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Reflections in Crystal

«Unto the Morrow

Alisaie's Quest»
Empty Promise»

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Oh? Begging your pardon, Master Forename, but should you not wait for Mistress Ryne?
Well, I suppose it's time. Are you ready, Forename?
All right. Let's not keep the others waiting.
Ah, Master Forename. I have but this moment shown your associates in. Strange to think that I will not have the honor of showing them out again...
But I am informed that you yourself may yet return, and I look forward to welcoming you on that happy day. Now, if you would care to follow me.
I did not expect such a rousing farewell from the people. It was the very thing my spirits needed.
Now all that remains is to return to the Source. The Twelve know we have made Krile and Tataru worry long enough.
Angelo stands ready to work his magick on our souls.
Since we cannot take our worldly goods with us, I want you to have my gunblade.
Use it or sell it, it's all the same to me. So long as it serves you in some way, I will be satisfied.
...Thank you, Thancred. I'll treasure it.
How many times have we few assembled thus in this storied chamber? Many and more, I think.
Were the Exarch standing before us, the scene would be complete. Nay─'twould be complete were he standing before us with Emet-Selch smirking in the wings.
In the spirit of solidarity...I bid you carry the vessels as if your life depended on it.
Ah, there you are. I take it you are ready for the journey.

The spirit vessels are primed, and our company complete. At a word from you, we shall begin.

Very good. I shall distribute the vessels at once.
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All right, then. Pray proceed as instructed, beginning with your memories.
The first step is complete. And all appeareth to be in order.
Well, that just leaves our souls, then.
We're in your hands, Angelo.
It is done! The vessels have received of both their memories and their souls!
I hereby entrust them to your care. They belong to you now. Just be sure to guard them well, yes?
This will work, won't it?
Our theories have held thus far.

But I make no promises about what is to come. Even the greatest mages in history knew better than to transport a soul across the rift. We, my dear, are in unknown territory.

Prepare as we might, we cannot account for all possibilities, and it is in such circumstances that accidents are wont to occur...

Yet miracles do happen. So let us pray, and will our friends home.
I won't stop praying until I know they're safe.
All safely stowed away? I do hope so.
All that remains, then, is to step into the mirror. Go now...and safe travels.
Did it...? Are we...?
...We're home.
Oh! Oh, you're back! You're back! You're all back!
Thank you. My body feels like a sack of popotoes, but otherwise I have never felt better.
That said, I doubt any of us will be fit to travel for some while. May we leave the rest to you?
The vessel beareth our comrade's blood. With it in thy possession, the way will surely open before thee.
What!? But you've only just got here!
Tataru, might I trouble you to brew us all a pot of your special tea?
Ah! And we may require an extra cup.

Yours is a long road, my friend, and it stretches on to places beyond imagining. With your every step, these grand adventures shall grow more distant and faint. And there may come a day when you forget the faces and voices of those you have met along the way. On that day, I bid you remember this... That no matter how far your journey may take you, you stand where you stand by virture of the road you walked to get there. For in times of hardship, when you fear you cannot go on... The joy you have known, the pain you have felt, the prayers you have whispered and answered─they shall ever be your strength and your comfort. This I hope─I believe, here at memory's end.
— Crystal Exarch
Some days later...
What is it, Alisaie? Are you all right? Do you still feel under the weather?
Physically, I couldn't be better. Thanks to Krile's ministrations, I'm already looking forward to our next fight.
But seriously─don't you have anything to say about that?
No less impressive than our garments. You've outdone yourself, Tataru.
To give credit where it's due, I had help from a certain fiery pixie who visited me in my dreams. They gave me all the information I needed to get the details just right.

For your weapons, though, I needed a lot more help... Thankfully, our favorite heads of state were happy to place their finest craftsmen at my exclusive disposal.

Oh, and speaking of the Alliance leaders, they all express their “unreserved elation at your safe return,” and promise to come and see you in person as soon as they can.
They really needn't have gone to such trouble─but we'll be keeping these gifts all the same. Do pass on our gratitude.
I realize we haven't taken up new martial arts, nor have I ever been one to set much store by appearances...
But I can't help feeling a certain lack of...I don't know, personal development.
I quite understand. But as you observed, the others had the more pressing need. Rest assured, our turn will come.
If I expend any more aether, I swear I will blink out of existence. I need a bite to eat.
Tataru, a cup of tea, if you would be so kind. And something sweet.
By Mistress Krile's exhausted state, may I assume that the ward hath been restored?
Indeed. We succeeded in weaving it anew, albeit at a slightly diminished potency than when I had Beq Lugg's assistance.
It is no cause for concern, though. The tower is not easily reached, never mind breached. And even should some few succeed, their presence won't escape my notice.
Excellent. Said duty thus discharged, thou art free to go wheresoever thy fancy taketh thee.
Upon which note─hast thou perchance come to a decision? The offer remaineth open.
Well...if you're certain that's what you... I-I mean, if you think I...
What will you say?
... G'raha, really.
I accept. Henceforth, I shall count myself a Scion of the Seventh Dawn.
G'raha Tia, at your service.

When I was a boy, many long years ago, I yearned to stand tall as the heroes of eld. But like a fool seeking to pluck the stars from the heavens, my every attempt to reprise their deeds fell short...
— G'raha Tia

Panicked Son
Help! Somebody help!
Hippogryphs! Hippogryphs on the rampage! A giant flock of 'em! Please, we need help!
I could do with a little rampage myself.
What!? Now wait just a─
Here we go again...
I will join the fray when I've finished my tea.
Thus did the avatar of destruction descend, and in her wake leave naught but tears and ash...

And then, one day, an all but forgotten dream from my youth stood before me, in the flesh. So it was that a new adventure began...
— G'raha Tia
The memory of a dying world's end, night after night... And I thought it but a tired old dream.
I say... I knew that securing the palace would provide Your Radiance with depressingly little sport─but that you should fall asleep out of boredom!?

Splendid! Truly splendid! And my own preparations, you will be pleased to hear, proceed apace.

Oh yes, they proceed very well indeed. Frighteningly so. And we owe it not least of all to this singularly useful body I chanced to find.

With the Populares now all but destroyed, it will be the simplest of tasks to discredit their groundless assertions that I met with a grisly end.

And as the very-much-alive lord of House Brutus, I have a vast fortune at my disposal.

Ahhh, money, money, money! The great motivator! There is simply no better way to move men─and expedite plans─than with its alluring glint, would you not agree?

But wait...! Were we not acquainted, you and...“I”?

Should our familiarity cause you distress, I beg your forgiveness.
...What did you say your name was?
Ahhh, a dagger through my heart! That my deepest desire should forever remain unfulfilled! To live unrecognized! To die forgotten!
So it goes. Whatever this flesh may have been before, it serves only as a vessel now.
And I, faithful Fandaniel, labor only to advance my lord's ambitions.

Speaking of which, with the palace in our hands, we may now proceed with the next phase of the plan.

But how very odd... Despite all our havoc wreaking, old Elidibus did not deign to appear. Dare I hope...?

That the last of the gone?

Imagine it! Bound no more by the shackles of moldering memories─of damnable duty! Free at last to live for the moment!

Your Radiance. But give the word, and I shall go forth and prepare for you your hunting ground.

That which awaited was a fell beast. Ferocious. Ravenous. Remorseless.
— G'raha Tia

...Do as you will.

It has been too, too long, my friend...and insufferably dull in your absence.

When you return to me, you will share everything. Every blow will be a story unto itself. Every triumph. Every kill.

Rest assured we shall have a fitting stage for our reunion.

Oh, yes. To reprise that transcendent moment, I will set this world ablaze. And we shall dance before the pyre.

The beast shall kindle the flames of the apocalypse. Into its domain shall the hero set forth, for the final chapter in the tale of this star.
— G'raha Tia
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Hehe, everyone likes the garments I prepared for them! The time I spent polishing my skills wasn't in vain!

In case you're wondering, G'raha Tia's is an outfit suited for traveling, while his weapon uses a piece of the Crystal Tower as the focus. Brilliant, right?

Now, I know we probably shouldn't go around chipping bits off Allagan relics, but it was just one little piece!
I'm told Raha has shed with some of the tenseness he had as the Crystal Exarch. If you ask me, he's more relaxed then he's ever been.

Why, the Raha of old would leap down from a high place just to make a dramatic appearance--something someone did in some epic or other. And Alphinaud wasn't so different.

Still, I'm glad to have them back safe and sound, boyish insecurities and all.
Ah, you're back.


Tell me, Forename. Do you think I was...excessively familiar earlier? In my tone and mannerism?

I thought it better to be familiar than formal if we are to be comrades. But now I worry that it may have detracted from the gratitude and respect I harbor for everyone.

Perhaps we might consider it a nod to my regrettably less-than-humble beginnings...? Yes! Yes, that will do!

<sigh> Being free to live as one pleases is not without its challenges... In a way, it was easier when I had a mission that consumed my every waking moment. It provided me with a focus, a constant push in a singular direction.

By the way, was casting spells always so draining? I had quite forgotten what it was like to do it without the tower. I've rarely felt so exhausted. Or hungry.

Yet if all I did was bend the bow, I would be of limited use to you on your adventures. So I shall persevere.

Whoever I might have been before, I am now a Scion─and an inexperienced Scion at that. A green initiate, eager to learn how best to contribute to the cause...

...That he might follow in the footsteps of his inspiration!
I suppose we ought to take stock of the situation. By forestalling the Eighth Umbral Calamity, we have unwritten history. The future now lies beyond my ken.
None can say what awaits, but so long as we stand together, I doubt not but that we can overcome all trials. We have always done so, have we not?
What would you like to do?
Ask how he fares of late. Show him your wind-up Mystel.
Do you mean since I reawakened in this body? The hunger being par for the course, I have no complaints. All appears to be well.

Though my memories straddle the lives I have lived, there are no contradicting fragments which cause me confusion.

Yet by the same token, 'tis a strange feeling to be possessed of my young body again. Even accounting for the crystallization, I do not recall ever being so light and spry.

As for my soul, Y'shtola assures me it is similar to yours, Bunne. That is to say it is somewhat denser than others, but otherwise normal.

On the face of it, it appears to make sense, but I couldn't help but consider the differences between your circumstance and mine.

You, of course, merged with Ardbert. And as similar as your souls may have been, the fact is you were different people. Thus did your soul gain in density.

How you were able to merge is another matter. Given what we know of the soul, that you possessed distinct memories should have rendered the process more complicated. Though I but theorize, perhaps your strong and shared desire to do so made it possible.

In contrast, I simply merged with myself. Whatever additional experiences the older me may have had, my fundamental existence remained unchanged. Mind you, that's not to say that I hadn't improved! Far from it!

At any rate, when our souls combined, it shouldn't have been a process of augmentation, but rather...shall we say, attunement. It seems somewhat strange that my soul has become denser.

Or could this be the result of having undergone another Rejoining? If so, it would serve as proof of a future that many fought and died to prevent. Lest we forget, my friend. Lest we forget...
Well, now... I have my suspicions as to what this is about, but would you be so good as to confirm them for me?

Aye, just as I thought. They went ahead with it after all.

The artisans of the Mean had come to me with a proposal, you see. In celebration of the night's return, they asked how I wished to be commemorated: on a coin, or as an automaton.

Neither, I replied...for all the good it did. They knew I would be embarrassed─it makes no difference what name they give it. Yet still they did it...

A right stubborn lot, they befits the people of the Crystarium. They shall be just fine without me, and Lyna may rest assured I do not worry for them.

Nevertheless, I shall never cease to pray for their happiness.

No longer am I a leader of a nation. Whatever power and influence I may have wielded, I left behind as surely as I left my body.

But everything I have ever felt and experienced... All of these things and more I have brought with me─you have brought for me.

And I shall carry them close to my heart always, unto the end of my days.

Thanks to your reports, I had known that all was well in the Source, but there is no relief like seeing out comrades again with my own eyes.

If possible, I should like to thank Estinien in person for the help he lent us while we were away, but it seems he has not been heard from of late. Such is his way...

Well, until such time as we meet again, I shall ever pray for his well-being, and take the absence of tidings as a good sign. As I do with our friends in the First.
While things are quiet, I think I'll move my body around some more. Need to get it used to the new tricks I learned in the First.
To that end, I'll round up Hoary and his crew for a spot of sparring. Oh, and G'raha too. In my capacity as his senior, I'm obligated to train him as well, heh heh heh...
We've been receivin' some worryin' intelligence on the Empire, but with the place in a shambles as it is, it's takin' longer'n usual to verify the facts. I suggest ye rest up in the meantime.
If you are looking for Isildaure and Alianne, they're off to Doma to visit Homei. In his entire time with us, I don't think I've ever seen Isildaure so alive as when he set out.
<sigh> The Archons have scarcely returned, and already Sister is at it again... However this plays out, I pity the newcomer...
When I was tasked with holding the fort, the silence of the place was unnerving at times. Strange to say that it is amidst this ceaseless clamor that I feel most at peace.
Hear hear, Brother! If G'raha Tia is skilled in all forms of combat as they say, we must rain hard if we are to keep up!
Not only have the Archons returned to us, but a capable new comrade has joined the fold besides! Their presence shall inspire us to ever greater heights!
They're smitten with the newcomer, the both of them! But I won't let him come between us! Hmmmm, if he were to join us, on the other hand...
Though only a short time has passed in the Source, for me it has been several long years.

'Tis passing strange to see how little has changed here in the Rising Stones. Sometimes I can't help but feel as if I'm dreaming.

Then I see the equipment Tataru prepared for us, and it helps to bring me back to reality. Ryne continues her fight in the First, and I must resume my own here.
As you know, in Seeker of the Sun culture, the title tia indicates a male who does not preside over territory. In regards to this, Alphinaud came to me with a consultation.

The Crystarium may not be a territory in the traditional sense, he said, but our friend governed it with great leadership nonetheless. As such, would it not be inappropriate to call him "Tia"?

As it is by no means disrespectful to omit the title, I told Alphinaud that he is free to do so if he wishes. But I for one intend to call him by his full name. As least until he has decided what he wants for himself in his new life.
By thine account, the Fourteenth seat of the Convocation was known as Azem. At the title's distinctly familiar ring, mine imagination could not fail but run wild.

From Azeyma, the Warden, in Eorzea to Azim, the Dawn Father, in the Far East, in nigh every corner of Hydaelyn do those deities revered as personifications of the sun share like names.

Could they all perhaps trace their origins to the Fourteenth seat, I did muse. Though it may ne'er be proven or otherwise, such a theory, I do believe, lieth firmly within the realm of possibility.