Old Enemies, New Threats
Forename. My, what a pleasant surprise.
If you've come to inquire after the Archons, fear not. Master Matoya's treatment has proven effective in stabilizing their corporeal aether.
We mustn't grow complacent, however. Potent though these magicks may be, they are not without limits.
We can only hope they afford us enough time for the Crystal Exarch to complete his work.
If only we could go with you to the First and help...
Pardon the interruption, but I come bearing urgent news.
Ah, Forename. It has been far too long, my friend.
Forgive me, I don't believe we have been formally introduced.
Maxima, former Garlean ambassador. I remain here in Eorzea under the auspices of Commander Aldynn, offering what counsel I can in the hopes of resolving the present conflict with the Empire.
Ah, yes. I have heard stories of a defector from Garlemald. But never mind that-you said you have urgent news?
Indeed. As you may have heard, the imperial capital is in turmoil, and a sizable portion of the Garlean forces have been recalled from the Ghimlyt Dark.
With their numbers so greatly diminished, the main host of the Alliance has withdrawn, leaving the Ala Mhigan Resistance to keep watch over the border.
And it is there we have welcomed a most unexpected visitor who claims that this de-escalation may belie growing dangers and unforeseen threats.
Commander Aldynn has arranged for an impromptu meeting to discuss these revelations. He has also requested a representative of the Scions attend as well, though it was clear to whom he wished I extend this invitation.
It would seem time is of the essence.
Well, you'll not be attending this meeting alone. Though I am not as well versed in the affairs of city-states as our comrades, I see no reason to burden a single Scion with all this.
Yes, of course. Then we must make for the Ala Mhigan Quarter with all haste.
Well? What are you waiting for? Get going, you two!
Don't worry about the others. I'll keep an eye on them while you and Krile are away.
Much has changed since the first time we set foot in this city. Now we strive to preserve their freedom rather than reclaim it. But we've no time to reminisce-we mustn't keep the commander waiting.
Commander Aldynn awaits us in the royal palace. If you would follow me.
They're here, Commander.
And I for one am grateful that they are. I'm told you've been busy since our paths last crossed at the Ghimlyt Dark.
Not that I understand half of it. When the Scions spoke of other worlds, I'd struggle to describe what I pictured.
Mayhap things would seem clearer were I to hear the tale from your own lips, but I'm afraid the situation will not afford us that luxury.
I trust you two require no introduction.
We meet again, hero of Eorzea.
Must we repeat this ridiculous display? I pose no threat to you--though what I come to warn you of very well might.
Had he meant to do us harm, I hazard he would have kept to the shadows--and brought more than two companions.
We need not pretend to be the best of friends, but I hope we can put aside our differences for the present.
As you are doubtless aware, Ser Estinien and I cooperated to rid the world of Black Rose in your absence.
Our journey together took us as far as the imperial palace, where we witnessed Emperor Varis meet his death at Zenos's hand.
Being the sole witnesses to this crime, and in no position to defend our innocence, we were then forced to flee, each pursuing his own avenue of escape.
When we were later reunited, Estinien claimed to have encountered an unfamiliar kind of machina during his flight. But to me, his description seemed anything but. And upon further investigation, I found that I was right.
The Empire is developing a new Ultima Weapon.
What? That Allagan monstrosity? Created to vanquish primals? ...With which you yourself once thought to conquer Eorzea?
The same. In my foolishness, I sought to harness its power--and became the Ascians' pawn in so doing.
But you know as well as I how that tale ended.
The Weapon itself, excavated from beneath this very city, was destroyed ere we could fully unravel its secrets. And that should have been the end of it.
But, unlikely as it sounds, the Empire's efforts to recreate it have somehow borne fruit--primarily through secret research conducted by the VIIth Imperial Legion, it would seem.
Wait. The VIIth was all but annihilated at Carteneau--along with its legatus.
Ineed, few survived. The VIIth as it is now has little in commmon with the legion led by van Darnus, and its leadership has changed hands several times since.
Precisely how this project has continued despite such turmoil, and under whose auspices, remains a mystery.
What we do know, however, is that a number of prototypes have been produced...and that one of them is on its way to Eorzea.
We attempted to stop it, but it was all we could do to slow its progress. So we resolved instead to bring you warning.
And right glad are we that you did--though it soundly dashed our hopes that tensions might ease at last...
As it is, we've begun to strengthen our presence in the Ghimlyt Dark, and are assembling a force to meet the coming threat. A force with you in its vanguard, I hope.
Before you say anything, I know full well you have pressing concerns of your own. Your comrades remain in peril, and I would not ask you to forsake them.
But the fact remains, that you and you alone have faced the Ultima Weapon and emerged victorious. We need you.
And so, when the time comes--if your comrades can spare you--I bid you lend us your strength. I've assigned an officer to await your word.
The Ascians' downfall was to be the work of my remaining days...but it was my hand that rekindled these flames, and I cannot allow them to spread any further.
I will do what I must to see this mistake consigned to history once and for all...even if it means begging your aid. The fates will enjoy the irony, even as I endure the ignominy.
I too shall make for the border and offer my skills, meager though they seem in such company. Mayhap we shall meet there anon.
Though we can ill afford to ignore the coming of a new Ultima Weapon, our friends' plight grows ever more precarious, and none save you can join them in the First.
I only hope you are not forced to make a choice...
Commander Aldynn has instructed me to escort you to Alliance Headquarters for further briefing. When you are ready to depart, you need only ask.
As ever, the way forward is paved with difficult decisions.
We can ill afford to ignore the threat of a new Ultima Weapon. But with each passing day, the plight of the Scions grows ever more perilous.
If you cannot stay for...a debriefing on the Ultima Weapon, I will not stop you. I only ask that you confer with me before returning to the First.