Forename! Gods, it's good to see you. I hope your being here means you've had your fill of rest?
More than my fill!
Not so much as forty winks, truth be told...
Not much has happened since your last visit. I had planned for you to meet that helper I told you about, but he refuses to answer his linkpearl. I do hope he's all right.
We've been exchanging messages with the Eorzean Alliance throughout, though. They say the fighting has finally stopped at the Ghimlyt Dark, and that the Empire's shown no sign of movement.
Which means we might actually have a moment to ourselves for a change. Seeing as you're back, maybe you could tell me more about your time in the First?
Great! Oh, and if you don't mind, I'd like to ask F'lhaminn to join us. She'll want to know what happened to Minfilia, and I think it's best she hears it from you.
We'll meet you on the terrace at the House of Splendors.
We'll be waiting for you at the House of Splendors. And I expect you to tell us absolutely everything about your time in the First!
Forename. My, it has been too long. Tataru did mention that I would be joining you, did she not?
Thank you... Words cannot well express how I have longed to know more of the First. This world Minfilia has sacrificed so much to save.
But come, rest your feet. Tataru should be arriving shortly.
And so Minfilia chose to pass on her gifts to the next oracle? This girl who Thancred named Ryne?
To have such a burden thrust upon her as a child...only to embrace it when given the choice...
In that respect, they are quite alike. It would seem her legacy is indeed in capable hands.
Forename--might I ask a favor of you when next you return to the First? To tell Ryne what I cannot.
To tell her...thank you.
And I would offer thanks to you as well. For staying with her to the end.
Beggin' yer pardon, but could I have a word?
Riol! I hope you're here to tell me you've received word from our helper.
I wish. Nay, I've not had a peep out of him. An' it's been a good long while now. Too bloody long.
On account o' which, I'm goin' to sneak over the border an' see if I can't get a signal to him from closer up.
But what if they catch you!? There must be another way.
Well, it ain't as if we can ask Thancred to do it. Besides, I shouldn't have no trouble pickin' me way through Ghimlyt now the fightin's died down. Gods know there's enough shadows to hide in.
An' it beats waitin' 'round here twiddlin' me thumbs. Anyroad, I just thought I'd let ye know. Now, I'd best be--
Ack! I nearly forgot! Krile's at the Stones, an' she wants a word.
Somethin' to do with the patients. She was gettin' ready to examine 'em again when I left.
We'd best head back, then. I'm sure it's important.
You needn't worry about me. Go and see what Krile has to say.
It seems she's still examining them. Oh, I do hope it's nothing bad...
You're here. Good
So...how are they?
Still locked in slumber. But otherwise in good physical health
...For the present, at least
For the present?
...Oh no, is something wrong with them!?
I'm afraid there may be.
I summoned you after detecting faint signs of instability in Thancred's corporeal aether. But subsequent examinations suggested all five might be affected. And when I examined them just now, my fears were confirmed.
Tellingly, the degree of instability varies between them.
Thancred exhibits the most notable signs, followed by Y'shtola and Urianger. The twins' aether, meanwhile, remains relatively stable, but there is a change there too if one knows to look for it.
Hold on--isn't that the order they were called away in?
Indeed. Which leads me to believe the instability will only increase with time.
Though I can but speculate, I fear this may be a symptom of a weakening link between body and soul.
By the gods... What happens if the link is broken?
I cannot say for certain--this is all unknown territory to us. Yet whatever happens, it cannot be good.
Mercifully, the instability is still only slight. And you may rest assured Master Matoya and I will do everything in our power to keep it from worsening.
Be that as it may, it is imperative that you find a way to restore our friends' souls to their bodies.
Leave it to me.
No rest for the righteous, eh?
But where's she even supposed to start? We have the greatest minds in the realm hunting high and low for an answer, and they ran out of places to look.
You stated in your report that the Exarch had originally intended to reverse the summoning process by means of his own death, correct?
Raha always was a reckless young fool... Ready to die for the first righteous cause that came along.
His plan might well have worked, but I for one am glad he never had the opportunity to see it through. Even if it does mean our friends must remain stranded awhile longer.
There is another way, I am sure of it. And the key lies with him. With the Exarch.
Pray return to the First and apprise him and the others of the situation.
We, meanwhile, will do what we can from here and, if the fates are kind, we will have good news to share upon your return.
Take care over in the First, Forename. We're counting on you and the Crystal Exarch to bring our friends home.
Don't you worry. Master Matoya and I will think of something.
Tataru has apprised us of the Archons' condition. Rest assured, we will do our utmost to assist Mistress Krile in her ministrations.
Ah, Forename, you are returned. I hope your time in the Source was suitably restful?
...But of course it wasn't. Go on...
Their corporeal aether shows signs of instability? By the gods... The possibility never even occurred to me...
If you have returned in the hope that my research has yielded a solution, I fear you will be sorely disappointed.
'Tis but a mercy we have the likes of Mistress Krile and Master Matoya to keep our friends' bodies safe while we wrestle with the problem.
But they cannot forestall the separation of body and soul indefinitely. Come, the others must be told.
Pray excuse my late arrival.
Will Thancred and Ryne not be joining us?
Nah, milady. With apologies to all, they beg to leave to pursue their investigation of the Empty to its conclusion. Should matters here demand their presence, however, they did assure me that they would make themselves available.
Yes, of course. Then let us proceed.
I...I think it best that you begin by providing a summary of Mistress Krile's findings.
I suppose it was only to be expected that some change would occur...
Yet our souls seem unaffected. To my eye, at least.
How long they will remain so is another question. Krile is right. It is imperative we find a way to return to the Source.
Perhaps an explanation of the method by which I brought you here will yield some inspiration.
Ere I being, it must be noted that I am by no means a gifted mage. In order to employ powerful magicks, I must rely upon the Crystal Tower and its boundless reservoirs of energy.
The magicks that summoned you was no exception. 'Tis a singular spell, adapted through painstaking effort from the technique that transported me to the First.
To use an analogy, it works by cutting a hold in the fabric of reality. A hole tailored to the object of summoning, through which it--and it alone--may pass unscathed.
Though I succeeded in creating said hole, I failed to latch onto my intended target. Instead of you, the spell found those close to you, and ended up summoning them in their incomplete state...
I would not soon throw my life away--not after the lengths you and yours went to save it.
And so long as I breathe, I will spare no effort to see you safely home.
But should all else fail, and your lives be at stake, there remains one sure method...
What was that for!?
How can you even entertain such thoughts!? You owe your life to the Warrior of Light, and you don't get to die unless she says so.
Your followers await your divine judgement.
If the two of you have finished, perhaps we could return to our discussion?
Rather than dwelling upon the multiple failed attempts at transference, I think it would behoove us to focus on the solitary success.
I would draw your attention to the fact that our friend can travel between worlds possessed not only of her body and soul, but her personal effects besides.
This is no different from the teleportation magicks to which we are all accustomed--magicks that allow for the transportation of those inanimate objects one considers to be an extension of oneself.
Are you suggesting that, simply by considering us her possessions, she could carry our souls back to the Source upon her person?
Well, it would be nice if things were that simple for a change.
But vague notions of ownership seem a rather tenuous thing to stake our lives on. So much as a moment of doubt on her part, and we'd be left floating in the rift.
Milady hath the right of it. The requisite fixity of belief would be too much to ask even of our friend.
Yet were we to immune our souls within an object in her possession, mayhap then our safe passage could be assured.
White auracite would, I believe, serve as a suitable vessel for this purpose. 'Twas conveived to imprison the massy soul of an Ascian, and should house one of ours with relative ease.
We would need only to ensure our souls' safe preservation inside the stone, and identify a means by which they might be transferred back unto our vacant bodies.
Soul preservation and transference... Hm. I believe I know of someone who may be able to assist us.
On the far shore of the Source, there stands a great palace built by the elves.
It was forsaken in the wake of the Flood, but a certain Nu Mou chose to make their home there soon after.
Though they have long lived as a recluse, they once occupied a place of honor in Voeburt's royal court, and it is said that none in all of Norvrandt is more knowledgeable than they on matters of the soul.
Well, I've no objection to seeking a helping hand, but if they've gone to such lengths to hide themselves away from the world, what makes you think they'd be willing to lend us one?
Heh. A worthy question. Years ago, I myself tried--and failed--to solicit their cooperation in the battle against the sin eaters.
No sooner had I begun to make my plea than they unleashed a swarm of their familiars upon me.
Unlike me, however, you have curried favor with the fae folk. By that merit alone, I am hopeful that they would grant you an audience.
They may still be inclined to turn you away, of course, but if their knowledge might feasibly facilitate your return home, we have to try.