I was concerned for Raha and his reaction to all the information Unei and Doga just presented to us. However, he assured me that he would be fine. He would take the time to process all this information later, but for now we needed to enter the Tower.
I don’t know what I expected the interior of an ancient Allagan structure to look like, but I was impressed, if only by its sheer enormity. The stairs seemed to rise eternally, and on every landing awaited new opponents. People, dragons, creatures, even clones of Unei and Doga, though unlike our friends, these had no will of their own, merely guard dogs to try to prevent me from reaching the Emperor.
On the first levels, the Tower appeared much like the exterior. Walls and stairs of crystal blue, laced with gold. Time had not worn these down, and it seemed to have been wrought with expert craftsmanship. As we ascended, likely beyond what would have been accessible to the general public even before Xande converted it to a laboratory, the decor became more ornate. The surroundings were brighter, even more gold was used. Upon the highest floors, a plush crimson carpet covered the ground. I knew my team was entering the true domain of the Emperor. And there on the highest level before the roof, I encountered Amon.
Much as our Allagan friends had indicated, the man seemed quite mad. He called forth monstrosities and cast such spells on us that I had never before encountered, things that very briefly changed the nature of existence. From turning some to giant toads to shrinking us to a size smaller than a child. Still, we fought on, destroying his monstrosities as we attacked him. When he at last felt overwhelmed, Amon called upon some dark powers to burst from his body with a force that should have obliterated us all. However, he had made one critical error: just moments before he had encased a few of my teammates in blocks of hardest ice. I ordered everyone free to move to gather behind them, putting the ice between us and Amon. The act shielded us from the power and simultaneously set our frozen comrades free. At the last we slew him, and as he fell, he cried out in despair, having failed to protect his lord.
Finally, we exited to the roof of the Crystal Tower, to a battlefield that has been inscribed permanently in my memory, for this would not be my last visit, not my last fight here…Ever has light waged war against darkness, and this place has borne witness to it more often than not.
Upon this rooftop rests a throne, and on that throne awaited Emperor Xande. He was quite displeased by our presence to say the least. I suppose I cannot blame him; we were there to kill him, after all, and I am certain he knew this. He battled against us, using powers of the Void for which he has long ago bartered. Powerful and ungodly magic he used, twisted as they were for coming from that fallen world of darkness. But we fought, and we prevailed, slaying the ruler of an empire that long ago ceased to exist.
Once I finished my task, the rest of NOAH soon arrived on the roof with me, as I had made it safe for them all. Unei and Doga praised my accomplishments, proclaiming me the champion they had awaited for so long. They declared that before us were two options for sealing the Tower’s secrets: either to make it inaccessible from the outside, or to somehow prevent it from collecting energy. However, they left the choice to the rest of us, as they focused on another task.
The contract Xande had made with the Voidsent was still in place, despite his death. A rift hung above the throne, the darkness awaiting to consume our world. The Allagans declared that their royal blood should be able to annul the agreement, and save us from the dark world. Yet as they moved to close the breach, Nero began to laugh manically. He declared that the power from the Void was even more potent than what the Ultima Weapon had been capable of.
Before we could ask what he was going on about, a voice echoed from the rift. “The covenant is everlasting.” The rift widen to nearly a door, and more clones of Unei and Doga surrounded us. At that moment, the Echo gave me a vision of Emperor Xande.
He had conquered Meracydia, continuing his dream of ruling the world. Yet he bemoaned the scars that his death wrought upon his soul. He realized the futility of his existence, his mortality. So, in a bout of madness, he decided to end the world. To allow the Void to consume everything.
As I shook off the vision, I heard a bow shot. Raha had killed one of the clone that nearly took advantage of my distraction, telling me to pull myself together. Almost as if in response, as more clones appeared around us, he also flinched, his eye paining him once again. Nero and even Cid fought off our attackers, but there seemed to be no end to them. As we were distracted, our own Unei and Doga were dragged into the rift by something unseen. And for some inconceivable reason Nero leapt in after them.
The voice from the void spoke again. “The contract shall be honored. I am the Cloud of Darkness. I shall devour your light, and return this world to the void.” Then the rift vanished, taking our friends and Nero with it. The only positive things out of that moment were the clones dropping motionless around us and Raha recovering from his bout of pain. With no other recourse open to us at present, we descended the Crystal Tower and returned to Rammbroes at the research camp. As we returned, I could tell something bothered my brother, but all he would say was that he felt like he was forgetting something.
When we reported all that happened to Rammbroes, he was not optimistic. Though the Voidsent could enter our world, no man that he knew of had ever entered the Void and returned. Yet Raha remained destermined to save our friends, and I shared his sentiments. We needed to see Doga and Unei’s mission fulfilled, else Xande’s actions would continue to endanger the star.
Beyond that, I could tell how much the Allagan pair meant to him. They perhaps could not provide the answers he sought in regards to his eye, but something about meeting them sparked something inside him; the memory he had earlier told me eluded him. I reiterated to him my vow that I would find his answers however I could. Cid, too, was determined to save those taken by the rift—yes, even Nero. Rammbroes agreed, though emphasized the need for caution. He would perform research on how we might enter the Void, but declared it would take some time. In the meanwhile, I did have other duties to perform: work for the Scions for one thing, and assisting Alisaie with the wreckage of Dalamud for another. Yet even as I did these things, worry for my dear brother were never far from my mind. Even then, I was afraid he would do something foolish…and my instincts were ultimately correct.