Final Fantasy XIV – The Story So Far – Episode 2: Awakening

Abriael was baffled. Witnessing a murder that had happened in the past wasn't exactly something that could happen every day.

By Giuseppe Nelva

November 21, 2012

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn won’t just be a relaunch of Final Fantasy XIV, but also a direct sequel set five years after the events that ended the first game. With Final Fantasy XIV now closed, many missed the chance to enjoy its story. Since the two games will be deeply linked, knowing the story behind Final Fantasy XIV will most probably enhance the enjoyment of A Realm Reborn

Final Fantasy XIV – The Story So Far is a weekly episodic column that will tell the tale of the heroes of Eorzea, from the very beginning to the final, climatic battle against the 7th Imperial Legion. It will also include the cutscenes of the main storyline (and a few relevant extras). If you didn’t play Final Fantasy XIV, when you saw the beautiful The End of an Era trailer, you probably asked yourself who the characters portrayed are, and how they gathered together to fight against the Empire. This is your chance to know in order to better enjoy A Realm Reborn when it’ll be released.

This column will follow the story from the point of view of a character hailing from the city state of Ul’dah and belonging to the Immortal Flames grand company.  Some of the cutscenes for the other cities and grand companies are different, as the story branches, but the general events and characters are the same. For narrative purposes the main character is named Abriael (after the author’s personal toon), but of course the story applies to any character in the game. 

You can also read the other episodes here: Episode 1: Beginnings.Episode 3: ConfrontationEpisode 4: A New Beginning, Episode 5: MadnessEpisode 6: UnitedEpisode 7: End of an EraExtra Episode: Agent of Enquiry.

Chapter 5: Fade to White

(It’s advisable to watch the videos in full screen with the resolution pushed up to 1080p, in order to better enjoy the visuals and dialogue)

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Abriael was baffled. Witnessing a murder that had happened in the past wasn’t exactly something that could happen every day, or that could be taken lightly. He hurried to the Waking Sands, to meet the lady named Minfilia, that had left a message with Momodi.

When he reached the indicated place near the Market Wards, he was welcomed by a lalafell that introduced herself as Tataru, and mentioned his recent “awakening”, before ushering him to the Hall of the First Step, where Minfilia was waiting.

The lady was waiting at her ornate desk, and introduced herself properly, identifying her role as acting Antecedent of the Path of the Twelve. Abriael gave her a rather puzzled expression, and she went on explaining that hers was an organization dedicated to the documentation and research of divine intervention, what the common folk call “miracles”. She also explained that he was granted a very special gift of his own.

That special gift was indeed promptly used, and Abriael suddenly witnessed the moment in the past in which Tataru had told Minifilia about him. The most startling thing is that he was actually there, and they reacted directly to his presence.

As he came back to the present, Minifilia told him that he had passed the test, mentioning that his new found power was called the “Echo”. Several men and women had that power awaken as they witnessed a strange meteor shower, exactly as Abriael did a few days before.

She explained that the Path of the Twelve not only aimed to study that power, but also to offer those that had it a place to gather and find refuge from those that would seek to harm them because of their gift. In addition to that,  the organization provided the means to use the Echo  to better the world and to bring peace to all of Eorzea.

After taking leave from Minifilia in order to talk with other members of the Path, Abriael decided that it was time to take steps. He walked back into the lady’s office and agreed to join her organization. Overjoyed by his resolve Minfilia explained that the Echo allowed him to explore the memories of men, effectively reaching into their past. Unfortunately such past could not be changed, but the connection between souls had the added benefit of allowing Abriael to understand any language in the world. That was a pretty handy power indeed, yet dangerous.

After following Tataru in order to have his name written in the organization’s records, Abriael was introduced to a group of fellows, between which he was to chose one that would become his “path companion”. After much pondering he selected a young and remarkably witty Hyuran lady named Ariene. At the very least she didn’t seem to mind his company too much.

(Editor’s Note: the choice of the path companion allowed to select quite a few different combinations of class, race and gender, each with its own distinct personality. Ariene is just one of them)

A few hours later Abriael met Ariene at the Hourglass, where they got to know each other a little better, with the young lass explaining some of the reasons that brought her to join the Path of the Twelve. Then they parted, with the promise of meeting again as soon as Minfilia had something for them to do.

Chapter 6: Together We Stand

Shortly after Abriael was summoned to the Waking Sands, where he found Minfilia at a loss, trying to understand what a group of evidently distressed sylphs were saying. He used his gift to gather that a Garlean raiding party was invading their home at Moonspore Grove, near Gridania. Minfilia commanded him to move out to the place with Ariene to investigate.

After meeting with Ariene in the city of Gridania, they both moved to Camp Nine Ivies, that was close to their destination. There they met some panicked sylphs that told them that the Garleans were already close to finding the Grove. If they managed, the sylph’s podlings would be destroyed, and that would mark the end of their tribe.

While the Sylphs tried their hardest to divert the Garlean invaders, Abriael and Ariene sneaked past the Imperial sentinels and managed to reach the Grove before it was too late. Entrusted with a podling cradle, they managed to carry it to safety. Not all the podlings were saved, but the sylph tribe would be allowed to extend their lineage. They also refused to abandon the place they called home, despite the Imperial presence.

The mission was accomplished, but another party from the Path of the Twelve appeared, looking none so pleased that Abriael and Ariene didn’t limit themselves to observe, and made the newcomers’ intervention unneeded. Minfilia was much more pleased of the performance of Abriael and his companion, and rewarded them rather handsomely for their help.

Chapter 7: Toll of the Warden

After being summoned by Minfilia again, Abriael was told that a private trade organization named Ashcrown Consortium was in trouble. Their business revolved around the trading of crystals, but their relationship with the beast tribes that were crucial to this commerce were strained. Giving them support was important in order to safeguard a peaceful coexistence between the tribes and the denizens of the City States.

Abriael promptly traveled to Gridania, and to the Peasant Wards, where the Consortium was located. There he met Ariene, that was already waiting for him under orders from Minfilia. Shanga Meshanga, a lalafell that occupied the position of Chief Interlocutor at the Consortium introduced the sylph Troxia, that was deeply involved in keeping the ties between the consortium and the Beast tribe steady.

She explained that the “Eikons”, a common and rather derogatory name for the Primals that the beast tribes worshipped, required crystals in order to mantain their presence in the corporeal realm, and this was making the Beastmen less willing to trade the precious gems. In addition to that, they were becoming a lot more aggressive as of late, injuring several representatives of the Consortium.

Troxia asked Abriael and Ariene to assist with the negotiation, recommending not to use violence. She had requested the help of people with the power of the Echo precisely because they would be able to properly communicate with the beastmen.

Abriael and Ariene traveled to a cluster of caves near Camp Drybone in Thanlanan where the Amalj’aa beast tribe mined their crystals. There they found the previous negotiation party sent by the Consortium, led by the lalafell Nananoby. Unfortunately more pressing matters were at hand, as the Ixal beast tribe was fighting against the Amalj’aa for the possession of the caves. Both seemed on the verge of summoning their Primals, thing that would have wreaked devastation over the entire area.

Abriael managed to persuade the priests of the two tribes to temporarily stop the summoning, but before they could reopen negotiations with them, a mysterious creature named “Ascian” made its appearance  scaring both tribes off. Luckily the fleeing beastmen left behind a large sack of crystals, making the trip somewhat worthwile.

Chapter 8: Forever Taken

Back at the Ashcrown Consortium, Abriael and Ariene were welcomed by the sylphs, that seemed at a loss in finding what would help them resume negotiations with the Beastmen tribes. One theorized that finding a number of deaspected crystals from the wastes of Mor Dhona could do the trick. From ancient times a mysterious force had caused crystals buried there to lose their elemental aspect and become pure. The two adventurers agreed to retrieve the items, and set out for their destination.

After daring the perils of the deepest areas of the Black Shroud forest Abriael and his companions reached Mor Dhona, witnessing the devastated landscape resulted from the battle of Silvertear Skies, fought fifteen years before by an army of dragons led by the ancient Midgardsormr against a fleet of Garlean airships. In the middle of Silvertear lake the immense carcass of the venerable beast still remained entangled around the wreck of the the Imperial flagship Agrius, forming a terrifying landmark named Keeper of the Lake.

After retrieving the crystals and bringing them back to the Consortium, the two companions learned from the sylphs about the Paragons, ancient beings that taught the beast tribes to summon their Primals, and that might be willing to help in restoring negotiations. Deciding that the information may be useful to the Path of the Twelve, Abriael and Ariene returned in a hurry to Ul’dah and the Waking Sands.

There they found Minfilia explaining to a startled crowd of members that the Garlean Empire was trying to convince the people of Eorzea that the Beast Tribes were enemies, and that they were trying to summon the Primals in order to destroy them. Unfortunately, due to their ability to communicate with the Beastmen, the walkers of the Path of the Twelve also risked to be seen as threats, and to be involved in the wave of violence against the Tribes.

While Minfilia advised caution and recommended the walkers to remain focused on their given tasks, Abriael and Ariene pressured the Antecedent to reveal her true plans. She finally admitted that she wanted to contact the Beast Tribes herself, in order to recruit their aid in the conflict against the Empire.  Ariene pondered that Ala Mhigo was destroyed because it stood alone against the might of the Imperial armies, wondering if the Antecedent’s plan was indeed the right answer.

And here we pause for this episode. If you’re eager to know how the story continues, and to see more of the lovely cutscenes that accompanied it, all you have to do is to come back next Wednesday and read Episode 3 of Final Fantasy XIV – The Story So Far, that will conclude the first arc of the game’s storyline. This column will appear on DualShockers once a week until we’ll reach the epic climax that will carry us over to A Realm Reborn.

If you missed it, you can also read the other episodes here: Episode 1: BeginningsEpisode 3: Confrontation,  Episode 4: A New Beginning, Episode 5: MadnessEpisode 6: UnitedEpisode 7: End of an EraExtra Episode: Agent of Enquiry.

Have an happy turkey day! If you have any further question about the story, do ask in the comments. 

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Giuseppe Nelva

Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.

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