The Darkness Below

Mainquest1 Icon.png Lv. 70   The Darkness Below
Quest
Rewardsicon.png Rewards
Gil
Gil Icon.png1,062
Optional Rewards
Chirashi-zushi Icon.png Jerked Jhammel Icon.png Miso Dengaku Icon.png Allagan Silver Piece Icon.png x2 
Informationicon.png Description
You can almost see the wheels turning in Alphinaud's head.
Objectivesicon.png Objectives
Issuing NPC: Alphinaud
Rhalgr's Reach  (12.2-12.4)
Type: Main Scenario
Unlocks: Mainquest1 Icon.pngThe Mad King's Trove
Requirements
Quest: Mainquest1 Icon.pngArenvald's Adventure
Lore & Dialogue
Loremonger:The Darkness Below
NPCs Involved: ErnoldArenvaldMiddle-aged HighlanderMature MaidRetired Roegadyn
Transcript
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If anyone can find that treasure, it's us─but even if we don't, the adventure will be reward enough, I reckon.
The news of Doma and Ala Mhigo's liberation has kindled the flames of revolution in every corner of the Empire. I hear the imperial province of Dalmasca has already risen up in rebellion...
...Which means the Garleans must surely have their hands full. What better time than now to indulge in such a diversion? Tell us, Arenvald─have we any clues as to where we might begin our search?
Well, judging by how the other treasure hunters fared, nosing about the palace isn't like to get us anywhere, so...we'll probably need to, uh...ask around.
Would that be another way of saying “no”?
Well... Heh heh heh! Yes.
I see. In that case, I shall pay a visit to the Allied archivists and request access to the records seized from the imperials.

The Garleans are meticulous about such things. If they uncovered the trove during their occupation, the event is certain to have been recorded.


In the meantime, the two of you can track down those who worked as palace servants and officials in Theodoric's day.


Given that they would have been at least twenty at the time, you will be looking for people who have seen forty summers or more. Anything they can tell you about the king and his bloody deeds may prove useful, so be sure to listen well.
Arenvald, pray try your luck in the Fringes and the Peaks whilst Forename makes the rounds in the Ala Mhigan Quarter.
Hah! And there I was thinking I was the party leader. Not that I mind, of course! Let's be about it, eh? We can meet afterwards at Gylbarde's Gate!
...In the palace? No, not me, lad.

Surely you've heard stories of the mad king? He used to hold public executions up on the Divine Audience. Anyone─and I mean anyone─suspected of conspiring against the crown was flung from the top of those steps.


Suffice it to say that I stayed as far away from the palace as possible.


No, lad─I never set foot in the house of the King of Ruin. Who in their right mind would want to go anywhere near a man like him?
You want to hear an old maid's stories, do you? Aye, well most of what I know of the mad king is common knowledge.

We'd only see His Royal Majesty when he deigned to attend the executions he'd ordered. And after a while, even watching his “enemies” die wasn't enough to coax him out of hiding.


They say he started seeing assassins in every shadow, and wouldn't set foot outside the palace walls. I was offered work there as a royal servant once, but the mere thought of it left me in a cold sweat...


I was never desperate enough to accept a job at the palace. No amount of coin is worth your life.
...Aye, I served at the pleasure of King Theodoric, and lived to tell the tale. One of the palace guards, I was.

Truth be told, it was a dark chapter in my life, and one I'd sooner forget. Hardly a night went by when we didn't hear bloodcurdling screams echoing from the inner chambers─which, of course, we were under orders to ignore.


So we'd stand still as statues, trying not to imagine what horrors were unfolding within...

<sigh> If you're hells-bent on finding out what happened in the palace, head down the street here and ask old Ernold─he was the king's head scribe.
You'll find Ernold down that way. If any man was privy to the king's secrets, it was him.
Yes, I am Ernold. ...What do you want with me?

Hmmm, you would have me dredge up some decidedly unsavory memories. Yet if Ala Mhigo is to move forward, we must needs acknowledge the misdeeds of the past.


Very well, I shall tell you what I remember. I take it you know of Theodoric's paranoia and the public executions of his kinsmen?


Those were terrible enough. But in his last days, the king's fevered mind settled upon an even grislier method of “disposal” which only a chosen few were unfortunate enough to witness.
His Majesty ordered the court thaumaturge to unleash a vile curse upon the remaining members of the royal family─a magic which transformed them into fiends of hideous aspect. The resulting...monstrosities were then cast into the darkness below the palace.

Even now, my sleep is troubled by nightmares. If others of Theodoric's blood were prone to share his madness, then mayhap it is a kindness that the monarchy ended with him.


It is my hope that Ala Mhigo shall never again suffer the likes of the King of Ruin. We forget at our peril...
Ah, excellent timing as ever. We have but this moment returned from our own intelligence-gathering efforts.
Since we're all here, why don't we share what we've learned?
Allow me to begin, then. As promised, I scoured the imperial records for any mention of fantastic treasures...and found precisely none.

It is just possible, I suppose, that a corrupt official deliberately hid the fact of the trove's discovery, hoping to enrich himself─but I find it rather unlikely that so valuable a find would stay secret for long. I conclude that our prize either does not exist, or that the imperials somehow overlooked it.


But what of you, Forename? Were your investigations any more fruitful?


...Turned into monsters? And what could he mean by this “darkness beneath the palace,” I wonder...
I met an old man in Ala Ghiri who spoke of the palace's subterranean prison, but he said naught of cursed abominations!
The imperial archives were also silent on the subject of fiends inside the palace grounds.
Could this scribe fellow have been spinning him a yarn, do you think? Did you believe him, Forename?

If he was afraid, that does lend credence to the tale─though I'm not sure how that helps us in our search.


Then we're back where we started...
Do not be so hasty─Ernold's anecdote may very well have told us where the trove is hidden. But ere I share my theory, there is a matter I would clarify.
Arenvald, you spoke of lighthearted adventure, but I sense a deeper motive for this expedition. Why are you so intent on finding this treasure?
...It wasn't all pretense, I swear it. But...you're right.

My father was in the imperial army, a man of Garlean blood. I trust you know what I mean when I say that my Ala Mhigan mother did not welcome my arrival?


As I grew, she would check my brow over and over, convinced that a spot on my skin was an emerging third eye─like the kind you see in pureblood Garleans. My mother did not care for this taunting reminder of my heritage, and took up a knife...

War paint serves to cover the scar.
In the end, she turned me out into the street, and I was left to haunt the alleyways of Ala Mhigo, a feral child who got what he needed through begging, cunning, or worse.

The best I can say about the years that followed is that I survived. But I hated the animal I'd become. Eventually, I left the city behind me, and joined a group of refugees bound for the other side of the Wall. It was then that I turned to adventuring, and that road led me into the company of the Scions.


I tell you this so that you understand: I know all too well what poverty and hunger can do to a person.


I drew steel on ordinary folk for a measly crust of bread. With Theodoric's gold, I could spare my countrymen the shame of living like that.
Thank you, Arenvald, and I apologize─that cannot have been pleasant to recall. But I felt it best to be clear in our intentions.

Well, Forename? Are you content to surrender the treasure to Arenvald's noble cause, and claim the thrill of adventure as your reward?


Then I should be glad to tell you my theory on the resting place of the mad king's trove...if you are minded to hear it?
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