Shadows of the First
Though I am not sure I grasp the full implications of her words, I know we dare not ignore them.
Warriors of Darkness? Xelphatol? What is this all about?
So the Warriors of Darkness and the Ascians are conspiring to bring about Garuda's summoning, that they might put her to the sword...
Then when we first encountered them in Loth ast Gnath...when they were confronting Ravana... Gods, has this been their aim all along?
What do you intend to do, Master Alphinaud?
There is much and more I do not understand, but I know this: a primal summoning cannot be ignored.
Alisaie risked her life to uncover this plot, and we squander her gift at our peril. Forename, will you accompany me to Xelphatol and help me stop the Ixal's ritual?
Given that Ishgard shares a border with the Ixali homeland, we have a vested interest in the outcome of this ritual.
We have been willing to suffer the beastmen's intrusions into Coerthan lands to a point, but the summoning of a primal is an escalation we cannot abide.
You shall have our fastest airship, Master Alphinaud. The mountains of Xelphatol are not easily traversed, and this endeavor demands all haste.
The gesture is most appreciated, Ser Aymeric─but I fear an aerial approach is destined to fail. This is their homeland, after all, and Ixali dirigibles are not to be underestimated.
No, experience tells me the only conceivable approach is by land. I believe it would be wiser to cross into Xelphatol by way of the mountain pass east of Camp Dragonhead.
In that case, I shall send instructions for a contingent of the camp's knights to be placed at your disposal. They will secure you safe passage through the mountains, and escort you thence to Xelphatol.
Though my men are unqualified to confront a primal, they are more than capable of contending with the Ixal.
We should be glad of their assistance, Lord Edmont.
In the event Mistress Alisaie regains consciousness, we will share with you any additional information she may provide. May the Fury watch over and keep you safe.
Then let us be off. We can procure any additional supplies we require in Camp Dragonhead.
I shall send word to the acting commander at Camp Dragonhead of your imminent arrival.
Who knows...this may even spur me to nominate a permanent replacement. I have put off the task for far too long...
Have you everything you require, then? Excellent.
The entrance to the pass is north of Natalan and due east of Camp Dragonhead.
Though it is normally guarded by a score of Ixali warriors, I have been informed that House Fortemps knights have already dispatched them.
The enemy's gate lies open. We need but walk through.
Beyond this gate lies the trail which will lead us into Xelphatol. According to my map, it looks to be a relatively straightforward route, albeit one through exceedingly dangerous territory.
Earnest Temple Knight
We have everything in hand here, sir! No need to worry! And may I say what an honor it is to work with you, sir!
Master Surname, Master Alphinaud. As you can see, the gate is ours.
Be advised that our scouts are reporting increased activity around the First Mountain. Simply put, they are up to something, and don't want anyone interfering.
We stand ready to escort you to Xelphatol and aid you as you see fit.
Hm. Given the numbers we are like to encounter, a two-pronged approach may be best.
While the knights and I feign a larger attack to draw the Ixal's attention, I suggest you and yours attempt to slip past their defenses and locate the site of the summoning ritual.
If the gods are good, you should only have to deal with some few patrols─but if they are not, you may be forced to do battle with the Warriors of Darkness...
If any of your trusted associates are willing and able to join us in this endeavor, I implore you to call upon them.
I won't lie to you: the trail will be hellish. But stick close and we'll see you safely through.
Thank the gods! What happened?
So they were unable to see the ritual to its completion... Then Garuda is no longer a threat, and whatever the Ascians and the Warriors of Darkness were planning has come to naught...
But we should not tarry. The knights have secured our path to safety.
Well, well... What do we have here? You'd better not have killed the primal without us!
Wait, I know you! Still walking, I see. I could have sworn my aim was true...
Just what is your game? Leading us the long way, so these fools could step in and claim our prize?
Now, now. Let's not make hasty accusations. By the look of things, the ritual was proceeding as planned.
We arrived at the appointed hour. 'Twas they who erred.
It is hopeless. We cannot face them all...
Do mine ears deceive? A boy! So that's the way of it. Twins! You had me worried for a moment there.
Know that I will happily make it quicker for you...if you just stand still.
Enough, J'rhoomale. We wouldn't want to upset the man in white with any unnecessary bloodshed, now would we?
You've been awfully busy since we were kind enough to spare your lives.
While you were idly consorting with the Ascians, you mean? Seven hells! What could you possibly hope to achieve!?
Should I explain it to you? Very well. Consider it a reward of sorts for beating us here.
You know the tale of Hydaelyn and Zodiark, I take it. Of the great sundering, and the reflections it created?
Across ten and three they were divided. Reflections of the Source, each possessed of shards of Light and Dark...
Just so. One of those reflections─the one nearest to the Source─is our home. And we were the heroes blessed with Her Light.
But not all worlds hold Light and Dark in equal measure. In ours, the power of Light was greater by far.
So the Ascians who once threatened our home were no match, and they fell before us, one after another, till none were left. Victory, we thought...
...And then came the Light─a flood of pure, blinding radiance, annihilating shadow and color and life itself. Ere long, it will consume our world, leaving naught in its wake but blank perfection.
That─ That cannot be! Do you honestly expect us to believe such a story!?
Believe what you like. But it has happened before, on a world far removed from ours. The Thirteenth, which was swallowed by the Dark, and transformed into what you call the void.
Unchallenged Light would condemn us to a similar fate. And so we joined hands with our former enemies, and with their aid came here...to the Source.
For there is but one way to restore the balance and save our home: the Ardor. Calamitous destruction with the power to break down the barriers between planes, and see our worlds rejoined.
You would doom our world to save your own!? What would even become of us? Of you?
Enough. I tire of talking.
You know our cause. You know what is at stake. We are prepared to do whatever it takes! Are you?
If there is aught you would say, say it. Otherwise, begone. You have no friends here.
Well fought, well fought indeed! Lord Edmont will be pleased to learn that everything went according to plan.
Earnest Temple Knight
All quiet here, sir! Nary a peep from the birdmen.
All things considered, we should be grateful to have survived that encounter.
...Do you think it could it be true? That to save their world, they must bring ruin to ours?
No. No, it matters not. Such wanton destruction is beyond justification. Whatever their reasons, they must be stopped. The sacrifice, the loss─it ends here.