Path to the Past
When you have finished your preparations, meet me at the dock and we can be on our way.
Our destination is Gangos, the resistance's present base of operations. To ensure we remain unnoticed by the Empire, this ship is one of the few permitted to travel 'twixt Doma and the other provinces. Should you have need to travel to Gangos in the future, I ask you come here to do so.
Coming aboard, sir?
That we should play host to the liberator of Doma and Ala Mhigo himself. I did not think you could be persuaded to help us.
Bajsaljen, leader of the Bozjan resistance. Not the best choice for the job, if I'm to be frank, but I will bear the title all the same.
Bloody hells, man! Ye won't inspire much confidence speakin' like that!
Haha, you're quite right, Master Gerolt! While you're here, won't you come and welcome our guest?
Huh...? What in the seven hells are you doin' here!?
Don't I know ye from somewhere? ...Ah, I know! Yer that bloke what saved Eorzea from the Garleans or some such. Forename, was it? What's the matter? Ye look like someone pissed in yer porridge.
Eorzea's greatest hero and her finest blacksmith. With the two of you here, our plan is sure to succeed. Would that Queen Gunnhildr were here to witness this.
Oi, Forename... Just between us? I'm only here to pay off me debts to that black–hearted snake Rowena.
She's been sellin' supplies to the resistance, and they happened to mention they were in need of a smithy. So she went and told 'em I'm the greatest bleedin' smithy in the realm, with skills that'd put Byregot Himself to shame.
Can't rightly say I'm even half o' what she claimed, but I'll do me damndest. They're happy to ply me with good grub and even better booze, so play along, will ye?
Now that you're both here, I believe it time our plans be made clear. Misija?
Yes, of course. Our goal is to reforge the weapons wielded by Gunnhildr's Blades. Simple in principle, less so in execution.
The weapons themselves and most of the texts denoting the history of Her Majesty and her guard were lost to the devastation of the Fourth Umbral Calamity.
That said, we have managed to obtain certain pieces of information, and coupled with Master Gerolt's knowledge and expertise, we have made great strides in reproducing these vaunted blades of eld.
We've worked out the manner o' weapons they wielded, their shape an' weight─even the materials needed for me forge. But we've learned bugger all about what gives 'em spirit.
It is said Queen Gunnhildr etched a holy inscription into each blade, thus granting them the power of the gods. Unfortunately, no records of any such engravings remain, but there is still hope.
Though naught but pale imitations, there once existed replicas which may very well have borne these inscriptions. Alas, they were lost when Bozja Citadel fell.
Do you know of the Bozja incident?
|It sounds vaguely familiar...||Yes, I do. Though admittedly I do not recall it in detail.|
Fifteen summers past, the Garleans were conducting experiments, seeking a means to make contact with the lesser moon, Dalamud.
They believed the satellite to be possessed of immense power, and a lunar transmitter was erected in the hopes of harnessing it.
But when the transmitter was activated and the signal sent, Dalamud responded with an immense blast of raw energy. The destruction wrought defied reckoning.
The citadel, the relics of Queen Gunnhildr's kingdom... Naught was left but smoke and ash.
Hope ain't lost yet, though. The citadel's been wiped off the bloody map, aye, but there's still a way for us to find those inscriptions. Or so I've been told.
An explanation better left to one far more knowledgeable than I.
I reckon I'll leave the lass over there to you. Scholarly types like her have a knack for rubbin' me the wrong way, an' I can't hardly understand half o' what they say in the first place.
We've enlisted the aid of a scholar from Sharlayan who would be better suited to explaining the intricacies of our plan.
Are you and Mikoto acquaintances by any chance? Her explanations can be...convoluted at times, but I trust she can make clear our plans.
I believe Mikoto would be better suited to explaining the latter half of our plan.
'Tis good to see you again, Forename. Though I had hoped to accomplish more before your arrival.
|Wait, don't tell me. Your name is...||I'm sure your help will be as invaluable now as it was aboard the Prima Vista.|
From the onset of our endeavor, it was abundantly clear that one versed in aetherology would be essential. We relayed this to the alliance, who then introduced us to Mikoto. She is said to be one of the most brilliant minds among the Students of Baldesion.
And yet it is my ineptitude that demands your presence here. <sigh> I was all but certain that Gerolt and I alone would suffice in this, alas...
Ahem. The matter she speaks of concerns a long-forgotten practice of the holy men who once inhabited these lands. Utilizing uniquely aspected crystals, these seers were able to provide succor for those with ailments of the mind.
They possessed the ability to shape their very memories, removing those deemed harmful and replacing them, that the patient may find some semblance of peace.
I too dismissed the notion that such practices could exist. That is, until a recent excavation unearthed compelling evidence of their work: the crystals we believe were used in their healing.
Unfortunately, we were unable to discern how they are meant to be used. It was at this juncture that we petitioned for Mikoto's assistance.
Well, lass? Made any progress?
My initial analysis suggests the crystals were artificially created at some point in the distant past. The materials used suggest they were most likely produced by the ancestral peoples of this area.
What's more, their aetherial signature is strikingly similar to the oscillatory activity of brain waves which, when made to resonate with the distinct-frequency NRR–type harmonic vibrations of an individual's─ Ah. I've done it again, haven't I?
I think...a simpler approach is in order. Ahem. Every living being is comprised of corporeal aether of the flesh, incorporeal aether of the soul, and the aetherial residue of their memories.
Were one to be possessed of only corporeal aether, they would be but a walking corpse. Conversely, entities comprised of only incorporeal aether are referred to in layman's terms as ghosts. In either case, they may also retain some of their residual memories.
Aye, zombies and ghosts. I follow.
These crystals are able to isolate and resonate with the aetherial signature of memories. This allowed the seers to probe the minds of their patients.
That's all well an' good, lass, but what if their mind ain't what it used to be? Or they was too deep in their cups to remember what yer lookin' for?
An excellent question, Master Gerolt. We are all possessed of two types of memory─explicit and implicit.
As their names suggest, explicit memories refer to an active remembrance of previous experiences, while implicit memories are acquired and stored passively.
For example, when making a new acquaintance, their appearance will become part of your explicit memory, allowing you to recall that information. Should a great deal of time pass without meeting, however, such recollection can prove difficult.
Yet in that moment, your mind also takes record of the sounds and smells of the location, the temperature, and so on.
Hmm... Perhaps a demonstration would better explain this phenomenon.
|Without a seer?||Don't we need some sort of spell?|
Thankfully, that will not be necessary.
When I was first told of the seers and their practices, I was immediately reminded of your ability to peer into the past.
I believe these people were blessed with a similar gift, and it is for that reason they were chosen to serve as seers.
Though I too am possessed of the Echo, I lack the ability to peer into the past as you do, and thus have been unable to wield the power of these crystals.
That's why we called ye here.
Until now I could do naught but posit theories. With your help, however, I may now put them to the proof.
And you, Master Gerolt, shall be my first test subject.
Forename, I would like you to recall the last time you experienced the Echo. Concentrate on that feeling.
Master Gerolt, I need you to recall a memory of the past. It may be anything you like.
Ye better not go pokin' around in there, diggin' up somethin' unsavory like, ye hear, lass?
Please, Master Gerolt. Focus!
This is...most unexpected. For reasons I cannot yet explain, it appears the Echo has allowed me to accompany you into his memory.
You're a skilled smith, Gerolt, there's no denyin' that. But you hold money about as well as your liquor.
Well what bloody good is money if ye can't spend it? A man has to live a little, Rowena.
Aye, and it wouldn't hurt for a man to use his head, neither. With all that talent o' yours, I reckon you could've amassed a small fortune by now. Could've been you sittin' on the Syndicate instead o' Godbert.
As if I'd ever want to be anythin' like that dodderin' old, half-dressed─
Didn't realize me memory was so sharp.
As you can see, implicit memory is surprisingly comprehensive. From the clear skies and ocean waves, down to the exact words of your conversation─everything appears to have been perfectly preserved.
Ye...ye weren't listenin' to that, were ye?
Every time someone gives you good advice, you turn around and do the complete soddin' opposite! I used to like that rebellious streak of yours, but now I see you're just a bloody idiot. <sigh> Honestly, I don't know what I ever saw in you.
Whatever it is ye think ye saw, it ain't as if I've changed since then.
And ye haven't neither... Still as beautiful as the day we met.
Whoa, hold on a minute! I ain't never said anythin' like that! I swear on me last mug of ale!
Implicit memories, while quite comprehensive, are not always true to fact. In the case of painful or otherwise undesirable experiences, they can be obfuscated to protect oneself from hard truths.
Our perception of reality can also distort them as well, even when first committed to the mind. Then, as time passes, such distortions can grow. Happy memories become more joyous, sad ones all the more bitter.
Explicit memory is particularly sensitive to such misrepresentations of events, for man is wont to remember what is most convenient for his worldview. That is why we seek the implicit, for there we are most like to find the truth.
The truth!? Rowena and me were only here a week ago! Don't tell me my memory's that bleedin' unreliable!
A self-imposed delusion, perhaps. As I said before, the mind has ways of concealing painful memories.
I, er... I ain't feelin' so well. If you'll excuse me.
As you can see, these crystals allow us to choose specific points in a person's past to observe at will. Unlike the Echo, however, what we see will not always be as it really was.
Yet there still remains the matter of finding one who has seen the replica weapons and their inscriptions.
At this present juncture, we might as well be looking for a ghost.
After the Garlean invasion of Bozja, it was all but cut off from the world. None were allowed in or out, meaning all of its residents─and likely any who may have glimpsed the weapons─died when the citadel was destroyed.
...Hmm. What about soldiers stationed there who were away at the time of the incident? Bah, even if we were able to find them, I doubt they could be persuaded to cooperate.
No, please! Lord Varis... Nooo!
You...saw it too? My visions, they...they are not of what has come to pass...but what is yet to be.
Could it be the crystal allowed us to share my vision as well?
Mikoto, Forename. Are you two all right?
Cid...? Cid Garlond? Son of the monster behind the Meteor project?
Come to think of it, Yugiri mentioned that Doma and the Eorzean Alliance have been receiving support from Garlond Ironworks.
I thought that the company should use such a moniker mere happenstance, but... You mean to say Cid Garlond owns this company?
The son of Midas nan Garlond...lives...
He must be summoned at once. If he was at the citadel prior to its destruction, it's quite possible he may have seen the replicas.
Fate is indeed a cruel mistress. Pinning our hopes on a Garlean─the get of that bastard Midas, no less. Is there truly no other way?
<sigh> ...Very well. I only hope our fallen comrades can forgive us.
Please, bring us this Cid Garlond. For the people of Bozja. For all of Ilsabard.
That you should know Cid Garlond is hardly surprising. I only hope he is not so engrossed in his work that he cannot find time to assist us.
I will not keep you. Unless, of course, there is something you wish to ask me?
Our exploration of Master Gerolt's memories was a success. Largely in part to his trust in you, I suspect.
And how fortunate for us that you should also be a good acquaintance of Cid's. I'm sure there is much you must do to prepare, so I will not keep you.
The son of Midas nan Garlond. An imperial deserter... My, what curious company we keep.
If it ain't about me forge, it'll have to wait, lad. I...I need to think.
I do not imagine he sympathizes with our plight, but from what I gather, he has no love for the Empire, either. If that will suffice in persuading him to aid us, then so be it.
I hear there are engineers stationed at Rhalgr's Reach. Perhaps you can begin your search for Garlond there.
Say, aren't you Forename? Savior of Eorzea, liberator of Ala Mhigo, so on and so forth? The name's Lilja, newest recruit to the Ironworks. What can I do for you?
The chief? Too busy by half, according to Jessie. Between you and me, though, I think it's a load of─
Oh, do go on. A load of what?
I was saying what a load off your shoulders it must be, knowing the chief is back from whatever he was doing. Speaking of whom, Forename said he wanted to speak with him about...what was it again?
Godsdammit, Lilja. You might hear better than most, but you're a terrible listener.
<sigh> ...Would you mind starting again from the beginning?
I see. Well, you just missed him. Seiryu's Wall is due for maintenance, and he had a mind to oversee it personally. That said, any matters concerning you are top priority. I'll see if I can reach him.
I take it this is an average day for you? Must be hard. Always having to put on a brave face as you're thrust into danger, people tugging you this way and that like some sort of errand boy.
N-Not that we don't appreciate what you do for us. Goodness knows I do. In fact, well, you see...
I'm something of a fan. I knew the Ironworks worked with you on occasion, but I didn't think I'd have the chance to meet you in person. Can I...can I shake your hand?
Lilja! Cid being back took a load off of my shoulders, not yours. Don't you have work to do?
Oh, right! Work. Duty calls, but hopefully, we'll meet again soon!
Chief says he'll meet you at the Doman Enclave. Not the most convenient of locations, but it'll have to do, I'm afraid.
One more thing. The Bozja incident is something of a sore spot for the chief.
Even if it was an accident, most people outside of the Empire remember it as a massacre.
The chief tried to put a stop to his father's experiment, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. Even now he still blames himself for it all.
“I should've tried harder,” he'd say. “I could've saved him. I could've saved all of them.” All that genius, and the man can't find a way to forgive himself.
So if you're aiming to go digging through his past, be careful. I dread to think what demons he's got locked away in that brain of his...
She's tough as magitek armor plating when she wants to be, but her heart's in the right place. A shame she's always so busy.
As are you, if I'm not mistaken. I won't keep you any longer. Best of luck!