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The Crystal's Call - Feint and Strike

Illustration for article titled The Crystals Call - Feint and Strike

When I awoke the next morning I felt as though I had slept for an entire week. Reinvigorated and ready for whatever the new day had in store for me I quickly got myself ready. Baderon noticed that I was in a better mood today and made the comment that he was glad and that he had another task for me already. Though he hadn’t planned on giving it to me, my demeanor had changed his mind. It seemed that H’naanza, the Headmaster at the Armorer’s Guild, had requested me by name to lend aid to the workers at the Moraby Drydocks. I told Baderon that I was no craftsman, a small lie, and he said that I would just be running errands again for the most part.

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With a letter meant for the one of the overseers at the drydocks in hand I departed Limsa Lominsa once again, this time out of the Tempest Gate in the upper level of the city. The Moraby Drydocks was in the southern half of the Lower La Noscea region. I crossed the large bridge known as Oschon’s Embrace and cut across the land to the drydocks. I delivered the letter to a Roegadyn named Ahtbyrm, the shipwright in charge of building Limsa Lominsa’s newest warship, the Victory. I barely knew anything about boats and can’t tell aft from starboard, but the Victory was certainly a mighty vessel even sitting in the drydocks. The letter for the shipwright explained who I was and that I was sent by H’naanza to aid in any way I could. Ahtbyrm put me to work for most of the morning inventorying supplies. I’ll admit, it made me wish I had my carpentry tools once more. I had been learning the trade before I got caught up chasing after the White Raven years ago.

Illustration for article titled The Crystals Call - Feint and Strike
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Before I could convince a craftsman to lend me his tools I was pulled away by Ahtbyrm for another task. One of his crewmen had been sent out to retrieve materials and had not yet arrived. He told me where to begin looking and I set off for Candlekeep Quay. I found a man there and began inquiring about the missing shipwright, Fyrilsmyd. The man didn’t recall seeing him, but did speak to me in length regarding a storm the previous day and a shipwreck. I must have slept very well because I didn’t recall hearing the storm at all. The man said the wreckage had washed up on a patch of the beach known as Salt Strand and fearing the worst I headed that way.

Upon reaching Salt Strand, by some miracle I found Fyrilsmyd alive and well. He told me that indeed a storm had thrown his ship against the rocks and he and others had managed to escape the sinking ship. He was combing the beach looking for the materials that he had been tasked with bringing to the drydocks. I spent a few hours helping the shipwright search the beach and we were successful. After salvaging his materials, the Fyrilsmyd asked me to report to Ahtbyrm what had happened. I returned to the Moraby Drydocks and told the master shipwright Fyrilsmyd’s tale of the storm that showed up out of nowhere and sunk his ship. Ahtbyrm feared that the storm was unnatural, possibly created by the Sahagin. Did the beastmen have enough power to create storms and sink ships?

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Concerned that I would attempt my hand at carpentry again, Ahtbyrm recommended me for security duty and had me report to Ghimthota, head of the watch. Having already heard about my exploits at Summerford Farms she welcomed me to my new duty with another task. There were rumors that a gang of pirates had made camp nearby and there was great concern that they were planning to sabotage the Victory. I was tasked with seeking out these pirates, infiltrating their group, and learning of their plans. They had last been sighted by an ancient stone landmark known as the Mark of the Spinner.

Upon arriving at the landmark I did indeed find a group of suspicious individuals. Finding myself heavily outnumbered I decided to spy on the group rather than press my luck pretending to be a pirate. I was awarded with confirmation that they were pirates and overheard what sounded like a kidnapping plot. This was beginning to sound suspiciously like the Serpent Reavers I had dealt with days before at Summerford Farm. They did get away, but none of these men were ones I had seen. I quickly returned to Moraby Drydocks and reported to Ghimthota. She was glad to have the information I had brought her and decided to increase security patrols in the area.

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I spent a couple hours patrolling the drydocks, looking for any suspicious activity. Nearing the southern gate I decided to check in and get an update. The gate guard there had heard a report concerning a possible saboteur, a stranger that had been spotted near the drydocks. He had last been seen at a cliff face known as the Empty Heart that overlooked the drydocks. I took the long path around and reached the top of the cliff in time to confront the stranger. He wasn’t threatened at all by my presence, actually appearing to be happy to see me. It was then that I realized this had all been a trap. With the extra security detail out patrolling, the drydocks now had less manpower to protect it.

I swiftly returned to the drydocks and found Ghimthota. I was in the process of telling her that the Victory was in danger when there was a sudden commotion. Pirates were already storming the gates. I summoned my Carbuncle familiar and Ghimthota and I ran into battle. We struck down pirates, working our way toward the Victory. As we approached the vessel I saw foreman Ahtbyrm fending off a Roegadyn pirate. The pirate announced himself as Ahtzapfyn the Absorbed and together Ghimthota and I jumped into the fray once more. As Ghimthota fought Ahtzapfyn I gave support by sending Carbuncle after the pirates aiding their captain and healing Ghimthota. We thought we were close to defeating Ahtzapfyn when a number of Mamool Ja mercenaries rushed in. Ghimthota drew the attention of the Mamool Ja, lizard-like beastmen that worked for whoever had the deepest pockets, while Ahtzapfyn came for me. With nowhere to go but up I lead the pirate up the battlements of the drydock, throwing spells along the way. Carbuncle rushed to my aid and together we were able to subdue the pirate captain.

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With Ahtzapfyn and his crew taken care of I approached Ahtbyrm. I asked him if he was alright, he had seemed rather upset when he had been facing down the pirate captain. He revealed to me that the pirate captain was in fact his father and he was mostly shaken that he had shown up to cause trouble after so long. I comforted the foreman the best I could but could see that he was just putting on a brave face. Not knowing what to do I asked Ghimthota. She said that returning to work on the Victory would soon put him back in a better mood. I didn’t see how, but I didn’t voice my concern. Instead, I watched as Ahtzapfyn and his crew were lead away from the drydocks by a group of Yellowjacket officers.

Before I could leave the drydocks Ghimthota drew me aside, a worried look on her face. They had found a note on Ahtzapfyn detailing the attack on the Victory and a simultaneous attack on Swiftperch. Fearing the worst she urged me to go quickly to Swiftperch while she contacted Limsa Lominsa for reinforcements. I was given a chocobo to ride across La Noscea in hopes of intercepting the pirate attack on the farmland.

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I wasn’t far from Swiftperch but I could already see that I was too late. The town was ablaze, the fire burning bright in the dying daylight. As I rounded the gate I encountered a number of Yellowjacket officers in combat with Serpent Reaver pirates. I joined in, supporting the officers with healing magic and poisoning the pirates. We were on the verge of routing the Serpent Reavers when pirate reinforcements arrived, lead by a flying creature. The Yellowjackets were surprised to see a Voidsent, but this had not been my first encounter with the demonic creatures. This one looked like a thin, wiry stone creature. Bat-like wings kept it aloft and it struck out with its sharp claws. I launched a volley of Ruin spells at it, drawing its ire, and ran through town with it following close behind.

The Voidsent chased me long enough for the Yellowjackets to finish off the pirate reinforcements and together we defeated the demon. With the demon defeated and the Serpent Reavers subdued we went about putting out the fires. Luckily most of the farmers had escaped the initial assault thanks to the Yellowjacket officers that had been manning the gates when the pirates attacked. Concerned that there may be a third wave of pirates lurking nearby, a large number of officers left Swiftperch to begin patrols. I stood in the center of town alone, trying to catch a moment’s respite.

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Illustration for article titled The Crystals Call - Feint and Strike

A shiver ran up my spine as my senses were assaulted by a bout of nausea. I turned and saw the man in the black cloak and mask standing across the square from me. It suddenly dawned on me what was going on. He had been there when the Serpent Reavers attacked Summerford Farm, and surely he was behind the attacks on the Victory and Swiftperch. I had thought that the assault on the Victory was the ruse to cover up the attack on Swiftperch, but I had been wrong. Both were part of a clever scheme to lead me here, to get me alone. The masked man confirmed my theory when I accused him and he began his assault. Before I could even open my spell book he had completed a summoning spell, calling forth a large Voidsent. It seemed that the masked mage would give me no quarter.

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I quickly ran further into town, ducking into a half burnt out house where I summoned my Carbuncle familiar. I had barely completed the spell when the large demon crashed through the remains of the building. I vaulted through a window, sending Carbuncle to deal with the Voidsent. My familiar, so small compared to the alabaster beast, fought bravely. I tossed a few spells at the demon but they seemed to be taking very little effect. From the corner of my eye I saw the masked mage enter the alley where I stood, dark magics enveloping his hands.

Stones rose from the ground and slammed into the masked mage’s back, knocking him aside. Y’shtola entered the alley, already readying another volley of stones. With the mage’s attention on the conjurer I turned my attention back to the Voidsent. With my and my familiar’s combined strength we slowly wore the beast down until it finally collapsed, its large frame causing the ground to shudder when it fell. I then joined Y’shtola in facing the the masked mage. Unable to defend himself against the onslaught of our magic the masked mage began to falter. I rushed in, spell book in hand, and felled him with strike of my thick magic tome. The mage crumpled to the ground.

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I thanked Y’shtola for her assistance in defeating the masked mage we began to discuss the recent events at length. We had both come to the same conclusion, that the masked mage was behind the Sahagin and Pirate attacks recently. Y’shtola referred to him as an “Ascian”, a term I had heard only once before. The miqo’te bid her farewells, claiming that she had work to do, and left me to myself once more. My gaze returned to the corpse of the masked mage where I noticed a black crystal, much like the one I had picked up after defeating the goobbue in Seasong Grotto. I reached to pick the crystal up but before I could even bend over it shattered, releasing a black vapor into the air.

I watched as the dark vapor dissipated, my mood growing sour. All these events, these attacks and kidnappings, and here I was at the center of it. I had been tricked by this Ascian mage twice now, played right into his hands. Had I made one wrong move I could have very easily ended up like he was, face down in the dirt. I clenched my fists at my side, my body shaking. I took two quick strides and landed a savage kick to the corpse before turning away and leaving Swiftperch.

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Long post, this one was... The events in the story take place rather quickly, involving a simultaneous attack on Swiftperch and Moraby Drydocks. In gameplay, there's actually a mission between where you deliver the note found on the pirate captain back to Baderon, then you're sent from Limsa Lominsa to Swiftperch. While I see how it works from a game point of view, making you trek all the way back and forth, it doesn't work in story format. They're being attacked at the same time. I don't have time to dally and deliver the note to Baderon. There are lives to be saved. So I changed it up a bit, rather than the note being encoded it's just a regular note and my character rushes off to help.

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There's going to be another moderately long section of exposition coming up, and then three dungeons in a row. I've decided that the dungeons will not quite be written like a journal, but actually telling it as it occurs. This means the introduction of other characters and dialogue. Otherwise these dungeons would be rather boring affairs of "and then we looked over there. then we fought that. oh, look, boss time." I'm hoping the change of pace will pick things up a bit. I also decided a new header image relating to this fight at Swiftperch was in order. While I like the Mothercrystal image in general, specific ones are attention grabbing. I actually debated this decision with myself for a while. So, we've got a look into the past coming up and then some dungeon crawling. As always, please look forward to it!

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