Patch 2.5: Before the Fall is the final major content update introduced for A Realm Reborn.
Notable Features, Additions, and Changes
- Main Story: Before the Fall: Part 1 (8 quests), Part 2 (16 quests)
- No quests from the 2.5 series were removed as part of the pruning in patch 5.3.
- Side Story: Hildibrand, Agent of Enquiry: Chapter 5 (5 quests)
- Side Story: Delivery Moogle (7 quests)
- Alliance Raid: The World of Darkness, the final chapter of the Crystal Tower story and raid series
- Dungeons: The Keeper of the Lake, The Wanderer's Palace (Hard), Amdapor Keep (Hard)
- Trials: The Chrysalis, The Steps of Faith (2.55), Urth's Fount, Battle in the Big Keep
- PvP Frontline: The Borderland Ruins (Slaughter)
- The Manderville Gold Saucer has been added. (2.51)
System Changes and Additions
- Duty Finder: A notification is now displayed in the notifications area when a group is matched.
- Zodiac Weapons eighth and final part added (2.51)
Note: Not all content listed here will launch on the same day. This article is about the 2.5x season as a whole.
Main Story Summary (Spoilers)
With the emergence of a new emperor in Garlemald, the threat of an imperial invasion once again loomed over Eorzea. Meanwhile, revelations of conspiracy sowed strife among Ul’dah’s ruling class, and the sultanate’s precarious peace hung in the balance.
The Rising Chorus
After assisting the Crystal Braves with an investigation into a black marketeer suspected of supplying Ul’dahn refugees with weapons, the Warrior of Light was once more summoned to meet with an Ishgardian envoy. According to Lucia, First Commander of the Temple Knights, the astrologians of the Observatorium had sounded the alarm, for the dragon star had burned with an intensity not seen in fifteen summers, when the Dravanians routed the imperial fleet in the Battle of Silvertear Skies. The brightening of the dragon star was said to accompany the roar of a great wyrm, and the astrologians interpreted this as a portent of Midgardsormr’s imminent resurrection.
The knights of Ishgard were in no position to dispatch forces to the Keeper of the Lake at the time, and so Ser Aymeric bade the Warrior of Light investigate the site on their behalf and ascertain the veracity of the astrologians' claims. Atop the wreckage of the Agrius the brave hero confirmed Ishgard’s worst fears had come to pass when he confronted the fallen guardian of Silvertear Falls, seemingly risen from the dead. With no choice but to fight, the adventurer engaged the wyrm lord in battle, at last laying him to rest forever.
However, as he turned to leave, the voice of the unbowed Midgardsormr rang out once more, inviting the Warrior of Light to plead his case. Yet his words fell on deaf ears, and the wyrm lord flatly stated that his children now sang of Ishgard's imminent destruction. Midgardsormr then made ready to end the adventurer's life-only to hesitate when Hydaelyn Herself intervened and marked him as one of Her chosen. Midgardsormr then relented-but not before somehow stripping the Warrior of Light of the Mothercrystal's blessing, Revealing that an ancient covenant made with Hydaelyn in a time before time had bound him to the adventurer, the essence of the wyrm lord coalesced into a tiny vessel, through which he would watch, listen, and weigh the worth of Hydaelyn's chosen in the desperate days ahead.
Lucia greeted the Warrior of Light upon his return, and unaware of his new burden, she thanked him for besting Midgardsormr, and for bringing confirmation of the impending Dravanian attack. Ishgard had weathered countless assaults over centuries, and this would be no different-or so she and many others believed. During the Battle of Silvertear Skies, both Midgardo and the Agri fell to the earth, and their tangled remnants, known as the Keeper of the Lake, stand as a memorial to that day--a ruined airship, and the charred corpse of the wyrms lord who bought it low, forever devoid of life..
Life or Death
So long as the Ascians were allowed to act with impunity, the Scions of the Seventh Dawn would be powerless to prevent others from learning the secrets of summoning, Simply striking down the Paragons would not suffice, as with the aid of their Crystals of Darkness, they could discard their physical forms and withdraw to the shore of the aetherial sea, thereby escaping death. Therefore, in order to more effectively combat the primal menace, the organization had secretly begun research into developing a means to permanently dispatch these so-called immortal beings.
One ally in this endeavor was Moenbryda, an accomplished Sharlayan scholar and an authority on aetheryte technologies. Before coming to Eorzea she had been studying white auracite, a material she believed could be used to capture an Ascian soul. A trapped soul could then be obliterated with a concentrated burst, or "blade," of purest aether. Though this method would require a staggering amount of aether to execute, the scholar had devised an ingenious solution: aetheric syphons, which could be used to extract the required energy from corrupted crystals found across Eorzea, enabling one to call upon the necessary energies at a moment's notice.
Unfortunately, while field testing one such device, Moenbryda and the Warrior of Light were approached by an Ascian who introduced himself as Nabriales. Upon sensing that the adventurer was no longer possessed of Hydaelyn's blessing, however, the Paragon teleported away, seemingly intent on taking advantage of the Scions vulnerability to steal Tupsimati, a legendary staff once wielded by Archon Louisoix himself.
The pair gave chase and arrived back at the Rising Stones to find Nabriales already in the solar with Minfilia, the Antecedent clutching the shards of the broken Tupsimati. With dismissive contempt, the Ascian revealed his plans to use the power yet hidden within the staff to bring about a new Rejoining, He then tore open a dimensional rift, through which he escaped with both Minfilia and the relic she held, and the Warrior of Light followed.
In that otherworldly void the adventurer defeated his Ascian foe and rescued Minfilia, returning all three to the Rising Stones. There, before the weakened Ascian could fee into the void, Minfilia succeeded in trapping his soul within the chunk of white auracite. But try as he might, the Warrior Light was unable to summon enough aether to truly destroy the fiend.
As she witnessed light struggle to triumph over dark, Moenbryda finally came to understand her mentor Louisoix's dedication to his duty. The wounded scholar then expended her own life energy in a brilliant burst of aether, allowing the Warrior of Light's glowing blade to at last pierce Nabriales's essence. The Ascian was defeated, never to return-but in the process, the Scions were deprived of a precious ally and dear friend.
The Steps of Faith
The Scions of the Seventh Dawn had but a moment to mourn their loss before grave tidings from Ishgard commanded their full attention: the Dravanian Horde had at last begun its assault. Ser Aymeric himself had sallied forth with a contingent of Temple Knights and several companies of the noble houses’ finest, but though they briefly forced their foes into retreat, the Ishgardians had suffered grievous losses. Once more Lucia came unto the Rising Stones, this time to seek the aid of the Crystal Braves and the Grand Companies in bolstering her city’s defenses.
However, the great powers of Eorzea had not forgotten how Ishgard refused to come to their aid at the Battle of Carteneau. While they had no objections to the Crystal Braves’ intervention, the Alliance was unwilling to pledge more than a token force to aid in Ishgard’s defense. Citing local concerns more deserving of their resources, the leaders refused to provide meaningful assistance, and suggested instead that the Scions make every effort to assemble a contingent of elite adventurers—a volunteer force under the leadership of the Warrior of Light. Adventurers enlisted in the Grand Companies were granted leave to participate, but they would not be obligated to do so.
The Scions rallied what support they could and came to the aid of Ishgard, and for a time their combined forces managed to hold the line. Yet their efforts were undermined through subterfuge when agents loyal to the Lady Iceheart within the Temple Knights helped her to dispel the outermost layer of Daniffen’s Collar, a series of arcane wards that protected the Steps of Faith—the sole means of approaching the city.
The mighty dragon Vishap seized upon this opportunity to lead an army of his lesser kin to the bridge in an attempt to destroy the exposed foundations of the remaining wards. Marshalling his forces, the Warrior of Light took up position on the Steps of Faith alongside the Temple Knights, and in a pitched battle that saw many casualties and nearly led to the destruction of the city, Vishap was brought low in a hail of dragonkiller bolts. Upon his death the defenders raised their voices in triumph, for by it the siege of Ishgard had been ended.
The Bloody Banquet
To commemorate Ishgard’s victory over the Dravanian Horde, a feast was held in Ul’dah, with the leaders of every nation of the Eorzean Alliance in attendance. Regardless of the fact that the other city-states had refused to pledge considerable aid, all recognized the importance of strengthening ties with the reclusive nation and paving the way for its return to the Alliance as a full-fledged member.
The Scions of the Seventh Dawn were also there that day, having been recognized for their part in lifting the siege, and the Warrior of Light for his valiant efforts as commander of the adventurers' contingent. But in a shocking turn of events, the celebrated hero of Eorzea would be condemned as a regicide.
In the midst of the celebration, Captain Ilberd of the Crystal Braves delivered the Warrior of Light bound into the Fragrant Chamber, and together with Teledji Adeledji announced that, in a private meeting, the Warrior of Light had murdered with poison Her Royal Majesty Nanamo Ul Namo, and that the Scions of the Seventh Dawn were complicit in his crime. The Alliance leaders were understandably skeptical of these claims. Nevertheless, they were powerless to intervene in the domestic affairs of another nation, and had no choice but to defer to the judgment of local authorities.
However, Raubahn Aldynn, commander of the Immortal Flames and loyal advisor to the sultana, was bound by no such restrictions. Driven into an uncontrollable rage by Teledji Adeledji’s unconcealed glee at ridding himself of the sultana once and for all, the Bull of Ala Mhigo declared that the merchant was the culprit, executing him then and there for the deed. Lost to fury, Raubahn then advanced upon Lolorito—only to be taken unawares by Captain Ilberd, who severed his arm with a single practiced stroke, and in so doing revealed his true colors as an agent of the Monetarist. The Fragrant Chamber erupted into chaos as guests fled, leaving the Scions alone with their wounded ally and surrounded by their enemies.
Yet when all seemed lost, the Flame General rose to his feet once more, and in the ensuing struggle succeeded in freeing the Warrior of Light from his bonds. As he and Ilberd eyed each other from across the room, Raubahn bade the Scions escape—to clear their names and see justice done—before preparing to cross swords with the man he once called brother.
Thus were the Scions of the Seventh Dawn scattered and forced to flee Ul'dah in infamy, their fates unknown even to one another.
As the banquet was held in the Fragrant Chamber, a hall in which the Syndicate and the crown met regularly to discuss matters of state, attendance was limited to a select few. Owing to this, the dramatic events of that day could be kept secret-though rumors regarding the sultana's poor health abounded. 
- Encyclopaedia Eorzea: Volume I, page 64-65