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Old Friends, New Faces

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G’raha Tia is a very pleasant and upstanding young man. He takes his meals irregularly and reads through treatises on Allagan history with childlike excitement. He has a sharp mind, those who know him always say. Almost too sharp. 

He nearly vibrates out of his own skin when he is assigned to the NOAH expedition (“What a dream! Don’t you see how much I could learn, Krile?”) and pours his entire soul into making sure he would be well-prepared and reliable throughout the study, sometimes disappearing for hours on end to procure supplies and pack his things up for travel. 

His reaction to seeing the Tower is delight, like the sun has lit up within his heart and shines through his eyes. He asks questions (too many of them) and pokes about the site as if he cannot believe what he is seeing. His disbelief does not end even when he finds out his heritage, the legacy of the ancients, or when he locks the doors.

It has nothing on the Warrior of Light’s reaction, though. Not when he leaves them and not when he returns, his old coat finally back on his shoulders (ah, how he missed it) as he calls, “You seem to enjoy being mortal, Hades! A shame it’s catching up to you.”

The Crystal Exarch turns to him, grip tightening on his staff, and says as evenly as he can manage, “That is not a name you are allowed to speak.”

“Oh, but I will,” he replies, smiling so pleasantly he nearly makes himself gag. “You certainly seem to be determined to ignore all the lovely memories I returned to you. A shame, really. You’re so boring otherwise.”

“G’raha?” The Warrior of Light asks, unsure of why their old friend (one they had believed lost forever) stood before them in the regalia of the Garlean High Emperor. 

His tail flicks, smile curving to something charming and boyish rather than mature. “Who else? Oh, wait. I know… Solus zos Galvus, Emet-Selch, ah… what was the last one? It’s been so long I seem to have forgotten. Dear me.”

“Leave,” the Exarch orders, the Tower and all its aether flaring to match. 

G’raha scoffs. Who does he think built Garlemald? Who does he think gave Allag all those designs? The might of a thousand thousand men? It was him, the Architect. 

Not the sundered Azem and their ridiculous old friend who never had a title. 

He hopes they won’t bore him (high hopes for an old man like himself) and prays to Zodiark that all his optimism, all his believing in them, will not bring him a collection of broken facsimiles where he intends to have the true ancients. You see, G’raha Tia is a pleasant and upstanding young man, but Emet-Selch is not.