Two Sides of a Coin
'Twas a pleasure to work with you, sir. I pray the Fury grants me the opportunity to do so again.
Seems our work here is done. No reason to linger any longer than we have to, eh?
Forgive me, this is neither the time nor the place for idle introspection.
The knights can apprise Lord Edmont of our success, and we the lord commander. More importantly, I should like to see if my sister's condition has improved...
You may take a moment for yourself if you wish. I will be at the Congregation.
Ah, there you are. Shall we make our report?
It brings me joy to see you safely returned to us, Forename. What news from Xelphatol?
...Then we were not too late. On behalf of Ishgard, I offer you my deepest thanks.
As for we who remained behind─Mistress Y'shtola has been tending to Mistress Alisaie in your absence...and I am pleased to report that she has regained consciousness.
I imagine you have many questions, especially given your recent encounter with the Warriors of Darkness. I know I do.
Come, let me show you to her room. Do not worry, her condition is much improved. She is a resilient one, much like her brother.
Alisaie! How are you feeling?
Well enough, Brother, thanks to the kindness of our hosts.
They told me you had departed for Xelphatol while I was still abed. I slept much better knowing that. Thank you.
When they told me you had departed for Xelphatol, I found that I could rest. The outcome seemed a mere formality, as did your safe return. Thank you, my friend.
I take it your mission was a success?
...As if we needed any further confirmation that they are in league with the Ascians.
...But to save another world? I think not.
I too thought his story fanciful at first. But it is possible there may be a kernel of truth in all of this. At the very least, none of his claims contradict the Word's account.
You were following these people, Alisaie. Why?
During my travels, I had oft enjoyed tales of the Scions and their exploits. But after a time, I began to hear whispers of a gifted, and theretofore unknown, band of adventurers.
Adventurers who had supposedly sworn to travel the realm slaying primals in the Scions' stead.
The Warriors of Darkness... And in the course of investigating these rumors, you stumbled upon the Ascians' involvement.
Forgive me, but if these Warriors of Darkness mean to bring about another Calamity, to what end do they hunt primals?
To prompt an escalation. To deepen the beast tribes' feelings of helplessness and despair, and thereby drive them to summon ever more powerful gods.
And lest we forget, these events do not occur in isolation. With their patron deities being slain left and right, the news of man's victory over Nidhogg must surely have sown panic in the minds of the beastmen. 'Tis no wonder they wish to defend themselves.
Power answered with greater power, death with more death. A vicious cycle fueled by fear and hatred. I know its like all too well.
Indeed. The Ascians sow discord and desperation, and the Warriors of Darkness reap the harvest. And so it continues.
Yet that is not the extent of their ambitions. The Ascian himself observed that once the powerless realize that the old gods have failed them, they will have little recourse but to look to a new one.
...We cannot let that happen.
It should come as no surprise, but Alisaie and I have uncovered evidence that the Ascians have been manipulating certain parties to ensure that a constant stream of crystals flows into the hands of the beast tribes.
If we sever these supply lines, we should at least be able to slow the escalation.
Agreed. Krile and I shall journey to Xelphatol and learn what we can of the Ixal's source.
Hm. Then I, for my part, pledge to lead a similar investigation into the origin of the Gnath's supply.
As a member of the Eorzean Alliance, Ishgard is honor bound to play an active role in maintaining the security of the realm. You might also say that I have some personal motivation, given the Ascians dealings with my father.
However, I make no secret of the fact that my knowledge of primal beings is scant at best. As such, I should be most grateful if one of your order were to assist me.
Allow me, Ser Aymeric. I have dealt with the Gnath before.
Let us consult with Urianger, then. Given his dedication to the study of primal beings, I should be surprised if he could not tell us something of value.
Allow me to accompany you, Brother. And before you think to refuse, know that I am not the girl I once was. I shall not be a burden─you have my word.
But Alisaie, you...
...You are more than welcome. After all, it was you who set us upon this path.
Wait a minute! I'm afraid I can't allow you to leave just yet─not until you try on the new outfit I prepared for you!
Would I be right in assuming that you have not spoken with my sister since...one of the memorial services, was it?
By the Twelve, it seems a lifetime ago. I should like to think we have both grown since then...
It has been many moons since last we worked together...though I believe the same cannot be said of the two of you.
Aye, I confess, I was aware of your subterranean expedition─of your search for the truth of the Calamity.
I considered involving myself with her venture for a time, but as you know all too well, circumstances conspired to keep us apart. I can only assume she carried on in our absence...
It was good of you to accompany my sister on her forays into the coils. The knowledge that you were with her did much to put my mind at rest.
Though I know not what she found at the end of her search, Deks and Sinis did inform me that she had taken to the road on her own, apparently on a journey of self-discovery...
And what came of that I can only speculate. I am glad our paths crossed, regardless.
...To think that the three of us plumbed the depths of the coils and confronted Bahamut himself. Had I not been there, I would struggle to believe it.
Shortly after we parted ways, I heard that she had taken to the road on her own, apparently on a journey of self-discovery. Precisely where to I never learned, though I suspect that was by design.
...So she enjoyed hearing tales of our exploits, did she? Hmm...
My apologies for keeping you waiting.
Right, then. Shall we be off?
Tataru never ceases to impress... Though, for a moment, I feared she might furnish you with an identical outfit.
Praise the Twelve she did not! Mother and Father were rather too fond of making us wear matching clothes.
Do you remember that time at the Studium when that girl of yours crept up behind me in the hall and whispered─
Sister, please! She was not my─ Ahem, can we not have this conversation in front of the Warrior of Light!?
So be it. Another time, perhaps.
It is an honor, Forename. I realize we are barely acquainted, but having heard so much about you, it hardly feels that way.
I should thank you again for your assistance with my expeditions, Forename. Though we left matters somewhat unfinished, I am nevertheless prepared to focus on the task at hand and aid you to the fullest extent of my ability.
As you helped me to brave the coils, so too will I help you to defeat the Warriors of Darkness.
To be honest, Forename, I wasn't planning on seeking you out just yet. When I set forth on my journey, I did so with grand ambitions. As you may recall, I promised I would not disappoint you...
I pray you will forgive me if I do.
Ah, yes, the carriage that so fortuitously arrived to spirit us away from Ul'dah after the banquet.
The driver informed me that I had my sister to thank for his presence in Ul'dah. How did you know to send help?
Oh, drunken Brass Blades are even less discreet than sober ones. Unfortunately, by the time I learned of the plot, it was too late to do anything more. Frankly, I'm still amazed Brennan managed to find you.
New garments aside, I must say that you seem different─more...resolute than when last we met. You have the look of a woman who is ready to fight for the future of Eorzea.
To the extent of my abilities, perhaps, but I have no delusions of grandeur. Nor will I pretend to have “found myself” or any such thing.
I am here today because I would regret it if I weren't. That is all.
Fair enough. Let us depart for the Waking Sands, then, and see if Urianger can be of assistance.
Urianger─apologies for calling upon you unannounced.
Why, Master Alphinaud. Would that the Scholar had seen fit to grant me knowledge of thy coming. What bringeth thee and thine here this day?
The Warriors of Darkness have returned. Pray allow us to explain...
...I too have heard tales in recent days of primal beings rising up only to be cast down by forces unknown.
Alas, as thou didst observe, this serveth but to spur the beast tribes to pursue their goals with redoubled fervor.
We have two objectives at this time: to identify and remove the source of the beast tribes' crystals, and to take direct action to prevent any further summoning rituals from reaching completion.
The second is easier said than done, of course. While we were fortunate enough to learn of the Ixal's plans before they came to fruition, I should be surprised if the Warriors of Darkness and the Ascians did not have similar designs elsewhere of which we have no knowledge.
Thou wert wise to come hither, for this very day did I receive tidings most troubling from across the Strait of Merlthor.
O'Ghomoro stirreth, and there are whispers that the Lord of Crags neareth his return. Mere rumors, mark thou─but in light of thine own discoveries...
...Thou canst ill afford to turn a deaf ear to their claims.
Aye─we must ascertain the truth of the matter for ourselves. Let us consult with the Maelstrom forces stationed at Camp Overlook, Forename.
Thank you for your counsel, Urianger. Pray inform us should you learn aught else.
If I may, Brother─ Urianger, is there anything else you would like to say?
...If not, then never mind. I only ask because you are normally rather more...verbose.
Nothing to add? Very well. Ere we depart, I wish to make a request. The Warriors of Darkness spoke of how the Ardor had the power to “break down the barriers between planes,” that our worlds might be rejoined. I would ask that you research this for us.
Being nowhere near as well-read as you, I'm sure I wouldn't know where to begin. That said, I have heard tell of a promising tome: The Gerun Oracles. Mayhap you could start there.
...By thy leave.
Camp Overlook, was it? Very well.
We shall speak anon, Forename. I prithee attend Master Alphinaud and Mistress Alisaie.
Come, let us speak with Commander Bloeidin and see if there is any truth to these rumors concerning Titan's return.
<sniff> <sniff> ...That had better be the sulphur.
Seven hells, at this rate, I'll have to appeal to Maelstrom Command for reinforcements...
Hm? Whatever it is, we don't want any.
Well, fancy that! Just when my kobold problems look like coming to a head, the Scions of the Seventh Dawn turn up, itching to pitch in!
Bloody brilliant timing is what it is! Right, then─let's get to it!