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Unnatural Selection

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«When the Golems Get Tough

One Golem to Rule Them All»

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Forename. The moment you entered the room, I could feel the air crackling with aetheric energy. Excellent─your diligence in your training will surely serve us well.

And you come at a perfect time. Not moments before you arrived, Shatotto's voice called out to me from the recesses of my consciousness. She would have us begin to lay the groundwork for the final stage of her plan.

As she made it quite clear that we will require all the aid we can muster, I have taken the liberty of reaching out to our beastman friends. They have convened at Kazagg Chah's residence at Burgundy Falls, where they await our arrival. Let us not keep them waiting.
To not merely foresee a falling star some two thousand years hence, but project one's own memory into the future to forestall it? Truly, the powers of Mistress Shatotto are beyond the comprehension of our ordinary minds...
Squaaawk! Great honor! Tremendous honor! Trembling with excitement and awe, Dozol is!
Was Da Za the first beastman to speak with Lady Shatotto? Yes, yes, surely he was! Da Za is Shatotto's favorite─her chosen, her prized one, her favorite!
I am not privy to the finer points of Lady Shatotto's plan, but I am prepared to assist in any way I can.
...My friends. Thank you for coming together on such short notice. Mistress Shatotto would have you know that she is most grateful for your cooperation. In fact, I do believe she would rather speak to you─unnnggghhh!─directly...
Well, it would seem the gang's all here. I daresay it's time we got this proverbial show on the road. Hearer! Tell me that you've made yourself useful since I last saw your vapid face!
Aye, Lady Shatotto. According to my colleagues in the Eorzean Alliance, patrols have sighted an increasing number of rampant golems afield. Fortunately, none have posed a significant threat─at least not as of yet.
Which brings us to the matter of the comet. A colleague of mine at the Observatorium has confirmed that it draws nearer with each passing hour. Though there is no immediate danger of a collision if it stays on its present course─
...It is too close for comfort, yes. Fortunately, I─as is my wont─have a plan. I simply hope that you, my friends, are up to the task.

If the Hearer speaks true, the golems that have been causing trouble near the city–states have been more bark than bite─felled with no great difficulty by middling soldiers. From this, I surmise that the gems set within them─their soulstones─have been small and of meager power at best.

And yet if my theory holds, a more sinister threat lurks in the realm's far reaches, far from the prodding eyes of Eorzean and beastman alike. This is where we must go.
Squaaawk! Perplexed, Dozol is. Profoundly, deeply perplexed. By people─to do the work of people─are golems created. To travel so far from their masters' domain, these constructs have no reason. True, is this not?
Well, I'll be─a passably astute observation! But I fear your knowledge is lacking, my squawking friend. Golems come in all shapes and forms, and not all are wrought by the hand of a mortal creator.
Often a gem of sufficient aetheric power will attract all manner of matter─plant, mineral, and animal alike─spontaneously animating it and giving rise to new life. With naught to guide them, these feral golems rove and wander at will. It is these unpredictable specimens that pose the greatest danger.
The larger the gem that serves as their soulstone, the greater their power─and the greater the threat when the comet draws nigh. It would appear our task is clear.

Let us split up and hunt down these abominations. I shall join our beastman friends and make for the west. I will leave the eastern reaches to the two of you─I trust you will be able to fend for yourselves.

There is one matter in particular I would ask you to investigate. My friends at the Alliance conveyed to me a most curious report, which Lady Shatotto's words just now put in a rather different light.

Over in Gyr Abania─in the hamlet of Ala Gannha─villagers have claimed sightings of, in their words, trees that walk like men. These have gone entirely uninvestigated, written off as the delusions and fantasies of superstitious commonfolk, but if Lady Shatotto speaks true─
...Which I do, they are golems beyond the slimmest shadow of a doubt. Worry not, for Forename and I will uproot them and reduce every last leaf and strip of bark to smoldering ash. Won't we, Forename?
I will leave the particulars regarding the means of destruction to the experts. I have, however, procured a linkpearl that we might better coordinate our efforts. Pray take it with you.
And with that, I do believe we are as prepared as we could hope to be. Let us be off, my friends! And remember: should aught go amiss, I am but a linkpearl call away.
A device to allow that pretentious pudding-head to talk to me even if I'm a hundred malms away? Far be it from me to scoff at technological progress, but some inventions really could have been done without.

How interesting. While Mhach has devolved into a vermin-infested bog, Gyr Abania is─if anything─looking more lively than I remember it. Not that that's saying much, of course.

But look at me, getting all nostalgic for no reason. After all, my body has long since returned to the dust, and soon even my memory will fade...

But before that, we have a job to do, don't we? I can sense no unusual aetheric presence here, so let us venture a bit further into the field. Come along now, Forename!
Thank you, but worry not─I have this area entirely under control. Be a dear and head to the west of Ala Gannha to root out any stragglers, won't you?

Did you come upon any wood golems, Forename? As you can see, these two had the misfortune of coming upon little old me. But that is not all I saw. Yes, it was a most remarkable─and most horrifying─sight...

After I delivered a mortal wound to one of the creatures, I saw it extend a gnarled limb, and─with the last onze of its strength─try to rip the soulstone from its cohort's chest.

Yes, it would seem these feral golems have no qualms about cannibalizing each other...which has led me to a quite frightening conclusion. To wit─
Oh, of all the─whatever could that four-eyed fool want at a time like this!?

Yes, yes, if you have something to report, make it qui─what!?

Yes, it would be wise for you to make a discreet retreat. We will do the same─I would reevaluate our options in light of these most troubling developments.

...Very well. I will join you at the Observatorium shortly. Do gather all the information you can from your colleagues before I arrive.
Gods be good, that Hearer's actually proven himself useful. It would seem he came upon a most startling scene in the hinterlands─a mass influx of golems of all shapes and sizes, as if summoned from all reaches of the realm by some unholy force.

I have my own theory as to what this means, but I require more knowledge before plotting our next step. One thing I can say is that we should immediately begin preparing for the worst.

In any event, we must move, and quickly. You return to Burgundy Falls and apprise the beastmen of where we stand. I shall go on ahead to the Observatorium and see what knowledge the astrologians have gleaned, and join you as soon as I am able.
Squaaawk! So many golems, Dozol has never seen! In a flutter are Dozol's feathers. Squaaawk! Squaaawk!
Perhaps the golems are having a feast─a banquet, a revel, a feast! Though feasting on what, I would rather not speculate. No, no, not thinking.
Friends, comrades, brothers and sisters of the black. We stand at the brink of a disaster most dire. Even as we speak, our foe grows in number. Beings of sentient stone and wood gather, summoned by an unknown force, and united for a common purpose─a purpose beyond our understanding...
Beyond your understanding, perhaps, but not mine. The golems make for Sohm Al!

In Gyr Abania, I witnessed a most unsettling sight. A golem, with an almost animal fury, tearing into its cohort's chest. Disturbing as it was, it was all too clear what I was witnessing. The creature sought a stronger soulstone, that it might augment its strength and prolong its own existence.

But the power these creatures seek is not limited to that which they can harvest from their own kind. No, they are forever in search of a more potent aetheric source─and they have finally found one.

The astrologians at the Observatorium have confirmed my worst fears. The baleful star of our past slowly but inexorably changes course, bringing it closer and closer to this star.
It is as Lady Shatotto says. The golems call out to it, beckoning it ever closer. According to the latest calculations, any further adjustments to its path and it is all but certain to strike Eorzea head-on.
The baleful creatures would climb the highest peak in the land, and summon their motherstone to bring disaster to our realm!? Inconceivable!
And yet it is just so, my friend. Unless we destroy the lot of them, a collision is all but inevitable. And yet there are simply too many─even if we could thin their ranks, they would regrow themselves and regroup in no time.
So we are done for─doomed, defeated, done for!?
Do not give up hope, my frenetic friend. Or do you forget that the most brilliant mind to ever walk the face of Eorzea stands with you? Allow me to propose a foolproof plan: we do absolutely nothing at all!
...For now, that is. We know that the golems are feeding on each other in pursuit of greater and greater power. So why not sit back and let this process of unnatural selection take its course, till we are left with but a single foe?
Squawwwk! Out of her mind, Shatotto is! Were that to happen, a creature of untold power and puissance that golem would be!
Quite so. It would be the mother of all automata─the golem equivalent of yours truly, if you will─and by definition one of the most formidable foes our realm has seen. Fortunately, I do believe there is one among us who might stand half a chance against such a monstrosity.
...Forename. Lady Shatotto insists that you hold─nay, you are the key to this entire operation. I am not inclined to doubt her, but I would hear it from your own lips. Can you say with all certainty that you would emerge victorious over this hypothetical golem of mythical proportions?
Can you do this?
Place an answer Here
Thank you, my friend. Your courage inspires me. Pray let me offer my strength, that together we may secure the future of our realm.
I thank you for your honesty, my friend. To tell the truth, I have my doubts as well. And yet, if we stand united, I believe that victory is well within our grasp. Pray let me offer my strength, that together we may secure the future of our realm.
I doubt Forename and I will have much need of your services, but do feel free to tag along.
It would be my honor. And with that, I should take my leave. I must warn the people of the nearby settlements to keep a wide berth of the great peak. Mayhap I will even have occasion to smash a golem or two on my journey!
Color me impressed, Forename. Your friends are proving more reliable by the minute. And with that, I should return to the Sacrarium, for my grip on consciousness grows more tenuous by the moment... Pray return when you can, and speak with Lalai upon her awakening.
Squaaawk! A crazy plan, Shatotto devises. But just crazy enough to work, it may be!
We'll blast that golem into dust—ashes, powder, dust! Yes, yes, we will! But just between two of us, I wonder...just how big do you think it will be?
You are ever our hope, a shining light against the baleful star that bears down upon us. Ever am I honored to call you friend.
Ah, Forename. I have called out to Shatotto, but to no avail. No doubt she is deep in slumber, gathering her strength for the battle to come.
She did, however, leave a message for you. “Slack not in your training, my puppet of destruction, for your powers will be tested as never before.” That is not ominous in the least, now is it? In any event, I trust you will be up to the task.