more.

Lyse: Understood. We won’t let you down.

Alisaie: Right, then. M’naago and Meffrid are to be our keepers.

Alisaie: Knowing naught of what they require, one task is as good as the other. Make your choice, Auric.

[What do you need, M’naago?]

 M’naago: Before we begin, I’d like to thank you and the Scions again for patching me up after I bled all over your floor. I owe you my life, and I won’t forget that.

M’naago: Furthermore, it was rude of me to run off without saying a word. It’s all well and good me claiming my duties here couldn’t wait, but a parting thank-you was the very least you deserved. My apologies.

M’naago: And…thank you. Now, to business.

M’naago: Commander Kemp’s entrusted me with a formal reply to be hand-delivered to the Alliance leadership. It covers everything we discussed, as well as detailing the disposition of our forces.

M’naago: What I need is an escort─one or two men at most, so we can make it to the Wall swiftly and without attracting undue attention.

Alisaie: Very well. I shall join you in this.

Alisaie: General Aldynn commands the forces at Castrum Oriens. It should be simple enough to see it into his hands.

M’naago: Great! That’s just what I wanted to hear! When you’re ready to depart, meet me at the pass leading out of the Reach.

[And what’s up with Meffrid?]

 Meffrid: At the risk of repeating myself, it’s still hard for me to believe that we’d meet again here, of all places… Though I reckon you probably don’t remember me after all this time, eh?

 [Nope]

 Meffrid: No, no, ’twas a lifetime ago. There is no need to apologize. But know that down in Quarrymill, we didn’t forget about you─nor the lives you saved.

Meffrid: As for me…I went to Little Ala Mhigo while Gallien was recovering. Gundobald was my former commander and an old friend, and I had a lot on my mind…

Meffrid: In the end, I decided to disband our unit. I told the men to live their lives as they saw fit. Some chose to remain in Little Ala Mhigo, and others went to Ul’dah for work.

Meffrid: But, as you can see, I chose to come back to Gyr Abania and join Conrad and the others.

Meffrid: I’ve kept busy since then, ferrying people and provisions across the border and back. It’s not been easy, but it’s been fulfilling.

 Meffrid: Today, however, we’ll be heading east into the Peaks. Conrad thinks we might have luck finding new recruits in the village of Ala Gannha.

Lyse: Ala Gannha!? If you’re going there, you’re taking me with you!

Meffrid: Ah, that’s right─you’re from Ala Gannha, aren’t you, Lyse? By all means, we’d welcome the company.

Meffrid: There’ll be more to it than just asking around, but we can talk about it on the way. Make your preparations and meet me by the tunnel to the Peaks.

[Okay Meffrid first.]

[With Meffrid –  Ala Gannha]

Meffrid: This tunnel will take us all the way to the Peaks.

Meffrid: We’re on a mission for Conrad to Ala Gannha. Clear the barricade, if you would.

Gilow: Aye, sir. Shouldn’t take more than a moment.

Meffrid: There’re more villages there than out here─but also more imperials keeping a close eye on things. We’ll need to tread carefully…

 [Lyse narrates: “I remember the peaks of Gyr Abania. Silent watchmen that would stand long after we were gone. We came seeking allies to join us in the fight against the Empire. People who had had enough. People who had suffered every possible indignity. Who had been treated like animals, day after day after day….]

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Meffrid: We’ve a glamour in place here too, as you may have noticed. So far as the imperials are concerned, this is naught more than a testament to the savage impulses of a lesser race…

Meffrid: Remember, though: once we leave these ruins, we’ll have no glamours to conceal us. The village is to the east; keep watch for patrols as we move.

Meffrid: Nary an imperial in sight. That’s a mercy.

Meffrid: Ala Gannha’s due east, past that bridge. Follow me, it’s not much further.

Meffrid: You can rest easy─we made it. This is Ala Gannha.

Lyse: It feels strange coming home like this. I always imagined it would be… Oh, sorry. That has nothing to do with why we’re here. We need recruits.

Meffrid: Aye, we do, but as I said back at the Reach, it’s a little more complicated than just asking for volunteers these days.

Meffrid: As you know, we’re shorthanded because many of our people were taken in by the Griffin’s promises and went to the Wall, never to return. It wasn’t just them, though─folks from all over, including some of my former comrades, answered his call to arms.

Meffrid: As for why we came to this particular village… It’s rumored that Ala Gannha lost a few youths as well.

Meffrid: If there’s truth to that, then there could be others sympathetic to the cause. Then again, after the Griffin’s betrayal, they may be suspicious of outsiders claiming allegiance to the Resistance─and rightfully so.

Lyse: So with all that in mind, how are we supposed to convince them to join? I mean, I knew it wouldn’t be as simple as giving a speech in the village square─

Meffrid: Not if you didn’t want the place to be burned to the ground, no. You might as well piss in the viceroy’s eye. We’ll need to be a good deal more circumspect than that. You never know when an imperial spy is listening.

Meffrid: We must speak with the elder first. I know for a fact he can be trusted. We’ll listen to what he has to say and decide what to do after.

Lyse: Sounds like a plan! Let’s hope there are still some brave men and women here willing to fight.

Meffrid: Raganfrid, the village elder, is over by the shore. No time like the present─let’s have a word.

Raganfrid: …Don’t know you, traveler. You a merchant? You’ll not find much custom here.

Meffrid: Greetings and well met, elder, and sincerest apologies that I did not send word ahead of our arrival. Too long have I been away from Ala Gannha, and I would know of your recent troubles.

Raganfrid: Ah, you are comrades of Meffrid. I see, I see…

Raganfrid: Speak on, though I suspect I know your purpose.

Meffrid: The Griffin came with many men, and left with many more. Such is the rumor. Is it true?

Raganfrid: He lit a fire in their hearts and then dangled a dream before their tired eyes. And now you come to steal away what few remain.

Meffrid: The Griffin was a traitor and a madman, and we had no part in his schemes. We have made an agreement with the Alliance─this time it will be different!

Raganfrid: This time? This time!? Cold comfort to the dead and the ones they left behind! How much more must we give before you’ve had your fill?

Meffrid: But…but surely you hate the Empire as much as we do!?

Raganfrid: They took our lands, our traditions, even our god. And they demand a fifth of what little we’ve got left. Aye, I hate the bastards. With every fiber of my being.

Raganfrid: But hate’s not enough, Meffrid. I can’t…we can’t keep doing this. I’ll not tell anyone you came, but you need to go. Now. Leave us be, and never return.

Lyse: You’ve got no right to speak to us like that─

Raganfrid: I’ve got a quarry that was producing barely enough to keep us fed, and that was before half our young men and women went off to die for your bloody cause!

Raganfrid: So yes, I’ve got every right to tell you to leave my village!

Lyse: …No. You don’t. Because it’s my village too. My home!

Raganfrid: What in the hells are you on about─

Raganfrid: Wait… I know those eyes. You’re one of Curtis’s girls!

Lyse: Lyse. Lyse Hext. And I’m here…I’m here to take back my homeland.

Raganfrid: By Rhalgr, the last time I saw you, you were… I didn’t even know if you were still alive… And I never thought you would come─

Lyse: I almost didn’t. And my sister never will. Lots of others won’t either…and that’s why we’ve got to carry on the fight.

Raganfrid: You even sound like him… <sigh> As you say, I’ve got no right to tell you to leave. Ala Gannha is as much your home as it is mine.

Raganfrid: But I say to you again

Lyse: Yes, I heard you the first time.

Lyse: Let’s go.

Meffrid: That could’ve been handled better, but what’s done is done. At least we’ve been granted permission to stay.

Meffrid: I was hoping Raganfrid might help us to recruit some of his people, but that clearly isn’t going to happen. If we’re to convince any of them to join, we’ll first need to regain their trust.

Meffrid: It’s risky, and it’s hardly subtle, but I say we approach the villagers directly─see what problems they’ve got, and if we can do anything to help.

Lyse: Makes sense to me. Let’s split up and ask around.

[Asking around]

Angry Coeurl: A new face in Ala Gannha? Huh… What would you ask of me, then?

Angry Coeurl: A stranger and a generous soul besides? Bollocks. There’s naught more suspicious than a good samaritan.

Angry Coeurl: …On the other hand, if you were an imperial agent, I expect you’d go about your business with more discretion. Bugger me, you really are here to help, aren’t you?

Angry Coeurl: Very well. I’ll take you up on your offer, stranger…My little brother’s working the rocks by Grymm & Enid. He’s got something for me. Can you go and get it?

Angry Coeurl: Right, then. Frightened Coeurl is his name. Ask him for the leftovers─he ought to understand.

[Up at the quarry.]

 Frightened Coeurl: Hm? Here for the leftovers, are you? Not like my brother to send someone in his stead, but so be it.

Frightened Coeurl: It’s all in the sacks over yonder. They’re bleedin’ heavy, mind, so be careful when you pick ’em up.

[Back to town.]

 Angry Coeurl: Ah, the new face. You have my leftovers?

Angry Coeurl: Huh, well I’ll be…you actually went and brought the whole lot. Much obliged, much obliged…

Angry Coeurl: It’s saltpeter for making firesand, in case you’re curious what it’s all for. The rocks by the lakes’ve got good deposits.

Angry Coeurl: ‘Tain’t hard for my brother to pass for any other another plodding quarryman, all the while sweeping bits and pieces off to the side, to bundle up and sell to the sutlers what trade with the Resistance.

Angry Coeurl: It’s a living, and a way of fighting back besides. Our way of spitting in the Garleans’ eye for putting our father in an imperial uniform and shipping him off to some faraway province fifteen years ago.

Angry Coeurl: Dunno if he’s dead or alive, even. Though, if he were alive, he’d not be long for this world if we were caught fighting for the Resistance. So this is the best we can do.

Angry Coeurl: …That’s the long and the short of it. We do what we can, though we know it’s not enough.

Angry Coeurl: I think you’ll find that most folks here ain’t much different. Everybody’s got a reason, but in the end, the result is the same.

Angry Coeurl: I suppose I just…I just wanted you to know, is all. That I─that we know why you’re here, and that even if we can’t join you, we…we wish we could…

[Next?]

 Griseldis: You’d best keep your distance, if you know what’s good for you. Say your piece and move on.

Griseldis: Looking for folks down on their luck? Congratulations, you’ve found one. As you can see, my leg ain’t what it used to be. Some days I can hardly walk for the pain.

Griseldis: Mornings are the worst, especially after cold nights. Hard labor’s right out─too much pain and trouble for others.

Griseldis: There’s a tea what helps with it, though…I’d need to grind chapuli horns and hornbill claws for the blend…

Griseldis: Eh? You’ll go and get some for me, just like that? You needn’t trouble yourself so…

[Got the ingredients.]

 Griseldis: You’ve been gone a while. What brings you back to Ala Gannha?

Griseldis: Oh, I never meant to… I mean, in times like these, you never think people will actually…

Griseldis: This country’s hard on people, but it’s not just that. The imperials, they…they’ve made it known I’m not to be helped. A dead man’s good for one lesson, you know, whereas a live one…

Griseldis: You’re with the Resistance, right? I suppose there’s no reason not to tell you then.

Griseldis: My father, gods rest his soul, was deathly sick at the time, and so I’d gone out into the forest, spear in hand, to gather herbs. And then I had the good fortune to run into an imperial patrol.

Griseldis: My weapon marked me as a rebel, or so they said. Not that it’d’ve made a difference if I’d fought back. I knew what the lot of them were about the moment that centurion laid eyes on me…

Griseldis: Didn’t matter in the end, of course. Some people just like to hurt others. And by the time I limped back to the hut, it was too late for my father.

Griseldis: Too late for me too, aye, and many others I imagine. Help them too if you like─they’ll be grateful and say thank you. But beyond that, I wouldn’t hope for much.

 Meffrid: Ah, there you are, Auric. I’ve been trying to help the villagers deal with this food shortage of theirs.

Meffrid: Recently, the imperials have been swooping into villages unannounced and seizing supplies in order to prevent the people from stockpiling, in case they might be in league with the Resistance.

 Meffrid: It’s not much, but I’ve taught them a few tricks to better hide what little they’ve got left. How’s Lyse getting on, by the way? You’d think people would be more inclined to trust a local girl─assuming they remember her, that is…

[Lyse appears to be having an argument with someone.]

 Lyse: N-No, I didn’t mean to…

Cynical Youth: …And where were you these past twenty years!? Where were you when we were being ground under the Black Wolf’s boot!? On the other side of his bastard wall, living the high life, I’ll wager!

Lyse: That’s not fair!

Cynical Youth: Ho, and who’s this, another one of your freedom-loving friends, deigning to help us poor unfortunate souls?

Cynical Youth: Trying to whip us into a frenzy so we’ll go and storm a castrum with our pickaxes and shovels!? Leave, all of you, before you bring a cohort down on us all!

Cynical Youth: And you─don’t you dare speak like you’re one of us. You can’t even begin to understand what we’ve been through. You weren’t here, Lyse! You weren’t here!

Cynical Youth: This is my home, and I love it with all my heart. And if you truly have any love for it too, you’ll keep us out of your doomed rebellion.

Lyse: …He has a point. No matter what I say or do, it doesn’t change the fact I left them behind.

Lyse: But this isn’t about me, or anyone else. It’s about Ala Mhigo. Let’s go and find Meffrid.

[We found Meffrid.]

 Meffrid: Looks like the elder wasn’t the only one unwilling to hear us out. Can’t blame them, given what happened at the Wall.

Lyse: I thought I might be able to appeal to them as a fellow…I don’t know. But, if anything, it just made them angrier. I haven’t lived through it like they have.

Meffrid: I can’t claim to know the struggle like they do either, Lyse. I ran too, aye, but if I hadn’t, I’d’ve never met Auric or the rest of you, and we might not be here today, in a position to make a difference.

Meffrid: So I don’t regret my choices, nor will I apologize for them. There’s more than one way to fight.

Flustered Woman: Help! Someone, anyone─we need help!

Meffrid: I don’t like the sound of that one bit. Come on.

Flustered Woman: Wercrata, he… <pant> <pant> …the tributum and…and the bloody ratmen, they… <pant> <pant> Damn it all!

Meffrid: You there─take a deep breath, and then tell us what happened.

Flustered Woman: It was all business as usual… The tributum’s due soon, and we were taking it to the imperials when the Qiqirn attacked! They took my brother, and our money!

Lyse: Took him where?

Flustered Woman: Ruins to the south of here. Was just an old temple before they came and… Listen, Wercrata’s the only family I’ve got left! If I lose him, I─

Cynical Youth: The Ziggurat? If the ratmen took him there, he’s as good as dead…

Lyse: We’ve got to get after them! If there’s even a chance her brother is still alive, we have to try!

 Meffrid: So Wercrata’s being held somewhere at the Ziggurat to the south, which has been taken over by a host of Qiqirn bandits. That about covers it, then.

Meffrid: Be prepared for a fight. They may not be the most challenging foes, but there’s sure to be a lot of them.

[At the Ziggurat]

 ???: Please, let me go! I’m begging you! I don’t want to die!

Meffrid: Hear that? I think it came from the top of the Ziggurat!

Qiqirn Bandit: Who dares come to loot our man-flesh! Ours to eat! Ours to eat!

Meffrid: We knew it’d come to this. Kill them quick, before they alert the others!

[Got it.]

 Wercrata: By Rhalgr, what did I ever do to deserve this? I’ve gone to bed hungry for months. I’m skin and bones! I’d hardly make a snack, much less a meal…

Lyse: Oh, you found him!

Wercrata: W-Wait…are you here to rescue me?

Lyse: Your sister sent us. It’s going to be all right.

Wercrata: My sister? Oh, Rhalgr be praised, she’s safe! And you…you lot fought your way in here just for me? To think there are still good, brave folk in this world…

Meffrid: We should go before the Qiqirn return in force. Do you still have the tributum?

Wercrata: Oh gods, the tributum! The imperials will be wondering where I am! I have to go!

Lyse: What, right now? In your condition?

Wercrata: You don’t understand─we were given a warning last month for being short! If I don’t make it in time, there’s no telling what will happen to me and my sister!

Lyse: I’m glad we saved him, but seeing him run off like that… I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

Lyse: Listen, Auric, Meffrid… I think we need to go after Wercrata.

Meffrid: Wait─you had better not be thinking of stopping him! You heard what he said─if they don’t pay one way, they’ll pay another!

Lyse: I know that, I do, and I don’t want to interfere! I just…I just want to see that he makes it there safely.

Meffrid: …If that’s the sum of it, then fine. Let’s head down and see if we can’t pick up his trail.

[I found a chocobo feather.]

 Lyse: Any luck?

Meffrid: A chocobo feather, is it? Aye, by my reckoning, it came from Wercrata’s bird, in which case…

Meffrid: There’s a collapsed bridge just around the bend. Hug the rocks and stick to the shadows. We’ll find him soon enough.

 Meffrid: Any minute now, I expect he’ll come thundering round the bend and─ Hear that? Get to cover, quickly now!

Lyse: Are they imperials?

 Meffrid: Worse. Skulls. Listen, Lyse─whatever happens, stay hidden and do not intervene. Understood?

Lyse: What?

Skull Swordsman: You there─halt! You know you shouldn’t be here… Explain yourself.

Wercrata: Forgive me, sir! I-I came to deliver the tributum!

Skull Swordsman: …Oh aye? A likely story! Only a fool would dare to come so late. Or mayhap…a Resistance spy.

Wercrata: No! No, you’ve got it all wrong! I was waylaid by bandits! It’s not my fault!

Skull Swordsman: I said halt!

Skull Swordsman: …Is this a joke? You don’t seriously expect us to believe this is a fifth? How stupid do you think we are?

Wercrata: It is, I swear! On me mother’s life…

Skull Swordsman: Spare us. You came late, you lied about bandits, and then you tried to cheat the Empire of its due.

 [The Skulls start to beat Wercrata. Lyse moves to intervene, but Meffrid stops her.]

 Meffrid: Think you can kill them all─including the ones watching from the tower? Even if you did, others would come for him─and his family. You’d be condemning them all to a life of hard labor─assuming they didn’t just execute them, that is.

Lyse: But it isn’t fair!

 [The Skull soldier is yelling while kicking Wercrata]

 Skull Swordsman: It’s your bloody fault we’re stuck out here patrolling this godsforsaken wasteland! It’s your fault I have to listen to people go on and on about how “Ala Mhigans can’t be trusted”!

Skull Swordsman: I’ve worked and toiled harder than any man! I’m a citizen, godsdammit! And what are you!? A stupid, stubborn little dog who’d sooner bite the hand that feeds him and pine for the good old days!

Fordola: That’s enough! Lord Zenos is expecting our report.

Meffrid: I’ll bet the poor bastard can’t believe his luck. He gets to go home.We should do the same.

[As the soldiers walk off, their commander Fordola, a red-headed Hyuran woman, stops and looks back – but then continues on.]

Meffrid: I’d heard their commander was keen-eyed but gods, that was a near thing…

Meffrid: It tears me up inside to see our own kinsmen doing the bidding of the viceroy. But they made their choice, and if it comes to it, I’ll cut down every last one of them myself.

Meffrid: Wercrata’s alive, and the tributum’s been paid. That’s all that matters for now.

Meffrid: I for one would rather not wait around to see if the Skulls decide to return. We’d best get back to Ala Gannha and tell Raganfrid his man got the job done.

[Back at Ala Gannha]

 Raganfrid: We owe you a debt of gratitude for what you did. Wercrata told me everything─how you fought with the Qiqirn and saved his life.

Lyse: For all the good it did. We saw what happened when he met with the Skulls. How they beat him half to death. We could’ve stopped them.

Raganfrid: Aye, I reckon you could. Meffrid’s a warrior, as is your comrade. And you’re strong, like your father. That much is plain.

Raganfrid: But I thank Rhalgr you did not, because it would not have ended with them. Wercrata and his sister would’ve been branded insurgents, if not the whole lot of us.

Raganfrid: Bones heal, scars fade, but the dead remain dead. We’re alive, and that’s more than can be said for only the gods know how many others.

Lyse: That’s enough for you, is it? To put up with whatever they do to you, so long as you get to see another day?

Raganfrid: That’s right. You grit your teeth and you learn to live with the pain.

Raganfrid: I’ll admit I was quick to judge you, Lyse, and for that I apologize. I know you and yours mean well, I do. But I’m telling you, gods in the heavens as my witness, that we’ve got nothing left to give. We can’t help you.

Lyse: …I understand. Thank you for your honesty.

[ Lyse walks away]

 Raganfrid: She may say it, but she doesn’t mean it. Nor would I expect her to─her father was stubborn as an ox too. If she’s set on walking the same path, I but pray she won’t follow it to the same end…

Meffrid: Well. She took it better than I anticipated. Which isn’t saying much, I suppose.

Meffrid: We should go and see if she’s all right.

 [We locate Lyse.]

 Lyse: …Sorry about running off like that.

Lyse: Ala Mhigans terrorizing their own…? I just can’t accept it, you know? No matter what he thinks, they shouldn’t have to put up with it, day after day after day…

Lyse: I’m not completely naive, you know. I didn’t expect them to “storm a castrum with their pickaxes and shovels,” or whatever it was. But nor did I expect Wercrata to just lie there in the dirt while they kicked him.

Lyse: I can’t claim to know their pain. I barely remember this place or…or even my father’s face.

Lyse: But I remember Yda’s. I remember how scared she was when we ran…and that look in her eyes when she talked about home.

Lyse: Her home…but not mine, is it?

Cynical Youth: There you are, Lyse. I’ve been looking all over for you…

Lyse: Well…you’ve found me. Got something else to say?

Cynical Youth: Aye, that I do… I, um… I said some things to you before that I shouldn’t’ve. ‘Twasn’t my place to do so, and I’m sorry.

Cynical Youth: All that rubbish I spouted about how I loved my village…but when one of ours was in need, I was cowering here with all the others. I didn’t even think to go after Wercrata…but you did.

Cynical Youth: Made me feel like…like the bloody hypocrite I am!

Cynical Youth: If I truly cared for my people, I’d fight for them. So I will…if you’ll have me.

Lyse: …You’re asking to join the Resistance?

Cynical Youth: When you put it like that, I, uh…I suppose I am. But not just me─there are others I know who’ve been thinking about it for a while now. There’s not many of us, and we’re not hardened warriors like you lot, but─

Meffrid: If your heart bleeds for Ala Mhigo, then that’s good enough for me. You and yours are more than welcome at Rhalgr’s Reach.

Cynical Youth: Thank you, sir! You won’t regret this! I’ll go and speak with the others and send word when we’re ready!

Meffrid: …Still think this isn’t your home?

Lyse: N-No, I…I was just…thinking out loud…

Meffrid: And with that, my friends, our mission is concluded. Let us return to the Reach.

 [Back at Rhalgr’s Reach]

 Meffrid: First of all, allow me to commend you both on a job well done.

Meffrid: Though nothing went according to plan, we nevertheless managed to attract some new recruits. And it was your passion and conviction that moved them to join. Thank you.

Lyse: No, thank you─for giving me an opportunity to find out what our people have been through these past twenty years. It’s been…humbling.

Lyse: And troubling, too. I’d heard about the Skulls, but that was the first time I’d seen them in the flesh.

Lyse: I know you say they’re the same as any other imperial soldiers─and maybe that’s how I’ll have to think of them myself if our paths ever cross on the battlefield, but─

Meffrid: When, not if. That day will come, Lyse. You can’t afford to hesitate when it does.

Meffrid: Young, old, conscript, citizen, Garlean, Ala Mhigan─none of that matters. They’ve all got their reasons. But they’re no better than yours, especially when they’re bearing down on you, blade in hand.

Meffrid: …Saying that, I don’t want to kill them any more than you do. If I could convince them to lay down their arms, I would. Sadly, I’ve never been much of a talker myself, but who knows, maybe you could be one, Lyse. Your father certainly was.

Meffrid: Right, then. I’d best begin preparing for these new recruits. Auric, Lyse, it’s been a pleasure.

 [Helping out M’Naago]

 M’naago: Got everything you need? Good. Then let us be off.

 [In the Fringes]

 M’naago: Quiet! …Hear that? That was a ceruleum engine backfiring. Imperials.

Alisaie: Ye gods, you have preternatural senses. I didn’t hear a thing.

M’naago: When you grow up hunting in these lands, you learn to discern the sounds that could mean life and death, be they of a predator or a patrol. From what I’m hearing…we have a seven-man patrol augmented with a single magitek armor. Wide search pattern. Divided into two─no, three teams. I don’t think they know we’re here…

M’naago: It’s risky, but we should split up and try to take them all by surprise at the same time. We don’t want them calling reinforcements.

Alisaie: Three teams, three of us. Nothing for it, then. Where are they?

M’naago: Head north. You should see them long before they see you. I’ll deal with the ones to the south. The armor should be just to the west─Auric’s best equipped to deal with that. We attack in five─that should be enough time to get into position. Rendezvous on the west bank after. Any questions? No? Then good luck!

 [Fight!]

 M’naago: It looks like everything went to plan. Not that I’m surprised─the three soldiers I faced didn’t put up much of a fight.

M’naago: Most of the imperials we get out here are conscripts from other provinces with little training and even less conviction. It’s grim work, killing men and women like that, but don’t doubt that they’d do the same to you if the roles were reversed.

M’naago: And don’t you dare pity a man in armor. Conscript or no, a soldier piloting one of those can kill a dozen good men in the blink of an eye. Not that I need to tell you that, after what happened at the Wall…

M’naago: Right. I believe we’ve rested long enough. We should resume our journey before someone notices their missing patrol.

 M’naago: …We’re clear. Only Alliance patrols ahead.

M’naago: You said the forces at Castrum Oriens were under the command of Flame General Raubahn Aldynn, did you not?

M’naago: By Rhalgr! The Bull of Ala Mhigo himself! I never dreamed I’d have a chance to meet the legend…

 [We approach Raubahn & Pipin]

 Raubahn: It is good to see you again, my friends. I hope you are here to tell me you have made contact with the Resistance?

Alisaie: We are, General.

Alisaie: Allow me to introduce M’naago, of Rhalgr’s Reach.

M’naago: At your service, sir! And may I say what an absolute honor it is to stand before the Bull of Ala Mhigo!

Raubahn: These are not the bloodsands, girl. You and I are but soldiers on a battlefield fighting for the same cause.

M’naago: A-As you say, General!

 M’naago: Ahem. On behalf of Commander Kemp of the Ala Mhigan Resistance, I present to you our formal response.

Raubahn: …Good. I am glad we have reached an accord. Though I was not aware you had suffered such losses.

M’naago: Aye… Some of our finest took part in the Griffin’s doomed assault, and we’ve been struggling to find new recruits ever since.

M’naago: The massacre has cast a pall over the whole Resistance, and many who might once have been open to joining us have since thought better of it.

Alisaie: After all of the Griffin’s false promises, one can hardly blame them. They have no desire to give their lives for a lost cause.

Raubahn: We will not lie to them. This is war, and lives will be lost. Yet what we offer is not the fever dream of a madman, but true hope.

Pipin: The people need proof of this, Father. Let us show it to them.

Pipin: I say we stand shoulder to shoulder with our new allies and engage the Garleans in open warfare. The Resistance must demonstrate that they can hold their own against imperial regulars, and with our assistance, I am confident they can do just that.

 Pipin: If we can achieve even a token victory, I believe it will serve to rekindle the hope of the Ala Mhigan people, and inspire them to rise up once more.

M’naago: Aye, aye… Once word spread that we’d won a battle against the Garleans, I wager we’d have new recruits flocking to us from malms around. The question is, when and where do we strike?

Pipin: I’m glad you asked. I have a plan…

Pipin: Our scouts recently informed me of an interesting development at Castellum Velodyna. Namely, the arrival of a shipment rumored to have come from the research and development facilities near the capital, containing prototype magitek armor.

Pipin: It is our assessment that this armor is to be field-tested here, most likely against Alliance forces. Mayhap before the day is out.

M’naago: Damn it all, more magitek weapons? That’s the last thing we need!

Pipin: Your concern is not unwarranted, but we needn’t despair just yet. The shipment is thought to have contained a single heavy unit and one or possibly two support units. With a well-laid ambush, we are confident we can destroy them all, thus hindering their development and delaying future deployment.

Raubahn: And should we carry this out as a joint endeavor with the Resistance, they will have their rallying cry.

M’naago: It would mean dropping all pretense about the Alliance not wanting to go to war with the Empire…but you’d have a lot more folk willing to stand up and fight if they knew they weren’t alone. And you were going to have to do it eventually anyway.

Pipin: Exactly. And so what I propose is simple:  we harry their patrols to bait them into bringing their prototype weapons to East End, where our Resistance allies will take them from behind.

Raubahn: Simple indeed, and well within our capabilities. I see no reason to delay, especially if a field test is imminent. What say you?

M’naago: Assuming the vice marshal’s intelligence is accurate, I agree with his assessment and fully support his plan. I shall notify my comrades at once.

Pipin: Understood. I shall have one of my men bring you the details of the plan anon.

 [Alisaie speaks to the Warrior of Light]

 Alisaie: And we for our part will be fighting with the Alliance, yes? I somehow doubt you were intending to sit this one out.

Raubahn: We’ve been careful to avoid needless shows of force this side of the Wall. But that’s all about to change─and when it does, you may be sure they’ll send their new toys out to entertain us.

Raubahn: I would ask you to participate in this operation…but from that look I see it is a foregone conclusion. My thanks.

Raubahn: Per Pipin’s plan, we need to turn East End into an imperial graveyard. You’re a dab hand at this, and I’d be a fool not to use you.

Raubahn: Head to this spot on your map─right here, aye. A patrol should be along shortly. Deal with them, then rendezvous with the rest of us at this location. Go well, Auric.

[We deal with the patrol.]

Raubahn: All went to plan, then? Good.

Raubahn: Our scouts report that a unit escorting the prototype weapons has left Castellum Velodyna. The Resistance is already in position, so we have but to wait for our guests to arrive.

 [An Imperial patrol comes down the road, headed by Grynewaht.]

 Grynewaht: Things looked grim for us after Carteneau, didn’t they? Oh, how they doubted us… Yet here we are, right as rain, with fancy new toys to put through their paces…

Grynewaht: Bwahahahaha! It’s like all my namedays have come at once!

 [The Alliance group steps out onto the road.]

 Grynewaht: Well, well, well! If it isn’t Garlond’s little troublemaker! Heh heh heh! I can’t wait to see the look on Zenos’s face when I bring him your head!

Grynewaht: That is, if my secret weapons here don’t grind it into mush! ATTAAACK!

 [FIGHT! If Raubahn will let you, that is.]

 Raubahn:Adders, Flames, deal with the escort! Leave the armor to Auric!

Grynewaht:Bugger me! Is that General Aldynn!? Bwahahaha! A chance to get my revenge on Auric, and test our new weapons, and kill an Alliance commander! Ohhh, it doesn’t get much better than this!

Alisaie: One would almost think he harbored a grudge against you, Auric. Whatever did you do to him?

Grynewaht: Hurry up and KILL THE BASTARDS! We’ve got ’em outnumbered!

Grynewaht: What are you idiots doing? Give them everything we’ve got!

Alisaie: There’s no end to them… I’m here if you need healing, Auric!

Raubahn: Looks like there’s only the one prototype. Whatever else we do this day, I want it destroyed!

Raubahn: Keep it up, lads! That thing won’t take much more!

Grynewaht: Enough! We have secret weapons of great power, don’t we? Let’s bloody well use ’em!

Alisaie: On your guard, Auric! He’s up to something!

Grynewaht: Damn it all! Haven’t we got anything else!? More armor or weapons or something!?

Raubahn: More of them!? I’m going to have to have a word with our scouts…

Grynewaht: This can’t be happening! Not again!

[Grynewaht tries to run and is cut off by the Ala Mighan rebels]

 Grynewaht: He who fights and runs─ What the─? Who in the hells are you lot!?

M’naago: For Ala Mhigo! Let none escape!

Raubahn: We have them now! Forward! Forward!

Grynewaht: You think you’ve won, eh? Heh heh heh… THEN WE GO TOGETHER!

Magitek Vanguard I Prototype: Self-destruct sequence initiated… Sixty… Fifty-nine… Fifty-eight…

Raubahn: Seven hells! There’s no time to get to safety! We must disable it before it blows!

Magitek Vanguard I Prototype: Thirty… Twenty-nine… Twenty-eight…

Magitek Vanguard I Prototype: Fifteen… Fourteen… Thirteen…

 [We kill the prototype before it can self-destruct]

 Grynewaht: No… No, no, NO! My secret weapon!

Grynewaht: Gaaah! Damn it all! Miracles of magitek design, my arse! I’ve passed harder stools than these piles of scrap!

Grynewaht: You’ll pay for this! Mark my words, the next time we meet will be the last!

 [Grynewaht runs off]

 Raubahn: Aye! Run and tell your viceroy! The day belongs to Ala Mhigo!

Raubahn: Well done, all of you. I’d call this operation a resounding success.

Conrad: Can’t say I’m surprised. The “Bull of Ala Mhigo” had an impressive military record before he went west, as I recall.

Raubahn: Credit where it’s due, Master Kemp. ‘Twas Marshal Tarupin who made this plan, and all of you, Resistance and Alliance alike, who carried it out to perfection.

Conrad: Aye, that they did. Not a single casualty, for which I’m grateful beyond words. I’ve no doubt our comrades back at the Reach will feel the same.

Raubahn: As will ours.

Conrad: It’s been a pleasure, General. Until the next battle. M’naago─I leave the Scions in your care.

Raubahn: We shall return to the castrum, then. Auric, Mistress Leveilleur─once more you have my thanks. As Master Kemp said, until the next battle.

M’naago: Well, there’s no reason to remain here any longer. Let’s get back to the Reach.

[Back at the Reach.]

 M’naago: You didn’t have to take part in the operation, but you did. You went above and beyond what was asked of you, without hesitation, and for that we owe you a debt.

 M’naago: Our victory may not count for much in practical terms, but its symbolic value can’t be overstated.

M’naago: Alliance and Resistance fighters came together to face an imperial unit equipped with Garlemald’s newest weapons─and smashed them. The people will remember this day.

Conrad: Aye, that they will, for it marks the beginning of something far greater than any single victory:  the beginning of a campaign by a united Eorzea to drive the Garleans from our lands.

Conrad:Promises and platitudes mean naught without action. But the Alliance took the field and risked their lives for our cause.

Conrad: Hah, to think that the last time Gridanian troops trod this soil was more than a century ago, during the Autumn War─and that was to defend against our invasion.

Conrad:Ours is a long and bloody history, to be sure, and it gives me heart to see that despite our acrimonious past, we can still come together for the sake of the future.

M’naago: Well said, Commander! Which is why I intend to go from village to village and spread word of our victory and our new alliance.

M’naago: Auric, Alisaie, I cannot thank you enough for your assistance.

M’naago: The people will flock to our banners, my friends. Just you wait and see!

Conrad: Owing to the efforts of you all, we have accomplished a great deal in a short time. The Resistance thanks you for your service, Scions.

Alphinaud: I see operations here have been proceeding apace in my absence.

Alisaie: Welcome back, Brother dearest. I take it your efforts to gather new recruits were successful.

Alphinaud: Indeed. There were several amongst the Scions’ ranks that were quite eager to take part in our joint endeavor with the Resistance, whom I am come to present.

Arenvald:Commander Kemp, if I may! My name…my name is Arenvald Lentius. A…a half-breed, as you can doubtless tell.

Arenvald:I’m here to fight for a free Ala Mhigo. For an Ala Mhigo where women like my mother are never made to suffer. I pray you grant me this honor.

Conrad: …You are a trueborn son of Gyr Abania, same as me. This is not my honor to grant, but yours to freely take. Welcome, brother.

Conrad: With our swelling ranks, and the aid of the Eorzean Alliance and the Scions of the Seventh Dawn, I believe we will soon be in a position to seize the initiative.

Conrad: Once our new recruits have received sufficient training, I will propose to General Aldynn that we draw up plans for an assault on Castellum Velodyna.

M’naago: Then, in the meantime, we will make what preparations we can!

[Meanwhile at Zenos Yae Galvus’ HQ]

[The Garlean Anthem plays:

“Beyond majestic mountains, across the emerald dale,

On march the ivory standard, united we prevail.

From distant shores of Othard to the lakes of Aldenard,

The light of mighty Garlemald, fore’er our guiding star.”]

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Imperial Tribunus Militum: Alliance forces have occupied Castrum Oriens and taken up positions along the length of the Wall. Our patrols have engaged their reconnaissance parties on sight, but there have been no significant exchanges…

Imperial Tribunus Militum: …Save one. A unit tasked with field-testing prototype magitek weapons was attacked. The weapons were destroyed, with the unit sustaining near-total casualties.

Zenos Yae Galvus: …Near-total? Go on.

Imperial Pilus Prior: My lord, there was but a single survivor from the unit in question, which falls under my command.

Imperial Pilus Prior: According to his report, they were ambushed by a contingent of Eorzean Alliance regulars, abetted by Resistance insurgents.

Zenos Yae Galvus: Hm. A simple ambush, and only one survivor. A fine day’s work.

Zenos Yae Galvus: The stubbornness to survive is not without worth… He may live. However, the XIIth is no place for the weak.

Imperial Pilus Prior:He shall be relegated at once, my lord. As you say, the XIIth is no place for cowards who count their lives more precious than the cause.

Zenos Yae Galvus:Indeed, indeed. We have no need of cowards…

Imperial Pilus Prior: M-My lord, I…

Zenos Yae Galvus:Cowards who defer critical missions to their subordinates─who hide within their castra, never meeting their prey in battle, never staring into the whites of their eyes.

Zenos Yae Galvus: Why, when confronted with a heretofore unknown eikon, did we surrender the Wall to the Alliance?

Zenos Yae Galvus: Because my honored father, in his infinite wisdom, has not seen fit to grant us leave to march on their lands.

Zenos Yae Galvus: Accordingly, we have extended an invitation to our neighbors. Gyr Abania is where we shall host them─the field upon which we shall enjoy the sport of kings.

Zenos Yae Galvus: Patience is paramount. Cornered animals may have spirit, but they are ultimately predictable, and very poor sport. But if one dangles the promise of freedom before them, while nipping at their heels to stoke their passion, then things become interesting.It is a delicate dance…and one which asks much of my hounds.

Zenos Yae Galvus: And so I put the question to you, my fellow huntsmen:  how shall we deal with these savages?

Fordola: My lord, I have a proposal!

Imperial Tribunus Militum: Silence, Ala Mhigan! You do forget yourself!

Imperial Tribunus Militum: Only by the grace of Lord van Baelsar were you afforded a place here─and that in name alone! We have no need of your “proposals,” savage.

Fordola: Grrr…

Zenos Yae Galvus: This “savage” yearns to hunt her own… The floor is yours, Commander.

Fordola: Thank you, my lord.

 [Fade out]

 [Back at the Reach.]

 Conrad: I feared it would take longer to rouse the people to action after the disaster at the Wall, but it seems our countrymen are not so easily discouraged. Change is on the horizon, my friends.

M’naago: Right, then. I’ve got duties to attend to.

Alphinaud: Mayhap we could assist you with said duties? We are here to help, after all.

Alphinaud: The three of you have been busy, so I will understand if you require time to rest. If not, however, it would seem sensible to assist our allies with their preparations.

M’naago: We’d be grateful for any and all help you can offer. If you ask around, I guarantee you won’t want for work.

[Need any help over here?]

 Beves: I-I-I beg your pardon? The man who bested Gaius van Baelsar wishes to offer me his assistance!?

Beves: I say, this is highly irregular…though I have heard it said you had a penchant for aiding the common man. In which case…

Beves: Before the occupation I was a humble historian. While my duties leave me scarce time for aught else, I think it important that these momentous events be recorded for the benefit of future generations.

Beves: Primary sources are indispensable, and I had a mind to question a number of my fellow freedom fighters─ask them their motivations for taking up this cause and so forth.

Beves: You may take down their statements in this log. And…Auric…thank you for your service. Now and ever after.

Hrotmar: Why’d I join the Resistance? Well, if you must know…it was to avenge a friend the imperials butchered before my very eyes, back in Ala Mhigo.

Hrotmar: We owned a stall in the markets, and a passing soldier snatched up a piece of fruit. He spoke out before I could stop him, only to get a fulm of steel in the gut for his troubles. I found my way here, and that was that.

 

Ahelissa: I was just a cook before all this. Simple fare, really. Had a chance to lend a hand and help feed some refugees one day…

Ahelissa: I took a liking to the fighters. They…believed, you know? And there’s always a need for cooks─or at least people who can work with whatever the foraging parties turn up…

 

 Hughoc: Hm? Aren’t you the eikon-slayer? Damned if I know why you’d bother asking someone like me why I joined the Resistance, but it’s simple:  if I wasn’t fighting for Ala Mhigo, I’d be fighting for the Empire.

Hughoc: You’re either with ’em or not, and if you’re with ’em, you may as well make the most of it. Food, training, citizenship if you live long enough. You’ll die stealing someone else’s land, like as not, but that’s the choice. But me? I’d rather die here.

 

Orella: Why? Why indeed… To save lives, perhaps. Or to make amends for the ones I couldn’t.

Orella: My father and my brothers were worked to death while building a castrum. What did it matter to the Garleans, eh? More where that lot came from. After that, I couldn’t keep on doing nothing.

 

Beves: Well met, Auric. Have you spoken with the freedom fighters as I asked?

Beves: Hmm… As fascinating as they are varied… You have a knack for convincing others to bear their hearts to you. I could not have done better myself.

Beves: Many years from now, when these tempestuous times pass into memory, their accounts will serve as a window into the struggle. We must never forget, my friend. Never.

[Need any help?]

Ahelissa: You want to help, do you? Hmm… Seeing as how I’m in no position to leave the stewpot unattended, could you go and ask Tebbe for a variety of herbs? Six sprigs or so of whatever he’s got on hand should suffice.

Ahelissa: It’s not as haphazard as it may seem. Depending on the recipe, it doesn’t really matter what sort you add, so long as you add something. I’ll be here when you get back.

Tebbe: Herbs, is it? Six sprigs of whatever’s on hand? ‘Fraid I can’t spare that much. You’ll take two, and be glad of it.

Tebbe: The remainder you’ll have to gather yourself. Shouldn’t be too much of a bother, though─you’d be surprised what you can find growing underfoot, even in the Reach.

Ahelissa: Ah, there you are. Got those herbs I asked for?

Ahelissa: Thanks, that’ll do nicely. And, uh…sorry to impose upon you, sir. Thought you were another new recruit. Didn’t realize until after that you were, uh…

Ahelissa: But to answer the question that’s probably on your mind, yes. It’s always like this. Never enough food or supplies to go around.

Ahelissa: All the more reason to be grateful when our countrymen can spare some for the cause. Though that comes at a cost, too. Too many villages, too many children more deserving than us…

Ahelissa: But a man can’t fight on an empty stomach, can he? So we partake, as we must. And we never lose sight of the dream.

[Got any fetch quests for me?]

 Ananta Battlemaid: You look like a ssstrider in sssearch of comrades in need. If ssso, I have a tasssk for you.

Ananta Battlemaid: I am a trainer, and I was told to expect new recruitsss thisss day, yet nary a one has come. Perhapsss they were given the wrong time or location. I do not know.

Ananta Battlemaid: They number five in all, these would-be warriors. Sssend them unto me, should you chance to find them.

Faint-hearted Recruit: Oh bugger, you were sent by the snake, weren’t you!? I heard one in four recruits doesn’t live through their training. That can’t be true, right? Oh bugger, oh bugger…

Devout Recruit: I know, I know. I’m late. But I had to say a prayer for my sister first. After what the imperials did to her, death was a mercy…

Ananta Battlemaid: Not all appreciate the rigor with which I train my recruitsss. Sssome favor a gentler approach. As if the imperials will be ssso kind.

Ananta Battlemaid: ‘Tis a thanklesss job, to teach, sssome sssay. But I sssay their sssurvival is thanksss enough. Fare you well.

 [You look like you need a hand. Got any sheep that need delousing? Or a chocobo with ticks?]

 Swarthy Resistance Fighter: Damn it all! Where could it have got to!?

Swarthy Resistance Fighter: Oh! Um, pardon me, fellow lover of freedom and justice. You haven’t seen a ward of the Destroyer anywhere, have you? Maybe on the ground, as if a certain bloody fool had dropped it?

Swarthy Resistance Fighter: Aye, I’d been him. I had it this morning, that much I know for certain, and I’ve not left the Reach since, so it’s got to be around here somewhere.

Swarthy Resistance Fighter: Hmm… If you’ve got a moment to spare, would you be willing to help me search? I spent some time near the Temple of the Fist earlier, so it might be there. As for me, I’ll look around near the officer’s pavilion.

Swarthy Resistance Fighter: They’re hardly rare, I know, and I could just as easily buy another, but even so… Please, help me find it…

Swarthy Resistance Fighter: I swear, I’ve searched high and low, but it just won’t turn up…

Swarthy Resistance Fighter: Seven hells, that’s the one! That’s my lucky ward! You’re a godssend, brother!

Swarthy Resistance Fighter: Before I was born, my mother made a pilgrimage to the Temple of the Fist, where she, like many others, received the blessings of the monks.

Swarthy Resistance Fighter: And then Theodoric came and burned it all to the ground, the mad bastard. And after him came the Garleans, who cared even less for our beliefs.

Swarthy Resistance Fighter: But I still keep to the old ways, as do many others. And when my son is born, I’ll teach him the stories and the scripture, as my mother taught me…

[I’ve run out of chores. Can I have the plot back please?]

Alphinaud: And with that, another task is complete…Ah, Auric. I hear you have been keeping busy.

M’naago: Aye, that he has, and we thank him for it.

Conrad: It pleases me to inform you that our new recruits have completed their initial training and stand ready to contribute.

Conrad: As discussed, M’naago, I would have you present my proposal for an assault on Castellum Velodyna to General Aldynn personally.

M’naago: Of course, sir!

M’naago: Are you and yours planning to return to Castrum Oriens before the operation? If so, why don’t we travel together?

Alphinaud: That seems a fine suggestion, but I must consult my comrades ere we depart.

M’naago: Very well. I will wait for you at the pass. But not too long!

Alphinaud: I expect Krile and Y’shtola will wish to remain here to support the chirurgeons, but nevertheless, we should go and ask them.

[At the infirmary.]

Y’shtola: Hm? Is aught amiss?

Y’shtola: …I see. That would explain the sudden flurry of activity outside.

Alphinaud: This joint operation marks a turning point in our conflict with the Garleans. For the first time, the Resistance and the Alliance shall go on the offensive and attempt to capture an imperial outpost in occupied territory.

Alphinaud: Personally, I believe it is imperative that we offer them our full support. As was the case with Ishgard, however, this is not a choice to be made lightly, nor less on others’ behalves. This is war, and every Scion must decide what part he or she would play.

Lyse: I’ll fight. For Ala Mhigo, for my father, for Yda. I’m in it to the end.

Alisaie: The choice was made for us ere we were born, Brother, when the Empire marched on Eorzea.

Alisaie: They will stop at nothing to subjugate or slaughter us all. Van Baelsar and van Darnus were but the first to try.

Alphinaud: …Though your fervor is surprising, I cannot dispute your logic.

Alphinaud: At the risk of repeating myself, I am of course of the same mind. The present situation is untenable, and further complicated by the existence of Ilberd’s primal. I believe we have no recourse but to directly and openly intervene.

Y’shtola: …I thought this a foregone conclusion given our actions thus far, but if you require renewed affirmation, then yes, I am still wholly committed to this cause. For it is ultimately the selfsame cause I have served since first I pledged to serve Master Louisoix and the Circle of Knowing:  the Salvation of Eorzea, by any means necessary.

Y’shtola: That said, I shall refrain from taking the field on this occasion. There are many here who require further treatment, and doubtless more to come after.

Krile: I came here for Minfilia, and that hasn’t changed. However, I’d like to stay with Y’shtola for now and tend to the wounded.

Alphinaud: As for you, Auric…you are, to quote our dear friend Lord Edmont, the man who slew Gaius van Baelsar and some half-dozen primals besides. Your presence may well prove the difference between victory and defeat.

Alphinaud: Many look to you as a hero, and heap great expectations upon your shoulders. But you, like every Scion, must decide for yourself.

[“For those we can yet save”]

 Alphinaud: Well said. Well said indeed…

Alisaie: Take care, Y’shtola, Krile, and do not hesitate to contact us should you require assistance. Lyse─I would ask that you remain here, by Conrad’s side.

Alisaie: We should go, or M’naago will leave without us.

Alphinaud: Might I persuade you to join us, Auric? Should you wish to give your decision further consideration, Castrum Oriens would seem an apt place to do it. You need not answer right away. I am sure I can convince M’naago to wait a little longer.

Alphinaud: So you will be accompanying us? Full glad am I to hear it.

M’naago: All set? Excellent. Then let us be off!

Raubahn: Welcome back, comrades. What news?

M’naago: Greetings, General. I am come at Commander Kemp’s behest to brief you on the latest developments at the Reach.

M’naago: Our recruitment efforts have exceeded expectations. In addition to welcoming many motivated young Ala Mhigans, our ranks have been bolstered by the arrival of a number of experienced veterans, thanks in large part to the efforts of the Scions.

M’naago: As a consequence, we are now able to field half a dozen new units, with more being trained as we speak.

Raubahn: Good. I gather Conrad is eager to strike while the iron’s hot?

M’naago: Just so, General. He proposes that we begin preparations for a joint operation to capture Castellum Velodyna.

Pipin: Capture Velodyna? That will not be easy. It will, however, be necessary if we are ever to push east towards the capital…

Raubahn: There is no profit in delay. It is only a matter of time before the Garleans learn of our plans and summon reinforcements.

Raubahn: The Alliance hereby accepts Commander Kemp’s proposal. Tell him to take no chances─bring every able-bodied Ala Mhigan who can wield a weapon.

Raubahn: Pipin─I want Velodyna watched. Assess its defenses. Every fortress has a weakness, and I would know this one’s.

Alisaie: If there is no objection, General, might the Scions join Marshal Tarupin?

Raubahn: By all means. If that is all─let us be about it!

Alisaie: Conrad and the General are of one mind, it seems… I only wish I could say the same. While this aggressive strategy may well profit us in the end, what losses will we suffer in the meantime…?

Alisaie: Anyway, we should speak with the vice marshal about this reconnaissance mission and see how he would like to proceed.

Pipin: Thank you for volunteering to join me. This should be a fairly straightforward reconnaissance mission, so long as we do not have the ill fortune to run afoul of an imperial patrol.

Pipin: Come─our destination is beyond East End, just north of Velodyna.

[At Castellum Velodyna]

Pipin: This ought to be close enough. Now we settle in for a long watch.

Pipin: That said…it would be prudent to keep your weapons at the ready, in the event a passing patrol stumbles upon us, or worse…

Pipin: Excellent… The disposition of the imperial forces is exactly as expected. I will notify Father.

Pipin: Cannon fire! Where did it come from?

Alisaie: Smoke! There! Is that─ Oh gods, it’s Rhalgr’s Reach!

Alphinaud: It’s no use─I think someone’s jamming our communications.

Alisaie: You don’t think… Could this be part of a coordinated attack?

Pipin: Too early to draw conclusions.We must abort the assault and return to the Reach at once.

 [The Reach is under attack by forces under Fordola’s command]

 Fordola: Forward! FORWARD! Give them no quarter!

Meffrid: You!

Meffrid: Traitor! Kinslayer!

Fordola: You’re no kin of mine!

[Fordola strikes down Meffrid as Lyse watches]

 Lyse: Meffrid!

Lyse: Hells take you!

 [Lyse engages Fordola. Fordola is knocked off balance.]

 Fordola: Hurgh…

 [Zenos Yae Galvus walks onto the scene, in full Imperial armor]

 Zenos Yae Galvus: Well, well…

Zenos Yae Galvus: Stand aside, Pilus. This one has promise.

Fordola: Have a care, my lord. She’s not like the others.

Zenos Yae Galvus: Hm. Do not disappoint me, girl. Or I will kill you.

 [Zenos pulls a sword from a rotating scabbard]

 [Conrad hits Fordola with a fireball, knocking her down.]

 Conrad: Seven hells… It’s him! It’s Zenos!

Lyse: The viceroy? Oh…you are a dead man!

 [Lyse charges Zenos. Zenos blocks her every strike easily.]

 Zenos Yae Galvus: So spirited…and yet so empty.

 [Zenos knocks Lyse down and stands over her in a threatening posture.]

 [Y’shtola charges between them and throws up a magic barrier that stops Zenos’ blade.]

 Y’shtola: Lyse, run!

 Zenos Yae Galvus: Ah, a magical barrier. Alas… It will not save you.

 [Zenos forces his blade into Y’shtola’s barrier, which cracks and then shatters. Y’shtola falls to the ground, bleeding heavily.]

Lyse: Y’shtola!

Conrad: Hold the line, by Rhalgr! Hold the line!

 [Fordola gets to her feet and fells Conrad. The screen goes black.]

 [Aphinaud, Alisaie, Pipin and the Warrior of Light encounter Krile and a group of Ala Mihgan rebels,

including M’naago and Arenvald, on the outskirts of Rhalgr’s Reach.]

 Alphinaud: Krile!

Krile: Alphinaud!

Alphinaud: We saw the smoke and thought we heard explosions. Are we under attack?

 Krile: The imperials were all over us before we realized what was happening.No one knew where to run or what to do─it was chaos.

Krile: Lyse and Master Kemp rallied the guards and bought us enough time to get some of the wounded to safety, but I haven’t seen either of them since…

Pipin: Confound it! If we lose the Reach, this will all have been for naught!

Alphinaud: Arenvald─can you escort these people to the Wall?

Arenvald: Aye, sir.

Alphinaud: Our place is at the Reach. We must offer such aid and succor as we are able. Saving lives is now our paramount concern.

Pipin: If we can hold back the imperials until Father sends reinforcements, we may yet turn the tide…

Krile: I’ll join you. I’ve done all I can for these people, and you’ll be crying out for a healer in there.

Alphinaud: I fear you’re right. Come, there is no time to lose!

 [Our group charges toward the Reach. FIGHT!]

 Straggler: Gods help us, they’re killing everyone!

Alisaie: We have to stop them while there’s still someone left to save!

Straggler: The imperials came from nowhere…started cutting people down left and right…

Alphinaud: Reinforcements are on the way. Spread the word.We should keep moving…

 [More FIGHT!]

Alphinaud: Confound it! Nothing for it but to fight.

Krile: Twelve forfend… It’s a bloodbath…Remember that we’re here to save lives! Defend the hostages!

Alisaie: Those monsters─these people had surrendered!

Pipin of the Steel Heart: It’s not too late for the others. We must hurry!

 [A group of Ferae — Wolfmen — are attacking]

 Alphinaud: What the─ Are those beastmen fighting for the imperials? I’ve never seen them before…

Resistance Fighter: They…they took Lyse and the others deeper inside… You’ve…you’ve got…

Krile: There they are! We’re not too late!

Fordola rem Lupis: Well, well. A rescue party, is it? We’ll see about that.

 [Face to face with Fordola. She’s forced back.]

 Fordola rem Lupis: Gah! Who in the seven hells are you!?

 [We find Lyse, conscious but winded, and a bloodied and unmoving Y’shtola. Krile bends over the falled Miqo’te.]

 Krile: Alphinaud, I need your help!

 [They begin to work on healing Y’shtola]

 Fordola: My lord, the prisoners!

Zenos Yae Galvus: See to your men, Pilus.

Fordola: Uh─ As you command, my lord.

 [Fordola leaves]

 Zenos Yae Galvus: Your friends were a disappointment. But you… You will entertain me, will you not?

 [What do you want, a song and dance number? Oh, you want a fight. Sure, why not.]

 Alisaie: If we kill him, here and now, we can end this!

Zenos Yae Galvus: I have no need for this rabble.

 [Zenos flattens everyone but the Warrior of Light]

 Pipin of the Steel Heart: Seven hells… Not even Father could do that…

Zenos Yae Galvus: Hm. You yet stand. Mayhap you have potential.

 [FIGHT!]

  Zenos Yae Galvus: Better…but lacking nevertheless…

 [FIGHT!]

  Zenos Yae Galvus: It would seem I misjudged you. This ends now.

 [Zenos one-shots the Warrior of Light. Jerk. But at least his sword breaks.]

 Zenos Yae Galvus: Pathetic.

 [Zenos drops the broken sword and walks away.]

 [Raubahn sees Zenos walking away.]

 Raubahn: Seven hells…

 [Raubahn moves to draw his weapon but then hesitates.]

 Flame Officer: Shall we give chase, General?

Raubahn: Nay. There has been enough death this day. See to the wounded.

 [Raubahn approaches the defeated Warrior of Light]

 Raubahn: You all right, lad?

 [“I think my pride might have taken a knock.”]

 Raubahn: ‘Tis no ordinary foe could best the likes of you.

 [Healers are working on Y’shtola and Conrad.]

 Lyse: Don’t you die on me, Y’shtola! Hold on!

Krile: Don’t worry! It’s going to be all right!

Krile: Alphinaud! Master Kemp is all yours!

Alphinaud: Understood!

 [Krile turns to the Warrior of Light]

 Krile: Don’t just stand there gawping! Hold her down while I work!

 [Krile keeps healing]

 Krile: The worst is passed, but without the proper facilities I can do no more.

Alphinaud: Master Kemp too would be better served in the infirmary.Let us take them there without delay.

Krile: Give us a hand, would you, Lyse?

 [Krile turns to the Warrior of Light again]

 Krile: I know you must be exhausted, but there will be others who need our help. Leave these two to us and look to the other wounded.

Raubahn: Now then─let’s do what we can for the wounded. Every minute counts!

Raubahn: See to the wounded, Auric. If they live, help them. If not, move on.

[Meffrid lies motionless, having breathed his last. Clenched in his fist is a small charm, which you take for safekeeping.]

 Thewy Youth: He was already cold when I got to him… There was naught I could do.That charm must’ve been important. You’d best take it to Conrad.

Conrad: M’naago? Meffrid? Where are you…?

 [I hand over Meffrid’s charm.]

 Conrad: This…this is…

Conrad: …He’s dead, isn’t he.

Conrad: Meffrid was a worrier. Always thinking about others before himself. He once had an imperial patrol chase him nigh on twenty malms so that his wounded would have time to escape…

Conrad: His comrades loved him for it, of course…though that only made him worry more. Did you know that he sent his men in Quarrymill away because he thought they were fighting for him, and not the cause? Aye, well, he did. The only life he was willing to risk was his own, you see.

Conrad: But that’s exactly the kind of man who should be leader! The kind of man who deserves to survive. Not a…not an old fool who’s all used up.

Alphinaud: …There’s no logic to it, Master Kemp. There never is.

Alphinaud: Who stands, who falls… In the heat of battle, we can but do our best─as he did. Meffrid will be sorely missed, aye…but because of his sacrifice, many now live who otherwise would not─and they need us, now more than ever.

Conrad: Aye…aye, that they do. Forgive me. I had…high hopes for him, is all…

Pipin: Our defeat was no near thing. It was total─a humiliation. We were powerless to withstand our enemy’s assault.

Pipin: But we cannot afford to dwell on our failure. As Alphinaud said, it is those who survived whom we must think of now.

Pipin: Rhalgr’s Reach is no longer safe. The imperials may have withdrawn, but they could return at any time to finish what they began. We dare not remain here.

Pipin: Those who are not fit to make the journey to Castrum Oriens will need to be taken by chocobo carriage. Agreed?

Pipin: Good. I shall oversee preparations for the carriages. In the meantime, I would have you scour the infirmary for any supplies that might prove useful during the journey.

[Infirmary]

 Orella: Forgive me, but it is imperative that I continue preparing medicines for the wounded. If you desire treatment, I must ask that you seek it elsewhere.

Orella: Oh, I see… In that case, you are free to search the Barber and take that which you require. I would not have our people dying en route.

Orella: I would assist you, but this process demands my undivided attention.

Flame Courier: Lieutenant Seagard. Marshal Tarupin said you might have something for me?

Flame Courier: Twelve be praised. This should put the drivers’ hearts at ease. Tell the vice marshal we await his orders.

Krile: Y’shtola and the others are safely strapped in. Don’t worry─I’ll be by her side the entire time.

Alphinaud: Thank you, Krile.

Lyse: I’ll walk alongside. They’ll need protection in case the Garleans try anything.

Lyse: Hang on. You’re injured too, aren’t you? Shouldn’t you be in one of the carriages?

Conrad: I’m not so frail that I can’t make the trip on my own. Besides, there’s still work to be done here. I’ll see you at the Wall when it’s finished.

Pipin: As you wish. Then let us set forth at once. We shall move as quickly as our comrades’ health allows.

Pipin: To Castrum Oriens!

[In Castrum Oriens]

 Conrad: You saved a good many of my men, and I cannot thank you enough for that.

Conrad: …But the fact remains:  our forces were decimated. In this state, we’ll not be mounting an assault on Castellum Velodyna or anywhere else.

Conrad: We need to be honest with ourselves about our prospects. But first, we need to put our affairs here in order. Afterwards, I’ll join you all at Castrum Oriens.

Alphinaud: Understood. We will go and speak with General Aldynn.

 

[We find Raubahn.]

 

Raubahn: Pipin has already departed with the wounded, has he? Good. We have completed our search of the Reach and the surrounding area.

Raubahn: As far as we can tell, Zenos and his men returned straightways to Specula Imperatoris after quitting this place. ‘Twould seem he’s lost interest in us.

Alphinaud: Which brings us to the most troubling question of all─not how he found us, but why he chose to spare our lives having done so.

Raubahn: In war, you kill or capture your enemy. You don’t leave him to fight another day. Only a fool would turn his back and walk away…but Zenos is no fool.

Raubahn: Whatever his motive, this is neither the time nor the place to think on it. I will leave a token force to watch over the Reach. The rest will fall back to Castrum Oriens. We can discuss our path forward there.

Lyse: Krile is with Y’shtola. She still hasn’t woken up, but…Krile says she’s through the worst.

Alphinaud: Given the severity of her wound, we could have hoped for no more. Let us pray she makes a full recovery.

Lyse: We lost a lot of good people, didn’t we…

Lyse: I saw it happen. When that Skulls commander cut down Meffrid. A single blow, and that was it.

Lyse: Everything he fought for, all his hopes and dreams for the future. Gone in an instant. And do you want to know the worst part? It wasn’t a Garlean who did it─it was an Ala Mhigan.

Lyse: Gods help me, if I ever─ No. Not now. Not while the General’s waiting.

Alisaie: Oh, Lyse…

Conrad: Were it not for the swift actions of the Scions and the Alliance, many more would have died. You risked your lives to save ours, and for that we thank you.

Alphinaud: There is no need for thanks. We are allies, are we not?

Raubahn: Aye, just so. Let us not dwell on this tragedy, but look to the future.

Conrad: The future…? I’m sorry, General, but there is no future for us.

Conrad: We’ve lost too many… Gods, I can still see Meffrid with that woman standing over him… <sigh> They’ve ripped the heart out of us, General. They’ve broken us. Our fight is over.

Alphinaud: Master Kemp, please…

Conrad: I’ll always hate them with every fiber of my being. For what they took from us, then and now. Our homeland…our freedom…our bloody children…

Lyse: You mean the Skulls… The youths who fight for Zenos.

Conrad:Crania Lupi. The Black Wolf’s legacy, and our shame. A unit made up of children born to Ala Mhigan dignitaries who came of age during the occupation.

 

[Ed. Note: “Crania Lupi” can be very roughly translated from Greek as “Skull Wolves”.]

 

Conrad:Sons and daughters of Gyr Abania raised to be proud citizens of the Empire, with all the rights and responsibilities that entails.

Conrad: It’d be easy to curse them and call them traitors, but they’re our children. Our flesh and blood! If the only way to forge the future we want is to cut down our own, then…

M’naago: Then what was it all for!?

Lyse: Naago…

M’naago: What will you say to the families of the fallen─to the mothers and the widows and the orphans? Will you tell them it was all for nothing!?

Raubahn: Listen to the girl. We dare not suffer our comrades’ sacrifices to have been in vain. Now is the time to steel our resolve and press on, painful though it may be.

Conrad: And when Zenos comes back with his army? What then? This isn’t the first time, you know. You’ll be hard-pressed to find men brave or stupid enough to face him again.

Lyse: I still can’t believe how strong he was. He humiliated us back there, the Warrior of Light included. Gods help us if he’s next in line to the Garlean throne.

Alphinaud: Loath though I am to say it, we should not be surprised. Before succeeding van Baelsar in Ala Mhigo, Zenos led the imperial army to Doma, where he crushed the rebellion utterly.

Alphinaud: As a matter of fact, Doma remains in his charge to this day. Suffice it to say, Varis’s heir is a peerless warrior and an accomplished general. The question is, how are we to contend with such a foe?

 

[“We take the fight to Doma”]

 

Alphinaud: Interesting… You are suggesting we kindle the flames of revolution in Doma once more, and force Zenos to fight a war on two fronts?

Conrad: For that, there would need to be someone left to fight on this front by the time you got back. Look, I’ll not deny the plan has promise─and I feel for our brothers and sisters in Doma, truly I do─but I fear we lack the strength tosee it through.

Raubahn: Have faith in your people, Master Kemp. Them and the Scions. Hold fast, rebuild, and when all is in place, we shall defeat Zenos together.

Lyse: If you’re going to Doma, I’m coming too. I want to help our friends there…and make sure nothing like this ever happens again.

 Raubahn: Give us the time we need, and we will give you something far greater.

Conrad: Very well. For all you have done for us, we will fight on. But be swift, comrades. Ala Mhigo has suffered enough.

Alphinaud: It goes without saying, but the Scions alone have not the strength to topple a provincial government, here or anywhere else.

Alphinaud: And I am quite certain the same can be said of the Doman Liberation Front. Nevertheless, we can but go and assess the situation for ourselves, and see what can be done.

Alphinaud: Lest you doubt what good we few can accomplish, I would remind you that my grandfather and his twelve disciples once journeyed to these lands to save Eorzea and her people from certain doom. Brave souls with an impossible task. And Eorzea lives on.

Alphinaud: Our present mission may not be as monumental in scope, but it is no less important to the multitudes whom we would free from imperial oppression─whom we will free.

Alisaie: “Where men go as one, there is life. And where there is life, there is cause to hope.“ Our grandfather believed that, and so do I…

Alisaie: But before we can forge ties with our friends in the Far East, we must first find a way to reach them. Othard is not exactly over the river and through the woods.

Alphinaud: I am one step ahead of you, dear sister─or rather, Tataru is. But before we discuss that, there is another issue I wish to address.

Alphinaud: Much as I would like it if we could all make this journey together, someone will need to remain to serve as liaison to the Alliance and the Resistance during this critical period. Moreover, as Y’shtola cannot be left unattended…

 

[Alphinaud looks like he’s ready to ask Alisaie to stay. Krile interrupts.]

 

Krile: …Then I should obviously remain? Very well. Issue addressed.

Krile: You know, Alphinaud, it would have been quicker just to ask─and markedly less patronizing.

Alphinaud: Y-Yes, I suppose, uh… Ahem. Would you be willing to look after Y’shtola and provide support to Arenvald and the others?

Krile: Yes, Alphinaud. I would. You see? That wasn’t so hard, was it? Enjoy your trip, and don’t you dare return with a gift!

Alphinaud: Oh, I would not dream of it… Right, then. Sister, Auric, Lyse─gather your things. We are for Limsa Lominsa.

 

[In Limsa]

 

Lyse: Vylbrand was always Y’shtola’s domain. I haven’t spent much time here, to be honest…

Alisaie: I spoke with Urianger and Thancred along the way. To say they were surprised by our stratagem would be something of an understatement, but they did not dispute its logic.

Alphinaud: Tataru should be here any moment with our ship’s captain.

Lyse: So we’re going by sea after all. Is Merlwyb lending us our pick of the Crimson Fleet?

Alphinaud: Not…exactly. You are right, in as much as we will be traveling by sea. Regrettably, it is simply not feasible for an airship to travel such a distance without impossibly large fuel reserves, to say nothing of the inevitability of running afoul of the Empire’s aerial defenses.

Alphinaud: …But then it is equally infeasible to sail an Eorzean Alliance vessel halfway around the world without the Empire taking notice.

Alphinaud: Which leaves us with only one other option… Ah, speak of the devil.

Tataru: Sorry to keep you waiting! May I present to you Captain Carvallain of the Kraken’s Arms!

Alisaie: The Kraken’s Arms!? Don’t tell me you made a deal with pirates!

Carvallain: Greetings and salutations, Scions. I take it from your comrade’s tone that you no longer wish to proceed with our proposed arrangement?

Alphinaud: Not at all, Captain. Pray forgive my sister her outburst─she has ever been one to speak her mind. I, on the other hand, am the very soul of discretion, as many well-respected personages would attest, from the offices of the Admiral, to the High Houses of Ishgard.

Alphinaud: Ah, but where was I? Oh, yes! The Scions of the Seventh Dawn do indeed still wish to employ your services. However, it is important that you are aware of certain extenuating circumstances…

Carvallain: …And intent on securing passage to the Far East, you came to us, knowing us to be the proud purveyors of said region’s finest spices.

Alisaie: …Which you steal from gods-fearing merchants out on the high seas.

Carvallain: Whatever privateering the Kraken’s Arms may or may not engage in is strictly within the limits of the law, as set forth by our indefatigable keeper of the peace. More to the point, we are pragmatists. I see considerable risk in aiding your cause, and negligible profit.

Tataru: Well, I for one think the captain has a point. The five seas can be extremely treacherous, and many a poor, unfortunate soul has to come to grief out there on the waves.

Tataru: Why, when we were in Ishgard, I heard the tragical tale of how the heir to House Durendaire vanished at sea!

Tataru: Even now, nearly twenty years later, the poor count remains convinced that his son still lives, and would pay a sultan’s ransom for news of his whereabouts…

Carvallain: Hahaha… Ahahahahaha!

Carvallain: Truly a tragedy for the ages, and a testament to the misfortunes that may befall us should we act without…due consideration. But so long as you are prepared to abide the capricious whims of fate, I am willing to oblige you this once.

Carvallain: That said, in light of the recent rebellion, I trust you understand that I cannot deliver you to Doma itself. I can take you only as far as Kugane, in Hingashi.

Carvallain: We will require time to procure sufficient provisions and make ready for departure. I humbly suggest you do the same.

[We go shopping]

 Alphinaud: Suddenly, all those hours Tataru passed cavorting and capering at the Forgotten Knight seem rather better spent, do they not?

Alphinaud: That said, I had intended to press the point more obliquely… And there was something disconcerting about the pleasure Tataru took in making Captain Carvallain squirm…

Alphinaud: I say we should heed the captain’s advice and attend to our own preparations while they ready the vessel for departure.

Alphinaud: Tataru and I will procure the necessary supplies. Alisaie…I should be grateful if you would use the time to brief Urianger on recent developments. You may also wish to review the relevant safety procedures in the event of an emergency at sea.

Alisaie: How…how very prudent of you. Very well, I shall go and speak with him. What of Auric and Lyse?

Alphinaud: I would like the two of you to return to Revenant’s Toll and speak with our Doman allies. I fear we know too little of their homeland, and any information they can provide would be most welcome.

Alphinaud: When we have completed our respective tasks, we will reconvene here at the ferry docks. Agreed?

Lyse: Sounds like a plan! Let’s go, Auric!

 

[In Mor Dhona]

 

Lyse: Well, here we are. We’ll need to talk to lots of people, so I think we should split up.

Lyse: I’ll ask around at the House of Splendors. You take the Rising Stones. I’ll meet you here after. Got it?

 

[Rising Stones, talking to the Domans]

 

Higiri: Greetings, Auric. What brings you to the Toll this day?

Higiri: What? You are for Doma? Heavens… You Scions have shown us naught but kindness, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine you would fight for our homeland…

Higiri: For twenty-five years we suffered under their tyranny. And then we spied an opportunity─the Emperor, dead! Garlemald in chaos!

Higiri: It seemed the time was ripe. Beneath our lord’s banners we gathered, and fought to reclaim our nation. But when Zenos arrived with the XIIth Legion, it was over in an instant…

 

Homei: You are truly planning to travel to Doma? I…I do not know what to say… Forgive me. I shall aid you to the best of my ability.

Homei: Ours is a beautiful land, nestled on the eastern coast of Othard. Along the banks of the One River, our nation thrived, proud and free, until the Garleans came, twenty-five years ago…

Homei: The river was our lifeblood, free to travel and to fish…but travel was soon restricted, and now the river belongs to none…

 

Hozan: Hm? What is it, my friend? You look as though you have something to ask.

Hozan: That you go to join Yugiri and Gosetsu in the fight fills me with such joy! Ah, forgive my exuberance. You require information, yes?

Hozan: We of the Nagae clan have served Doma faithfully for generations. My ancestors held positions within Doma Castle, even. Now it is home to the imperial viceroy’s witch, and her host of men and magitek.

Hozan: To think that what was once the shining symbol of our heritage─and the seat of dear Lord Kaien─has become a den for Garlean dogs…

 

[Outside by the Aether]

 

Lyse: Ah, there you are! Learn anything interesting? The older Domans I spoke with tried to teach me all about Far Eastern customs and the importance of formality and politeness…

Lyse: I’d like to think Eorzeans can be just as stiff and stuffy as anyone─especially Ishgardians─but anyway… Did you know they eat with sticks? It wasn’t all that hard, actually─or at least, that’s what I thought until they told me I was holding them wrong. And then when I spoke with the younger Domans, they just rolled their eyes and told me it was all a load of stupid old─ Hm?

Lyse: Wow… What you learned sounds a lot more useful. Unless someone invites us for dinner, of course. I hope they do.

Lyse: Right. No point waiting around here, is there?

Lyse: We should head back to Limsa Lominsa. Alphinaud said to meet at the ferry docks, I think?

 

 [At the ferry dock in Limsa]

 

Alphinaud: You are returned, Auric. I trust you learned much from our Doman friends in Revenant’s Toll.

Alphinaud: I am eager to hear all─though that can wait until we have left port. We will have time enough to talk on our journey to Kugane.

Alphinaud: Our spice-trading friends have completed their preparations. Assuming you have completed yours, you may inform the deckhand that we are ready to depart.

 

Kraken’s Arms Deckhand: All set, lad? I’ll see you to the ship if so.

 

[All aboard!]

 [Urianger comes walking up at the last moment.]

 

Urianger: Twelve be praised! Full sure was I that I had come too late.

Alisaie: Urianger? Tell me you haven’t come all this way just to see us off.

Urianger: Nay, my lady. Ere you quit these shores for eastern climes, I wished to share some words of seeming import.

Urianger: “Look ye where the sun doth rise, see crimson embers, dark’ning skies…Look ye where the sun doth fall, see azure lost amidst the squall.“

Alisaie: Well that sounds suitably foreboding. Another one of your prophecies, I presume?

Urianger: Of Far Eastern origin, aye. It is mine earnest hope that this ancient wisdom may serve to guide you on your journey, for what dangers lie in wait for you upon those distant shores are yet beyond my knowing.

Alisaie: <sigh> A parting gift befitting your roundabout ways. Thank you.

Urianger: I have more than words for you, my lady.

 

[Urianger presents a long rapier to Alisaie]

 Alisaie: It’s beautiful… Is it for me?

Urianger: Though undeniably powerful, your aetherial blade taxeth you greatly in the wielding. Not so this rapier, which shall serve you just as well ‘gainst all but the most formidable foe.

Alisaie: Impressive… It feels as though it’s attuned to my aether. I shall treasure it.

Carvallain: Honored guests! Say your farewells, for the moment of our parting draws nigh! A fair wind blows, and I mean to follow it!

 Alisaie: It would seem our ship is set to sail. Pray give my regards to Thancred and the others. And…take care.

 

[Aboard the Misery]

 

Carvallain: A fine day, is it not? Fair winds and following seas. The Misery is enjoying herself.

Carvallain: Nevertheless, it would not do for you to spend the entirety of our voyage above deck. Let me show you to your quarters.

 

[The ship shakes]

 

Krile: Is the ship supposed to do that?

Carvallain: Not under normal circumstances…

Kraken’s Arms Deckhand: Captain! You’re needed on deck. Somethin’ queer’s afoot. The winds died down, the waters went still, and all of a sudden we were dragged off-course…

Carvallain: “Dragged“? By what?

Kraken’s Arms Deckhand: Can’t rightly say, sir, but some of the lads are mutterin’ about seein’ things in the water. Things as shouldn’t be there…

Carvallain: Oh, for the love of─ If you will excuse me a moment.

 

[Carvallain turns to the Warrior of Light]

 

Carvallain: …Actually, might I persuade you to join me? Loath though I am to admit it, I have a bad feeling about this.

Carvallain: Hmm… Odd. Most odd.

Alphinaud: Well? Do you have any idea what’s going on?

Carvallain: …No. As the man said, despite the absence of wind and current, the Misery is somehow being pulled off-course.

Alisaie: Well, why not fire up the ceruleum engines you have hidden below?

Carvallain: An excellent suggestion based on knowledge you should not have. Alas, our engines appear to be malfunctioning for reasons that escape my engineers at present…

Kraken’s Arms Deckhand: I’m telling you, Captain, it’s them…things the lads saw…

Alphinaud: “Things“? I don’t suppose I could convince you to attempt something more descriptive? An adjective, for example.

Carvallain: Sea Wolf superstitions and faerie tales, naught more… But if you must know, the “things” which he is so reticent to name are the souls of deceased women said to lure sailors to their deaths.

Alphinaud: P-P-Preposterous!

Alisaie: Yeees, indeed… If it is neither the sea nor the weather which is responsible, then it is probably a predatory entity of some sort─perhaps a siren or some such.

Alisaie: For all we know, it could be a fellow “spice trader” employing magicks to seize and plunder passing vessels.

Alisaie: Regardless, we have but one recourse:  to let the current take us where it will, and deal with whatever we find there.

Carvallain: What a thoroughly pragmatic suggestion. Oh, I am beginning to like you, girl.

Alisaie: I assure you the feeling is not mutual. Once we arrive at our destination, be it a vessel or an island or something else, Lyse and I will remain with the ship to defend it in case of attack. Auric, I believe you would be the ideal choice to venture forth and deal with the cause of our troubles.

 

[ Dungeon:  The Ship Graveyard, level 61]

 

Alphinaud: Thank the Twelve!

Carvallain: Everything here would appear to be in order. Good. Repairs should be completed by the time we return to the Misery, whereupon we shall resume our journey without further delay.

Alphinaud: I swear, if I never hear another ghost story, it will be too soon…

Go on to Part 2: Kugane

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