Out of the Wood
|«Bearing With It|
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What Master Matoya did was completely and utterly reckless... But if not for her, a great many of the Night's Blessed would not be here.
Considering the Blessed have only just recovered from their encounter with the Eulmorans, Thancred and the others thought we should stay a while longer to be sure they're all right.
They're such a kind and caring people. I pray they never again have to face such hardship.
It seems the Blessed were spared the worst of the Eulmorans' assault, for the better part of Ran'jit's forces abandoned Slitherbough in our pursuit.
Had he been but a few steps faster, he may well hath foiled our efforts to slay the Lightwarden.
Though it pains me to leave, it is time I returned with you and the others to the Crystarium.
But before we go, might I speak with you in private? I will await you in my chambers.
Thank you for coming. I thought to keep my suspicions to myself, but after witnessing your victory at Rak'tika Falls, I fear they prove true, and so I must share them with you.
From the first when we met at Fort Gohn, your aether has appeared...tainted. Suffused with an overabundance of light not unlike the sin eaters.
When you defeated the Lightwarden, I fear the light which poured forth from it was not negated by Hydaelyn's blessing. Rather, it was absorbed into your being.
Urianger also suspects as much, though he is unwilling to share his thoughts on the matter.
One thing is certain: with every Warden you defeat, the danger to you grows greater. Greater perhaps than we can imagine. If you begin to feel anything strange─anything at all─pray inform me at once.
You should hurry, before the others begin to worry. Once I have sorted my things here I will join you.
Pray go on ahead. I would first attend to this unsightly collection of books.
<sigh> I'd always complained that her cave was such a mess, books and scrolls strewn about like a child's playthings. Gods, I really am turning into her...
We took one last patrol of the perimeter. All things considered, Slitherbough remains relatively unscathed.
Thanks to the antidote, all those who were poisoned will make a full recovery.
And with the night sky returned, their prayers have at last been answered.
Sorry to keep you all waiting. Shall we be off, then?
Art thou certain this is best?
...I'll not deny there is a part of me that wishes I could stay.
For two years I have lived with the Blessed, learned their culture, even going so far as to adopt Master Matoya's name as my own. I but pray I did honor to it.
Now is not the time for doubt or hesitation. Come, we must return to the Crystarium.
Hopefully the others will arrive before long.
I know he said he would be watching from the shadows, but doesn't it seem wrong to leave without at least telling Emet-Selch?
'Twas passing strange to see the Crystarium so seemingly desolate, yet it appears all is well.
All things considered, it is hardly surprising that Alphinaud and Alisaie have yet to arrive, but where is the Exarch?
My friends! 'Tis good to see you all again.
Alphinaud! It has been too long.
I assume your presence here means you've brought word of the Warden hiding in Rak'tika?
Found and slain, you say? I should have known.
Eulmore has but recently dispatched soldiers to all corners of Norvrandt to defend them. I am glad to see their efforts were wasted on the Greatwood.
Speaking of Eulmore, what came of your meeting with Vauthry?
Yes, about that. It proved to be...
Exarch, you mustn't push yourself. Your time away from the tower has clearly taken its toll.
No doubt you all are tired as well, having traveled so far. Why don't we all take a much-needed rest before we discuss our findings?
I thought to propose the very same. After your clash with the Warden, you deserve a chance to recuperate.
It's settled, then. We reconvene after everyone has had time to settle in.
Welcome back, sir. Returned from a lengthy excursion, I take it.
Well, your room has been made ready, if you'd care to retire?
|Closes the window.|
So there's a light sealed inside you, is there? You wouldn't know it from the outside. You look the same as you ever did to me.
|I must stay the course. For the others.||And what if that changes? What if it overwhelms me?||Then I suppose there's aught to do but rest.|
Have faith in your friends. Look out for them, and hope that they look out for you. What more can you do?
...Think he was telling the truth? Emet, I mean. All that rot about Hydaelyn being no different from any other primal...
If so, what would that make Her “blessing”? Are we just slaves to Her will?
Ahh─let's pay him no mind. Lies are the Ascians' stock-in-trade.
Villains, heroes─all a matter of perspective, they'd have you believe. One man's fond memory another's waking nightmare...
Me, I'm no saint or savior─just another sinner. And I know damn well I'm in no position to judge...
When I saw the people of Slitherbough look up at the sky and celebrate the return of the dark...felt good.
It was moments like that that I cherished─much more than the thrill of adventure. The quiet after the storm.
I always took comfort in that.
What did the scouts have to report?
Several skirmishes, but nothing of consequence. The fighting seems to have taken its toll on both sides.
A stalemate, then. The Alliance has done well to hold the line for so long.
...But then they did have Ishgardian reinforcements.
Nevertheless, neither side has any appetite for a prolonged engagement.
'Tis but the calm before the storm. And should the Empire choose to bring their full might to bear...
To say nothing of Black Rose.
All the more reason to hasten our search. How close are your people to identifying our next target?
Close enough. Though I have received some troubling intelligence.
One of our generals posted to the Ala Mhigan front recently disappeared without trace from the battlefield at the Ghimlyt Dark.
Odd. Dead seems unlikely, fled less so. I wonder where he'll turn up...
Were I a betting man, I would say here─in the capital.
Not that any deserter who valued his life would contemplate returning. But a corpse might, given the right encouragement.
In the manner of His Royal Remains, you mean?
Elidibus plainly has no need of a new host, so the question becomes, who?
It may be that another player has joined the game.
Something to consider, at any rate. But come, there is work to be done.
These bloodless games make for poor sport.
Mayhap if Father... Nay. I am a stranger to him in this body.
Besides, there is but one hand that can make me whole again. My enemy...my friend...
I know not what entertainment occupies you, but if you will not clear the way for me, then I shall seize the reins of fate once more.