Part 6: Mermaids. Yeah, really.
As we go back to Vespa...
A man sits on his throne, sorceress by his side.◊
t doesn't tell you until the end of the scene, but he's Naris.
"Commander Briffaut has returned from the ruins as planned, and Lethe's with him. "Nothing of consequence seems to be happening to our west," the sorceress says.
"Things never go as smoothly as planned," Naris grumbles.◊
"Speaking of which, what's the Duke of Felis's son been up to?"
"Rictor Lasanti's troops failed to make it through the Forest of Gryllus. He must be reestablishing his troops at the port city. Incidentally, weren't many people massacred there by soldiers of Lodis?"
"The village of Blete... 15 years ago... those worshipers of nature refused to convert to Lodism. And so their homes were burned down as a warning to others. Nearly all the villagers escaped the forest, but the soldiers surrounded it and set it ablaze. The villagers were burnt to death. I heard that the souls of the dead still wander the forest. I can't believe they went in there. If only they had been killed or possessed by evil spirits! I must find 'it' before they learn of it... otherwise, everything will be in vain."
"Sr, there's something I've been worried about... the soldier of Felis who was captured at Formido... has escaped."
"Not to worry... I gave Nichart no information of consequence."
"I see, sir."
He stands up. "Malicia... how she's been doing?"
"She seem okay. She said she's been feeling better."
That conversation was full of foreshadowing.
I give Allos a heal spell. I give Flauros Cleanse, which cleanses abnormal status ailments.
There's a junk battle at Ardea.◊
Sybil is a guest. She's a sorceress. If you trained this shouldn't be hard.
Belgger meets Cybil by the lake. "Cybil, who are you, and where are we headed?"◊
He walks closer. "Would you mind explaining the current situation? I'm sure my comrades are also wondering..."
"I serve the Church of Lodis," she says, pointing to her forehead... or her arm... the sprite animation doesn't really make it clear.
"That's the... Mark of the Pope!"
"Oh, you recognize it. Listen. To the west is the Tinnea region. Most of the land there is forest and swamp. It's known as the Paradise of the Beasts."
"According to the map I saw, Anser is to the south and Rananculus to the north. Right?"
"Yes. We're heading northwest to Urodela Cape, at the foot of the Meleagris Mountains. It's at the far western regions of the island, and home to the only city in Tinea."
"Urodela Cape? What's there?"
"This island was once home to many mermaids, before humans migrated here. They used to appear on the beaches and small islands, but nowadays only a few remain, and they live in the western sea."
"You're looking for a mermaid? Why would someone from the Church be...? And that mark on her hand... I can't believe the rumors were true... I've heard that there are many loyal members of the Church of Lodis who have the Mark of the Pope somewhere on their bodies, and that they are working in secrecy to restore the authority of the Pope."
"Interesting story. So there are those who still fear the Pope is regaining power."
"At Galius, the center of operations for the Church of Lodis, they collect manuscripts detailing ancient ruins, rare weapons, spells, and mythology. It is said that when people arrived at Ovis nearly 400 hundred years ago, the mermaids fought against them with the spear of light. One document says, 'Beams of light from the Sacred Spear, wielded by a beautiful mermaid, sent hundreds of soldiers to their graves...'. We've been on this island since last summer investigating if a spear of that power really exists. Unfortunately, others have learned of the spear and are determined to take it."
"Not... Naris Batraal, lord of Rananculus?"
She nods. "Yes. I don't know why he's looking for it, but if we want to establish a strong nation based on the teachings of Lodism, then we'd best not let him get to it before us. That's why we must speak to the mermaids and bring the spear to Galius at any cost."
"Mistress Alinda," a familiar voice says. Shiven comes out and bows to her.
"Yes? What is it?" Cybil asks.
"Armed soldiers have arrived at Urodela Cape."
"Soldiers of Rananculus?"
"I'm not sure," Shiven mutters, "but quite likely."
"Are they aware of our presence? They, too, may have discovered the relation between the spear and the mermaids..."
"That's a possibility. The locals are keeping out of sight. They're probably trying to avoid any conflict."
"I see... we must find a boat to take us to the mermaids sanctuary. Maybe if we drive away the soldiers, the locals will hep us as a token of appreciation."
"As you wish," Shiven says, and runs off.
"I thought the Church of Lodis only performed religious functions," Belgger says. "I never imagined they'd be involved in such things..."
"Don't ask so many questions... it's better that you didn't know. She starts to walk away. "You've already turned your back on Felis, right? Then don't dwell on the past. Acknowledge your present course and choose the best course of action."
"I know. I'll follow your orders. I'm grateful you saved my life, and I gave you my word, but..."
"Nothing. Nevermind." The screen fades to black.
I train everyone to level 9.