With the child saved, we headed to the Rising Stones to take stock and see that everyone that had abandoned the place when the trouble started had come trickling back in. Because it is IMPORTANT that all the powerful allies we have acquired are never actually available to do the actual fighting. For that, they always defer to the Warrior of Light and her powerful friends. Are they also warriors of light, these powerful friends? Do they also have the Echo? It’s never revealed. Everyone assumes that, hanging around just out of sight, nameless friends with equal connection to Hydaelyn’s power are available at a moment’s notice to save Eorzea from any given threat, and then to fade away until they are once more needed.
When you think about it, that’s really preferable to my role as the Warrior of Light that is at the other end of everyone’s linkpearl. These other mysterious warriors of light just get to kick back and relax. Me, everyone knows just where to find me.
I know if Yda and Papalymo ever decide to return from whatever desert they have found themselves in (Kasul guesses the ruins of Al Mhigo), they will just alert us at their pleasure through a telltale ringing in our ears. It’s not tinnitus, people. It’s a cry for help.
Anyway. Aside from Yda and Papalymo, only Minfilia’s whereabouts are still unknown. Her mom is worried about her. Pikachu cosplayer and Circle of Knowing member Krile, who has helped us several times in the past, investigated the sewer beneath Ul’dah where Y’shtola cast the spell that flung both her and Thancred into the aethyr, and discovered that there was a trace of a third signature caught in the spell. It could only have been Minfilia, but there was no way of knowing where she ended up. Krile and Thancred set out to Castrum Praetorium to investigate the Ultima Weapon battleground to see if they can use the power that Hydaelyn sent to protect the warriors of light as a sneaky way to see if Hydaelyn had caught up another. It turned out that Minfilia had very likely been drawn into the aethyrial flow and may still be caught up in it.
Krile thought Y’shtola’s old mentor could provide entrance to a Sharlayan fortress, the Antitower, here the aethyrial currents had been studied long before. And in fact, the entrance to that mystical place was through a wooden door in her study. So, no extra teleportation fees to get THERE.
After several creepy encounters and a David Bowie homage, we finally made it to the center of the Antitower, where one of Hydaelyn’s soulstones began to glow, and we were taken into the crystal realm where Minfilia appeared before us, in new clothes.
This is what has to happen to get new clothes in Eorzea, if you’re an NPC.
2) Yay! New clothes!
Alternate methods: Join the Crystal Braves and die, or nearly die of exposure until someone finally just hands you a jacket (Alphinaud’s strategy).
Minfilia, speaking on behalf of Hydaelyn, now too weak to speak on her own, recounted her journey into the aethyrial flow to Hydaelyn’s center of power. She gave a brief overview of the creation myth (Hydaelyn and Zodiark are two halves of a whole, and the last Seven Ages have seen triumph and triumph for the forces of Zodiark). Hydaelyn used the last of her power to send us back to the material world. If we don’t succeed in stopping the Ascians, the entire world is doomed. But the Ascians will be happy — they just want to live in their in-between dimension with Zodiark. They don’t need the world for anything.
Returning to Ishgard, we found that Lord Aymeric wanted to capitalize on the dragon Vidofnir’s timely arrival and rescue of the peasant child to forge a lasting peace with the good dragons of the Dravanian Empire. He decreed that Falcon’s Nest would be the site of the summit, and sent Lucia out to make the arrangements with the noble houses of Ishgard.
Tensions in Falcon’s Nest were high, as lots of people had been tormented at the teeth and claws of the Dravanians during the long Dragonsong War. Lord Fortemps’ sons were out to help keep the peace. But youngest son Emmanellain shirked his duty and went off, giving a loud protest room to grow. Desperate to cover up his desertion with swift action, he ordered the leader of the protest, a woman who had recently lost her husband to dragons, shot with an arrow.
The crowd fell silent, then erupted into riot. Emmanellain’s young assistant was nearly killed by rioters. The peace was broken.
Lord Aymeric tried a desperation move. He would delay the peace summit until the four realms of the Eorzean Alliance could meet together for a Grand Melee, hosted by Ishgard, as a way to bring people together. Aymeric, of course, enlisted me into the battle. Fortemp said Emmanellain would also take part. Emmanellain resisted, but when he saw how much his young assistant looked up to him as a role model, he decided to take part.
The melee itself went fairly well. Thancred took out a cyclops that tried to enter the fun. The Serpent and Maelstrom forces were swiftly taken care of, leaving only Ishgard and the Flames on the battlefield. I stepped up for Ishgard. Raubahn stepped forward for the Flames. Until now, everyone had just treated this as a bit of fun. Raubahn was out for blood. He summoned his fury and took on the countenance of a Dark Knight with primal powers at his call, at times using powers from the Heavensward knights in The Vault. Had his months of torment eroded his sanity?
It was a very close fight. But we won it for Ishgard. Lord Aymeric, to cheers, said the peace summit would continue immediately.
Vidofnir was happy to return. Lord Aymeric unveiled a huge relief depicting Vidofnir’s father, Hraesvelgr, with his (then) human companion, Saint Shiva, back in happier days. Aymeric and Vidofnir began to speak the oaths that would seal a new friendship between humans and dragons, BUT JUST THEN….
Estinien appeared, high atop a tower. We wondered if he’d freed himself from Nidhogg’s influence. We didn’t have long to wonder; he plunged down and drove his lance into Vidofnir’s spine, killing her instantly (and she is still dead, if you go back to her old home in the Dravanian Forelands). Estinien was clearly still under Nidhogg’s power, and made threats against all assembled before he jumped into the air, hung there for a moment, then transformed into Nidhogg himself and flew away.
The peace broken, everyone goes their separate ways. The Scions vow to restore Estinien, free Minfilia, and find Yda and Papalymo.
An epilogue shows Yda and Papalymo, still in some Thanalanian location, wondering who they can trust. A second epilogue shows someone in Little Ala Mhigo (it’s not said but is pretty clear) donning a mask. This is probably NOT the masked boy that shows up for the Containment Bay fight…. but more on that later.