Keeping the Flame Alive
There is no time to lose─General Aldynn may be executed at any moment. You must enter Halatali and free him from his captors. Please see to your preparations, and tell me when you are ready to proceed. One of our own will accompany you inside.
Pray forgive me my lateness.
Master Alphinaud. I am pleased to see that the light of resolve shines in your eyes once more.
Ah, yes... How pathetic I must have seemed to you when we last met. I am ashamed to recall it. For a time I was well and truly lost. But with the aid of my comrades, I have since refound my purpose, and I shall take care not to misplace it again.
Since your escape from Ul'dah, my fellow shinobi and I have shadowed the Crystal Braves' every step in hopes of learning the Scions' whereabouts. Regrettably, our investigation has yet to yield any useful information. Pray forgive us.
You need not apologize, my lady─we are grateful for all that you have done on our behalf. Besides, Raubahn is no less a friend, and we cannot well abandon him to his fate.
Hozan─the three of us shall attend to the Flame General's rescue. Pray draw away the guards by the entrance. Take Doware and Higiri with you. With me!
Not a soul from the Coliseum to be seen. This bodes ill.
Take the lead, Master Forename. I shall follow close upon you.
The General...but where are his captors? I mislike the look of this.
He is bound by some manner of magitek device. Yet I dare not force it open─it may well be booby-trapped.
I have heard of such devices. The Crystal Braves will possess the key. Let us split up and look for it.
That will not be necessary. Pray do not take it personally, my friends. You are the victims of harsh economic conditions. Happily, you will not suffer for long. This poison will convey you swiftly unto the bosom of Thal, where I hope to join you, after the passing of many prosperous years.
Farewell, friends. Oh, and do try to relax. They tell me struggling only makes it worse.
<cough> Leave me... <splutter> Save yourselves...
We cannot let them escape! Forename, force the gate!
I cannot die... Not yet...
The General fades... We must hurry!
Confound it! The mist stifles my healing!
...Beasts!? The mist must be drawing them!
Hah! The way is clear!
The mist remains... We must stop it at the source!
I shall tend to the General! Pray see to the mist and the key!
The Braves...have the key...
That takes care of the mist!
The mist has cleared!
Next, to find the key and free Raubahn!
How did they survive the poison!?
Bah, looks like we'll just have to finish the job!
The key! Take it to Raubahn!
Slowly, General. You are yet weak from your ordeal.
Nevertheless, we must quit this place.
I should have known. What are clever contrivances to the Warrior of Light? ...Well done, hero.
You mean to struggle on, then? Very well. If you would stand in my way, I will cut you down like all the rest.
Come, Scions─let's get this over with.
The sultana's assassins are here! Crystal Braves, to arms!
Whatever it takes to survive!
I am no hero─never was, and never will be!
My strength...has left me...
Ungh... I was careless...
I leave...the rest to you...
This changes nothing!
It is over, Ilberd! Lay down your arms and surrender yourself to justice!
Justice!? Justice for what exactly? 'Twas not I who assassinated the sultana, boy!
Ere we debate who is responsible for the assassination, I would ask whether an assassination took place at all.
Clever little shite... If you think you fight for justice, lad, you'd best wake up. The truth is, you fight for whoever bloody well tells you to. Can you not see you're being used!? By the Scions, the city-states, even the Crystal Braves. They none of 'em care a whit what you want─only what you can do for them. And how do I know this? Because I'm the same─a pawn to be used as my masters see fit. All I ever wanted was to liberate my homeland, and I ate dirt to make it happen. But what have I achieved after all these years in servitude? Nothing! Not a bloody thing. If we ourselves are not free─free to think and to act─how are we ever to reclaim our homeland? Know this: there is nothing I would not give to take back Ala Mhigo! NOTHING!
You'll not get away!
No, Master Alphinaud. Now is not the time.
I'm but a cripple and a fool, and still you came for me... I'm in your debt.
We are all of us fools of fate, General. But even fools have a part to play.
"We stand with you."
"On your feet, gladiator. This fight is not over."
Rest assured, I was not planning to die till I'd avenged the sultana... Still, your words are welcome, lad. Know this, Ilberd... There is nothing I would not give to see you pay for what you've done. My wealth, my arm, my life...nothing.
General─are you aware that Lord Lolorito has yet to announce the sultana's death to the public?
...What? No. No, I was not aware of that─nor of anything else outside my cell. 'Tis passing strange, though... I assumed the bastard would make it known at the first opportunity and set about tearing down the sultanate.
As did we all. And it is indeed strange that he did not─strange or perhaps revealing? Now, I have no conclusive proof, nor do I wish to give you false hope...but I have reason to believe that Her Grace may yet live.
What? But how can that be?
Forgive me, friends, but it is not safe here. Let us continue this conversation without.
The General is safe. What news without?
My lady. The guards have been subdued, as per your command. We have since kept watch over the entrance. There has been no further activity.
Then Ilberd and his minions have fled via some other egress. Scour the perimeter for signs of their passing.
At once, my lady!
General Aldynn, I presume, and the Scions of the Seventh Dawn.
Who are you!? Identify yourself!
Pray do not be alarmed. My mistress is a friend, and I come bearing a message of goodwill.
For your own safety, she bade me direct your steps to the Waking Sands. Know that Master Urianger awaits you there, along with others sympathetic to your cause.
This is no ruse, I assure you. General Aldynn─if you will come with me, I have prepared a carriage, that you may travel in comfort, safe from prying eyes.
I have spoken with Urianger via linkpearl. He confirms the man's story.
Raubahn is in safe hands. Let us make our own way to Vesper Bay.
It is only prudent to be wary, but you may be assured that this is no ruse. Pray leave the care of General Aldynn to us, and make your way to the Waking Sands. Friends await you there.
Be at ease, my friend. I have an idea who this messenger's mistress might be...
The Waking Sands
My dearest friends! Praise be unto the Twelve for delivering you from the clutches of treachery.
Pipin, my son... And Master Papashan besides...
Forgive me, Father... I should have been at Her Grace's side...
Save your tears. The sultana yet lives.
It was I who arranged this gathering. And judging by your perplexed expressions, it would seem introductions are in order. I am Dewlala, head of the Order of Nald'thal, and member of the Syndicate.
What you said about the sultana─is it true? Is she alive?
Young man─I understand you were with the sultana when she drank from the poisoned goblet and collapsed. Would I be correct in assuming that you did not personally verify Her Grace's vital signs?
Why ask, when 'tis plain you know the answer!
Calm yourself, General, and let me finish. The truth is not as you imagine it. You are all victims of a most ingenious ruse─a ruse conceived to eliminate the threat posed by Teledji Adeledji. 'Tis my belief that Teledji plotted the sultana's assassination alone, but that Lolorito caught wind of his plot, and exploited it to his own ends. He sought to manipulate you into eliminating Teledji for him, and you duly obliged. At one fell swoop, he removed his two foremost rivals, all the while remaining above suspicion.
Gods strike me down for a fool... But the sultana─how can it be that she lives?
She lives because Lolorito willed it. Her own lady-in-waiting is but one of his many little birds; by her sleight of hand, the poison was switched for a less deadly draft before it could reach her mistress's lips.
Some manner of sedative, perchance...of a potency sufficient to induce a slumber like unto death.
Were I to guess, I would say Her Grace is being held somewhere, dreaming dreams of a brighter Ul'dah, even as we speak.
Oh, Nanamo... I will never forgive Lolorito for his part in this.
Though Lolorito's hands are far from clean, they did pluck Her Grace from the jaws of death. That must count for something. And though one may call the man's methods into question, it cannot be denied that he knows the value of stability─to the very gil, like as not. He craves power, 'tis true, but he has no desire to depose the sultana. I had never taken sides in your feud with the Monetarists, but it was not for want of concern for our nation's welfare. Indeed, 'twas out of the desire to see order restored that I furnished your Far Eastern friends with information, and arranged this gathering. I hope you are ready to work, General, for there is much work to be done. Our first priority must be to bring matters back into balance. Lest you forget Her Grace's words, the true wealth of Ul'dah lies in the health, happiness, and hopes of her people. As for the more worldly kind of wealth, I am content to let Lolorito help himself to whatever Teledji Adeledji left behind. You, meanwhile, must do that which you alone can do: rescue Her Grace and take your place at her side once more. For her sake...and that of our nation.
I had not counted on Prioress Dewlala herself appearing. In my defense, my suspicions regarding the sultana proved more prescient. Much remains to be done, but in rescuing Raubahn, we have taken a vital first step towards resolving matters in Ul'dah. We couldn't have done it without you, Forename. Thank you.
Thank you for rescuing General Raubahn. From the bottom of my heart. To behold him now, gaunt and unkempt... It pains me to think of all the hardship he has endured. I shall not forget what you have done for General Raubahn. You have saved more than just a man.