Last week left us with two plotlines vying for our time; the aftermath of Iceheart’s transformation into the primal Saint Shiva, and the continued incursions of the mysterious Ascians into mortal affairs.
Iceheart’s transformation was sparked by the war cry of an elder dragon. She hoped to deflect the coming war by renewing the original Saint Shiva’s pact with dragonkind — a pact that the Ishagardians, prompted by the Ascians, has been shredding. We defeated Iceheart/Shiva and ruined her plans… but at a high cost. The cries of the Dravanian Horde had awoken a powerful entity thought dead since the Calamity had rained down upon the land. And no Saint Shiva could lull it back to slumber.
As explained in a cutscene of which I had absolutely no memory but Kasul found for me, Midgardsormr was a legendary, nigh-immortal dragon, tasked with guarding Silvertear, a lake-dotted land of much power near Mor Dhona. It was also a prime target of the previous Garlean invasion, fifteen years back. The Garlean flagship, the Agrius, was met by Midgardsormr and his draconic subjects. They destroyed each other at the height of a terrible battle, causing the devastation that turned Silvertear into the wasteland it is today.
But, at least Midgardsormr would be a threat no longer…
The ancient dragon war cry had done more than alerted the Ishgardians. Midgardsormr, who had not actually died, but had been slowly regenerating, answered the call. The Garleans who had been secretly harvesting the wreck of the Agrius stepped up their efforts to rescue their old Magitek before the dragon could come fully back to life. Someone would need to meet this new Garlean threat and also find out what was up with Midgardsormr.
This, of course, would be our job, while the Crystal Braves busied themselves researching the Ascian threat.
We clambered through the Agrius wreck, defeating any Garleans we came across (and some drakes who had an unhealthy fascination with some stray explosive tech). We soon came face-to-dead face with the dragon himself. He showed us he was still very much able to defend himself.
Seeing that we were mystically defended by the last remnants of Hydaelyn’s blessing, he decided to test how well we would survive if we didn’t have it — if we weren’t Warriors of Light. So he casually canceled it. Hydaelyn had been silent since she helped us defeat the Ultima Weapon and Lahabrea with the last of her strength. Our last connection to the mother crystal was gone. Adding insult to injury, Midgardsormr resolved to continue to watch our progress via a tiny dragonling version of himself that would pop up from time to time (and also in minion form!)
So, Midgardsormr joined Ramuh as powerful entities who probably would eventually have our backs, but nonetheless needed to try and kill us.
We won the battle but lost the war. Midgardsormr would soon be regenerated enough to answer the ancient dragon cry. Hydaelyn was beyond our reach, and we no longer had her blessing. But, there was more bad news waiting us at our base in Mos Eisley.
When we got back to Rising Stones, we found the Ascian Nabriales casually toying with Minfilia. He was after the staff that Louisoix Leveilleur used to defeat Bahamut in the opening cinematic. Turned out the only thing stopping him from just taking it was… Hydaelyn’s blessing of light. The power that had defeated Lahabrea would stop him just as easily. The very power that Midgardsormr had robbed from us. Midgardsormr’s dragonling avatar popped in for a moment to remind us that we were on our own from here on.
Seeing that we no longer had Hydaelyn’s blessing, he realized he could just take the staff and be off. The Sharlayan wizard Moenbryda (who, we learned, was, like creepy elf Urianger, a student of Leveilleur) used her white aetheryte to ward him away. Thwarted, Nabriales decided to just take Minfilia AND the staff to the in-between realm where the Ascians dwell, and there take it from her without interference.
But, the wispy portal Ascians use to teleport didn’t vanish, as it normally does, immediately after the Ascian passed through it. Instead, it hung there, kept open by some power. We leaped through it. Nabriales was not happy to see us, but with eight of the heroes of Eorzea against him, we fended him off and rescued Minfilia.
He was far from defeated, and he met us again in Rising Stones, vowing to attack again and again until he finally possessed the staff. Maximum stalker mode. Moenbryda attacked then with the white aetheryte, imprisoning the Ascian, for a short while, in the aetheryte, enraging him. The only thing that can kill an Ascian permanently is the Blade of Light we used (to little eventual effect) to defeat Lahabrea, and the secret of the Blade of Light is lots and lots of aether. Leveilleur’s staff had the ability to gather large amounts of aether, so it seemed like a great time to put it to the test.
We focused and brought the staff to life, flinging its power into the white aetheryte that held the Ascian prisoner. That wasn’t quite enough, though. Moenbryda had been researching means to gather power from the copious corrupted crystals up to a couple yalms away. She used this new ability to grab crystal power from the corrupted crystals in the vicinity of the outpost and joined the stream of power flowing between staff and Ascian (who had by this time been forced into his real form of a sphere of light). This was the final key, and the Ascian — and Moenbryda — met their final end.
Well, Nabriales did. I expect Moenbryda will pop up again somewhere. Dying heroically in a powerful stream of magic power tends to get you an epilogue of some sort.
The next couple of quests seem to deal with the aftermath.
That brought us to the end of Patch 2.5. We have a couple more patches to go, and I expect them to wrap up Moenbryda’s sacrifice and deal with the Ascian response to the death of one of their own. I think we have come to the end of new pre-Heavensward dungeons, as the Keeper of the Lake dungeon wrapped up the last missing dungeon on the list of hard mode dungeons we need to unlock. Similarly, the Chrysalis, Nabriales’ trial, seems to be the last trial we’ll see. Not 100% sure of that. But, I always enjoy seeing a new dungeon or trial when we do our story night. It will be a little disappointing if we have to wait until Heavensward to get the next one.
While looking up the correct spelling for all these names, it seems as if our difficulty in getting a raid group for the Coil of Bahamut and the Crystal Labyrinth are keeping us from more plot. So that’s something we need to work on at some point.