A General Summons
General Raubahn says they may have uncovered the sultana's whereabouts! And he wants you─by which I mean both of you─to go to the Waking Sands right away and help with the investigation.
Come, Forename─pressing though Ishgard's plight may be, our presence here will not serve to hasten the manacutter's completion. Let us return to the troubled lands of Thanalan and lend what aid we may. Tataru─have our friends at the Congregation send a message to Estinien. Tell him we have identified a solution to our problem, but that it will take some time to prepare.
As you wish, Master Alphinaud!
To the Waking Sands, Warrior of Light. 'Tis past time Ul'dah was delivered from this darkness! I am as intrigued as you, Forename. Shall we hear what news Tataru has brought us?
Thank you for coming.
No thanks are necessary, General. I trust your recuperation continues apace?
I cannot complain. Thanks to Higiri and her ministrations, I've regained much of the strength I lost during my imprisonment.
I gather you have made progess in the search for Her Grace.
Aye, some good fortune at last. A few days past, Dewlala informed us that a sizable shipment of alchemical supplies had been delivered to the palace.
With Papashan's assistance, I set out to ascertain the source and nature of the shipment. My inquiries led me to Frondale's Phrontistery. There I learned that an order had been placed for a curious substance designed to sustain patients trapped in death-like slumber─an invention of the former head alchemist, apparently.
A death-like slumber...? This cannot be a coincidence!
It lends some weight to Dewlala's claims, aye. Her Grace is likely somewhere within the palace─abed but alive.
Before making any attempt to extricate the sultana, however, it seemed prudent to learn what manner of substance was used to induce her torpor. To that end, I made inquiries as to the whereabouts of the one most like to have administered it─the lady-in-waiting, Meriel. We sent for you as soon as we learned of her location. All that remains is to apprehend the woman.
We shall find our cat's-paw in the Silver Bazaar. But we must tread carefully. The market is not the bustling place it once was, and someone is sure to mark our coming. Should they inform the Monetarists, we'll have a fight on our hands. We must be prepared for the worst─and being short an arm, I thought it wise to take another in its stead. What say you, Warrior of Light? Will you lend me yours? Then I pity the bastard that stands in our way. Come, my friends! For Nanamo...and for Ul'dah!
The Dunesfolk have long laced their teas with traces of venom, that they might better survive in a land rife with deadly snakes and scorpions. 'Tis all but certain that Her Grace hath nurtured a similar resistance to such substances... Might not this explain the need for so noticeable a quantity of alchemical supplies? In moderation, full many poisons serve as palliatives, after all...
If one had chosen to entrap the sultana in a death-like sleep rather than slay her, then one would surely also know of a means to rouse her from said state. There must be an antidote to this poison.
Raubahn's recovery has been nothing short of miraculous. But I should not be surprised. By his scars, I gather that he has survived many terrible wounds.
Our target is Meriel, the sultana's former lady-in-waiting─a woman of Midlander heritage. I am told the two of you have met. Our sources indicate that she left the palace shortly after the incident, and quietly rejoined the dwindling population of the Silver Bazaar. I suggest we begin by questioning the market's residents, and confirm that Meriel is still in hiding there.
I have met the sultana's handmaiden on numerous occasions...but I cannot for the life of me bring her features to mind.
Godsdammit, where is she!? I will tear this place apart if I must!
I suppose it was too much to ask that we stumble upon her buying fruit in the market square...
Easy now, General. We don't want her bolting down some other hole.
Let us gather all the players together. This has gone on long enough...
So, Her Grace's poisoner seeks refuge in the Silver Bazaar...
Meriel? Aye, she's here─left the city for good, she says. Barely leaves her house, though. Hm? It's the one closest to the market entrance.
Greetings, Forename! What can I do for the Silver Bazaar's favorite adventurer? Looking for Meriel, you say? If you're hoping to lure her back to Ul'dah, you may as well give up now─the girl's done with city life.
Do I know of any returning residents? Gods, don't tell me they're starting to come back! My masters will not be pleased to hear of this...
You are Meriel, the sultana's former lady-in-waiting?
I know no one of that name! Pray excuse me... General Aldynn!?
We will have the truth from you, girl...
Mayhap 'twould be better coming from me.
Lolorito... You'd best talk fast.
As you know, Teledji Adeledji's Carteneau Reclamation Bill was no more than a facade─a means to get his grubby little hands on that Allagan monstrosity, Omega. When he learned of Nanamo's intention to abdicate, however, he was forced to amend his plans. Suddenly, assassination seemed the most promising way to further his ambitions. I am told Teledji had discovered a maid in whose veins ran the blood of House Thorne─a new, more pliable puppet to sit the throne. 'Twould have caused an uproar, of course, but few could have contested her claim. 'Twas plain that Teledji's wild machinations had outgrown our ability to control them. So I decided to usurp his scheme, and left the fool to seal his own demise.
And what of Nanamo?
Oh, I have no desire to harm Her Grace─'twould profit me little to destabilize our government. Thus did I employ young Meriel here to administer a potent sleeping potion in place of a poison. You should know, General, that your dear friend Ilberd was fully aware of my plan. I had him lie about the assassination as a means to prime your rage against Teledji. We weren't entirely sure how you would react, but things went rather better than expected.
You conniving little worm... You had your claws in the Crystal Braves before their first recruit had sworn to serve!
But of course. When a new game begins, 'tis only prudent to have a piece on the board. Ilberd was mine. Truth be told, a significant proportion of the Braves' initial endowment was also mine. With such large sums moving about, 'twas a rather trifling matter to disguise my own contribution. Ah, Ilberd... I secured his services with a promise to support his cause once my authority had been solidified. I swear, the man thinks of naught but prising Ala Mhigo from the grasp of the Empire. Unlike you, General, the poor fellow seems quite unable to forsake the land of his forefathers. Mayhap that's why he called you a traitor to your people and a disgrace to your homeland...amongst other things. What was it he always compared you to? Oh, yes! “An overgrown lapdog, begging for scraps at the sultana's table!” Oh, how we laughed... Alas, Ilberd's entertaining little outbursts eventually gave way to wearisome tirades, and the zealous brute became rather unruly. I had no wish to see you executed, you understand, but he would not take no for an answer. Rest assured, his employment with me has long since ended.
...Which brings us neatly to the present. What say you, General? Both you and the sultana are alive; we have one corpse and one fugitive; and preparations have been made to restore your good name. Shall we cry quits and start again with a blank ledger? Hm?
The hells we will! Do you honestly expect me to forgive and forget? After all you've done!? You're guilty of high treason!
Stay your blade, Master Aldynn! You yourself are not innocent! Or have you forgotten your own crime in executing Teledji Adeledji without trial!? Though you acted out of loyalty to the sultana, such deeds are in violation of both the word and spirit of the law!
...If you would, Lord Lolorito?
This potion will wake the sultana from her slumber. Consider it a gesture of conciliation. You will find Her Grace resting comfortably within her private chambers. Should you doubt my word, I shall willingly accompany you to the palace as your hostage.
I like not your motives, Lolorito...but you saved the sultana's life, and for that you have my gratitude.
Raubahn Aldynn, you are hereby reinstated as general of the Immortal Flames! The citizens of Ul'dah shall once more be united under Nanamo Ul Namo, and together we shall usher in a new age of prosperity!
In all honesty, I care little for the truth behind these machiniations. All that matters to me is that the sultana is alive and well...
“You had killed the one you served...”
Ah, pray excuse my mutterings─I was reminded of a line from an old poem.
By the Twelve... I feared Lord Lolorito's arrival would herald another bloodbath. Little did I suspect that he of all people would gift us the means to rouse the sultana.