How can any place be so cold? The chill of that snowy region can only be compared to its average resident’s regard for outsiders. Hardened by a thousand years of war against the dragons, Ishgardians are slow to trust and reluctant to help. Fortunately for me and my companions, not all we encountered were so harsh.
Haurchefant Greystone, Knight of House Fortemps...what words can I say to do that man the justice and honor he deserves? I will never find them, for he was beyond description. In a land of ice, he was a bonfire, radiating warmth and life to all he met. He was of more comfort and support to me than any friend I’ve had. He gave no smart retorts, offered me no stone logic. Whenever I needed a shoulder to cry on, or a pillar to lean against, he was there with a warm drink and a friendly smile. Gods, I miss him so much.
But I am getting much too far ahead of myself; further lamentations will wait, for I should now describe how we met.
Alphinaud suggested that the most likely place to find information on our missing airship would be the First Dicasterial Observatorium of Aetherial and Astronomical Phenomenon. A location set to view the heavens, they certainly would have records of the crash. Yet the keepers were not at all forthcoming. Paranoia of Dravanians and heretics forced them to refuse our request. I saw I had to earn their trust, and I chose to do so the best way I knew how. There was no want for those who could use my help, and doing so help to reassure the locals of my intention.
Eventually I was requested to help with an internal Ishgardian affair. One Lord Francel was suspected of heresy, and the evidence was a dravanian rosary found among his possessions. Francel bade us go to Camp Dragonhead and ask for help from his dear friend Haurchefant. He happily lent us his assistance, for if we did not get to the bottom of this, Francel would be executed.
Our investigation eventually brought evidence to light that the rosary had truly been planted among Francel’s things, and it appeared his entire house was being targeted. With this proof come to light, Haurchefant bade me rush to stay Francel’s execution; the Inquisitor wandering the Coerthas Central Highlands was certain of his guilt, and Haurchefant knew his friend would not protest his innocence. He and I together managed to rescue Francel, but in the process I gained the ire of the Inquisitor.
Francel’s charges dropped, Haurchefant turned our attention back to the Enterprise. He reviewed the records, and revealed to us that it had landed within the Stone Vigil, an old keep that was currently occupied by the dravanian horde.
He directed us to Whitebrim Front, as Lord Drillemont of House Durendaire was planning an assault to retake the Vigil, and we would need his permission to enter. Initially he was inclined to assist us, but our friend Inquisitor Guillaime arrived to throw our intentions into doubt. I attempted to prove myself to the people through my assistance as has always been my wont, but for every step of progress I made, Guillaime appeared to reverse it with a few quick words.
Frustrated but still determined, I did some sleuthing to discover why the Inquisitor was so determined to tarnish my good name. Eventually I uncovered the truth: the man was an impostor, the true Inquisitor Guillaime dead at the bottom of Witchdrop. I found evidence, which I presented to Lord Drillemont. Convinced to the truth, we rushed to arrest the impostor, fighting him when he resisted. During the struggle, I was shocked when the false Guillaime briefly transformed into a dragon! It was no glamour to alter his appearance, but a true change in form. He reverted upon his death, but that was only the first of what I would see the heretics capable of.
Our intentions proven, and my battle prowess witnessed, Drillemont finally agreed to let me, Cid, and Alphinaud enter the Stone Vigil and retrieve our ship. As expected the place was bursting with dragons, including one particularly nasty specimen taking a nap right next to the Enterprise. The boys tried to sneak by to check over the ship while I kept an eye on our sleeping friend.
Everything was going perfectly well until Lahabrea appeared and woke the dragon up. Sadistic bastard. I had to slay the creature—the Ascian beating a hasty retreat as usual—while keeping it distracted from Cid and Alphinaud. Once the danger was over, we boarded the Enterprise. Cid deemed it passable, though it would need a tuneup when made it back to civilization. The nearest airship landing open to use was Gridania, so thence we flew.
While he made the repairs, Cid assigned me to fetch a corrupted aether crystal he could install in the ship. The crystal would serve to counteract the vortex Garuda created around herself. The assignment was an unfortunate diversion, as every crystal I was directed to retrieve turned out to be the wrong element. It took three long and very roundabout attempts before I found the right one to take back to Cid. Once he had it installed, we were in business, ready to slay yet another primal.
During the flight, Cid’s memories finally returned to him; he was a Garlean prodigy in engineering; his father had been one of the leads behind the Meteor Project. He has also been taken under Gaius van Baelsar’s wing before growing disillusioned with all of Garlemald’s ambitions, and left the Empire to share his technology with the free people.
When we arrived at our destination, we discovered that the Ixal had kidnapped several Amalj’aa and Kobolds. I fought hard, as Garuda was by far fiercest primal I had faced. The bird simply refused to die, and under the force of her attacks, the other beast tribes called upon their primals to save them.
Now I had not only Garuda, but Ifrit and Titan to deal with as well. Three at once...that certainly wasn’t a problem, right?
Wisely, Cid and Alphinaud counseled retreat, and I agreed. As we tried to make our escape, a monstrous machine dropped from the sky, and its pilot was none other than Gaius van Baelsar himself. The Garlean revealed that the machine was an excavated weapon of ancient Allag, created to subdue and destroy primals. I watched, both fascinated and horrified, as the machine literally ate the three gods. It began to glow with an eerie light as we fled for our lives.