Three's a Company

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«The Ballad of Oblivion
«The Far Edge of Fate

Masked Motives»

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Ah, my dear Forename. How good of you to pay me a visit, and a timely one at that. Our friend Sanson, with whom you journeyed─I met with him but recently, and it pleases me to say that his labors have finally borne fruit.

Aye, his proposal for a unit incorporating bards has received formal approval. Even as we speak, he is rounding up members for the unit's inaugural mission.

Now, during our conversation, Sanson mentioned that he had a favor to ask of you. In case you haven't yet heard from him, mayhap you could seek him out first. You are like to find him at Quiver's Hold.

In case you haven't yet heard from Sanson, mayhap you could seek him out first. You are like to find him at Quiver's Hold.
I wasn't otherwise engaged, so I thought I would come along. Go on and see what it is Sanson requires of you.
Forename, it's so good to see you! Our hard work has paid off, my friend: I've received permission to establish my bard unit! Moreover, we've already been assigned our first mission!

I couldn't be more for one practical concern: our new recruits yet lack the experience to embark on an honest-to-gods mission.

In seeking to fill our ranks, I immediately thought of you, Forename. You are an exemplary among bards, and I should be greatly heartened for your participation in our maiden outing.

I've also taken the liberty of requesting Guydelot's transfer to the unit. With your combined experience and skill, we are bound to leave a splendid first impression!
Now then, I will go to receive my orders from Commander Heuloix. May I assume that you will join me?
May I say that I, too, have a vested interest in young Sanson's success. I should be personally grateful were you to lend him your aid, Forename.
Let us see what manner of mission the commander has in store.
With you on board, our success is all but assured.
If it isn't <If(GreaterThan(PlayerParameter(52),0))>Forename<Else/><If(GreaterThan(PlayerParameter(53),0))><Clickable(<If(GreaterThan(PlayerParameter(52),0))><Player's Grand Company Rank>)/> Surname<Else/>Forename</If></If>. By all accounts, you were instrumental in the success of Captain Smyth's previous expedition. We are glad for your cooperation.
Now then, allow me to brief you on the mission. Our order has received an anonymous letter, one that makes We would have your unit verify the truth of it.
There is a tome that holds a damning secret pertaining to the Autumn War. Should you desire it, send your most capable to Nine Ivies. I will be waiting.
...The war between Gridania and Ala Mhigo? But that ended a hundred years ago. I labor to imagine what secret could exist that should be so damning even now. Might this not be an ill-conceived prank, Commander?
Our leadership believes it likely, to be sure, but it is not a risk they are willing to take. Nay, not with the winds of public sentiment blowing as they are.

You all know that our order is involved in the Alliance's campaign to liberate Ala Mhigo.

You all know that our order is involved in the Alliance's relief efforts for the recently liberated Ala Mhigo.

Well, there are those among the citizenry that disapprove, a small but determined faction that refuses to forget the wrongs of a century past. They still view Ala Mhigo as the enemy, and ardently oppose our reaching out a hand of succor.
Naught potentially incendiary can be allowed to stoke the people's discontent, and we must move quickly. Your mission is to make contact with the letter's sender and ascertain the nature of the secret.
...You call that a mission? A bloody errand, more like. Couldn't be arsed to handle it yourselves, so you foist it on the eager new unit.
And if the secret proves inconvenient for Gridania, what then? Will you sweep it under the rug, along with all our hard work?
Guydelot, mind your tongue! You are addressing a superior officer!
Ah, so you are the famous Guydelot. Worry not, my friend. Whatever the secret turns out to be, I give you my personal assurance that you and yours will receive due credit for its discovery.
That's good enough for me. It's been forever since me and Forename last performed together, and I just want to enjoy the moment─no complicating factors, you know?
The Autumn War is an emotional subject for Gridanians, the older generation especially. And for us bards, it is also notable for the involvement of singing archers.
In the course of your mission, I daresay there will be much to reflect upon and many opportunities to grow. I wish the three of you the best of luck.
Without further ado, let us make haste to Nine Ivies...before Guydelot can exercise any more indiscretion.
There is no telling who─or what─awaits at Camp Nine Ivies. See to it you spare no preparation.
Unless I'm mistaken, this is our mysterious sender.
This our man, you reckon?
Well met, friends. I'm Nourval, a humble citizen of Gridania, and I see you received my letter.
We've come as you bid. The tome, if you would be so kind.
Ah, but I never said that I had it. And to be clear, I do not.
What? Then why did you summon us here?
Patience, my friends. I will explain. You see, like many Gridanians, I have an ancestor who fought in the Autumn War. 'Twas he who first learned of the tome in question, after the fighting had ended.

In turn, I learned of it from my parents, and since then I've dreamed of poring over its pages. Alas, as it lies deep within Ala Mhigan territory, I was resigned never to have the chance.

But then the brave soldiers of the Alliance took Baelsar's Wall, and the way was made clear. When I heard the tidings, the flames of my boyhood passion were rekindled. Finally, I can fulfill my dream!

...Or so I told myself, before I thought better of it. I'm no soldier, you see, and the prospect of wandering a war-ravaged land in search of a tome is, frankly, unrealistic. That's why I decided to reach out to your order for cooperation.
Based on my parents' account, I'm confident that I can track down the tome. And I will help you to find it. I ask only that you take me with you.
...So what say you? I'm but a commoner and know little of the ways of nations, but it seems to me such secrets as the tome conceals could be harmful to diplomatic relations. Is this not so?
So if we wish to find the tome, we must agree to your company. Quite a demand to make of your nation.
Heh, you've got stones, that's for sure. I like it!
Are you serious? A civilian is essentially holding us to ransom, and you praise him for his stones?
Look at it this way: we didn't know the tome existed, nor have we the faintest where to look for it. Better to have help than to fumble about blind, I reckon. Come on, Forename, back me up here.
What will you say?
Place an answer Here

! Seems we have no choice. ! He sure has stones.

I suppose you have the right of it. Whether we like it or not, we would struggle without Nourval's knowledge.

You, too, Forename? Are appearances truly that important to a bard? <sigh> Setting aside this talk of stones for a moment, I'll not deny that we would struggle without Nourval's knowledge.

Very well, we agree to your terms. And here is ours: you must obey our orders at all times.
To the letter, sir! You shan't regret bringing me on!
First, we will make for Castrum Oriens, presently held by the Order of the Twin Adder. Thence we shall make our way into the unknown.
And here we are, at the easternmost reaches of the Twelveswood. The journey has scarcely begun, but already I am keenly grateful for your company, Forename.
Soldiers from all nations, all in one place─a veritable goldmine of songs and stories if I've ever seen one!
The armies of the four nations, united under one banner and one purpose. A sight to stir the spirit!
Well? Where to now?
Pray do not be hasty, Master Sanson. Before we venture into the wilds of Gyr Abania, we would do well to acquaint ourselves with the lay of the land.
As a serpent captain, it should be a simple matter for you to secure permission for us to remain here. Just long enough to get our bearings.
Hmmm, I suppose it would only be prudent...
Very well, I will request permission of command.
And I'll get right to bonding with the locals! Always wanted to compare songs from the four nations...and the liquor besides, hehehe!
Master Guydelot is quite a character, isn't he?
Aye, that he is. Pay him no mind. Now then, I will make my own inquiries. In the meantime, you are to lay low and refrain from bothering the garrison. Understood?
Forename, Guydelot and I shall tend to business here. Pray take your ease until we are ready to depart.