It was probably the most damning condemnation of religion I’ve ever come to see in a video game. Final Fantasy XIV’s pope-analogue, the Archbishop Thordan VII, acknowledges to his bastard son, Lord Commander Aymeric, that the entire Ishgardian religion is nothing more than a sham. They’ve known all along that all Ishgardians contain the power of the ancient dragons. Religion is just a convenient tool to focus all that inherent power into the body of the Archbishop and his personal guard, the Heaven’s Ward.
As Aymeric, who has come to beg the Archbishop to reveal the truth to all of Ishgard (and thereby rob the Archbishop and the church hierarchy of their power), digests all this, the Archbishop gets up and walks out, to the delight of the Ascians beside him. The Ascians have been all this time advising the Archbishop on the uses of belief and crystals together to awaken primal powers in themselves and others. The beast tribes have long kept this power to themselves, but Iceheart’s misbegotten transformation into Saint Shiva (or rather, her own conception of what Saint Shiva might have been like) opened a door for all Ishgardians to take on primal powers. Even though all Ishgardians already have had the power to transform into “Aevises”, a smaller dragon relative, all along.
This means regular non-Ishgardian players probably won’t get the chance to transform…
Saving Aymeric from the Vault exposed the corrupt underbelly of the Church. With no reason to continue the charade, the Archbishop had no reason to stay in Ishgard. Count Fortemps’ bastard son Lord Haurchefant ran after the escaping Archbishop (along with the rest of us), but noticed one of the Heaven’s Ward guards transforming into a powered-up state and summoning a lance of light to kill me. Haurchefant leaped between me and the lance with his shield held up. And rather than push me out of the way or deflect it, he held it in place until it finally bore through the shield and impaled him.
It was a stupid death. The Heaven’s Ward joined the Archbishop on the conveniently arrived airship and flew away to look for the fabled Allagan fortress of Azys Lla, and we returned, despondent, to Count Fortemps to inform him of the death of his son.
The reason Azys Lla, the Allagan origin of primal power, hasn’t released its power on the world is that the Allagans, before they disappeared, thoughtfully locked the place away and threw away the key. Threw the key to the safekeeping of the Vanu in the Sea of Clouds, that mysterious realm from which we could not gather all the gatherable aethyr currents because we couldn’t figure out how to jump onto the slightly higher land that came maddeningly close to being within reach. Evil, evil level designers.
Once we’d done sufficient quests to gain the trust of the Vanu, they admitted they did not actually HAVE the key. It was buried on one of the floating islands, there safe from everyone. Everyone except the recently-summoned primal Bismark, a sky whale who sates his endless hunger for crystals by eating the floating islands that owe their buoyancy to a generous helping of wind crystals.
This causes the inhabitants of these islands, the Vanu, some small alarm, but what can they do? It’s not like someone could actually KILL the primal.
That’s when Bismark flies by and eats the island with the key. The Garlean imperials who’d been after us (in a force that included their new dreadnought and the emperor himself in person) took off in pursuit. Where did the Garleans come from???
Well, there was nothing we could do about that but gather six of our closest strangers and assault the whale. We would have to lure the whale to us, somehow… but even tying together two airships full of crystals might not be enough power, even though that seemed to work for Leviathan. We’d have to drag an entire ISLAND full of crystal around, an enormous lure for an enormous fish.
It took just two tries, not too bad for a new trial where most of the people had not done it before. The key to Azys Lla hung before us. Then the Archbishop swooped down, grabbed the key which opened and shone a light to Azys Lla. The Archbishop and the Heaven’s Ward went off to follow.
Well, it’s not like we don’t all have personal airships at this point, the Mage Cutters we used to assault Nidhogg in his Aery. But I guess those wouldn’t be enough, because NOBODY EVEN MENTIONED THEM. Instead, we were told to see if Cid could take us in HIS airship.
We got to Azys Lla as soon as we could, following the Archbishop’s trail, but it was shielded. The Heaven’s Ward and their Imperial allies had clearly locked up after they passed through. Cid thought that perhaps they could use an aethyric ram on the Enterprise’s prow to push its way through the barrier. But the knowledge of how to make such a thing was lost when the mage school in Sharlayan was disbanded by the Empire, and all the Archons were scattered. Most of the ones we know were killed in the aftermath of the Ul’dah betrayal, leaving us only with creepyelf traitor Urianger. And he’s both creepy and a traitor.
Of course, I as a player know Urianger is a traitor because he’s been seen consorting with Ascians in cutscenes. My CHARACTER doesn’t know this. Yet. But she’s pretty positive he’s creepy.
News has come from Tataru that the Archon conjurer Y’shtola may not be all dead, just *mostly* dead. There are signs that she cast a forbidden instant teleportation magic just as the sewers beneath Ul’dah collapsed, killing both the Scions of the Seventh Dawn (save we and Minfilia) and their pursuers. The reason the instant teleportation spell was forbidden was because it had an even chance of disappearing the caster forever into the Lifestream, there to slowly fade away into oblivion. This is what seemed to have happened to Y’shtola (though given the alternative was death by crushing…).
The Gridanian Seedseer and Y’shtola’s summoner guildmaster sister managed to gain the help of aethyric spirits to gather Y’shtola’s essence from the Lifestream and reassemble her mortal body. Taking her back out of heaven, basically.
Kasul and I chatted for awhile about whether or not she would once again adopt a mask before remembering that it was similarly-initialed Scion Yda who wore the mask. I think she’s still dead at this point. Though you know the rule about death — nobody is dead until you see the body. And probably not even then. Someone should see if they reappeared up at the start of the Ul’dah sewer zone.
After she recovered, she took us at last to the Draconian Hinterlands, home to Shayarlan and a treasure map I have been aching to follow for AGES. Though I can’t find it now that I have finally got access to the zone… probably destroyed it out of frustration.
Y’shtola’s mentor, the one who knows how to make aethyric rams for airships, was unfortunately across a river that had been blockaded by goblins! Not to worry, old frenemy Brayflok was there to introduce us to the new inhabitants of the old home of the Circle of Knowing. All we needed to do was a series of simple quests and…..
And the way would be open! Opened with bombs! Lots of bombs!
Goblins WILL be goblins, I suppose.
I also made level 60 a few days ago. And finally finished the Paladin Heavensward job quest. The quest involves following the trail of the sword Oathkeeper, lost during the string of betrayals that tore apart the Ul’dan Sultansworn paladins. Well, not lost so much as “stolen”. By a traitor to the guild. Anyway, there’s been a guy trying to become a paladin by tracking down the sword and picking up the pieces of gear apparently left in various spots by the thief while learning what it means to be a paladin.
It turns out that the thief — one of the founders of the Sultansworn — was leaving these clues behind in order to find someone of good character to whom to entrust the sword Oathkeeper.
I felt that person should be me.
At the end of the quest, all the stories came clear, and I battled the new recruit and the old master to see who was Top Paladin. And it turned out to be me.
Oathkeeper was given to me. In my hands it sparked to life and emitted a perfect glow of power. It sung in my hands. I couldn’t wait to see what the stats were……………………….
…. When my character decided to regift the sword to the current, flawed, master of the Sultansworn. It sputtered again to dullness in HIS sullied hands. He vowed to refine his spirit so that, someday, it could be as pure as my own, and rekindle the sword.
I. WANTED. THAT. SWORD.
Final paladin power? A new DPS finisher to the Rage of Halone combo. Yes yes yes you have been a nice tank all this time, but it’s time for you to learn to DPS now.
Yeah, thanks, game. Reddit told me that already.
We’ll start up again when Kasul hits 59. We did a couple hard modes for experience, but he’s still got a ways to go.
I leave you with the Vault: