Thank you very much for all the kind and encouraging things you wrote in your last letter. Your words, though hailing from the snowy lands of Coerthas
, thoroughly warmed my heart.
I was surprised, I'll confess, at that spontaneous outpouring of support and warmth - I've kept out of our weekly correspondence almost all of the trials
that befell me recently, not wanting to add to your already numerous worries. I suppose it was foolish of me to assume the rumor mill wouldn't make it to Camp Dragonhead after all.
Ah, well, if you did hear some things
, then it might actually be a blessing in disguise, for they will help you greatly in understanding the tortuous tale I'm now going to share with you.
Let's, for a change, start at the end.
The Sultana is dead.
It happened in front of my very eyes. The Scions
and I had been invited to a banquet to celebrate our recent victory on the Steps of Faith. I'd seldom felt more averse to merriment before in my life, but since I led defense against the wyrms, my presence was deemed mandatory.
Turns out it was all a very elaborate trap. To tell you the truth, the intricacies of the plot are beyond me (have mercy, all you scheming nobles and moneyed turncoats, I'm just a hick from the dunes). All I know is that before the dinner itself, Nanamo asked to speak with me over a glass of wine, and the second her lips touched the bejeweled chalice, she collapsed, gasping for air. Despite all my healing prowess, I could not bring the light back in her eyes again. In the end, all I managed to do was wet her brow with my tears.
If you've heard a word of the gossip peddled about me these days, you can probably imagine what happened next - who better to pin this crime on than a hero fallen out of public favor?
"But", you might be inclined to ask, "What of your Crystal Braves
? Did you not have an armed escort, ready to defend your honor?"
Why, yes, they were there, and no, they did not. In that instant, the mysterious disappearance of all the Braves I had recruited myself (such as my poor dear Alianne
) suddenly made sense. The remaining ones had been bought off and had no qualms about putting their steel to Alphinaud
's pale throat, even though he had been their Commander up to that point.
I managed to smuggle both of us out of the city, thanks to a specific expertise of mine
. However, in the process, we were separated from the other Scions.This time
, I know better than to fall apart. I know they live, which means they'll find their way back to me, or I to them. It's only a matter of time. This, I'm sure of.
What I'm less sure of is where Alphinaud and I will go for the time being. We are wanted men. The sylphs
of Little Solace have been hiding us
, and for now, my reputation is keeping the Twin Adder at bay: no one really wants to go toe-to-toe with the infamous Lalli the Black
, one of Hydaelyn's chosen.
I'm afraid this can't go on for much longer however, because of one small problem.
Do you remember when I had to venture into Snowcloak to fight the heretic leader Iceheart, who channeled her followers' faith to turn herself into the primal Shiva? Oh, but of course you remember - I was told upon my return that your knights had to bodily restrain you to prevent you from joining me into battle.
Her words to me in the aftermath of that battle were cryptic, speaking of a rising chorus of dragon voices, of truths long lost, and of squandering Mother's gift. I had not, at the time, understood what she meant, but shortly after, I was sent to investigate astrological omens heralding none other than the great wyrm Midgardsormr's resurrection.
I scaled the husk of the Agrius, crashed in Silvertear Lake, and found his remains still coiled around the ship. Inside the dessicated carcass, the dragon's soul was wide awake.
He told me that his children were singing of Ishgard's downfall and could not, would not be stopped. He tried to end me, and Thal's balls, he would have, if not for the Blessing of Light... which appeared to be destroyed in my stead.
I fought back, but only succeeded in sundering the dragon's physical form; his essence coalesced in the form of a dragon hatchling and promptly disappeared in the wind. You can thus add setting the Father of the First Brood free to the list of my crimes (the real ones, at least).
Call me foolish, but I somehow don't think you'll hate me for any of this.
Perhaps you will, however, for what I'm about to ask of you.
You see, I'm not yet sure of the effect losing the Echo will have on my person, but I am however very concerned of what would happen if it came to be publicly known (through Ascians, for instance). I fear that without this intimidating factor, open season would be declared on the boy and I.
So, I would ask of you to please grant us refuge. If you can arrange our passage to Ishgard, we will be safe there - untouchable, the Holy See's reputation as a cloister proving useful for once.
This is a lot to ask. I know it is, my dear. I will understand if it proves impossible, but know that I'm prepared to repay you for this favor. My blade would be yours as long as you like, though it is no longer the Warrior of Light's.
Leave your answer with the one who brought you this letter. It will find its way to me.
Your ever loyal friend,Lalli Physalis