When the Golems Get Tough
|«Golems Gone Wild|
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Ah, Forename. I trust you have not been shirking your studies? Mistress Shatotto expects much of us, and I would not disappoint her.
For my own part, I have called out to her intently time and again within my mind in hopes of conveying any and all knowledge that might avail in staving off this impending disaster. Though she does not respond, I have the distinct sensation that she is listening...in some way or another.
Doubtless she will return when she sees fit, but in the meanwhile we can ill afford to bide our time. And so, I have taken Zhai'a Nelhah's advice─I can just see the smug grin on his face as I say that─and reached out to our friends.
Not moments ago, a postmoogle came by with a missive from our friend Da Za of the 269th Order. As luck would have it, it seems he has knowledge that might serve us well─to wit, reports of recent sightings of rampaging golems.
I would ask you to go on ahead and see what he knows. I will call for that holier-than-thou Hearer and join you shortly. Not that I am enamored of his company─far from it─but his insights have proven to be not altogether useless on occasion.
If only he were not so unbearably smug, the man might almost be─ah! Were you not headed to Revenant's Toll to meet our friend Da Za? We are not exactly suffering from an overabundance of time, Forename.
Forename! It has been eons─eras, ages, eons! I have heard that the spirit of the legendary Shatotto comes alive again inside Lalai, but could this wondrous tale possibly be true!?
It is indeed, friend Da Za. She is a capricious type, though, and wakes only when she has a mind to─a fact that I have explained some seven hundred times to this mutton-headed Hearer, who still insists beyond all reason that I should be able to summon her at will.
You do me discredit, Lalai. I merely suggested that if there were some means by which we could summon Shatotto at our own convenience─rather than waiting for her to come forth of her own accord─it might serve us in facing the dangers ahead.
Summon her? You speak of the illustrious founder of my art as if she were a mere serving girl! You will watch your tongue in the presence of your betters, Zhai'a Nelhah, lest...unggghhhhhh!
I meant no disrespect. I do not deny the power of your art, nor the good it can do in the right hands. I am simply...
...Too stubborn and stupid to fully accept it? Oh well, I suppose none of us are perfect─myself excluded, of course. 269th Order Mendicant Da Za, I presume! Tell me all you have seen or heard about this rampaging golem.
Are my eyes to be believed─trusted, sworn by, believed!? Is this truly the great Shatotto who stands before my eyes? Yes, yes, it must be!
I...I mean, but of course, my lady! Yes, yes, Da Za will tell all he knows! I saw a strange golem─odd, curious, strange─wandering in the Tangle. And that is not all! It was no ordinary golem─no, no─but rather the same one I saw in a tome handed down from my forebear Da Gu! A golem of ancient Mhach!
One of my own creations? Why, that is simply inconceivable! I designed them to be utterly rampage-proof, and left copious instructions to ensure that my loyal apprentices─and their apprentices, and so on and so forth─would see they stay that way.
Mayhap your followers were not so diligent in carrying out your orders after your passing? We all know of the chaos and destruction wreaked by Mhachi sorcerers during the War of the Magi. I suspect that poring over age-old documents on the upkeep of golems was the least of their concerns.
Forgive me my doubts, Lady Shatotto, but you seem quite partial to your creations...and your countrymen. If we were to find ourselves locked in combat with a golem of Mhach, do I have your assurance you would not hesitate to strike down our foe?
You do not trust me─trust us─this I know. I am not deaf to Lalai's ceaseless grumblings. So be it. You cannot help being a simpleton, no more than I can help being the greatest intellect of any era.
That old coot Ququruka told me what became of Mhachi after my passing when he communed with me a century ago. Do you think I deny the senseless destruction caused by my descendants─with the art I myself wrought, no less? Of course not. For I, unlike some of my present companions, am not a bloody fool.
But even a fool must understand that a tool is only as good or evil as she who would wield it. So answer me this─what could I possibly stand to gain from standing idly by as my own creations wreak havoc on the realm I once called home?
I will grant that there is some sense in what you say. In any event, we thank you for your assistance, Da Za. Rest assured that we shall see to the rogue golems before any harm befalls you and yours. To the Tangle!
Does that overdweller never lighten up? It must be so tiring living each day carrying around a brain of solid stone—burdensome, wearisome, tiring.
You can say that again, my synonym-abusing friend. Forename. You know the man better than I─and for that, I pity you. Is there nothing we can do to buy ourselves a moment's respite from his inane quibbling? Whatever do you suppose is bothering his puny mind?
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! He is simply in awe of your power. ! Mayhap he worries for Lalai?
Well, who could blame him? I suppose in some sense I should consider myself fortunate that I did not send him scurrying away with his tail between his legs the moment I first revealed my powers.
Yes, I have observed this as well... Smaller minds are quick to burden themselves with hand-wringing concern for the well-being of others. As if it were not evident that the girl is more than capable of taking care of herself!
In either event, if he insists on tagging along with us, I suppose it would not hurt to win him over─if only so he does not foul things up at the worst possible time.
Anyhow, I do believe we have some golems to smite into oblivion. The Tangle, was it? I'll see you there─and do try not to get lost on the way.
This Shatotto is full of mysteries, but one baffles me the most─just what is it about Lalai's cap that she finds so disagreeable? Was there no custom of wearing headgear in her age?
These lands were far more dry and agreeable in my day. But I suppose much can change in two millennia─especially without me around to keep things in order.
But this is no time to get caught up in nostalgia─we have golems to smash! And search for. Not necessarily in that order, I suppose. Yes, I can sense particularly strong aetheric energies coming from...that direction!
I will accompany Shatotto to ensure that she remains focused on the task at hand. Might you survey the area south of here? These environs afford our foe no end of hiding spots, and I am ill inclined to walk into an ambush.
While I appreciate the support, friend, I assure you I am quite capable of taking care of myself. Might you investigate to the east of here, as we agreed upon?
Come out, come out, my little minions! It's your old mistress, Shatotto!
The ancient golem lumbers toward you!
Ungh... If only this body were my own... I would have razed that oversized block of stone...to the ground...
I suppose I should thank you for coming to my aid. Had I lost consciousness in the midst of battle, I would certainly have been done for...and poor Lalai with me.
No, Lady Shatotto. It is I who owe you a debt of gratitude. Had you not drawn the creature's initial strike, I would surely have met an inglorious end. But that is not the least of my failings...
It is my fault─and mine alone─that we were caught unawares. Though it shames me to say so, my eyes were on you when they should have been watching out for our enemy.
Who is this sorceress who wields such frightful power? Does she truly mean to save our realm─or will she destroy it? These thoughts continued to haunt me...but no more. Seeing you risk your life for me─a humble Hearer you have only just met─I say this with no reservations. You are a paragon of virtue, and a model to all mages, white or black.
Why, I do believe those are the most intelligent words I've heard you utter yet. Keep talking like that, and I might yet learn to tolerate your presence.
But if you think that means I'm going to give you your precious Lalai back, you'd best think again! We still have a falling star to fend off, do we not?
My...precious Lalai? I have not the slightest idea what you might be implying.
You wouldn't, would you...? Ahem. Was it not your grand dream to see the white and the black─the arts of healing and destruction─united for the common good? So says Lalai, at the very least. Is the girl not an invaluable piece to the future you would realize?
This is all well and true, but...“invaluable” and “precious” have different connotations! M-Mayhap not in your time, but the meanings of words evolve over time, you see, and...
Ahem! What I am saying is, of course Lalai is a friend and ally, but the same could be said of Forename here, and... Wh-Which is not to say I do not want to see her again, of course─only that...oh, never mind.
At any rate, I do believe we've done all we can here. Lady Shatotto, please forgive me for having doubted you. Henceforth, I promise that I will aid you in whatever way I can. And with that, I do believe I must be off...er, somewhere.
One last thing, if I may, Lady Shatotto. While you are awake and speaking with us, what becomes of Lalai's consciousness? That is to say, is she still in there...listening?
What a curious question. She is slumbering in the recesses of her mind, much as I am when she is awake. But to answer your question: no, she is not listening─though we do have some rather stimulating conversations from time to time. If you'd like, I can share the details...
N-No! I mean, never mind! I really must be getting off to─right! That place I was going.
<If(PlayerParameter(4))>Are all men in this era so odd?<Else/>What a curious man.</If> At any rate, I feel my consciousness beginning to wane. Lalai will be waking from slumber ere long, and I would return to Ul'dah before she does. I suggest you do the same—your friend has much she wishes to discuss with you.
Welcome back, Forename. As you might have surmised, it is I, Lalai. Mistress Shatotto returned to her repose not moments ago.
Before drifting off to slumber, she imparted to me some details regarding what she sees as the next phase of our task. To wit, she would have us venture further afield to investigate any golem menaces that might be stirring out of eyeshot.
Speaking of menaces, whatever became of that stone-headed Hearer? I suppose it is too much to hope that Mistress Shatotto finally set his robes alight?
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! He has come to respect Lady Shatotto. ! He seems to have...feelings...for you.
I daresay it took him long enough. Still, we cannot hold the man's ignorance against him─not all of us are blessed with burgeoning intellects.
I...I will assume I misheard you, Forename. On the off chance I did not, pray inform the man that he had best not act upon these feelings in my presence, lest I feel like scorching his precious flowing locks from his scalp!
Anyhow, I trust you will keep me informed if our Hearer friend exhibits any more impertinent behavior. I will think of suitable retribution─I daresay putting him to sleep and hiding his glasses would send a clear message, and be rather amusing no less.
In any event, I should return to my research─as should you. Shatotto will doubtless call upon us before long, and our powers must be primed for the occasion.