Onwards and Upwards
House Fortemps Manor
Ah, Master Surname! Lord Emmanellain would like to speak with you...
Shall we be off then, old boy? Ah, but where are my manners. Emmanellain de Fortemps, second son of Count Edmont de Fortemps—trueborn, that is. Yes, yes—I know what you're thinking, and you are absolutely right. What ill fortune to be born second in a society where the eldest inherits all. Oh, my brother would never cut me off, 'tis true, but who could be satisfied subsisting on a meager allowance, forever overshadowed by his sibling? Not I, old boy, not I! Which is why I need your help to ensure that this business in the Sea of Clouds goes swimmingly, so that the tales of my great deeds can win me a place in the peoples' hearts—or better yet, raise me higher in their estimations than Artoirel! Ambitious, I grant you, but then I do have a legendary hero to do my bidding! Hah hah hah! Oh, don't look at me that way! I jest, I jest! Anyway, we are to aid the good men and women of House Haillenarte. They have ever been steadfast friends to our house—though they've fallen on hard times since the Calamity, poor blighters. As for what precisely we will be doing, well... What fun would it be if I told you everything in advance? Just come along with me to the airship landing. We'll need to take the airship to Camp Cloudtop.
Everything has been taken care of, old boy. Simply tell the attendant when you are ready to board, and away we'll go!
Ah, my lord, there is still the matter of the bill...
Are you ready to depart, sir? The airship bound for Camp Cloudtop will be leaving shortly.
The Sea of Clouds
Upon an airship conceived within the fecund mind of Cid Garlond,
renegade prodigy of Garlemald who had come to call Eorzea home...
High into the heavens where isles of earth and stone floated as clouds—
frontier the knights of Ishgard had scarce begun to explore...
To a fledgling outpost within the Sea of Clouds where careworn scouts
ever scanned the skies for winged shadows, he came...
— From the memoirs of Count Edmont de Fortemps
My lord, you mustn't wear your belt so loose, or you'll trip over your own sword!
Awfully cold up here... I mean, Coerthas may not be blessed with the warmest weather in the world, but compared to this, it seems positively balmy…
...And, of course, our hero is wholly unperturbed. You don't have to maintain that strong, silent persona all of the time, you know.
...Never mind. We need to find Lady Laniaitte—she is in charge of the garrison here. Oh, and when we find her, just...just follow my lead, yes? Excellent!
Master Surname! Welcome! I am Ser Laniaitte de Haillenarte, commander of the forces stationed here at Camp Cloudtop. Strange though it may sound, I have long dreamed of meeting you. I am in your debt, you see, and shall ever remain so. Were it not for you, my younger brother Francel would have been executed upon the word of a false inquisitor. Alas, a knight must go where duty demands, and thus have I been unable to seek you out. But by the grace of Halone, I have been granted an opportunity to thank my brother's savior in person, and to call upon his generous aid besides. Truly, I know not what I have done to deserve this double blessing!
Ahem! 'Tis a pleasure to see you again, my lady Laniaitte! You cut an elegant figure as always—a steel-clad rose, equally at home on a battlefield or in a ballroom.
...Lord Emmanellain, if it is not too much to ask, I should be grateful if you would allow me to finish speaking with Master Surname. Camp Cloudtop was established to provide early warning of impending Dravanian incursions. The high elevation afforded by the floating isles makes it ideal for this purpose. Naturally, it also makes us a ready target for attack. We are not defenseless, however. The Protector, our largest and most advanced airship, is capable of downing all but the mightiest dragons. Alas, as you may have noticed, it is currently undergoing repair. What is worse, our efforts have been hampered by an indigenous beast tribe known as the Vanu Vanu, with whom we have had several skirmishes already.
No beastman is a match for a man of Ishgard! Bring me a birdman and I'll show him a thing or two!
<sigh> I fear much and more may be asked of you in the days to come, Master Surname...