An Overdue Encounter

Let me stamp that for you...
Let me stamp that for you…

Kasul was sooo close to 59, so we spent a little time doing quests and running Fates and those were actually pretty fun. There’s a storyline dealing with fights between good and bad dragons that we took part in. The bad dragon has all sorts of bad dragon friends, but all the good dragon had was us. Well, sometimes a Fate train would come chugging in, complete the Fate, and steam off once more, and that was fun. I even changed to Dragoon for a bit of it, got level 54 out of it and could wear some of the armor I got from quests while leveling up my Paladin job.

But 59 meant we could meet up with Y’shtola’s old mentor, Master Matoya. Our dear old elder witch has animated, dare I say, sorcerous brooms sweeping up the place and bemoaning the obtuseness of dunder-headed adventurers who cannot possibly understand what is important to an animated broom. Froggy servants stood around the place, offering gear to unlucky heroes.

Y’shtola was right about Matoya. She DID know all about making aethyric lances for the prows of airships. Sure, that seems like kind of a specific knowledge to HAVE, but it was clear she could not leave it to fall into the hands of the Garleans, when they tore through Sharlayan, driving out all who lived there. Except Matoya…. she hid behind an ice wall that you would never have suspected hid a lair if you hadn’t already seen the exact same thing in Snowcloak. And whatever happened to Iceheart, anyway?

Matoya had encrypted the book and stored it in the Great Gubal Library, where a large number of traps would keep it safe forever from all who would seek to steal its secrets. Unless they were four random adventurers, in which case that would be fine.

The Library was a heck of a lot of fun. Book walls. Glowing stacks of books. Monsters who you could read like… like an open book. There, I said it. You get the idea.

Well, we wandered about for quite awhile looking for the Magical Devices A-F: Aethyrical Airship Fittings of the Pre-Garlean Era, but out of all these thousands of millions of books, which would have it? We eventually stumbled into the den of the Everliving Bibliotaph, and even though we really messed up the fight, we pulled out a win. And, oh, THERE it was… right there in the middle of the room was the book we wanted. Weird. I guess the Bibliotaph had been reading it.

I doubt he liked the ending much.

Trust not thine Creepy-elves
Trust not thine Creepy-elves

Matoya begrudgingly decrypted the book for us, warning us that the knowledge was only one part of the puzzle. It would still need a power source. Hmm. Well, didn’t Estinien have something like a dragon eye or something that was full of power? So let’s go ask him how he feels about giving that up. Matoya kept Y’shtola back for a moment as we left, told her she had noticed that Y’shtola was now blind and was using her vital life force to “see” her surroundings. (I called that she was blind last week…. not that they didn’t make it very obvious).

Good time to figure out where all the important plot people are at the moment.

  • Minfilia was texting Hydaelyn (the planet) and didn’t notice a sewer tunnel crushing her. Not dead until we see the body.
  • Estinien is helping with the aftermath of the abdication of the Archbishop and the installation of Aymeric.
  • Cid, Wedge and Biggs are working on their Star Trek puns
  • Y’shtola is with us, using her disability to get preferred chocobo parking.
  • Alphinaud is being “read” by Matoya. Clever girl.
  • His sister is stuck in Baphomet’s Coil
  • So’s their granddad
  • Tataru is dancing for tips in the Forgotten Knight. Really.
  • Urianger is making friends with Ascians in Waking Sands and trying to get adventurers killed in extreme primal battles.
  • Hildy has given up the whole rebel crimelord thing.
  • Thancred was teleported somewhere by Y’shtola at the cost of her life and sight. Not dead until we see the body.
  • Ysayle/Iceheart is shacked up with the dragon Hraesvelgr
  • Hydaelyn (the planet) is still silent, aside from gradually renewing our Warrior of Light powers.
  • Haven’t heard from Midgardsormr for awhile, and why hasn’t he reacted to us as we regained our Warrior of Light powers?

Kasul and I had been wondering where everyone was; I think this was our best guess before last night.

Estinien, it turned out, was all too happy to use Nidhogg’s eye to power the lance, even though it seemed he was having trouble keeping the eye’s power in check as he brought it out to show. Y’shtola warned him that Nidhogg’s evil would consume him, but Estinien vowed to eat the eye before he would let it eat him.

Dragon eyes. An important part of a good breakfast.

While Cid and his crew worked out the details, Y’shtola sent us to say goodbye to everyone. The round of goodbyes ended with sage words from Lord Commander Aymeric, and a heartfelt meeting with Lord Fortemps, where he gifted us with the shield his son used to save us at the cost of his own life. I understand there is an epilogue to this story. I made light of it at the time (why couldn’t they pay the hundred gil and have it mended first???), but it really was a nice little coda to that part of the story.

Urianger came by at the end and handed his ex-(because she died)-(while he watched)-girlfriend’s white auracite to Y’shtola just in case we might need it later. It has been known to keep Ascians from re-incarnating, and it’s a little odd that a friend to the Ascians, like Urianger, is betraying his best buds like this. I cannot wait to find out what his whole evil plot might be.

Rerouting all power to the forward deflector array
Rerouting all power to the forward deflector array

And then it was off to Azys Lla. Estinien did not swallow, and was not swallowed by, Nidhogg’s eye as he channeled its power into the aethyric lance. It successfully shattered the impermeable membrane around the ancient Allagan city and we passed through to fertilize it with our prime directive. Or something.

But we weren’t the only ones that passed through the portal. The new Garlean flagship had been lurking (somehow) in the clouds, and came through after us, firing all their guns at us and looking like the lightning field in front of Mingo City. Every shot missed. Yes, Flash, but we only have fourteen hours to save Eorzea!

Even though the flagship was entirely ineffective, they might eventually accidentally hit something and it did not seem like they were going to stop before they followed us all the way to the city. And then what!?

Just then…

Iceheart came flying up on the back of Hraesvelgr, the Luck Dragon. I guess they kissed and made up. Hraesvelgr reared up and forced the Garlean dreadnaught to stop, allowing our escape. Iceheart did a point break off Hraesvelgr’s back. While the Garleans killed the two Aevises that had accompanied her, she called upon Saint Shiva’s power one last time, clutching one of the crystals that are the basis of a Warrior of Light’s power. All along, Ysayle had been one of us, another Warrior of Light. And she was using Hydaelyn’s divine power for a final transformation.

As Saint Shiva, Iceheart stopped all the enemy shells in an ice matrix, and turned herself into an ice missile aimed straight at the heart of the ship. Where she allowed the enemy shells to explode.

Not dead until we see the body… but I think she might actually be dead.

We’d soon find out why Iceheart and Hraesvelgr were so interested in Azys Lla….

Confronted by Gaius von Baltar
Confronted by Gaius von Baltar

Azys Lla seemed a dead city, filled with ancient mechanisms and stray monsters. Wedge literally stumbled on an ancient sentinel (shades of Arthur Clarke’s “The City and the Stars”?) which … you know, I’m reminded just how much Clarke’s stories creeped me out when I was a kid.

Anyway, the Sentinel allows Cid to awaken parts of the city, but he needs the rest of us to go to each quadrant of the city and manually reset the transportation hubs. Alpha quadrant, Beta, Gamma and Delta quadrants… the Star Trek was strong here. Kasul figured the Imperials were the Romulans of this scenario. They must have been using a cloaking device to not be seen as we came through the barrier!

Turns out the Romula… er, the Garleans had come to ground in the Gamma Quadrant. After being warned to avoid drawing the attention of the Imperials, we walked straight through their camp because… reasons…. We were caught, of course, and Gaius von Baltar decided to take us on all himself. This led to a solo battle which took me a couple times. First time was learning the encounter (and having Kasul on Skype sharing his ideas really helped), second time I made it through. Staying alive is an issue. Thankfully, one of the new Paladin skills is a fairly decent heal, and a good MP regen buff is now part of my rotation, thanks to advice from Psychochild on G+.

We’d seen all these mechanics in various hard mode dungeons. Oh yeah, Gaius’ new ultimate attack was “Terminus Est”, which was the name of Severian’s executioner’s sword in Gene Wolfe’s “Shadow of the Torturer”. Were all these F&SF references in the original Japanese version of the game, or were they all added by the translators?

Someone has a really deep knowledge of the genre, at any rate.

Estinien, Alphinaud and Y’shtola stayed behind to keep the Imperials from pursuing us, following Gaius’ cowardly flight as the battle turned against him. We continued alone to the Delta Quadrant to waken the last (Stargate the Movie-like) short range teleporter and finally arrive at Flagship, home to the mysterious “Warring Triad” and the likely destination of the Archbishop.

Tiamat!
Tiamat!

As we approached Flagship, we came across a monstrous dragon impaled on some sort of device. The dragon demanded to know who interrupted its agony. Midgardsormr appeared in dragonling form next to us and revealed that this was Tiamat, sister to Bahamut, both of them his children, brought with him as eggs to this world eons ago. When Bahamut was killed, Tiamat agreed to give up her freedom and power to the Ascians in order to bring Bahamut back to life. But the life they gave him was cruel and tormented, and is a raid dungeon now that I have hopes to someday see.

Tiamat went on to accuse all the beast tribes and other peoples summoning primals or using primal/divine power for themselves as draining all of Hydaelyn’s (the planet’s) strength. If this power is not abandoned, it will destroy the world and all life on it. Ah, finally. It’s not a Final Fantasy game unless there is some crystal-related threat to existence. After extracting a promise from us to defeat the Ascians and all who would use primal powers…

Because hold on here… This is the SAME THING the Garleans want. I am STILL not sure why we aren’t allied with them. This came up as a plot point in the ninja quest and was not satisfactorily answered.

Anyway, after extracting the promise from us to do what we were going to do anyway, Hydaelyn (the planet) took us into the crystal world and bestowed upon us the last remaining crystal blessing. She spoke to tell us that we had earned once again her full blessing, an honor that was repeated by Midgardsormr. He’d removed them from us before, but he admitted we had earned the right to them.

Midgardsormr gave us a version of himself (bigger than the minion, but not ACTUAL size, claimed the tooltip), and we set off to the final chapter of the story….

Except not right away, as Kasul is just halfway through level 59. Next week, though, we see how this chapter ends, and what plot the latest patch has brought. We might be within a few weeks of catching up to the present in the story.

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BANNED FROM BLOGGING!!!!!

I’ve been doing daily game reports on G+ for a few days, and decided I’d blog them on the character blog everyone has on the main FFXIV site. I got some flack from some spoilsports who thought I shouldn’t blog about what I did in the game using the game’s blogging feature… which confused me a little. I dunno what they think it is for.

But, as a little omake, here’s today’s report:

ffreport122915

Level 50 dungeon: Amdapor Keep
Leveling Dungeon: Cutter’s Cry
Trial: Thornmarch (Hard)

I did have Advanced Combat Tracker on through all the runs today, so I knew, before the black mage mentioned it, that the group’s dragoon wasn’t doing his job. The black mage was doing a great rotation, and I was doing my best, but the dragoon was being outdamaged by me on most fights, and by the HEALER on some. Toward the end, the BLM wanted to kick him, but I declined because I just wanted to finish. The dragoon got angry and finished up TREMENDOUSLY on the last boss, cursing all the time.

dragoonshame

Cutter’s Cry was very standard. Everyone did their job. I started very much switching between tank and dps modes through the dungeon, as appropriate, and my dps was pretty good.

Thornmarch had some new folks. I main tanked, as I normally do, because this is one trial where you really need someone to do the managing. I’d told the offtank what HE needed to do, but he had issues, eventually he died, everything went south, but we had full limit break and I had all my defensive cooldowns and some DPS won the trial for us at the last moment.

I picked up some normal quality upgrades in Azys Lla last night, and had enough tomestones of Law to buy the feet for the Fending outfit. Not enough Clan Centurion marks to upgrade the breastplate yet, and still a couple days from Friendly rep with the Vanu.

Ja mata ne!

La Mort du Fils de la Noble

A sudden, stabbing pain...
A sudden, stabbing pain…

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.

Bismark gets the munchies
Bismark gets the munchies

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.

The Enterprise at Azys Lla
The Enterprise at Azys Lla

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.

Following the road to Shayarlan with Alphinaud and Y'shtola
Following the road to Shayarlan with Alphinaud and Y’shtola

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.

Goblins. 'Nuff said.
Goblins. ‘Nuff said.

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……………………….

also: ………………………………………

…. 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:

Witchy Woman

The General is the Pope's bastard son. Niiiice.
The General is the Pope’s bastard son. Niiiice.

When I logged in Monday, Kasul was just finishing up his level 56 in order to start on the new Ishgard plot. The one that will finally explain just what the Ascians and the Holy See were up to. We just know it’s something evil.

Turns out Ser Aymeric is the Archbishop’s kid, and everyone thinks dear old dad has been behind his stratospheric rise to the top of the Ishgard defense force. The old guy’s vow of celibacy notwithstanding. That’s really for the little guys.

Anyway, Aymeric thinks he has enough pull left with Dad that when he explains how the nasty, bad Ishgardians betrayed the dragons (by going on an eye-pulling spree with them) and destroyed the peace. Not the other way around. Sure, learning that the entire existence of all your people is a lie, that every Ishgardian is descended from the original twelve noble families and not just some of them, and that everyone can become a dragon just by drinking some dragon blood — that might be a hard pill to swallow. But people love facing hard, unpleasant truths.

But just in case they don’t….

Lucia wants to arrange a rescue party to go get Ser Aymeric (who doesn’t actually NEED it, as far as we know). But we’re never going to get in the Vault (Pope Dad’s private rooms) through the front door… but some rebel leader might know.

Time to do some fetch quests to get a bartender to lead us to some other people who need stuff done and then, only then, reluctantly, tell us about a woman with raven hair and ruby lips and IMMEDIATELY that old Eagles song started playing in my head, which was lucky because very soon afterward, they asked if she had raven hair and ruby lips, or perhaps RUBY hair and RAVEN lips?

Heck no, she’s a witchy woman. Some translator was having a bit of fun.

… and then the quest required level 57, and Kasul and I had to pause and do other things to get some levels.

Keeper of the Lake
Keeper of the Lake

… so we did some random hard modes. We did Keeper of the Lake, Brayflox (Hard), Haukke Manor (Hard), Brayflox (Normal) for xp, then we duo’d Haukke Manor (Normal) a couple times to farm some Fine Wax for crafting.

Crafter 4 Life
Crafter 4 Life

So that’s where we stand at the moment. On the lookout for a witchy woman known only as “The Mongrel”.

Botanist to 35, Weaver to 35 after a lot of linen chausse turn-ins. Smithing, Goldsmithing, Alchemy and Carpentry between 30 and 33. Miner still 51, Armorer still 53.

And I made some Manor furniture :-)

Killing Nidhogg

That moment you realize your whole life has been a lie...
That moment you realize your whole life has been a lie…

It was a night of revelations! And dragons! And cutscenes!

So, so many cutscenes…

We Scions of the Seventh Dawn had long known that primals are actually created by the thoughts and power of those that summon them. King Moogle Mog XIV, we’ve known for a long time, was just a fanciful story Moogles told themselves before he was given form by those stories (and killed repeatedly by me, a fact that hasn’t seemed to harm Nina/Moogle relationships). The entire Summoner job is based around summoning smaller versions of primals under the summoner’s command.

Hraesvelgr, the luck dragon, admitted to not knowing who the heck Iceheart was, but she sure wasn’t the reincarnation of his lost love, Shiva. He went on to relate the story of how his sister Ratatoskr was ambushed by a group of Elezen ages ago. They took from her her eyes, which they then ate, granting all the people who would become the Ishgard race some measure of power. The Ishgardians, then, are part dragon — and can awaken their dragon heritage by drinking some dragon blood, turning themselves into dragons. We saw this happening in Stone Vigil, hard mode, where there was no explanation given at the time.

Everyone was appropriately aghast that when we killed dragons, we were likely killing transformed Ishgardians. Though why that should be more terrible than just killing straight-up dragons, whom we now know to be an intelligent race, I don’t know.

Staggered by these revelations, we decided to check up on the Sultana Nanamo.

Sleeping Sultana
Sleeping Sultana

We’d also known for a long time that the Sultana had not been killed that night when the Crystal Braves and the Immortal Flames had joined forces to betray the Scions of the Seventh Dawn and their beloved Sultana and deposed her with a sip of poison. The Sultana had wanted to dissolve the ruling Syndicate, abdicate, and form a parliamentary government comprised both of the wealthy, the commoners, and the Ala Mhigan refugees they had taken in. The Syndicate had a problem with this.

The evil Lalafell (but, I repeat myself) Teledji Adeledji had masterminded this, but he himself was betrayed by the evil Lalafell (redundant!) Lolorito. Lolorito had no ill feelings toward the Sultana, but wanted Teledji and the Sultana’s right hand man, Raubahn, out of the way. He had the sultana’s handmaiden swap the poison out for a sleeping potion. Raubahn, thinking his empress dead, flew into a rage and killed Teledji, but was not in his turn killed, though he was forcibly disarmed by his ex-friend, Ilberd. Literally disarmed. What I’m trying to say is, he got his arm cut off.

Leaving Raubahn alive was not according to Lolorito’s plan. After we tracked down the Sultana’s handmaiden and gotten the true story from her, Lolorito showed and promised the antidote to the sleeping potion, and the Sultana’s current location, if Raubahn would not only not seek vengeance, but say nothing of all these plots, for the good of Ul’dah. Raubahn agreed, and was at long last reunited with his empress, who awoke, unharmed and well rested.

Expect there to be more repercussions down the line as the Sultana still intends to abdicate.

Staring down Nidhogg with his own eye!
Staring down Nidhogg with his own eye!

That pause had allowed Cid, Biggs and Wedge to finish development on single-person flying craft called Mana Cutters, the only craft capable of piercing the magical storm around Nidhogg’s lair, the Aery. Nidhogg could not be killed by mortals, unless Estinien the Azure Dragoon could contain the dragon’s power with one of the two eyes that were taken from him in ages past (another cutscene explains how he could lose two eyes yet still have one remaining).

The Aery was an enjoyable enough dungeon, lots of moving parts, massive encounters, yet not too difficult for a decent group. I’ve done it half a dozen times since doing it as part of the quest, and sometimes it’s been torture. DPS checks in dungeons shouldn’t be a surprise by now, and you would expect that people playing high level DPS jobs would know how to do damage. One run, we spent fifteen minutes on the first boss because the DPS weren’t DPSing, as near as I could tell (Bard and Black Mage). Bard had insisted she was no stranger to the instance, even though the game claimed she was, and she didn’t know not to stand in the fire. Anyway. We abandoned that instance because the Nidhogg fight is a DPS check. Even though I like staying in low DPS, high health tank stance in random groups, I have to go to my higher strength, less tanky jewelry and stance and DPS my catty heart out to get past the timer.

Estinien shows up for the Nidhogg fight. It’s going to take him some time to get the eye ready to seal Nidhogg’s power, so we have to DPS the dragon down, then finally fight off the waves of attackers sent straight for the dragoon. This is the DPS part. If we don’t kill the adds before Nidhogg does his ultimate attack, Estinien won’t be able to use the eye to shield us from it.

But, all went well for us, if not so well for the dragon. Nidhogg was defeated, and Estinien removed his remaining eye and handed it to me. I then returned it to its rightful owner.

Lahabrea returns!
Lahabrea returns!

Meanwhile, back at Ishgard, Iceheart’s heretics attacked the city, but the Ishgardian defenders, already mustered to repel Nidhogg’s Dravanian army, expect them to be no challenge. The Archbishop believed the heretic attack will allow the Ishgard rank and file to look every more for help from the Holy See, and dismissed the council. Only then did the Ascian Lahabrea, the otherworlder responsible for the Garlemand invasion that formed much of the Main Scenario, reveal himself. The Archbishop had claimed that he had been just drawing out the Ascians for more information, but it becomes clear that, like Saruman before him, he had been co-opted by the enemy.

Since Lahabrea doesn’t seem too well-loved by the other Ascians, we don’t yet know if this is something he is doing on his own, or is a first step toward some larger plot. I imagine it eventually involves a primal.

Iceheart and the rest of the surviving Scions arrived in Ishgard just in time to stop the heretic attack before anyone died, with the news that Nidhogg was dead, and the war over.

There’s worse problems on the horizon. Lolorito had earlier shared that the Garleans had just completed work on a new super-dreadnought to replace the one that died in mutual destruction with the dragon Midgardsomr. All of Eorzea will need to work together or be overrun.