A Tearful Reunion
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- Though Taynor remains singularly focused on the confrontation ahead, Cerigg is concerned that the boy may be suppressing his true emotions. The bounty hunter asks you to have a talk with your young companion─one mage to another─that you might help him work through any lingering anxiety or fears.
- You speak to Taynor, who confesses that he harbors a deep-seated fear that he might falter in battle, condemning you and Cerigg to a grim fate in the void. Through your heartening words, the child is able to realize that the burden is not his to shoulder alone, and thus regain a measure of confidence. Together, you decide to return to Cerigg and inform the bounty hunter that all are now ready to face the final confrontation.
- You and Taynor reconvene with Cerigg, and all present reaffirm that the time has come to take on Phronesis once and for all. From here, you and your companions decide to make for the Central Hills of Amber in Amh Araeng, where Taynor will work his magicks to summon your foe to battle.
- Though the battle was a harrowing one, you and your companions have emerged victorious─Phronesis will terrorize the people of Amh Araeng no more. Bear witness to the sin eater's final moments, and pray that the soul of Taynor's old friend will find peace.
- In the sin eater's last moments, Nyelbert's memories manifest themselves, revealing how the archmage continued to search for a way to bring his friend back from beyond the rift until the very end of his days. Taynor looks on in tears as his old friend laments his failure, and offers words of comfort in the vain hope of freeing him from his torment. Whether the result of the words reaching him or by sheer coincidence, the sin eater's form dissipates into innumerable motes of light, and is no more. Speak to Taynor, and lend your support to the boy in what is undoubtedly an emotionally trying moment for him.
- Though it is unlikely that Taynor's heartfelt words truly reached his old friend, the experience nevertheless has allowed the boy to come to terms with his past, and with his own heretofore-conflicted feelings. Weary from battle, you and your two companions decide to return to Mord Souq to recuperate and reflect upon the experience you've shared.
- Back at Mord Souq, Taynor expresses his gratitude for all that you and Cerigg have done for him, explaining that your adventures together have given him the confidence he needs to strike out on his own. Cerigg responds by inviting the boy to become his partner, and continue their adventure together, an offer which Taynor eagerly accepts. Your two companions invite you to join them at the Crystarium for a final farewell before you go your separate ways.
- Back at the Crystarium, Cerigg and Taynor once more express their gratitude for all you have done for them. Cerigg vows to take good care of the boy, to show him the world and help him grow into his new life as a bounty hunter. Accepting your share of the reward for felling Phronesis, you wish your friends the best and strike off on your own, hoping deep down that your paths will cross again someday.
Cerigg said that our fate in the battle against Ny─er, Phronesis depends on me. I will not...I cannot fail.
Well, look who's back─and looking more imposing than ever, I might add. You'll be pleased to know that Taynor's command of his magicks has advanced by leaps and bounds since you left. Says he's finally convinced he can hold his own against Phronesis.
Truth be told, I worry about the boy. As devoted as he is to his training, I can't help but notice a sad, uneasy look in his eyes from time to time. He insists it's nothing, of course, but I remain unconvinced.
As a fellow mage, perhaps you could succeed in reaching out to him where I failed. He should be around here somewhere. Go and find him, and see if you can't offer him a few words of support, won't you?
Taynor probably reckons that a muscle-headed bounty hunter like me couldn't understand the worries of mages─and hells, he's probably right. Would you be so kind as to go and talk to the boy for me? He should be around here somewhere...
Oh, hello there, Forename. Is there something I can do for you?
Cerigg was worried about me, you say? That is...kind of him. I assure you, I'm completely fine...
I owe so much to the both of you. You brought me back from beyond the rift, took me under your wing...trained me and comforted me to the point that my memories and my magic have both returned. I am finally ready to face my old friend in battle...and it is all because of you.
And yet, there is a fear growing inside me...a fear that threatens to consume me.
In my studies, I have learned much about the sin eaters. I learned how those who fall to the most powerful sin eaters─like Phronesis─become sin eaters themselves, doomed to live out their days as mindless, unholy abominations.
If I were to lose my focus in battle, and you or Cerigg suffered the same fate as Nyelbert...
The only three friends I have known in this world... If I lost you all, how could I ever live with myself again!? This thought, it shakes me to my very core.
|If you falter, we will be there for you.||Worry not for us. Think only of Nyelbert.|
Perhaps you're right. Worrying endlessly about things beyond my control will only serve to break my focus.
Thank you, friend. The task is a daunting one, but I will trust in myself─and in the strong and gentle friends who stand by my side.
Nothing would make me happier than to help Nyelbert find peace, but that is not the only reason I fight this battle. I must repay you and Cerigg for all you have given me.
Not only did the two of you bring me back to this world, you have instilled me with a newfound sense of purpose. And yet, when the battle is done, you will leave this place.
You will embark on new adventures, with new companions. Worry not─I will not hold you back, or stand in your way.
That is another reason I must fight this battle. I must prove to you─to all three of my friends─that I am strong enough to get by on my own.
Be strong, Taynor─you can do this! Er, sorry...perhaps I got a little carried away there. In any event, we should go tell Cerigg that I'm ready.
I asked Cerigg what he intends to do after the battle is over, but he just scowled and told me to focus on the task at hand.
Do you think he's feeling sad about us splitting up, too? Er, d-don't tell him I said this, of course!
You're finally back, I see. I was starting to get worried. I trust this means you're ready to do battle with Phronesis?
I am! Let us put an end to this nightmare, and set Nyelbert and the people of this land free.
That's the spirit! All right─the plan is to lure Phronesis to us by the same method as last time. We will venture to the Central Hills of Amber, a safe distance away from the city, and Taynor will summon forth a hollow. It should only be a matter of time before our quarry arrives.
I believe our chances are best if we can lure Phronesis to a wide-open space, where we will have complete freedom to maneuver. The Hills of Amber should suffice. If you are ready, let us away at once.
I couldn't be more proud of how much Taynor has grown since we first met him. Why, he's like the son I nev─ Ahem! Enough chitchat, eh? We have a battle to fight!
...I am ready. Let us begin.
Over there! It's him!
Yes...I knew you would come. Well, I guess we won't be needing this anymore...
Give it up, Nyelbert! My spells are more than a match for your own!
These are my friends, and I will not let you take them! Do you hear me, Nyelbert? Your long nightmare─and ours─shall end this day!
Leave the hollow to me, and concentrate your attacks on our foe!
You heard the boy! It's time to show this bastard what we've got!
Be wary, friends! He means to summon a hollow!
Keep a wide berth, friend, lest you get drawn into the void!
I've done it! The hollow is sealed!
Good work, boy! Now stand back and save your strength! Our foe's got more tricks up his sleeve, no doubt...
Look out! Here comes another one!
Leave it to me, friends!
Watch out! Hurry to Cerigg's side, or you'll bear the full brunt of his magic!
The bastard's trying to take us out in one fell swoop! Move away from me, and quickly!
I've...<pant> <pant>...done it... The hollow is... <pant>
Damn it! Are you all right, boy!?
Forgive me, friends... My strength is waning...
Looks like we're on our own until Taynor's strength returns! Stay clear of the hollows!
Good gods, but would you look at this one! Wait, perhaps we could use the hollows to our advantage...
Wicked white, the bastard's still going! Taynor, how do you fare?
...I am fine. Leave the hollows...<pant>...to me!
If even the empty shell of his body can work these magicks, I shudder to think of the powers Nyelbert commanded when he still lived...
The sin eater's strength wanes! We mustn't let up the attack!
Yes, my friend... Soon, you will be at peace...
I am sorry, my friends... I can summon no more strength...
The boy has given us all he can. It falls to us to end the fight!
Again? Does he mean to cut off our escape route?
The bastard's found our weakness, and damned if he doesn't know what to do with it. We must hold our ground!
There's so many of them...! Forename, Cerigg...be safe!
Damn it! It can't be over... Not like...this...
Forgive me, Taynor. Far and wide did I travel with my companions, all the while searching for a way─any way at all─to bring you back to this world. And yet, in the end, it was all in vain...
Though I treasured the adventures I had with Ardbert and the others, my choice that fateful day forever haunted me. What if I had run off with the stone, and used its powers to rescue you as I had always intended? What adventures might we have shared?
I sunk into the depths of despair, and felt myself a wretch for doing so. For by what right do I pity myself, when it was I who consigned you to far more cruel and tragic a fate?
Whatever pain, whatever loss I knew is nothing compared to what you suffered─what you still suffer. Abandoned by your only friend, cast adrift in a cold, dark void until the end of time... Yes, no doubt you are still out there beyond the rift, cursing my name to this very day...
That's not true, Nyelbert! I'm right here!
And yet, even if you despise me with every fiber of your being... Even still, I would give anything to see you just one last time...
You could curse me, revile me, rain fists and magicks down upon me... It would all be worth it, just for the chance to say...I am sorry...
S-Stop it, Nyelbert! Please...stop saying those things...
Even after you had your mind, your heart, your very humanity ripped from you, still...still, for all these years, you kept searching for me!
How could I ever hate my best friend?
Don't you see, old friend? It was Forename here who brought me back to this world, but it was you who guided him to me!
You have suffered long enough, my friend. I can take care of myself now. You need worry about me no longer. So please...rest peacefully.
Call me crazy, but damned if the boy's words didn't actually get through to him.
It's over...at last.
...You don't need to explain it to me. I know that the Nyelbert we saw was just a memory, a reflection from the crystal. That my friend truly passed years and years ago...
And yet, even if those words will never reach Nyelbert, simply saying them aloud gave me a measure of peace. I have no regrets today.
But we should be getting back to town before any more sin eaters take notice of us, yes?
I'll say. After that battle, I could use a rest─and I reckon Forename here could as well. Shall we head back to Mord Souq?
We did what we had to do. I have no regrets.
Well, if it isn't the man of the hour! I'm happy to report that tales of our triumph are already spreading across town like wildfire. Word has it the merchants are so grateful that they intend to sweeten the bounty with a generous personal reward.
My friends...I have no words to express my gratitude.
Thanks to you, Nyelbert has found peace, and I can finally close the book on this chapter of my past. Every day, I thank the gods for having brought us together.
The feeling's mutual, lad. To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect when you popped out of that hole, but it's been a pleasure having you at our side.
So, tell me. Now that you've made peace with your past, what do you plan to do with your future?
You and Forename have trained me well, and I am quite confident that I can hold my own on the battlefield. Perhaps I will travel the land, and see if I might use my abilities to help those in need.
If I didn't know better, I'd think those were the words of someone twice your age. If that's truly your intention, then I have something of a plan.
First, I'll need Forename here's permission...
It's just a thought I had, but...what say we give the lion's share of the bounty to Taynor here? I reckon he needs it more than we do, and besides, we couldn't have won the battle without him.
|But of course!||...You owe me one.|
My friends, I could never take advantage of your kindness like that...
Think nothing of it. It's not easy for a boy your age to make his way in the world, and this is the least we can do. Think of it as a parting gift from your brothers-in-arms.
Thank you, Cerigg. Thank you, Forename. As long as I live, I will never forget your generosity.
...Finally, I've one last proposal for you, if you're keen to hear it.
There's this bounty hunter I know. He can hold his own with a bow, but he's always thought he could take on bigger marks if he had a skilled mage at his side. If you're looking for a partner, that is.
Cerigg...? You could not possibly mean...
'Course I'm saying it. So, what'll it be?
Yes, yes...a thousand times yes! Why, nothing would make me happier!
Then I suppose that settles it. Welcome aboard, lad. I've got a feeling that this is only the beginning of a rewarding relationship.
And on that note, I do believe my new partner and I are off to the Crystarium to find ourselves a new mark.
If it's not too much to ask, why don't you join us there? I still owe you your share of the bounty, and I reckon it'd be a good place to say our proper farewells.
The path ahead will not be an easy one, but there is one thing I know: where I once feared the future, now I welcome it.
Ah, Forename. Glad you could join us. Taynor and I just arrived a short while ago ourselves. The boy's keen on starting his new life as a bounty hunter, to say the least.
He's got no end of questions, that one. But there's only so much I can teach him─the rest he'll have to learn from experience. And so I intend to do what I can to show him the world...and keep him safe.
So don't worry about us. Between my bow and his magicks, I reckon we'll be able to hold our own out there. That said, should we ever find ourselves on the trail of a particularly nasty foe, I hope you'd not be averse to lending us your strength once more.
Yes, somehow I have a feeling it won't take another hundred years for our paths to cross again. Until then, friend, stay sheltered in the shade.