Stormblood Text 6: Yanxia Again

Gosetsu: I have not used this road before, but… Ah. I recognize this place.

Gosetsu: The House of the Fierce should lie somewhere to the south. I will go on ahead and inform the sentries of our master’s return.

Hien: Here we are! I wonder if they all are gathered inside, waiting…perhaps expecting a speech or some such…

Hien: Well! No matter! I shall have to do what I shall have to do!

[In the House of the Fierce]

Hien: Brothers and sisters, pray forgive me my absence. It has been far too long.

Yugiri: Lord Hien!

Yugiri: Gosetsu told us of your trials and tribulations on the Steppe. Would that I had been present to witness your victory, my lord.

Hien: Our victory, Yugiri, owed as much to each of my stalwart comrades as it did to me. Now, rise─I will not suffer this excess of formality any longer.

Hien: Alphinaud and Alisaie Leveilleur, I presume? I am told we owe you much. It is a pleasure to meet you both.

Alphinaud: The pleasure is ours, Lord Hien. Though we were born and raised a world apart, our values are one and the same:  freedom, justice, liberty. Each of which Doma shall soon enjoy once more.

Alisaie: Hopefully. I understand you have brought an army?

Hien: Indeed. The Xaela tribes of the Azim Steppe have pledged their military might to the cause.

Alisaie: Good. We, meanwhile, have secured the support of the Confederacy, and a not insignificant number of your countrymen.

Alisaie: The Blue Kojin, too, have expressed a willingness to join the fight─provided you agree to certain trade agreements following the liberation of Doma.

Yugiri: The shinobi will render what aid they can. However, Sui-no-Sato refused to answer our call.

Hien: No matter. What forces we have amassed far exceed my original expectations. You have my thanks.

Alphinaud: You should know that Zenos departed Doma not long after you left to find Lord Hien. We know not the reason why, but it would seem he was eager to return to Gyr Abania.

Lyse: What? Have you heard anything from the Resistance? There hasn’t been another attack, has there?

Alphinaud: Tataru assures me they are quite well. You need not worry. If anything, this turn of events would seem to be to our advantage.

Alisaie: But there the good news ends. Yotsuyu retains her position as acting viceroy, and we have reports that the garrison at Doma Castle is preparing for a massive operation…

Alisaie: We suspect that the Empire’s attempt to eliminate you on the Steppe may have been a prelude to a larger effort to purge the remaining pockets of resistance within Doma.

Gosetsu: The hour of reckoning is upon us.

[“…Then victory will soon be ours!”]

Hien: Hah hah hah! The khagan has spoken! And I for one am not inclined to argue.

Hien: In this place, in this moment, I call upon you all! Twenty-five years of oppression, of tyranny, of shame─it ends with us! We will prevail!

Alphinaud: Once more, welcome back. It is good to see you again, Auric.

Alphinaud: Ah, yes. There is another recent development we neglected to share with you.

Alphinaud: Alisaie and I have been hard at work attempting to restore the aetheryte here to its former glory…and I am pleased to inform you that we succeeded!

Alphinaud: Suffice it to say, it should prove a boon for travel─well, for those replete with anima like you, at least…

Alphinaud: I imagine you are eager to hear the particulars of our plan. Allow me a moment to gather everyone’s attention…

Alphinaud: If all are in agreement, I will outline my plan to retake Doma Castle.

Alphinaud: First, Lyse and the Doman irregulars will conduct a series of raids against imperial targets throughout the surrounding area, with the aim of drawing the garrison’s attention.

Alphinaud: Shortly thereafter, our Xaela allies will launch a surprise attack on the castle’s airborne defenses.

Alphinaud: In this way, we will prevent the enemy’s airships from rendering support, and cut off one means of escape.

Alphinaud: Alisaie and I, together with the shinobi, will exploit the ensuing chaos to infiltrate the Moon Gates and disable the magitek field generators.

Alphinaud: Once the barrier is down, we will be free to cross the One River and reach Doma Castle. It is at this point that we must turn to our Confederate and

Kojin allies.

Alphinaud: They will commence to bombard the castle with cannon fire, while sailing west towards the Doman Enclave.

Lyse: Wait, the enclave? Why would you want them to sail away from the castle?

Alphinaud: Because the enclave is home to countless civilians.

Alphinaud: Once pressed, the imperials may well think to take them hostage, and I would fain forestall any such attempt.

Alphinaud: After we have secured the enclave, we may lay siege to Doma Castle directly. The main strength of the Doman Liberation Front, under Lord Hien’s command, shall be committed to this endeavor, as will you and your redoubtable allies.

Alphinaud: The rest is simple. We scour the castle for the viceroy, we find her, and we subdue her. Without their leader, what remains of the imperials’ morale will crumble, and they will surrender or attempt to flee. And Doma will be free.

[Hien is looking pensive.]

Alphinaud: Your thoughts, Lord Hien? If any points were unclear or gave you cause for concern, I should be glad to go over them with you.

Hien: Nay, ’tis a fine plan. You have a talent for this, that much is plain.

Hien: We shall carry out Alphinaud’s plan to the letter. Time is of the essence, as you know, so let us each see to our respective preparations. Carry on!

Hien: There is no shortage of tasks which must needs be completed before we can launch our attack. If you have a moment, perhaps you could lend a hand?

Hien: That said, I have only just returned. ‘Twould be better for you to speak with Alphinaud to find out how you might be of service.

Alphinaud: Trying to keep busy? Full glad am I to hear it. There is one task which comes to mind.

Alphinaud: As I explained during my briefing, Alisaie and I will need to infiltrate the Moon Gates to disable the magitek field generators.

Alphinaud: Though I pride myself on my knowledge of various subjects, I must confess I lack confidence in my knowledge of this particular one. Which is why I turned to an expert.

Alphinaud: I have been conversing with Cid via Tataru, attempting to ascertain the design of the generators based on our limited intelligence. Most recently he sent a parcel with some documents which he believes may be of use.

Alphinaud: I would like for you to go to Kugane and bring them back here.

Alphinaud: In the meantime, I will continue to work with our shinobi allies to plot a path into the gates. Safe travels, Auric, and thank you again.

[Back to Kugane and the office in the Ruby Bazaar]

Tataru: Auric!? What are you doing here? I thought you were off fighting nomads on the Azim Steppe!

Tataru: …Oh, you beat them! Good show! A shame I didn’t get to see it.

Tataru: Alphinaud has been keeping me apprised of the situation in Doma. I may not be any good in a physical fight, but in an, err…paperwork…fight, I’m the true khagan! Yeah!

Tataru: You’re here for the parcel Cid sent, right? Wait a moment, and it will be right out!

Tataru: It arrived not long ago. A porter delivered it to our offices, along with various other knickknacks from Eorzea.

Tataru: Cid regrets that he couldn’t come here in person. Apparently his hunt for the dragon and Omega demands his full attention, you see…

Tataru: Still, he was reasonably confident that the documents he provided would be enough for Alphinaud to do the work himself. So as soon as that parcel gets here, we can open it up and see what’s inside!

Hancock: Pardon my interruption, but the parcel in question─was it the one you placed on the shelf in the back for safekeeping?

Tataru: I believe so, yes. Why do you ask?

Hancock: Well, you see, on closer inspection, said parcel appears to have been addressed to the Sekiseigumi Barracks.

Hancock: Though it does indeed bulge with a quantity of paper reminiscent of a rather large instruction manual, the lingering scent of lilac leads me to conclude it is in fact a sizable collection of love letters…

Tataru: What!? Impossible! That porter was carrying a parcel addressed to us! I saw the writing with my own eyes!

Hancock: Oh, I do not doubt that in the least. However, as he was tasked with a number of deliveries, I can only presume that he handed you another parcel by mistake.

Tataru: This is a disaster! We have to find that porter right this instant!

Hancock: My, she can move quickly when she has a mind to do so. So quickly she neglected to take these love letters with her. They too must be redirected to their rightful recipient.

Hancock: They should also aid you in tracking down the right porter. They keep records of their deliveries and so forth, after all.

Hancock: The man in question was of middling height and build. Not unlike myself. Black hair, short─terribly helpful in Kugane, I know. A cheery sort. Wearing bright colors, as I recall?

Hancock: I will send a few of my men out to search, but in the meantime, why don’t you take the parcel and see if you can’t track him down yourself? I will wait here, on the off chance he realizes his mistake and returns.

[And now, the Warrior of Light gets to track down the FedEx guy and fix his failures.]

Addled Assistant: Oh dear, oh dear… I misplaced some most important documents, and if I do not find them quickly, there will be dire repercussions…

Addled Assistant: No no, it is nothing so scandalous and base! My lord is a man with singular dietary restrictions, which I have detailed in my notebook. I cannot purchase produce without it!

[Oops, wrong guy.]

Overworked Porter: A good evening to you, sir, but I have no time to chat! I have to head to the Bokairo! …Or was it the Hostelry? Bah, no time, no time!

Overworked Porter: Hm? Aye, I recognize that parcel. I delivered it to the Ruby Bazaar not long ago. What of it?

Overworked Porter: Eh? A mistake? For the Sekiseigumi, you say?

Overworked Porter: Bah, you’re right! How stupid of me. Fortunately, I have yet to visit the barracks. This is for you, yes? I will take the other in exchange.

[Back to Tataru]

Tataru: I’m sorry, I couldn’t find him. I guess we just have to hope he realizes his mistake and returns soon…

Tataru: That’s it! That’s the parcel! You found him!

Tataru: Though, knowing our luck, Cid put the wrong papers in here…

Tataru: Nope, this is it! These are the documents detailing the operation of the magitek field generators Alphinaud requested!

Hancock: I can only imagine what would have happened had we sent Auric back to Doma with a parcel full of love letters. The look on Alphinaud’s face when he reads the first page… On second thought, I’m a little disappointed we didn’t.

Tataru: Everyone’s working so hard to fight for Doma’s freedom, and here I am, making the same silly mistakes…

Tataru: It won’t happen again, Auric! And I’ll keep working hard to bring you and the others useful information!

Tataru: If we hear anything new, we’ll contact you straightaway!

Hancock: Oh, and you may be pleased to hear that we have brokered an arrangement between the company and the Confederacy. They require armaments, we provide. Discreetly, and at a reasonable price.

Tataru: I’m sure Lord Lolorito was pleased to hear it.

Hancock: Ahaha! Indeed he was, indeed he was.

Tataru: Well, it seems our time together is at an end! Give Alphinaud and Alisaie my regards, will you?

[Yeah, I’m not surprised Lolorito is into arms dealing.]

Alphinaud: Oh! It seems like just yesterday you were here. Our plans proceed apace. Do you have the documents?

Alphinaud: Excellent! This looks to be exactly what we need.

Alphinaud: Assuming our shinobi escort can see us safely inside the Moon Gates, I should have no trouble deactivating the barrier. Good, good─that is one less thing to worry about…

 Alphinaud: Should you wish for further employment, mayhap you could speak with Alisaie?

Alphinaud: I believe she was planning to search the surrounding area for imperial patrols. If you go now, you may be able to catch her before she departs.

Alisaie: Alphinaud told you about my plans? And you wish to come with me? Well, far be it from me to refuse you.

Alisaie: If truth be told, I’m not entirely sure what I expect to find. In the wake of your failed assassination attempt, the imperials demonstrated uncharacteristic restraint. There were no public executions, and not a single village was put to the torch.

Alisaie: But, as I mentioned earlier, our latest intelligence does suggest a purge is imminent. For all we know, they could be out in the field even as we speak, surveilling their targets and making plans.

Alisaie: If so, we need to put a stop to it. Let us begin our search in the north.

[Outside, in the valley of the Fallen Rainbow.]

Alisaie: All quiet…for now. Follow me to the next location.

Alisaie: No imperial patrols near our headquarters, then. Good. The last thing we need is a repeat of Rhalgr’s Reach.

Alisaie: Even so, ‘twould be prudent to search a little longer.

[Alisaie is standing by a dead tiger.]

Alisaie: Not exactly the enemy I was worried about. …Damn it all. I can’t just leave the carcass lying in the middle of the road.

[“You’ve gotten stronger.”]

Alisaie: …Next to you, I feel like a child playing at swords and sorcery. Though mayhap it suits me better than books.

Alisaie: I owe much to a Miqo’te I met on my travels. He was a master of these techniques, and kindly agreed to teach me the fundamentals.

Alisaie: But I never could warm to common rapiers. I vastly preferred using a blade of my own creation, despite the toll it took on me. Urianger’s gift was a godssend, to be honest.

Alisaie: Anyway, we’re falling behind. We should split up, and try to recoup some lost time.

Alisaie: We’ve heard rumors of imperial soldiers skulking about disguised as villagers. One was supposedly spotted near the Ribbons, to the south of here. Go and see if there’s anything out of the ordinary.

Haunted Elder: Oh… Hello there, young man. My associates and I are in search of fertile soil for farming, and this land caught our eye.

Haunted Elder: …You doubt my words? You suspect we have some other purpose in coming here? How vexing it is to be questioned in this manner.

Haunted Elder: Very well. He desires the truth, and he shall have it. Deal with him!

[Yeah they were Imperials.]

[Alisaie caught one too.]

Alisaie: I saw them attack you, while this one fled. Since you seemed to have everything in hand, I decided to capture him. An imperial, I presume?

Haunted Elder: I knew it would come to this… But at the hands of a Westerner? A Doman would at least know the rites…

Haunted Elder: You think you understand, but you do not. She will burn it all before she surrenders. She will never kneel again. Nor should she…

Alisaie: Auric!

[The captured Imperial looks at the Warrior of Light in a strangely intense way – and suddenly the Echo activates. The Imperial lashes out as the vision begins….]

[A neatly dressed Imperial officer stands before a Doman mother and her son, who is perhaps ten years old.]

Keen-eyed Soldier: …Rest assured, the Naeuri will receive due compensation. Young Asahi has great potential─that much is plain.

Keen-eyed Soldier: If he applies himself, he may one day be granted the opportunity to go to Garlemald and learn from some of the leading authorities in the field of magitek. Few citizens are afforded such treatment, however─much less people of the provinces. You will need to do more─

Doting Mother: Oh, oh, of course! Have no doubt that we shall! My husband and I want only the best imperial education for our boy!

[A skinny girl a few years older than the boy approaches.]

Starveling Girl: I’ve finished planting the rice, Mother…

Doting Mother: Not while the officer is here, Yotsuyu! Inside! Now!

Yotsuyu: Yes, Mother.

Keen-eyed Soldier: You did not mention that you had a daughter.

Doting Mother: My sister’s, not mine─kami rest her soul. She is utterly hopeless, but one cannot choose one’s family.

Keen-eyed Soldier: Indeed… She is of age to receive an education as well, is she not? Yet we have no records. I trust I need not remind you of your legal obligations─

Doting Mother: No, no! Of course not! But she is weak and sickly. Some days, she has not the strength to leave her bed! Though…a thought occurs to me. Mayhap we can come to an understanding…

[The soldier looks thoughtfully at the girl, who stares back, wide-eyed.]

[The vision fades.]

[Alisaie is standing over the unmoving body of the Imperial soldier.]

Alisaie: That was a near thing.

Alisaie: What happened? We were talking, and then all of a sudden you were somewhere else. Did one of those soldiers hit you on the head or something?

Alisaie: Well, if you say so… We should go and tell the others what happened here.

[The Warrior of Light looks at the Imperial soldier’s body. He may be an older version of the officer from the vision.]

[Back at the House of the Fierce]

Alisaie: Thank you. You didn’t have to come with me, but you did, and for that I am grateful.

Alisaie: I told the others of our encounter with the disguised soldiers. Though we disposed of the bodies, it is only a matter of time before their comrades note their absence.

Alisaie: As if we needed any more reason to act quickly…Are you sure you’re all right, by the way? You’ve been awfully quiet since we returned…

Alisaie: I’d tell you to rest and leave the rest to the others, but seeing as that isn’t in your nature…

Alisaie: Lyse returned but a moment ago, looking a bit worried. It would seem that trouble is afoot in Namai.

Alisaie: You may as well go and ask her about it. As for me, I will not impose upon you any further.

Lyse: We’ve barely got enough armor as it is, huh…

Lyse: Oh, you’re here to help? That’s a relief. I’ve been trying to help the villagers in Namai get ready for the operation, but we’ve run into a few problems…

Lyse: You remember how we’re supposed to stir up trouble as a diversion, right? Well, the thing is, we don’t have enough armor to go around.

Lyse: I thought the Doman Liberation Front would be able to furnish us with some, but it seems that’s not the case. I was about to go and tell Isse─why don’t you come too?

Isse: Oh, you’re here too. I heard about those soldiers you and Alisaie encountered. I’m glad you’re all right… Ahem. Right, then…

Chigusa: Isse─we have gathered up all the rope we could find in the village.

Miyama: And every tool with an edge, but it is still not enough. Even a hoe would suffice, but there are no more to spare.

Isse: Thank you, Chigusa. Ryosen could use a hand, if there is nothing else.

Isse: As for more tools…I may have some in my home. Go and search it─take whatever meets your needs.

Azami: I made enough rice balls for everyone─including some special ones for Lady Yugiri. Can I go and give them to her?

Isse: Y-You silly little girl, of course you can! Hurry! You never know when she’ll have to leave on a secret mission!

Isse: Sorry about that. Everyone’s been trying to contribute since Lord Hien returned. There’s so much to worry about.

Lyse: You’re doing well, Isse…though I have to ask:  have you had any luck finding more armor?

Isse: Unfortunately, no. Unlike weapons, there are no substitutes for proper protection…

Isse: It’s not as though we need full suits of imperial plate, but we’re not soldiers. If we attack without any equipment, we’ll be slaughtered.

Lyse: The Doman Liberation Front doesn’t have any armor to spare. I suppose we could ask Hancock, but there’s no telling how long it would take for him to send us supplies…

Lyse: Do you have an armorer in the village, or anyone with some skill to fashion armor?

Isse: There is one man. A craftsman who fled the enclave. He is experienced, and may be able to help.

Isse: I don’t know if I can persuade him to, though. But maybe you two could come with me?

Isse: His name is Tsuranuki, and he lives in Kusakari, in the south. Come with me.

[In the South]

Tsuranuki: Bwahahaha! Who are these starry-eyed youths who stand before me?

Tsuranuki: Ones who sing of rebellion? Of liberation? Hah hah hah! Surely they would not think to trouble me with such foolish dreams!

Tsuranuki: Oh, go and say what you will. But do not take offense if I die from laughter! Bwahahaha!

Tsuranuki: Eh? Say again? You would have me fashion armor for villagers who wish to fight imperial regulars?

Tsuranuki: Bwahahaha! Mad fools charging boldly to meet their deaths! Bring me steel and I shall give them shells to shield their soft bellies.

Tsuranuki: Yes, yes, plates of steel, all that you can carry. The better to shield them from blade and bullet!

Isse: If only it were so simple, Master Tsuranuki. Steel plates are not so easily procured─

Tsuranuki: Blind, deaf, and dumb you are, boy! We are awash in broken steel. Magitek, great cylinders come crashing to the earth from on high!

Tsuranuki: Shatter them to bits with my explosives. They will not fail you, for I made them to kill imperials, heh heh! Bring me my steel, and you will have your armor.

Lyse: …Well, it’s not like we know any other armorers who can help. At least we get to blow things up!

[I’m always up for that.]

Tsuranuki: Eh? Eh!? You have the many plates of steel I demanded? Show me!

Tsuranuki: Bwahahaha! Then you are committed to your cause! Dressing villagers as soldiers and marching off to war…

Tsuranuki: Stupid, stupid fools! Doma is dead, and so are her people!

Tsuranuki: Lord Kaien, Lord Hien─all dead! Their blood is on our hands!

 Tsuranuki: ‘Twas Lord Kaien who saved us. Who spared us the worst when the Garleans came.

Tsuranuki: Every shred of pride and honor he cast aside, without a second thought! All to win their trust. All to serve as their puppet. Restored to his throne years later, a paper tiger.

Tsuranuki: Such shame he must have felt, but no matter! He would suffer it for his people. A life as slaves is better than none at all, he believed. But not us.

Tsuranuki: After my lady died, we began to whisper in his ears dreams of freedom and liberation. We pushed him to take action, if only a little…

Tsuranuki: Ten years of preparation, of machinations. So careful we would be, and yet…and yet!

Tsuranuki: Doma burned for our foolishness, not for that of Lord Kaien. Monzen, the enclave─they were razed for our sins! We murdered them all, don’t you see? We murdered you all!

Isse: …You’re wrong, Master. We are still here. We are still alive.

 Isse: Lord Kaien too lives on. In our hearts, and in his son, for Lord Hien has returned.

Tsuranuki: Lord Hien? Alive!? It cannot be. You lie. You lie!

Lyse: It’s the truth! Hien came back to Doma to help her fight for freedom!

Tsuranuki: Could…could it be? My lord Hien yet lives? Oh…oh…

Tsuranuki: Bands of steel to bind the chest and belly, yes, yes! I must heat the forge and begin work at once!

Tsuranuki: Ten? One hundred? How many do you need? All that and more you shall have!

Lyse: Even after twenty-five years of oppression, they still have it in them to stand up and fight. We just have to show them the way forward…

Lyse: Isse and I will stay and help Tsuranuki finish the armor, so you’ve no need to wait around.

Lyse: Why not go back to the House of the Fierce? I’m sure there’s plenty of work left to be done. Ask about and see what you can find!

[Back to the House of the Fierce. Anyone need a hand?]

Kaidate: Everything is in order, sir! Under Lord Gosetsu’s sage tutelage, we grow stronger by the day!

Motojiro: Hm? Help? Oh, no, no, no─I will not impose upon you without cause! Rest assured that everything is in its place, and every place is in…everything is fine!

Haname: I require no assistance, comrade. Lord Hien’s instructions to me were quite clear─I need only transcribe them for the benefit of our Xaela allies.

Haname: Speaking of Lord Hien, if you are eager to be of service, mayhap you could seek him out? Keep an eye on him, perchance, should he decide to venture outside?

[What’s up, Hien?]

Hien: Hmm, let me guess:   someone asked you to act as my protector? Hah! To hear them mutter, one would think I intended to stride up to the castle gates on my own!

Hien: The truth, of course, is rather less dramatic. I had hoped to look on the castle one last time before the battle. Would you care to join me? You would be setting a lot of fretful minds at rest…

Hien: Very good! Then let us depart for Monzen at once.

[In Monzen]

Hien: Monzen was home to many great and powerful families. Men of honor─samurai. Once…

Hien: Great swaths were razed, and people put to the sword. What little remains stands as a testament to what was…and what will never be again.

Hien: …Come. I would take a closer look.

Hien: No sentries, at least of the living sort. Those shambling suits of armor have the run of the place. To think this was once a bustling street, so full of life…a river of people, with a current all its own…

Hien: …But even then, the imperials walked among us. Sometimes openly, sometimes discreetly, but we were always aware of their presence. And we…we were complicit.

Hien: He did what he had to do to preserve the peace. To keep our people safe. But at what cost…

Hien: F-Forgive me, this is neither the time nor the place for such dark musings! Though they did serve to remind me of the barracks which once stood to the west of here…where there may yet be weapons our comrades could use.

Hien: If you head down that street, past those makeshift barricades, you will come to the ruins. I will search elsewhere. Meet me at the water’s edge when you have finished.

Hien: Alas, I found naught of value. Did you?

[I got a katana.]

Hien: Still sheathed in its scabbard…though even shielded from the elements, it will need to be cleaned and oiled─

Hien: …I recognize the crest. It belonged to the son of a samurai I trained with when I was young.

Hien: He never even had the chance to draw it…

Hien: There she is. Doma Castle. My home.

Hien: They let us keep her for a time, before gradually moving their forces across from Fluminis. Now her every court and corridor belongs to Yotsuyu.

Hien: Though Father spent much of his time there, I did not. I may only have visited him there on half a dozen occasions, if that. I cannot remember.

Hien: But I remember the view from the keep. Doma seemed much smaller from there. Like you could hold it in your hands.

Hien: Well, Monzen at least. Doma is so much more than that. There, beyond the Moon Gates, unto the shores of the Ruby Sea, and here, in the places that no man can see or touch or take from you…

Hien: We carry her with us, wheresoever we go.

Hien: Not the land or the soil…but the story.

Hien: And what is life if not a story? The story of our journey from dawn to dusk, day after day after day. The story of our mothers and our fathers, our families and our friends, our peoples and our nations.

Hien: I think a part of me understood that, when I looked out from the keep. Hien, son of Kaien. Another caretaker of the story of Doma.

Hien: It’s a fine castle, truly, with an even finer view. But in the end…

Hien: In…in the end…

Hien: Kami strike me down, how could I be so blind! We must return to the House of the Fierce at once!

Hien: I have had what can only be described as a revelation. Ours is an excellent plan, but not so excellent that it cannot be improved─and I know how.

Hien: On second thought, Auric, I ask that you return to the House of the Fierce without me, and tell Alphinaud to call the others together for a meeting.

Hien: It is imperative that the Kojin emissary be in attendance as well. I shall join you anon.

[Back in the House of the Fierce.]

Alphinaud: Lord Hien wishes to discuss the details of our plan? Very well, if he insists. I shall summon the others at once.

Alphinaud: As for the Kojin, I believe one of their emissaries was already en route. Nevertheless, I shall contact them to make certain.

[The group assembles.]

Alisaie: May I present the Blue Kojin’s emissary.

Soroban: Greetings and well met, old friends! The elder sends his regards.

Lyse: Soroban! It’s good to have you with us!

Hien: If, uh, you might humor me…

Hien: Thank you for coming, Soroban. Doubtless you have already been informed of our plans and the role we would have your people play. However, I seek your counsel as a Kojin of the Blue.

Hien: Be it by spell or siegecraft, could your forces destroy the underwater foundations of Doma Castle’s outer wall?

Soroban: Hmm… Explosives, coupled with a few incantations… Yes, that might produce sufficient force. Such a thing could indeed be done.

Hien: Then I wish to revise the plan.

Hien: Instead of assisting the Confederacy in securing the enclave, I would have the Kojin advance upstream, beneath the water, and breach a segment of the outer wall.

Hien: I mean to flood Doma Castle.

Gosetsu: My lord, the castle is a sacred symbol─the very heart of our nation! To destroy it is unthinkable, unconscionable─you cannot do this!

Hien: I can and I will if it improves our chances. By flooding the castle we remove the better part of their forces from the field and force Yotsuyu to retreat to the highest levels of the keep. Tell me that is not a worthwhile trade.

Gosetsu: But, my lord…that castle was entrusted to you by your father, and his father before him. I say to you again:  it is the heart of our nation.

 Hien: Stone walls do not a nation make, my friend. Her people do. And as long as we yet live, we can rebuild.

Hien: So let us only think of this battle. Of victory here and now. For without that, we have no future.

Alphinaud: I see that you are resolved, Lord Hien, and I would not presume to gainsay your decision.

Soroban: I will inform the elder of your revised stratagem, and instruct our sappers to make ready.

Hien: Our preparations are all but complete. Once we receive word from our Kojin allies, we shall set our plans in motion. We shall fight, and we shall prevail.

[Talking to folks before the fight.]

Yugiri: No plan is perfect, and there is ever room for improvement. I expect my comrades will be refining their approach until the moment they begin.

Yugiri: In case you are unaware, the other jonin will lead the assault on the Moon Gates, not I. My place is at Lord Hien’s side.

Lyse: If there’s nothing else, I’ll head back to Namai. Tsuranuki’s working hard, and Isse’s doing what he can to help, but maybe there’s more that I can do too.

Lyse: He was like a different person when he began hammering those plates. Younger, brighter, full of life and hope…

Gosetsu: The plan is set, and all that can be done has been done. Rest and relaxation are now paramount, for tomorrow we may die.

Gosetsu: Have you too not done enough? Will you not pause a moment to gather yourself on the eve of our grand design? Go not unto battle with weary eyes or lingering regrets, my friend.

Alphinaud: Soroban informs me that his sappers will be ready within the day, which means that we can proceed as planned and attack Doma Castle tomorrow.

Alphinaud: Considering the key role you will play, I think it only prudent that you refrain from further labors and rest until tomorrow. Agreed?

[“No rest for the righteous!”]

Alphinaud: True enough, true enough. When you have seen to your sundry tasks and are ready to retire, I pray you let me know.

[Apparerently the plot won’t progress until I take the other dialogue option.}

[“Far be it from me to refuse…”]

Alphinaud: We shall speak again in the morning. Take care, my friend…

[As the Warrior of Light heads to bed, he encounters Lyse.]

Lyse: You’re awake. I was just, um… Well, they threw me out, actually. Told me I needed to get some sleep, ready for the big day.

Lyse: Not long now, eh? I’m nervous, of course, but I also feel like…like I didn’t know where I was going, but maybe, finally…

Lyse: Something’s gonna change, you know? Really, really change. And when the dust has settled, we’ll see what we’ve won…and what we’ve lost…

Lyse: I’m going to give it my all tomorrow. Everything I’ve seen and felt…I won’t let it be for nothing.

Lyse: Right. Off to bed! Don’t want to overdo it─and neither should you.

Lyse: Oh, but before you sleep, you should look in on Alphinaud and Alisaie. Quietly, of course.

[The twins are at the planning table, leaning against each other – both asleep.]

[At a nearby table, Gosetsu and Hien are…getting drunk? Yes, getting drunk.]

Hien: Ho, another restless soul. Come, come─raise a glass to freedom.

Gosetsu: Mmm, good, good. I should be interested to know his thoughts on the matter!

Hien: That’s enough, Gosetsu. You’ll not convince anyone with your drunken ramblings.

Hien: We’ve talked about this. All of us. We are flooding the castle tomorrow, and that’s the end of it.

Gosetsu: I know, I know! I accepted your decision, and I do not intend to go back on my word. Nevertheless, as the battle draws near, I cannot help but recall our many travails, and it fair compels me to speak…

Gosetsu: In all my time serving as a leader of men, there are two failures which haunt me to this day.

Gosetsu: The first, our defeat at the hands of the Empire twenty-five years past, and the subsequent imprisonment of your father.

Gosetsu: Long did I consider offering up my life in atonement, until Lord Kaien, allowed at last to receive visitors, called for me of all people…

Gosetsu: “For my unborn child,“ he said, ”for my dearest Shun─live!“

Gosetsu: My second failure, of course, was the betrayal of that selfsame command, when in the rebellion I failed to protect not only Lord Kaien, but Lord Hien too…

Gosetsu: That I yet live, having known such disgrace, is an affront to the kami themselves…

Gosetsu: Yet you…all of you…saw fit to grant this shameful creature, this failure, another chance…to serve a greater purpose…

Gosetsu: Thank you…for pitying an old fool…

Hien: Now, now, it is far too soon for that. Save your tears for the morrow. You may be sure we will have ample cause to shed them, be they for joy or despair.

Hien: Bah! Even that sounds morose. We who yet walk the path should not think too much on the destination. When the hour arrives, we shall welcome what comes with open arms.

Hien: He is right about one thing, though─we have you and yours to thank for this chance.

Hien: All debts will be repaid. On that you have my word. But first, we must live past tomorrow, no?

[Hien notices someone lurking.]

Hien: If you’ve no intention of sleeping, Yugiri, you may as well join us.

Yugiri: Forgive me, my lord. I did not mean to, uh… If that is your will…

[The next day]

Hien: There he is. I trust you are none the worse for wear after last night.

Hien: We received confirmation from the Kojin not long ago. Their sappers stand at the ready and await our signal.

Hien: Let us not keep them and the others waiting. Gather your things─we depart at once.

Hien: Alphinaud─instruct Lyse and the others to move into position and launch their attack.

Hien: Our scouts report no change in the imperials’ disposition, but I would leave nothing to chance. We must act quickly, lest we lose the element of surprise.

Alphinaud: Understood. I will relay your orders to her and rejoin my unit.

Alphinaud: Gosetsu and Yugiri await the two of you at Monzen. Good luck, my friends. I will see you both again soon.

[At Monzen]

Lyse: Understood. Wish us luck.

Lyse: Right, you all know what you have to do. Are you ready?

Isse: Oh, yes. Ready to show them what a good job they made of breaking us!

Lyse: Then what are you waiting for? Move out!

[At Fluminis]

Imperial Sentry: Why must we waste our time guarding this blasted…

[He looks up as a horde of armed Doman peasants pour into the gate, Isse in the lead with a bow.]

Imperial Sentry: Sound the alarum! Fluminis is under attack! Armed insurgents have breached the perimeter! We need reinforcements!

[Lyse takes him out with a boot to the head.]

[On the linkpearl]

Lyse: This is Lyse. Imperial forces converging on our position. Looks like we’ve got their attention. We’ll be sure to keep them busy for as long as we can!

[Overhead, a flight of Xaela soar on their yols.]

Magnai: Ahh…war. To wield power, to make men kneel before you.There is no better feeling.

Magnai: A pity I must share this pleasure with a feral dog of a Dotharl!

Sadu: Preening, Oronir! You fear that she will put the Sun in shade!

Sadu: Those are for you. Go. Claim your prey.

[Cannons on the castle wall open fire on the Xaela, and drones launch to repel the air assault.]

Sadu: Bwahahaha! Come to me! Come to your death! With each that falls, my soul soars higher!

Magnai: Swiftly, brothers! Fall not behind! Make an offering of their steel to Father Azim!

[Hien watches from the ground.]

Hien: They seem to be enjoying themselves…

Gosetsu: My lord! The barrier!

[The force field in the Moon Gates shuts down.]

Alphinaud: The magitek field is down. I repeat, the magitek field is down! Confederate vessels, you are clear to advance upon the enclave!

[The pirate ships move in up the river and begin firing cannon at the castle walls.]

Yugiri: The wall is breached! The Kojin, too, will not be outdone!

Hien: Our allies have set the stage. Now we must take the castle.

Hien: With me!

[Yotsuyu stands looking out from the top floor of the castle, smoking her long pipe.]

Ill-at-ease Imperial: My lady, the riverside wall has been breached! The lower levels are already flooded, and the water is still rising!

Yotsuyu: So I gathered. He would tear the whole thing down…all for the promise of freedom. A noble sacrifice…or the last desperate flailings of a fool.

Yotsuyu: Speaking of which, how fares my brute?

Ill-at-ease Imperial: Th-The procedure was carried out as instructed by Lord Aulus. By all indications…it was a success.

Yotsuyu: Is that so? Then he may yet be of some use.

 Yotsuyu: Devotees of vengeance should rightly pursue their cause unto the bitter end, don’t you think? Their hearts aflame with passion until the last few embers fizzle and fade, leaving naught but ash…

Yotsuyu: The viceroy’s orders were clear. If Doma falls, none shall be spared his wrath. Tell the men to fight as if their lives depend on it. Because they do.

Ill-at-ease Imperial: A-As you command, my lady!

Yotsuyu: Again they come to make you kneel. To make you grovel and suffer.

Yotsuyu: But you have endured their worst and survived. You know their tricks. They will not find a flower simply waiting to be plucked…

[Outside the castle, on the river bank.]

Hien: Aye, there can be no doubt. The viceroy is trapped. And so comes our part.

Hien: Our Kojin allies will deliver us to our destination. To the western dock! And do not forget to bring your fellow adventurers, Auric!

[At the dock]

Blue Skiff Captain: Greetings and well met, my friends. Climb aboard, climb aboard! There is room enough for you all!

Hien: Auric. That we might improve our odds of success, we will divide into two parties upon arrival─one comprising you and your adventurer comrades, the other, Gosetsu, Yugiri, and myself.

Hien: Each will enter the keep via a separate route, dispatching any imperial forces that attempt to bar their path.

Hien: Even should one meet with misfortune, the other will reach Yotsuyu. Agreed?

Hien: Then let us be about it. For Doma!

[Dungeon level 67: Doma Castle. “DIE DIE DIE!”]

[Hien’s group has cornered a fallen Yotsuyu.]

Hien: Have you aught to say for yourself? For what you have done to our people─your people?

Yotsuyu: My people, he says. The precious lordling beloved by all come to confront the wicked witch.

Yotsuyu: My parents thought me no better. They worked me from dawn to dusk, like an ox or an ass or some other beast of burden. Until, that is, my brother spied a chance to transform the family fortunes.

Yotsuyu: And so I was married to a vicious old drunk who beat me as he pleased, and when I pleaded for help, I was told to grin and bear it. For the family. For him. For everyone’s sake. They pretended not to notice, but they knew. They knew.

Yotsuyu: What did it matter? I was nothing to them─less than nothing! I wasn’t of their flesh, I wasn’t a fellow Doman, I wasn’t even a person. I might just as well have been dead!

Yotsuyu: And then my husband passed away one day. And so I was sold off yet again, to pay his debts. But this time, this time, I found a way to live for myself. To survive. As a spy for the Empire.

Yotsuyu: Oh, those were the days, when the scales first fell from my eyes. No longer would I be a slave to my parents or my husband or the pleasure house. I would be free…and receive due compensation…

Yotsuyu: That would be enough, I thought…until I saw a Doman in the road, beaten and broken, and my heart…my heart skipped a beat…

Yotsuyu: Lying at my feet, groaning in agony, sobbing in despair. Powerless, helpless, hopeless! A vision forever seared into my soul…

Yotsuyu: There was nothing I would not do to feel that joy again! To bend this cruel, twisted world to my whims!…Now, having borne witness to my life’s work, have you aught to say to me?

[The castle shakes. Chunks of masonry start to fall from the ceiling.]

Yotsuyu: Heh heh… ‘Twas kind of you to lend me your ear, my lord. But now it is time for us to conclude our little tête-à-tête with a final game of chance…

Yotsuyu: Who shall stand, and who shall fall? Let the die be cast.

Yugiri: This was her plan from the first─to bring the keep down on our heads!

[Yotsuyu, seeing the group distracted, lunges and grabs her pistol and fires at Hien. But he parries the shot with his katana, slicing the bullet in half. And then he cuts down Yotsuyu.]

Hien: I will remember your words.

Hien: We must flee! Order our forces to withdraw!

[The group turns to flee, but the ceiling is coming down….]

[There is a crash, and we see Gosetsu holding up the remains of the ceiling, keeping it from crushing the rest of the group.]

Gosetsu: Go, my lord…while you still can. I cannot hold this forever.

Gosetsu: Do your duty. Deliver Lord Hien and the others to safety. Now, forthwith! I shall manage on my own.

[From the rubble, Yotsuyu manages to grasp her pistol once more. She fires it twice into Gosetsu’s chest.]

Yugiri: Gosetsu!

Yotsuyu: No…no one leaves… Not you or anyone else…

Gosetsu: …’Tis naught this old frame cannot bear!

Gosetsu: Go now, all of you! The day is won! And the morrow beckons!

[“This isn’t over!”]

Gosetsu: Do not despair, my friend. Never before have I felt so alive. My eyes unclouded, my purpose clear. This is right.

Hien: Gosetsu…

Hien: You never failed us. Not once. You served my father faithfully, and I am a better man for your guidance.

Hien: And the Doma we build together shall be better for it too!

Hien: Be proud, my friend. Be proud.

 Gosetsu: I am, Shun. More than you know.

[The group flees. Yotsuyu begins sobbing.]

Gosetsu: You cast the die. Gambling was never my vice.

[Outside the castle, the Xaela have picked up the party with their yol mounts.]

Cirina: How merciful the gods that I should find you in time…

Cirina: Gosetsu!? W-We must turn back now, before it is too late!

[The castle begins to crumble. Several large explosions tear it apart from inside.]

Hien: Eyes forward, Cirina. That was his wish.

Cirina: …I will deliver you to safety. The others are waiting.

[Back in Monzen]

Alphinaud: …I see. The occupation is ended, then. And the people must be informed of our victory.

Alphinaud: But I will not simply give up Gosetsu for lost. Before aught else, we must needs search the ruins.

Soroban: Allow me, my friends. The castle is still collapsing into the river, and could easily drag you to your deaths. I can navigate the waters easily, without fear of drowning.

Alisaie: Be reasonable, Brother. You know he is right.

Yugiri: Auric. A word, if I may.

Yugiri: My lord withdraws into himself, unable to turn his thoughts from the keep. He needs us now, more than ever…

Soroban: My friends, I am returned. I swam as far into the ruins as I could…

Lyse: And…? Did you find him?

Soroban: …Nay, lady. Naught remained of the keep for me to search.

Soroban: Undermined from below and shaken from above, the manner of its collapse was most unusual. If the floor beneath him gave way before the rest…it is not impossible that he could have been sent tumbling into the river.

Soroban: But the water is thick with silt and debris. Despite my best efforts, I could not find him. I am sorry.

Hien: …There is naught for which you should apologize. Thank you, Soroban, for taking it upon yourself to search.

Hien: The castle is in ruins, and the people are eager to learn the fate of their nation. We leave at once.

Alphinaud: Are you sure, my lord?

Hien: The day is won, and the morrow beckons…

Hien: It falls to us to greet it.

Lyse: …I’m going down to the docks to see if I can’t get one of the Confederate ships to take us to the enclave.

Alisaie: Mayhap we should tell the others at the House of the Fierce to gather there?

Cirina: Magnai and Sadu know naught of what happened in the castle. I will go and tell them.

Hien: They fought valiantly and with honor, Cirina. I pray you tell them that as well.

Hien: You too, my friend, were instrumental in this triumph. I must insist that you be present when we bring these tidings to my people.

[Down at the docks]

Tansui: …You all look like shite.

Tansui: The captain thought you might need a ride to the enclave. Ready to come aboard?

[“Let’s go.”]

Tansui: On you go, then. Sit wherever you like.

Tansui: I don’t know what happened in there, but it’s over. You won. That’s cause enough for celebration─and those people you’re about to see need something to celebrate…

[Back at the enclave]

Rasho: We brought everyone here. You are the last to arrive.

Hien: I see. Thank you. We owe the Confederacy a great debt…

Rasho: I have waited twenty-five years for this moment. You owe us naught.

Formidable Farmer: Look! It’s Lord Hien!

Yugiri: Some few words of encouragement would not go amiss, my lord.

Hien: Um… Right! Uh, yes. O-Of course…

[“You’re their lord, remember. Stand tall!”]

Hien: Forgive me. This is rather more daunting than I had anticipated. But you are right, I must be strong. Wish me luck.

Hien: We are a sorry lot, are we not. Tired, dirty, stinking of blood and sweat and ash. A people pushed to the point of breaking.

Hien: And yet we won.

Hien: The perseverance to endure decades of oppression. The will to carry on the legacy of those we have lost. These were the bonds that held us together and gave us the strength to reclaim our home.

Hien: After twenty-five hard years, the shadow of the Empire no longer darkens these lands, and we may at last look forward to the dawning of a new day. But, my friends, it will be a day of work.

Hien: So I ask you:  have you yet the strength to stand?

Hien: To rise up with me once more, here and now, and begin to rebuild our homeland?

Alisaie: This will not end with Doma. We will see to that. Right, Lyse?

Lyse: Right!

Alphinaud: Indeed, this is but the beginning. The tide is turning, and it shall soon bear us back across the seas, and onward unto the next battlefield.

Enclave Skiff Captain: Honored hero! You seek passage across the One River?

[Yes please.]

Alphinaud: Are you quite certain you would not prefer to stay awhile longer? There are sure to be festivities─at which you would be the guest of honor, like as not.

Alphinaud: Very well. There are other ways in which we might celebrate─by rejoining the fight for freedom in Gyr Abania, for one.

Alphinaud: Short though our time here has been, we have all come to regard this land and her people as our own, I think. But we have done that which we came here to do.

Alphinaud: Word of Doma’s liberation will soon spread throughout the Empire, and we must seize this opportunity to rekindle the fires of liberation in the West.

Alisaie: We dare not allow the imperials a moment’s respite, lest they march on Doma again. For the sake of all concerned, we should leave immediately.

Cirina: Did I hear you right? You are leaving?

Lyse: I’m afraid so. We’ve got our own battle to fight. What about you? Will you be heading back to the Steppe?

Cirina: Yes. The war here is ended, and there is no cause to remain. The Oronir and Dotharl have already withdrawn.

Cirina: I will follow them anon, but I wished to bid you farewell first.

Soroban: The Blue, too, must return to their homes, but we will be back. Doma has need of merchants and builders, and we are eager to offer our services!

Tansui: And just like that, our grand fellowship is broken? Without ceremony or pomp, you steal off into the dark?

Tansui: No matter. We have plenty to be getting on with. Places to be, people to rob, and so on. And the captain never was one for mingling.

Rasho: I am a pirate. Give me a song at the tavern, and I will be happy. Hobnobbing with Lord Hien? Nay.

Tansui: No taste for the finer things…

Tansui: In any event, we need not part ways here. If you are for Kugane, we would be happy to take you. Her waters have always been…fruitful.

Cirina: I wish you well on your journey, my friends. May you ever walk in crimson.

Lyse: Thank you, Cirina. For everything.

Soroban: May the kami speed you on your way! Until we meet again!

Rasho: Naught remains undone? You are ready to depart?

Rasho: To Kugane, then…

[In Kugane]

Rasho: Have everything? Good. We will need to weigh anchor before the Sekiseigumi arrive.

Rasho: …From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for what you did. Give my regards to the Ul’dahn.

Alphinaud: I informed Tataru of our coming. She and Hancock should be waiting for us in the Ruby Bazaar.

Alisaie: Then it is here we part ways. Best of luck to you and yours in your…piratical endeavors, I suppose.

[Ruby Bazaar]

Tataru: Welcome back, everyone, and congratulations on a job well done!

Alphinaud: It is a pleasure as ever to see your smiling face, Tataru. Less so yours, Hancock, though Rasho and I are sincerely grateful for your assistance.

Hancock: The pleasure was all mine, Master Alphinaud. I assure you.

Tataru: Anyway, you will be glad to hear that I have already chartered passage for you back to Limsa Lominsa.

Tataru: The ship is to leave port this very day, but the captain has agreed to wait until the four of you have boarded.

Alphinaud: The four of us? You mean to stay here in Kugane?

Tataru: Yes. I gave it some thought, and I realized that even with Doma free, there’s still a need for a woman in the middle. Maybe even more than before, considering all the friends and alliances you made.

Hancock: As I told her many times before, I would be more than willing to assist you─

Tataru: And as I told you many times before, I am not about to let you worm your way into our affairs and exploit our connections for your personal gain!

Hancock: Must you always presume the worst?

Tataru: So there you have it. I will remain here for now. You needn’t worry─I’m a regular at the hostelry and a half dozen other local institutions. Everyone loves me!

Tataru: So go, go! Don’t let me keep you. Buy your supplies and souvenirs while you still can!

Tataru: When you’ve finished, make haste to the docks. Pier number two, to be precise. I’ll be waiting for you there!

[Pier #2]

Tataru: First to arrive, as always. Hopefully the others will not be far behind…

Tataru: Ah, there you are! All packed and ready to go?

Alphinaud: To the best of my knowledge, yes. Apologies for the wait. The task of tying up loose ends invariably takes longer than one allows. Happily, however, all now seems to be in order.

Tataru: Then there’s nothing left to do but to board the ship! Do try and enjoy the journey, won’t you? It may be your last chance to rest for a while!

Alisaie: That would depend on the good captain’s choice of route.

Alphinaud: As ever, Tataru, I pray you take all due precautions while making your inquiries. Better to avoid the local authorities altogether than risk a repeat of our Ishgardian episode.

Alisaie: And what sordid episode is this, pray tell?

???: You there! Hold that ship!

[Hien and Yugiri come running up.]

Lyse: What are you two doing here? Shouldn’t you be in Doma?

Hien: Shouldn’t you? You left with nary a word! I half-wondered if I had done something to offend.

Yugiri: Upon learning that you had departed for Kugane, we immediately resolved to give chase. Our comrades can manage affairs in our absence, and it seemed the least we could do.

Lyse: You mean you came all this way just to say good-bye?

Hien: That too, aye, but there was something else I felt I had to say.

Hien: You helped us win our freedom, and for that I cannot thank you enough.

Hien: Accordingly, after we have established an interim government and so forth, I think it only meet that we repay the favor by dispatching our own forces to Eorzea. If you would have us.

Alphinaud: We harbored no expectations of such generous aid…and as there is no telling when the Empire might strike back at you, would it not be wiser to concentrate your resources on the defense of Doma?

Hien: I had a mind to pursue a more aggressive defense. To wit, we will send forth shinobi to provinces far and wide to spread word of our victory, that we might inspire others to take up arms as we did.

Hien: Even the Empire has its limits. If the Garleans cannot be certain where and when the next rebellion will take place, how can they commit another force to Doma?

Hien: And besides…so long as this debt remains unpaid, how am I to face myself? And Gosetsu?

Alphinaud: As you wish. I will relay your offer to the Eorzean Alliance.

Hien: All of Doma is counting on you to finish what we have started.

Hien: You have it in you, Lyse, to seize the future you want. Never forget.

Lyse: I won’t, Hien─not your words or anything else. Everything that led us here, that will drive us forward─I’ll carry it with me, always. And that’s a promise.

Hien: Hah hah! I will hold you to that!

Hien: Go with them to Eorzea. Tell their people of our triumph, and of our pledge to stand with them.

Yugiri: By your leave, I shall pave the way for our new alliance.

Tataru: Hurry up, you lot! The ship’s about to weigh anchor!

Hien: It seems our time is at an end. Go well, my friends…and may we meet again beneath a western sky.

[Meanwhile, in the Royal Palace in Ala Mhigo]

[Zenos is seated on his throne and he looks bored.]

Imperial Pilus Prior: I always knew that woman was unfit for command…

Imperial Tribunus Militum: Aye. When you think of all the resources we poured into that hole. And for what?

[Zenos kills the soldier standing in front of him. Perhaps for bringing bad news?]

Zenos Yae Galvus: The beast yet lives. Mayhap it is time I sharpen my claws.

Zenos Yae Galvus: I wonder, will you walk into my parlor once more…?

[Fordola strides into the chamber and salutes.]

Fordola: Fordola rem Lupis, come at the command of the lord viceroy to present the prisoner taken by the Crania Lupi!

[It’s Krile.]

Krile: Zenos yae Galvus, I presume?

Krile: It’s true what they say. You do have the eyes of a monster. A ravenous, insatiable fiend.

Zenos Yae Galvus: You. Give the Butcher your weapon.

Imperial Pilus Prior: My…? Yes, my lord!

[The soldier holds out his gunblade to Fordola. She takes it.]

Zenos Yae Galvus: A reward given in recognition of your service. I trust you will prove more capable than its former owner.

Fordola: I…I swear I’ll not disappoint you, my lord!

Zenos Yae Galvus: Good. Now, silence that mewling little piglet. I would not hear another sound pass her lips…until I strip the fat from her.

 Go on to Part 7: Return to Gyr Abania

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