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The Death of the Two White Mages

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Seventeen years after the end of the Dragonsong War, all the broken walls have been restored in the Holy See, leaving only the half-destroyed statue of Saint Valeroyant standing on the forum and the frozen bones of dragon lying in the former battlefield as a reminder of history. The sacred scriptures of the Church was no longer the only truth. Various schools sprung up. Scholars from the Far East and sages from Sharlayan gatherein, sharing and debating with professors from Saint Endalim's Scholasticate.

It was at this time that the idea of the College of Ishgard was proposed, and soon approved by the majority in the council. At the suggestion of the Dzemael family, the site of the academy was chosen on the outskirts of the Holy See. There was a vast snowy wilderness where the terrain was flat and the earth and rocks were solid, just right for digging and building. No one objected to this idea. Workers began their work in autumn, when the soil was at its best, inserting steel fibers deep into the ground and laying the foundations little by little.

On the seventh day of the construction, one of the workers hit a hard object with his shovel. He called for help and his fellow came immediately. They carefully dug away the soil covering the surface and found a huge wooden chest buried beneath. It was made of oak and painted black, with a curved top. The steel hoop is broken into pieces and scattered around. A huge brass lock hung over it, sealing everything inside.

"Is it a treasure buried by a fugitive aristocrat?"

"Or is it evidence of the guilt of the heretics   who were too late to destroy it?"

Amidst   all the chatter and speculation, the lock was quickly broken open and the lid of the wooden chest  was lift. Everyone at the scene was too shocked to make a sound .

Inside the chest laid a pair of body. As the result of hypoxia and icy earth they were deeply buried in, their faces were pale but clearly recognizable. Ice crystallizeon their eyelashes and hair. They clung to each other closely, forced to bent in a quite uncomfortable way. But their faces were calm, as if they were in a sound dream, with palms hanging at their sides touching the other gently.

The workers had no idea who they could be. Most of the workers were young in their twenties with few memories of the war that had ended in their childhood. So thone in charge  approached, a man in his middle-age, old enough to be most of the workers father, who had taken part in the battle of the Whitebrim front. After only one glance, he stepped back with a horrified expression. His lips quivering for a long time in the confusing sight of the crowd before he could make some syllables broken and slowly.

"Heavens ward," he announced the answer, "They must be sent back to the Holy See at once."

Even the younger generation, born after the war, with a little education, would not be unaware of what "Heavens ward" meant. But why? Why did bodies of the Heavens ward by any chance appear in the vast ice fields here? They should have all perished in Azys Lla seventeen years ago with Thordan VII as the consequence of their defeat.

The wooden chest was soon carried to the Holy See. The head of state, who had succeeded after Aymerics retirement, could not recognize their faces either. He had just seen the Heavens Wards for only once in his life, at the annual festival of the Starlight when Thordan VII was still on his throne. Time has blunted the images in his memory.  

Professors from Saint Endalim was summoned to the head office. They had been at the seminary for at least thirty years and should have had a way of distinguishing the appearance of the best mages  of all time.

Just as expected, the identification was completed soon after their arrival.

"They were my students. The black-haired one was Haumeriand the other, Noudenet. I would never mistake their faces. Their portraits are still stored in the secret cabinet with their names on, which were high on the seminary's Wall of Honour once and were taken down after their defeat seventeen years ago."

The bodies had been removed from the chest. The two young man laid peacefully on a soft blanket. The president of Saint Endalim looked at his early student with sorrow, unaware the tears coming down across his cheek bone. He reached out to the face looking as young as ever, but stopped before he was about to touch. All that could be heard in the room was a mournful sigh.

The bodies were identified, but a new question arose. Since it were Haumeric and Noudenet in the chest, then who were the two against the Warrior of Light in the battle of Azys Lla?

To get to the answer,   all the best investigators of Eorzea assembled in the Holy See to re-investigate   the events of seventeen years ago.

This was much more difficult. They made no progress for a desperately long time, until the Warrior of Light heard about it and rushed to the Holy See with his friends.

Deduction and verification lasted  for several days and nights. The truth finally revealed

Haumeric and Noudenet had never travelled to Azys Lla, they were killed before then, stuffed into thchest and buried under the heavy ice and snow. The two that fought against the Warrior of Light in the battle were counterfeit doubles created with evil intent.

By this, another thing that had puzzled them for long was explained.

For what reason the two white mages never used healing magic during the battle, even when their brother knights suffered severe injuries?

It was because the power of the Dragon's Eye could only replicate their physical appearance, but not their immaculate souls and unwavering faith, which was  the source of the healing power itself.

Shortly thereafter , details of the murder  came to light.

Haumeric's wisdom and acumen led him to detect the Pope's heretical betrayal of Halone before anyone else. Although he did not know exactly how the plot was planned, he determined to keep himself out of this terrible sin. So he submitted his resignation to Thordan VII. The Pope, in turn, was wise enough to realize immediately that Haumeric had dangerous suspicion on him. The old fox promiseto let Haumeric go without any obstruction, only to send the young priest toward the fatal destiny. Noudenet's murder occurred the day after Haumeric's death. He had a extraordinary talent on aetherology and a sharp sensitivity on the stream of ether elements. There's no way he couldn't have sensed that the white mage who appeared later at the Round Table was not Haumeric but a pathetic copy. Haumeric trusted Noudenet as much as he trusted himself. They were the best of friends and the closest of brothers. Thordan VII had enough reason to suspect that Haumeric might have informed Noudenet of what had happened and what would happen. So he killed Noudenet as well and buried the two young priest in the same chest into the ice field. And then, Thordan VII made a pair of puppet in their likeness and transferred all the ether of the deceased onto his wicked works. This was how the Warriors of Light met Haumeric and Noudenet in Azys Lla, and why the two brilliant white mages could cast no healing magic during the battle.

Despite the cost of their young lives, they did, in a sense, succeed in stopping the Pope's conspiracy. If it were them standing by Thordan VII in the Armageddon of Azys Lla, the the battle will be deadly brutal. The Warrior of Light draw a breath at the flashback of the cruel and hellish scene. Even though he always had the faith of triumph, a cold fear crept up his spine like a venomous serpent with the thought of another possibility.

After this was all settled, the Wall of Honour at Saint Endalim was redecorated with the portraits of the two outstanding graduates. The misconceptions about them in the history books were corrected. The College of Ishgard welcomed her first students. Where the schoolhouse once planed to be built, was a beautiful garden with roses and lilies blooming in the tender shine of the sun in day and moon at night.

Beneath the evergreen trees with lovely vines, slept Haumeric and Noudenet, on the same spot where the wooden chest was found, watching and blessing the future happiness of Ishgard for all eternity.