Prologue: A Search for Truth
What is truth?
I have struggled with this question for as long as I can remember. We Durais have delved for so long in the murky shadows of history that the painstaking search for the nuggets of truth hidden in the mire of politics and power comes to us as instinct. We know better than to trust official stories and uplifting legends designed to keep men docile. We know better than to trust what all children know.
After all, all children of Ivalice know the story of Delita Heiral—the young commoner raised among Beoulves, who rescued Princess Ovelia from the clutches of Prince Larg. A talented warrior brought up by one of the realm’s most noble families, until he turned against their wickedness and heresy to rise through the ranks of the Nanten. He won the respect of soldiers, knights, nobles and commoners alike and, in the end, won the heart of the Queen. So did King Delita the Virtuous lead Ivalice into its golden age. My ancestor, Olan Durai, stood at his side. Until Olan tried to tell the true story of his age, and was burned at the stake as a heretic.
Olan’s story says much of Delita Heiral, true—though the portrait he wants is not always a flattering one. But his story has greater truths than that. It speaks of the Lions who almost laid Ivalice low to sate their ambitions. It tells of the shadows that unleashed such a tide of blood upon Ivalice for their own black purposes. And it tells of the men and women who took up the thankless task of stemming that tide.
One name stands out in this other story. A disgraced cadet who fled his noble family in shame. A mercenary who fought his way through Ivalice until his soul was so stained by heresy that none would absolve him. He was a bastard beloved by his father and made heir to their proud name as surely as siblings. By the time the war was over, he and his three siblings would be dead, reaping the grim fruit sown by the bastard Ramza’s blasphemy.
This is the story the Glabados Church wishes you to know. This is the story they cling to, because the truth would reveal the blood and folly that stain their hands. This is the lie that must be exposed.
I search for truth because I must know my history. I search for truth because I am in need of ideals worth aspiring to. We all long for paragons who inspire us. We must dig through the mire if we are to find the nuggets worth polishing and treasuring.
So I ask you again; what is the truth?
What is the truth behind revolutionaries willing to sell their souls to see the world made as they’d once dreamed it?
What is the truth of earnest knights forced to abandon their dearest principles by the grinding necessities of reality?
What is the truth behind downtrodden prodigies who bend their intellects to the cause of equality?
What is the truth behind lovers of battle who see that love tainted by the depredations of those who command violence from a distance to sate their vile needs?
What is the truth behind noble men who see their fealty traded for power and their names cursed by betrayal?
What is the truth of children turned to murderers by malice and misshapen gratitude, searching for meaning among the dead?
What is the truth of desperate men giving anything to see order restored to a world gone mad?
What is the truth behind these Zodiac Braves?
There are many who do not want these questions answered. The powerful shadows shine lights on select moments of history so we will not think to look beyond them. When the finger points, who looks at the fingertip?
I have done my best to answer these heavy questions, but I can go no further all alone. Not without the aid of the brave and the bold and the true. Not without the help of those who can soldier on in the face of all the wretchedness this world and the men who live in it can heap upon us. If these Zodiac Braves can teach us anything, it is that things are never truly hopeless. So long as we remember that in our quest for truth, we are never alone.
So, please. Won’t you join me on a search for the truth?
–Alazlam Durai, scholar of Ivalician history