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A Spectacle for the Ages»

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I will return to the capital as soon as I am able. Go, there is no need for you to remain.
I heard what happened. You need not wait for Emmanellain and Honoroit.
I have no desire to wait for the lordling to emerge from his puddle of self-pity. We have important matters to attend to in Ishgard.
Quest Accepted
You are expected, sir. Pray proceed.
We received troubling reports from Falcon's Nest. What befell you there?
Player7 Icon.png Cutscene start.
Word of the demonstration and its resolution outstripped you, Forename. Every man, woman, and child of Ishgard has heard the tale.
'Tis rumored that my youngest's lack of judgment was to blame. Of course...such stories are prone to exaggeration. What exactly came to pass?

...I see. So that is the truth of it.

Regardless of his intent, the result is undeniable. He has furthered the cause of these misguided few who cannot let go of the past.

In an instant, the delicate peace we were poised to forge is once more beyond us.
To dwell so deeply on the war and the vengeance it begets, only for that too to be taken away─is it any wonder that they were left bereft?

For what was this sacrifice? Have we naught to show for our suffering? I thought peace a sufficient salve, but mayhap I was mistaken.

We are warriors, Lord Edmont, and ours is a nation built on centuries of warfare. Right or wrong, this is who we are, and we deny it at our peril.

To hold on to the past, without being beholden to it... Aye, we must needs find a way to honor the sacrifice of our forefathers without glorying in their excesses.
A difficult path, to be sure. We dare not deny the scars which mar our nation's soul, lest we spur other disillusioned souls to retrace them...

...But, as you say, we dare not revel in past glories either, for they are tainted all.

A clear, unambiguous enemy, and an undeniably righteous cause... 'Tis a bitter reflection, but lies though they were, they did long serve to unite us.
No truth will ever serve as well, I fear. Yet...we are not without options.

At our last meeting, a proposal was tabled by the other members of the Eorzean Alliance for joint military exercises─to strengthen the ties between our nations, and test our readiness to meet with a common threat.

I had thought to delay these exercises until after the peace conference, but mayhap a grand melee would be just the thing to lift our beleaguered spirits.

Better still, an occasion for the Temple Knights and the watch to take the field as allies─a unified Ishgardian force filled with men and women from all walks of life, which would stand against a coalition of the allied nations' finest!

Hosted by Ishgard, in the shadow of the Gates of Judgement! A victory under such circumstances would serve as a reaffirmation─nay, a declaration to all and sundry that we are as strong and united as ever!
Such a victory would do much to fan the flames of patriotism, it is true. But if we should be defeated...? Though...even to hold our own against the cream of three nations might be presented as a triumph...

Very well. You may count on my support, for what little it is worth. However, I have a request: I would have my son Emmanellain take part in the grand melee.

By his deeds has he brought shame upon Ishgard, and so by his deeds I would have him bring our nation honor.
...As you wish, my lord. If that is his desire, then it shall be so.

Now then, we have no time to lose. Forename, would you be so kind as to deliver my instructions to Lucia?

I shall write to the Alliance leaders at once and begin making arrangements for the grand melee.
Should you chance to see my son, pray inform him of his duty.
If he has not already returned, he will soon enough─making every effort to avoid me.
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Player1 Icon.png This dialogue cannot be seen, as you cannot re-enter Aymeric's office once the cutscene has ended.
Pray excuse me, Forename. I have missives to write.
<sigh> I know my son. He will do his utmost to avoid me. See that he does not avoid you.
Player1 Icon.png End of inaccessible content.
Forgive me, Forename. I arrived but a moment ago, and must needs unpack my things. We will speak anon.
So that is their solution. A “grand melee” to unite the people...

And what part would they have you play in this affair, I wonder. You, whom they have taken into their confidence, upon whom they have come so heavily to rely.

And will you oblige them, when the proposition is made? Will you stand for Ishgard once more?
What will you say?
We have come this far, have we not? I will stand for my friends and comrades, not a nation. It is getting to be a bit much, isn't it...
Well, when you put it like that, I suppose it would be a shame not to see it through to the bitter end.
A poor choice of words. For friends tried and true, then. The living and the lost.
You say that, and yet here you are. Here we are. This is, after all, the life we chose.
In any event, let us not forget that the Ascians sought to profit from this war. To put an end to it is to put an end to their plot, and that, my friend, is ever a worthy cause.
So, for this grand melee of his, Ser Aymeric wishes to field a force comprising both his Temple Knights and Hilda's watch, yes? I can only imagine what she will have to say about that.
In fact, curiosity compels me to go and see for myself.
Hm? I thought you had something to discuss with the first commander?
Huzzah! We've been spoiling for a fight! We won't let Ser Aymeric down, you'll see!
(Bloody fool doesn't realize he'll have to sit this one out. If all the watch ran off with Ser Aymeric to play soldier, who'd be left to keep an eye on things here?)
...Because of course he had to deliver the news in person, eh?
Well met, Forename. Have you spoken with Ser Aymeric?

...I was aware of the Alliance's request. So─Ser Aymeric would turn these exercises into a spectacle for the masses.

It is not that I doubt the efficacy of such a plan. Indeed, I know its effectiveness only too well, having witnessed it firsthand...

Nevertheless, he has not once given me reason to doubt his intentions─and these are desperate times indeed.

I will select knights for the event forthwith. As for the watch─

...Did he now? How considerate of Master Thancred to seek out our young watch commander of his own volition.

Alas, he acted prematurely. Pray deliver this list of watch candidates to Hilda. I would have her best men, not her most dispensable.
Forgive me, but I have much to do. Send Hilda my regards.
Thancred's been tellin' me all about Ser Aymeric's grand soirée. Seems we're expected to join in.
It's nice of him to invite us and all, but I hope he knows what he's doin'─'cause we ain't dressed to dance with professional bleedin' soldiers.
...Well, well─seems the first commander's gone and handpicked her guests. Can't say I disagree with her choices, though. She's got a good eye.
Will you be fightin' too? Reckon it'd inspire the lads if you were. Might take their minds off gettin' their hides tanned, and all. Think about it, eh?
I hate to ask, but you haven't seen our favorite lordling, have you?
<sigh> I thought not. On the assumption that he is not to be found in his father's loving embrace, I suggest we split up and look for him. I will search Foundation, and you the Pillars.
...Do not look at me like that. I will begin my search in due time.
I still can't believe he actually hit the daft bastard. Gods, I wish I'd been there to see it!
Hilda did not object to my selections, then? Good.
Player7 Icon.png Cutscene start.
...I carried Honoroit to the manor.

Our best chirurgeons are tending to him as we speak. He has yet to wake, but surely...surely he will.

So Father has volunteered me for this “grand melee” of theirs?

<sigh> My beloved family. Always making my decisions for me. No, it's not like that! It's just... Oh, you wouldn't understand. How could you? You are free to be the man you want to be, whereas I...I...

I am a son of House Fortemps, don't you see? My future was determined before I was born. What I could and could not do.

Right or wrong, that was the way of it─until the old order began to crumble. Now we wander amidst the rubble, searching for a purpose, for a place...

All around me, brave men and women rise to the occasion. With faith and conviction they dedicate themselves to their causes. But not I.

I was terrified of making the wrong choice, which is why I let better men make them for me. Do this, do that, take this duty, guard this conference─

I suppose I had convinced myself I was above it...until your friend showed me otherwise.

When I saw Honoroit, I wanted to scream. I wanted someone to blame! But, in the end, there was only me. Only me.

So you see, I cannot meekly bow my head and accept Father's command. Such cowardice is what brought me to this point.

I will go to Ser Aymeric, and I will make my own decision.
...Found him, did you?
No more excuses. This will be my choice, and mine alone.
The lord commander is not to be disturbed. May I ask what matter demands his personal attention?
...I see. Very well─you may enter.
Player7 Icon.png Voiced cutscene start.
Lord Commander, if I may. I wished to speak with you before the grand melee.
How do you do it, my lord? How do you lead with such certainty when so many of our countrymen will not hear of peace with the Dravanians?
Some of them hate you almost as much as the dragons themselves. They decry you as a patricide in the streets. They even tried to kill you, for gods' sakes! Yet still you march on, undaunted, where no archbishop dared to tread. What is your secret? Where do you find the strength?
For centuries, our nation has been punished for the sins of our forefathers.

If our punishment is to end, I believe we must right the wrongs of antiquity and move forward as a nation united. Needless to say, my father did not share this opinion.

He did not believe the people strong enough to bring about their own deliverance, trusting only in himself. Tyranny seemed to him the only solution.

But I have faith in the people, Lord Emmanellain. I have faith that they will weather this storm, and overcome every trial we set before them.

Many have fought and died to see this blight upon our nation's history cleansed, and I would not let their sacrifices be in vain. Though we invite reprisals, the risk is worth the reward.
I want to believe...I do...

Lord Commander─through my careless orders, a pall has been cast over these proceedings, and I beg the opportunity to make amends.

I, Emmanellain de Fortemps, do hereby request leave to take part in the grand melee!
Who am I to deny such a heartfelt plea? We would be honored to have you join the fray, my lord.
You will take charge of the Ishgardian forces?
For all my other responsibilities, I am still lord commander of the Temple Knights, and I would not soon yield this duty to another.
The esteemed Ser Aymeric, leading the Temple Knights and the watch into battle, along with my youngest. I could wish for no more.
Then you wish for too little, my lord! There is another who might yet join the fray. An indispensable ally to whom we owe much and more.

An adventurer beholden to none, who nevertheless chose to champion our cause. Who has shared in our suffering, and in our glory.

A warrior without equal, whom I am privileged to call a friend. There is no one I would rather have fighting by my side.

I ask this in full knowledge of your obligations, and will not think less of you should you refuse. But if your conscience will allow it, might you oblige me, my friend? One more time?

Ha! Together, we shall give the people a spectacle for the ages─a celebration to mark the dawning of a new era!
Player7 Icon.png Voiced cutscene end.
We would not have come this far were it not for you, Forename.
It has been an honor and a privilege.
Gods help me, I think it might be love.

I daresay it might be cheating, too. Your mere presence is enough to turn the tide of most battles.

And did you see the way his eyes lit up when you nodded? 'Twas a look of boundless relief and joy. One would think a politician more practiced at concealing his emotion.

Still, his honesty does him credit. For a moment, I was fair inspired to pledge myself to the cause. But that would be improper. This is their fight─and yours─but not mine.