The Crystal's Call - The Lord of Crags

I was more than a little shocked to see Y’shtola sitting nearby, her arms crossed over her chest and a petulant look on her face. I tried to wrap my head around the sudden turn of events and looked back to Wheiskaet, my mouth agape. The Roegadyn laughed and explained to me that the banquet preparations weren’t for two visiting dignitaries. It was all an elaborate test for him and the other former members of the Company of Heroes to test my resolve. I was dumbfounded that I had run all over Eorzea for a test to see if I was worthy to face Titan. I fought Ifrit and faced Ascians and five years ago had defeated Nael van Darnus. How could I not possibly be worthy?

Wheiskaet slapped me roughly on the back and directed my gaze in the other direction. Coming up the boardwalk was Landenal, U’odh Nunh, Brayflox Alltalks, and Shamani Lohmani. All of the former members of the Company of Heroes were here. Wheiskaet told me that they had all found that I had the necessary qualities to defeat Titan. The other men spoke their agreement and I found myself now speechless from their praise. Even after all that running around they sent me on I couldn’t find the words to complain.

Before I could come to my senses Wheiskaet announced that it was time to begin the celebration and I completely forgot about all plans to give him a piece of my mind. A number of scantily clad women had approached us and ushered us into seats. I have to hand it to Wheiskaet, he knew how to throw a party. The dancing troupe was amazing and more than once the Roegadyn elbowed me in the ribs with a sly grin on his face. I knew I had the same stupid grin plastered on my face too. Despite my attention primarily focused elsewhere, I couldn’t help but notice that Y’shtola still looked highly annoyed by the party. I quickly decided that whatever her problem was it could wait until later.

After the performance I had a pleasant discussion with the troupe leader, a bronze-skinned Seeker of the Sun Miqo’te. I was in the process of asking her if she would be willing to show me some of her dance routine in private when Wheiskaet declared it was time to eat. As everyone began shuffling toward the banquet table the dancing girl slipped away from me, winking and blowing a kiss in my direction. I walked over to the table, still grinning like an idiot and sat down beside Y’shtola.

The feast before us was incredible. It was some of the best food I had tasted in a long time and I couldn’t be sure if it was because Dyrstweitz was such an amazing chef or because I myself had gone through all that work to acquire the ingredients. The Bacchus Wine that I had procured was an excellent accompaniment to the dinner and the bottle was quickly drained. With the fancy wine gone, someone broke out a keg of ale and the banquet grew rowdy. I was surprised that Shamani Lohmani, with his more refined palate for wine, was pounding down glass after glass of the strong ale. Someone found a lute and we began singing aloud raunchy songs better suited for the Drowning Wench than the resort.

The Crystal's Call - The Lord of Crags

I hadn’t even noticed when Y’shtola left the party and I excused myself from the festivities when I realized she was gone. I staggered across the boardwalks in search of the missing Miqo’te and eventually found her sitting at the end of a dock. I sat down next to her, the chill night air coming off of the sea sobering me up a little. I asked her what was wrong and she complained that the party was as much for the Company of Heroes as it was for me. All the running around I had performed for Wheiskaet and to what end? So they could have a party while the threat that Titan posed remained ever present. I nodded, listening to Y’shtola griped.

I could understand where she was coming from because, after all, I was the one who had to fetch everything. But in the end what did it matter? We got to have a little fun for once. I could die facing Titan for all I knew, so what was wrong with celebrating now? I told Y’shtola my thoughts and wobbled back to my feet. There was a high pitched whine and a thunderous crash as lights filled up the sky. I gazed heavenward and watched the blooming fireworks for a moment.

“If you want to sulk, go right ahead, but I’m going back to the party.” I left Y’shtola there on the docks and rejoined the Company of Heroes. The group was busy lighting the fireworks and I couldn’t help but laugh at the idea of everyone drunk off their asses playing with explosives. Brayflox Alltalks seemed to be enjoying himself immensely, throwing about sparklers that danced in the air before burning out. Even U’odh Nunh who I had taken for a rather harsh man had let loose to partake in the fun. I filled up another cup of the cheap ale, fully intending to rejoin the others, but I caught sight of the troupe leader from before, beckoning me to join her. I abandoned my cup and thought I’d see about setting off some fireworks of my own.

I awoke the next morning in a tent with a pounding headache and a sour taste in my mouth. I had apparently partied just a little too hard during the night. I dressed and gathered my belongings, leaving the still sleeping dancing girl to her rest. When I emerged from the tent I was beset by the brightness of a new day. I cursed the Twelve for the sun being so strong and staggered along the boardwalk. I found everyone sitting at the bar, each one of them in various states similar to mine. All save for Y’shtola of course who sat eating something. I approached and sat down next to her.

“Care for some Mustard Eggs?” The Miqo’te asked as she slid the plate closer to me. I turned green at the sight of the boiled eggs drowning in mustard and moved one chair away from her. I glared and the Scion just smirked before returning to her breakfast.

Wheiskaet joined me and told me that it was time I learned how to face Titan. He said that I would need to travel to Camp Bronze Lake and meet with a man named Riol. The man held the secret to defeating Titan and would only come out of hiding if I gave the appropriate signal. Wheiskaet pulled out a map of the hot springs encampment and marked four locations before telling me to whistle as loudly as I could at three spots, then meet Riol at the fourth. With the map and instructions Y’shtola and I set off to Camp Bronze Lake, a few hours north of Wineport.

I was still feeling a little sick by the time we arrived at the hot springs of Camp Bronze Lake and wanted nothing more than to sit in the warm waters and soak. Camp Bronze Lake was home to the Warmwine Sanitorium, a holistic hospital of sorts where patients were treated with hot spring baths and warm spiced wine. I felt I could do without any more liquor for one lifetime but a relaxing dip would do nicely. It didn’t help that there were a number of attractive ladies in nothing but towels. Y’shtola sensed my wandering eyes and shot me a glare.

The Crystal's Call - The Lord of Crags

I sighed and we set about finding the locations that Wheiskaet had marked for us. It didn’t take long and soon enough we had whistled our lungs out at the three markers. When we arrived at the rendezvous point a man stood waiting for us. The scarred man wearing an eyepatch could only be Riol, our contact. As we approached he examined us for a moment before nodding. He too was a member of the Company of Heroes and had been tasked with being the keeper of their secret of how they defeated Titan.

Riol explained that many had attempted to defeat Titan ten years prior by fighting their way through the Kobold encampment, O’Ghomoro Mines. These adventurers became lost in the depths of the mines, dying long before they could even reach Titan. However, the Company of Heroes had discovered a tactical advantage. They knew that O’Ghomoro Mines was a labyrinth of tunnels that were closed and abandoned in favor of new tunnels. There were far too many, even for the Kobolds to traverse. They theorized that the Beastmen were using an Aetheryte Network, much like the ones that we use to travel quickly through cities or even across the face of Eorzea. It was a wild guess, but one that panned out when they discovered a Beastman Aetheryte. Aided by a mysterious Sharlayan Elezen, the Company of Heroes used the Aetheryte to teleport directly to the heart of Titan’s sanctuary, bypassing the Kobold defenses entirely.

I paled, and not because of my hangover. I wasn’t looking forward to utilizing the Beastmen Aetheryte to teleport down to Titan’s sanctuary. I had never liked using our own Aetheryte Network and I could only worry about what would happen upon using this one. Riol told us that the Aetheryte could be found northwest of Camp Bronze Lake along Zelma’s Run, the path leading toward the upper reaches of La Noscea. After giving us his information he slipped away to wherever he had been hiding all this time.

We traveled to the location of the Aetheryte crystal and Y’shtola went about investigating it. The Aetheryte was unlike any I had seen before. While the ones adventurers used set up across Eorzea were large blue crystals, this Beastman Aetheryte was more like the corrupted crystals that sprouted after the Calamity. It was jagged and jutted from the ground at an odd angle. I raised my hand to it and attuned myself to the Aether emanating from it. Normally to use the Aetheryte Network you would need to be attuned to two different crystals. According to Riol, the mysterious Sharlayan that aided the Company of Heroes had used some sort of technology to bypass it. Y’shtola explained that without it she would need remain behind to amplify the power of the Aetheryte Crystal. Y’shtola had anticipated not being able to join me in facing Titan and had already requested assistance from the Scions.

We didn’t have to wait long before the group arrived. Sorasha Ashi dismounted a chocobo and waved with a smile on her face. She was wearing new equipment since last I had seen her. Her long black coat was covered with brown leather swatches bearing intricate designs. Numerous vials of some sort were nestled tightly on a leather bandolier across her chest. Atop her head sat a wide brimmed hat, the tip of the conical point falling back as though it hadn’t been starched enough.

“Good to see you again,” Sorasha beamed and I couldn’t help but smile back.

Beside her Azarashi Asha dismounted his chocobo as well. He too was wearing new gear. He had traded out his old equipment for a short black jacket adorned with purple sashes. His heavy tall boots crunched a twig as he joined Sorasha’s side and he gave a curt wave. “So we’re fighting a Primal, huh? This should be interesting.”

The final rider dismounted wearing massive white plate armor with gold trim. I could tell from his height that he too was Elezen and when he raised the visor of his helmet I could see that it was Oliver Koenig. I should have guessed from the pristine sword and shield. “At least I’m not rescuing you this time,” he said with a smirk I heard rather than saw.

I smiled to the group. “This is probably going to be a little rough. Are you guys ready?” The others attuned themselves to the Aetheryte Crystal and Y’shtola began working her magic on it. The world around me shifted and I was no longer standing along the path of Zelma’s Run. I staggered away from everyone and doubled over throwing up.

“Oh, geez, what’s wrong with you?” Oliver questioned as I finished emptying the contents of my stomach.

“Aetheryte travel makes me nauseous…” I groaned. “And I may be recovering from a bit of a hangover anyway.”

“Oh, that’s wonderful, we’re going to fight a Primal and you’re nursing a headache and an upset stomach.” Oliver harumphed.

The Crystal's Call - The Lord of Crags

I was ready to make a snide comment in return when I noticed where we were. We stood atop a large, circular pillar of rock, the floor encrusted with orange crystal. Jagged rock jutted outward from the edge of the pillar, a single path bridging the perilous gap to another outcropping of rock platform. Far below I could see molten earth roiling. I realized that our presence hadn’t gone unnoticed. Along the edge of the platform across from us I could see dozens of Kobolds beginning to gather.

Kobolds were a diminutive race of mole-like beastmen. They had advanced knowledge in smelting and armoring and wore heavy armor with helmets hiding their faces. All that emerged from their helmets were their long ears and whiskers. They were a pious group of Beastmen, believing that the ores and metals they drew from the earth were manifestations of their deity, Titan. And we had just entered their most sacred place. I watched as the Kobolds grew more enraged at us.

“Look, an overdweller! Yes, yes, an invader from above! She uses our Aetherytes against us!”

“She has defiled Titan’s sacred sanctuary - trespassed, violated, defiled!”

“Overdwellers must leave! Overdwellers must fly!”

A Kobold wearing a golden mask and bearing a scepter stepped forward. “Brothers and sisters, fear them not! Their fate shall be decided by the Lord of Crags! Hear me, overdweller! You and your treacherous brethren must be held to account for the breaking of the covenant! You shall be first to face judgement! Then Limsa Lominsa and her oathbreakers - liars, betrayers, oathbreakers!”

The kobolds begin to chant and pray and the rock bridge before us collapsed, leaving us stranded on the pillar. “O Great Father, Lord of Crags! Titan, we summon you! Titan, we summon you!” The earth around us began to shake and we retreated to the far side of the pillar just in time to avoid being crushed by hundreds of ponzes of rock that fell from the ceiling high above us. The rocks began to lift from where they fell, combining into a massive mound. Light shone brightly from inside of the of the rock mound and I gave a worried look to the group. The mound of rocks exploded outward and Titan emerged.

“He is come! He is come! The Lord of Crags, Titan is come!” The Kobolds began shrieking in unison.

“Overdweller… art though deaf to their weeping?” Titan spoke, his voice rumbling like the sound of grinding earth. “Thy vile kind coveteth ever the blessing of the land and murdereth my children by the score - all in service to greed. Such sins are beyond pardon.” Titan narrowed his eyes, examining us. It seemed as though his gaze lingered on Oliver and I. “Ah, but I am not the first to suffer thy defiance. Thou didst bring Ifrit low. Godless overdwellers! Thy myriad heresies shall not go unpunished! Upon thee shall I wreak a terrible vengeance!”

The Crystal's Call - The Lord of Crags

Titan pounded his massive fists together and let out a mighty scream of rage. I readied my grimoire and summoned Eos from my Soul Crystal as the others drew their weapons. Oliver lowered his visor and ran toward Titan and I sent Eos following after him. I casted protective spells on everyone and began steadily poisoning Titan with spells. Oliver had drawn Titan’s attention and was dodging and blocking the Primal’s attacks with his shield and striking back with his blade. Azarashi stood behind Titan striking his back with his spear. I took up position next to Sorasha and together we threw magic.

Titan turned suddenly and Azarashi dove out of the way. Titan raised his hand and slammed it where the Lancer had been. An explosion of Aether came barreling straight toward toward us. Sorasha pushed me out of the way and barely avoided the blast herself.

“Thanks!” I yelled over the din of battle as I stumbled back to my feet.

“Don’t mention it!” She yelled in reply as she threw another ball of flame.

Titan stomped his feet, causing the pillar we were fighting on to shake. I almost lost my balance but recovered in time to cast healing magic on everyone. Suddenly, Titan leapt high into the air. We must have had the same thought, that Titan wouldn’t risk a perilous leap to the edges of the pillar, because we all scrambled to be as close to the edge as possible. When Titan landed in the center there was a mighty crash and the lip of the pillar began to crumble away. I grabbed Sorasha’s arm and yanked her back onto stable ground just as her footing gave way beneath her.

“Thanks,” she gasped.

“Now we’re even!”

I turned my attention back to Titan who had returned to fighting Oliver. Eos fly about him, healing his wounds and exhaustion so I lobbed Ruin at Titan’s back repeatedly, applying poisonous spells again as their effects wore off.

“Sons of man! Murderers of my children! I shall grind thee beneath my heels, mortals!” Titan roared and a large gem rose out of his rocky hide to the center of his chest. He punched the ground again and we barely dodged another blast of Aether. Titan followed up with another ground shaking stomp and we did our best to stay standing. I sensed a strong fluctuation of Aether beginning to gather in the gem on Titan’s chest and focused my attacks there. Sorasha followed suite and together our magic volley shattered the gem.

The Crystal's Call - The Lord of Crags

When the gem shattered Titan stood stunned for a moment. We took the advantage and struck Titan as hard as we could. When he came out of the daze he leaped high into the air once more. When he landed Aether began erupting out of the ground all around us. We were hit hard by the force of the erupting Aether and I immediately began healing everyone’s injuries. When the light of the Aether cleared Titan directed his wrath on Oliver once more. He stomped, sending us sprawling again and then the ground beneath our feet began to shimmer.

We dove out of the way just in time, eruptions of Aether blasting upward from the ground. Titan was no longer holding back. We regrouped and focused our attacks once more. I saw Azarashi leap high into the air and land on Titan’s back, driving his spear deep into Titan’s rocky flesh. Sorasha threw blasts of flame and bolts of lightning as fast as she could. Oliver continued his deadly dance with with Titan, parrying and blocking those mountain-like fists coming at him. It was almost unbelievable that one man could take that kind of beating.

Finally, someone delivered the fatal blow and Titan staggered backward. Aether began leaking from the cracks in his hide and he erupted into light and Aether, vanishing from the mortal realm.

“The Lord of Crags, Great Father Titan has fallen!” The Kobolds began shouting angrily. “The crimes of the overdwellers shall never be forgiven! Never be forgotten! No, no never! ‘Twas your kin who broke the covenant! We acted only in defense of our lands! Cease your aggression, or never will there be peace! Until our dying breaths, we shall defy you - deny, decry, defy!” The Kobolds began running away, frightened by the defeat of their Primal.

As I stood recovering from the ordeal I noticed an orange crystal lying on the ground. I picked it up and I could feel power coursing through it. I knew immediately that it was another of the Crystals of Light, the Earth Crystal. I let out a relieved sigh that we had somehow defeated Titan.

“I can’t believe we won,” Sorasha said in astonishment.

“There’s only one reason we won,” Oliver announced.

“What’s that?”

“Because I put my visor down,” the Elezen smirked as he raised the visor on his helmet. “I always win when the visor is down.”

“But what happens if you’re wearing a helmet without a visor?” Azarashi asked.

Oliver’s eyebrow twitched and he closed the visor.

There was a shifting of Aether in the air and Y’shtola appeared. She rounded us up quickly and teleported us back to Zelma’s Run in fear that we would be pursued. She bid me to report back to Limsa Lominsa and inform the Maelstrom of Titan’s defeat. I had intended to return anyhow. Something the Kobolds had said had stuck in my mind and I needed to find out what it was they spoke of.

It was evening by the time I had returned to Limsa Lominsa and I reported to High Commander R’ashaht Rhiki at Maelstrom Command. News of our victory had already made it to town and I was congratulated repeatedly. I asked about the Kobold’s claims that they had summoned Titan out of defense and learned that they were not entirely lying. Limsa Lominsa had been encroaching on Kobold territory in an effort to mine precious metals. Their actions encroached on the already weak land treaty they held with the Beastmen. I couldn’t help but feel that this whole situation could have been avoided if there was just a little more civility between us and the Beastmen.

I was leaving Maelstrom Command in a foul mood when I received a call over linkpearl. It was Minfilia and I instantly shoved aside my dark thoughts. She congratulated me for our victory over Titan and informed me that she wanted me to meet her at the Waking Sands immediately. It had been a long day, but I could put off sleep for a few more hours if it meant spending the night at the Waking Sands instead of an inn room in Limsa Lominsa. I caught the soonest airship to Ul’Dah and rented a chocobo to ride from the city to Vesper Bay.

It was late by the time I got to the Waking Sands. Tataru was nowhere to be found but I didn’t expect her to be waiting for me anyway, even the secretary deserved her rest. I stepped down the stairwell to the door into the Scion headquarter and entered. There were no lights on in the Waking Sands. That was strange, there were usually people up at all hours busy with their work here. And not a single candle is lit. I strode forward down the hallway and almost slipped on something on the floor. I caught my balance through help of the wall and searched my pack for a striking flint. I lit one of the candles on the wall and turned to inspect what I had slipped on.

The weak candlelight lent an eery glow to the scene before me. The floor was covered with blood, mutilated bodies strewn across the floor. A cold shiver ran up my spine and for the second time that day I doubled over and expelled the contents of my stomach. I breathed rapidly in a panic and clutching the candle in my hand I ran through the Waking Sands.

“Minfilia!”

—-

This was a really hard one to write, knowing what was coming next. Such a shocking turn of events in game was going to turn into a rather heart-wrenching scene here. And the worst part is I'm not even entirely through it, I cut here halfway through because I couldn't figure out a way to close the scene after some dialogue. Endings are hard.

Titan. What a glorious, excruciating, terrible and exciting fight he is. I'm gonna say, if any of you guys are planning on doing endgame content, including Titan - Hard Mode, commit the following image to memory:

The Crystal's Call - The Lord of Crags

Titan is an easy fight if you can remember that he follows a set pattern of attacks, as outlined above. In "Lord of the Crags" you get an easier version, only seeing Landslide, Tumult (the stomps), Weight of the Land (the plumes), and Earthen Fury, the big BOOM after Titan's Heart phase (appropriately listed as phase <3 up above). "Table Flip" is the aptly named Mountain Buster attack which will always deal heavy damage to the tank. Add in the Rock Bombs that land in set patterns, landslide being capable of blowing you clear off the arena, up to six plumes appearing during Weight of the Land, and him repeating Tumult up to eight times as the fight goes on it is insane.

I mentioned that the music for the Titan fight is half of the battle. Titan has not only one fight theme, but one for each phase. It's rock music that grows in intensity as the fight goes on. Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3 follows the same general tune. The Heart Phase has its own special interlude music to denote just how important it is. Fail to break the Heart in time and Earthen Fury is a OHKO. Phase 4, opening up with Earthen Fury, breaks into heavy death metal with lyrics from Titan's point of view. Choice snippets (as it's very hard to figure out just what they're singing) include great lines such as "no hope for the sons of man" and "round them up for annihilation" and lots and lots of screaming. Really exciting fight that you're going to throw yourself at again and again because of how tough it is.

I consider this the real halfway point in the main story because the status quo is completely changed here. The Scions of the Seventh Dawn are gone. It's just you and two NPCs from here on out. I felt like there was a sense of urgency to move forward from this point, but of course the game has another filler arc before you can even progress along to the important things. We'll get more into that as we get there.

This was totally late, by the way, and I apologize. It gets hard to write these at work when I get to important scenes and want to actually pull the dialogue from the game. Youtube is blocked here so I'm pretty much out of luck there, and no one else has pulled the dialogue from quests yet, go figure. It means that when I was writing this yesterday I actually had to stop when I got to the Titan fight. I must have some sort of OCD because while I could have continued on and gone back later to add in the details I found it incredibly difficult to do so and ended up just stopping. I try my best to not let that be a problem but I guess I'm more of a cause -> effect kind of guy, no matter what the Doctor tells me about things not being a natural progression of the aforementioned.

I hope I didn't make anyone too angry with that terrible cliff-hanger here. I know, it's awful and I'm a terrible person. Things will get better, I promise. Please look forward to it.