It’s that time of the week! This section is a bit shorter than the others we’ve covered so far, but no less full of things to talk about, and likely the most exciting part of the prologue! Let’s wrap up the Ul’dah storyline today.
When we left off, we had exposed Fufulupa’s captain, Baldewyn, of extorting the people of Crescent Cove and taking money for himself, all while declaring it was the will of Lord Lolorito – who we’ve already learned is someone so well-connected that it’s the best idea not to cross him. After Fufulupa thanks us, he gives us a letter implying Baldewyn was working with someone named Owyne.
Fufulupa says that can’t be possible, as Owyne is one of the Sultansworn; the Sultana’s own personal guard, comprised of paladins. We take the letter to Momodi, and she thanks us for all we’ve done for Ul’dah despite “seeing the seedier side of things.” Reading the letter, she swears us to secrecy when she realizes the implications of its contents.
The Sultana’s crown has been stolen! It turns out, that’s the issue Papashan and the Sultansworn were investigating all along, back in the beginning. Seeing as how we’ve helped resolve issue after issue in Ul’dah, it looks like those in the know want to bring us into the fold to help them out. Bidding us to take the letter to Owyne, we go to the Sultansworn HQ and get to work!
I feel a little out of place…
Owyne reads the letter and fills us in that it was only just a moment of carelessness that lost the crown. They had been searching for something – anything – to identify the thieves, but with no luck…at least, not until we brought the letter.
The letter turns out to be a ransom note, addressed to Owyne specifically…as it was his duty to guard the crown the night it was stolen. Explaining to us the importance of the symbol, he decides to pay the ransom…and asks us to accompany, just in case something goes wrong.
We go with Owyne to the meeting, where we meet Garibald and his fellows in purple garments. It makes no mention of them here, but people in purple robes around Thanalan are usually associated with the Alacran; Ul’dah’s deadliest and most powerful crime syndicate. After Garibald threatens to cut off the deal, Owyne quickly offers the payment without realizing what it truly is:
The Trader’s Spurn, a powder from the Alchemist’s guild which has the magical property of turning corpses into Ashkin – the undead. Owyne realizes what he’s given in horror, as it seems the Alacran intend to use the powder to attack Ul’dah and take more power for themselves. Garibald calls more of his men, and promises to give Owyne – and us – a swift death. Until…
Better soldiers. Better dramatic entrances. Papashan.
Papashan, sporting some fresh duds and weaponry arrives to back us up! A great battle ensues between a large number of Garibald’s men and the Sultansworn. After a riveting battle, a Sultansworn scout spots more to the north. Papashan, telling Owyne that all is forgiven, leads the charge after the fleeing thieves to acquire the crown once and for all.
And yet, while they go off to partake in thrilling heroics, a familiar black-masked mage arrives to face us alone.
“The source of his power becomes clear…” He says to us, before invoking some dark magic – and creation magic, once more – to call forth a powerful voidsent similar to the one we’d fought at the Sultantree. The duel is on!
“Your very being imperils the plan. You cannot be suffered to live.” Plan? What plan? We know what that is after finishing Shadowbringers and Endwalker, but that’s quite some foreshadowing for a level 14 quest.
After dispatching the voidsent, the mage himself jumps into the fray…and Thancred arrives just in time to help us! Despite the mage never revealing his name, and commenting more than once about how strong we are, he falls relatively easily and laments that “the wisdom of the Paragons” has been “brought low.”
Thankfully, Thancred seems to know what that means. He tells us that’s the name that the Bringers of Chaos – the Ascians – have given themselves. It’s the first time we hear the title, but most certainly not the last as they’re the primary antagonists for so, so long.
The Handsome Not-So-Stranger explains to us a few things about our future foes before departing, insisting we’ll meet again. As he departs, we find a dark crystal – not unlike the Light one we found in the first section – glowing eerily before shattering and dissipating.
Kneeling optional, I guess.
The Sultana herself arrives after we catch up with Owyne and Papashan to thank us for our service in returning the crown to rightful hands. Though it doesn’t outright mention it, Sultana Nanamo bears a striking resemblance to Lady Lilira, whom we rescued at the Sultantree in the very beginning…
She introduces us to Raubahn, a familiar face for most of us. Given this is the first time we see him, he certainly cuts an imposing figure.
Good to meet you, Eorzean Sean Bean.
Raubahn invites us to the Sultana’s banquet as her personal guest to celebrate the return of the crown, and we of course accept. Owyne tells us that we’ve got a lot to get ready for, as there are certain customs that must be observed by guests, and sends us once more to Momodi…
Next time on Icy Takes+, we’ll be discussing some Ul’dahn politics, and get to visit the other two city-states to get a brief glimpse of their culture and situations before we move on to the rest of the adventure. With this, the Ul’dahn storyline is concluded!
1) I’m convinced that Garibald’s men were Alacran. In the Monk storyline – and others – we get to learn a little more about them and their ambitious schemes. But what would they want with Traders’ Spurn and an undead army? Crime is obviously working out for them, but have they set their sights higher? Will we see a great deal to do with the Alacran in the future? It’s a distinct possibility with the open paths before us.
2) Traders’ Spurn was used by the enemy city-state of Ul’dah, Sil’dih. It’s said that Traders’ Spurn was used to combat the Ul’dahn’s superior numbers. Seeing as patch 6.2, dropping in two short days, takes us into the ruins of Sil’dih once more, can we expect a lot of undead? What are other sources of undead in the world, as we see on the Isles of Umbra and elsewhere?
3) The Black-Masked Ascian, though we don’t know it at this point in the story, is just a mere grunt or footsoldier. Even so, he bears a dark crystal. Do all Ascians? How many of the black-masked Ascians are there? We know the red-masked ones are the members of the Convocation, but we don’t see many more black-masked Ascians going forward.
4) Several times in the duty to defeat the black-masked Ascian, he mentions and questions our “might.” There are several quotes from him in awe at how strong we are, at first saying the source is clear, and later asking where it’s coming from. Is this early – VERY early – mentions of Dynamis? In Endwalker, we know that Dynamis is heavily fueled by emotion, and is quite a bit stronger than raw aether…though it’s a concept that not many know of, save for the alchemists of Thavnair – who call it Akasa (pronounced AH-kah-shah).
What do you think? Anything I missed or thoughts of your own? Let us know below!