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Interlude: A Historian's Confession

I am not the historian I once was, and I fear that if you follow me, you may find yourself damned.

I have tried to keep myself invisible, to lay my case out upon the firmest foundation, to peel back the layers of truth as Ramza Beoulve himself must have done. It was the Durai Report that inspired this work, but Olan Durai, thorough as he was, still cannot account for every detail, and it is a poor historian indeed who relies on only a single source. The Durai Report has been my guiding light, the finger that points to the details I unearth, but I have built upon this foundation with every tool I can bring to bear.

Histories of the Death Corps rebellion abound, and my theories here meet with little objection: that Dycedarg was a dangerous mind instrumental to so many Hokuten victories means I meet with little complaint when I speculate as to the sinister means he might have taken to end the Rebellion. Likewise, Wiegraf Folles enjoyed popular support even at the height of the Corps' unpopularity, and history has often looked to him as a precursor of the ideals King Delita would one day preach, so the line I draw between them is not so controversial. Even Church officials determined to keep Ramza's legacy fixed as heretic cannot object to his more innocent origins: too many official Hokuten and Limberry reports note his bizarre fixation on fighting without killing, and note, as well, the attack on Beoulve Manor (indeed, the official history of Ivalice corroborates details about Teta's kidnapping and death, framing it as the crucial betrayal that set Delita Heiral on his path to the Nanten).

The second and third parts of our story are considerably more heretical in their opposition to Ivalician orthodoxy (much less Church Doctrine), but even here, I propose a compelling alternate theory to more popular narratives, supported by evidence from many sources. Ivalician histories are always sketchy on the interlude between Delita's flight from the Beoulves and his rise to prominence as Ovelia's protector, and my history supplies some details that account for this interruption. The Church denies their intention to start a war for their own benefit (their latest claim, made only when they could suppress the Durai Report no longer, is that they took an active hand to see the rightful heir sit the throne when Louveria turned to tyranny), but enough evidence exists to show their hand, even if they deny the full extent of the conspiracy. And while no one alive professes to believe in the Lucavi (and especially not the Lucavi as I have thus far portrayed them), neither can they deny the existence of auracite, nor explain the bizarre disasters that befell Lionel, Limberry, Riovanes, Igros, Mullonde, and Orbonne.

So I have rested content with my labors, confident that if I cannot convey the absolute truth, I can come closer than most. Every chapter I have published, I have felt proud of. Every chapter until now.

My uncertainty is not unfounded. Where I have rested on firm scholastic ground until this point, now I venture into more speculative regions. Olan Durai confirmed many of these events only in discussions after the fact, and many will say his sources were suspect, as were his motives. But even were I to trust wholly in the Durai Report, it does not provide a full accounting of this period.

Likewise, official sources are thin on the ground: the Hokuten and Nanten were focused upon each other and paid little mind to petty intrigues outside their spheres of influences; the very nature of my suppositions means I cannot rely on official Church documents; Fovoham's treacherous geography and sparse population has long made it a difficult place for thorough historical accounts, and what befell Riovanes, Khamja, and Barinten himself makes it more difficult still to obtain any material of merit.

So I have hesitated, nibbling at the edges of the problem, gathering what few trusted sources I could (the remains of Khamja outpost records, requesting supplies for Barinten's Hand: a harbormaster's journal from Port Rivoanes, reporting the arrival of a ship that he suspected was secretly a vessel of the Church in Mullonde; an innkeeper's letter from Yardrow, providing some scant few details of Ramza's brief stay in that city). Trying to lay as thorough a case as I could. So that when I wrote the next part of this tale, I could do so with confidence. So I could say, "Here are the facts, as best as I can relate them."

But nothing is ever so easy, much less a search for truth against the wishes of the powerful. And while we are being truthful, it is not only the difficulty of my task that has slowed my work. It is also my weakness.

I would not have called myself a young man when I began this tale, but I am older now, and wearier by far. I lost my oldest brother two years past, and with his death found this search for truth tired me still further. But when my mother passed a year ago, I found it harder still. It was my brother who used to play games with me, pretending to be knights at war, or Braves on a quest together. And it was my mother who encouraged me, against all good sense, to chase the life of a historian. They are gone now, and I am more alone than I have ever been, and in my loneliness, I find that nothing sticks the way it used to. Everything is harder, and I am certain of nothing, for I cannot trust to their voices to guide me when I feel lost.

So when I try to tell the tale of Ramza Beoulve setting off alone, I find myself paralyzed. Because here I am, less alone than he and paralyzed by my terror, and I cannot imagine how a boy could set off into the world and not feel frozen with fear.

But a search for truth is never easy, as a search for justice is never easy. I am less certain than I have ever been, in myself and in the facts I write. But Ramza Beoulve, younger than I, lonelier than I, and facing trials that make my stomach churn to contemplate, soldiered out into the bitter cold of a winter war, trying to do the right thing. I would not dare to compare myself to him, but if I hope to share his inspiration with the world, it is the least I can do to tell his tale to the best of my ability.

And besides, I am not alone. At every stage, you have been there with me, faithful reader. Helping me in my search.

Knowing you are reading, I feel less alone. Knowing you are reading, I think, "Damn my fear! The tale must be told!" I cannot express my gratitude for your company. I can only say that if you, too, struggle with this freezing fear in the dark of your life, you may count on my support, as I count on yours. No one who searches earnestly for truth searches alone. Not me, and not you, and certainly not Ramza Beoulve.

-Alazlam Durai, scholar of Ivalician history