NOAH, or Nominated Observers of Artifacts Historical is a group comprising those who would explore the Crystal Tower and uncover the secrets of the Allagan Empire.
In the wake of the Seventh Umbral Calamity, the Crystal Tower stirred for the first time in over five thousand years. Awakening, it emerged from the sleep it had been plunged into and rose to the surface in the area now known as Mor Dhona. Attempts to approach the tower were met with extreme resistance, as not even Airships could approach the tower without being blasted out of the air by the stone sentinels standing guard. When Cid nan Garlond reached out to the Sons of Saint Coinach to find a way into the tower, he was joined by the Warrior of Light, Biggs, Wedge and G'raha Tia, a member of the Students of Baldesion on a journey to enter into the tower and uncover the truth of the Allagans. The name was given as an acronym, meaning "Nominated Observers of Artifacts Historical", however "Noah" was also the name selected as it was a name shared with an ancient Allagan Archmagus.
Entering the Tower
With the creation of the Crystal Fangs, NOAH set off to the gates of the Crystal Tower. Using the power of the fangs, each barrier upheld by the Sentinels is systematically destroyed, and the way into the Tower is opened. But before entering the tower proper, they must pass through the Labyrinth of the Ancients, which Cid suggested be left to the Warrior of Light, and their band of adventurers while the remainder of NOAH investigate the outside area of the tower, to ensure no more traps were lying in wait.
The Labyrinth of the Ancients
After an arduous journey through the traps and monsters of the Labyrinth, the Warrior of Light conquered Phlegethon, and called the members of NOAH via Linkpearl, to let them know the way was cleared. A doorway opened to the tower above, and the group decided on their next course of action. After spending some time analyzing the labyrinth and learning everything it could teach them, NOAH finally made its way to the front gate of the Syrcus Tower.
The opposition they were met with, however, was rather insurmountable. Not monsters, or traps, but a seemingly impenetrable front gate. Despite their best efforts, the gate would not budge. In a lucky turn of fate, however, two strangers approached the party, a man and woman named Doga and Unei, saying they were members of the Students of Baldesion, and had been keeping tabs on their exploration of the tower. To the members of NOAH's amazement, the twins approached the gate, and it slid open as easily as any other door. Surprised, the members of NOAH questioned the twins, asking just who they were. Their answer came not from the twins, but from a familiar voice behind them; Nero tol Scaeva approached, much to the chagrin and surprise of everyone present, and informed the group that the "people" in front of them were in fact not members of the Students of Baldesion, but rather clones of royals from the ancient Allagan bloodline.
Doga and Unei confirmed Nero's statement as true. They were in fact clones, created millenia ago by Amon, as part of his mad experiments in a bid to resurrect the first Allagan emperor, Xande. Initially, they supported the emperor, but once they learned of the truth, of Xande's plan to summon the queen of the Void, the Cloud of Darkness, they joined the people in revolting against him. They revealed that when the tower reactivated and resurfaced, so too did the inhabitants, including Xande himself.
With the realization that Xande would put the sword to their still recovering world by means of opening a voidgate and ushering the monsters within to their plane, NOAH's mission statement changed; their sole aim now to stop emperor Xande and seal the Crystal Tower from those who would use its power for nefarious means. Cid, Biggs and Wedge set off to prepare to enter the tower, while the Warrior of Light and G'raha Tia stayed behind. G'raha Tia asked about the red eyes of the clones, wanting to know if their eyes were the same as his, which his tribe referred to as the Allagan Eye. The clones told G'raha Tia that the eye in their time was known as the Royal Eye, and was an indicator of the royal bloodline. As for how he and his tribesmen came to possess such a trait, they couldn't say.
The Warrior of Light led a group of adventurers up through the spiral tower, defeating powerful enemies and forces of Allagan, until reaching the top and confronting Xande. After an intense battle, the adventurers and the Warrior laid the ancient emperor low. After the battle, a strange distortion appeared in the sky over the tower, which Doga and Unei identified as a voidgate, which tend to open when the barrier between worlds wears thin. The Allagans used to wield the power to open these at will, and bring through the Voidsent. The clones explained that even though Xande had conquered death, it still called to him daily. He wished to return everything back to the void and feel the embrace of death once again. To this end, he entered into a contract with the Cloud of Darkness that stated as long as she and her voidsent aided him in conquering his foes, he would give the world to them and let them feed on its aether. With the blood of Xande, the clones would be able to nullify this contract, and they took that to be their true purpose.
Suddenly, several dark clones appeared on top of the tower with them and the other members of NOAH and attacked the group. This also caused a strange reaction in G'raha Tia, who fell to the floor, grasping his head in pain. A threatening voice echoed out of the voidgate, declaring that the contract would stand. The twins attempted to close the voidgate, but were instead pulled through. Preoccupied with the dark clones attacking them in increasingly alarming numbers, the members of NOAH were powerless to save them. Nero managed to cut his way through the clones and attempted to grab them before they entered the voidgate, but was instead pulled through. The gate closed, and the dark clones all fell to the ground, lifeless.
Without Doga and Unei, NOAH wouldn't be able to seal the tower. G'raha Tia rose to his feet, and declared the next course of action would be to open a voidgate of their own, and rescue the twins and Nero. Cid set out immediately, getting in contact with the Sons of Saint Coinach to develop a device to open a voidgate of their own, stating that they could do it, but it would take time.
Eventually, NOAH and the Sons gathered on top of the Tower, where Cid activated a machine that fed off the power of the Crystal Tower and opened a gate to the Void. Cid, Biggs and Wedge, along with the other members of the Sons of Saint Coinach volunteered to stay behind and maintain the gate, while G'raha Tia, the Warrior of Light and the adventurers headed in to stop the Cloud of Darkness.
The World of Darkness
Moving through the Void, they eventually reached the ruler of the Void herself. After a brutal struggle, they finally managed to stop the Cloud of Darkness. Nero and the twins then appeared, with the former looking cracked and dark. Doga explained that because of their royal blood, they were afforded some measure of protection from the Void, however, Nero wasn't so lucky, and his wounds left him vulnerable to the effects of the Void, and the darkness was slowly eating away at his aether. Unei came to, and stood next to Doga. They said that they would now nullify the covenant Xande entered into with the Cloud of Darkness, while the rest needed to escape. G'raha Tia began to protest, but the twins told him that it was his duty to help seal the tower from the outside. It is the fate of those with royal Allagan blood to be tied to the Tower and the people of Allag.
The Cloud of Darkness, in her weakened state, was still able to attack the group, but not hold form. She told them she was unkillable in the Void, and attacked G'raha Tia. He was, however, left completely unscathed, much to the surprise of the Cloud of Darkness. That's when the clones realized that the Allagan blood within him was indeed royal, and it must have been passed to someone in his lineage to guarantee the bloodline's safety. They explain that while the many millennia had diluted his Allagan blood, this is why the tower didn't recognize him as an Allagan royal, but why he was safe here in the void. They declared he would be the one to shine bright and act as a beacon for mankind.
G'raha Tia asked how to do this, telling the clones that he needed their guidance. They offered him the gift of their blood, enhancing the presence of the royal Allagan line within him. Receiving this gift caused both of G'raha Tia's eyes to turn to the royal red of the Allagan bloodline. With this gift, he would be able to take control of the tower and prevent it from being entered again. The Cloud of Darkness attacked again, and the clones told the group to run.
On the way back to the voidgate, Doga and Unei managed to annul the contract Xande made long ago, causing the bridge between the two worlds to be unstable. While G'raha Tia and the Warrior of Light were close to escaping, Nero had collapsed on the bridge, the darkness of the void taking its toll on him. When the two tried to help him, he simply told them to leave him, that if he fell here, it would be because he made the decision to. He failed to control the darkness, and wasn't about to watch "some green boy take control of the tower". Insisting they flee and save themselves, and with the voidgate coming increasingly closer to collapsing, G'raha Tia and the Warrior of Light begrudgingly leapt through the gate.
Alone, Nero got to his feet shakily, saying this would not be where he fell. With his determination returning to him, he felt the darkness leave his body, signaling the complete dissolution of the Allagan contract. His strength returning to him, he sprinted to the voidgate. Just before reaching it, the bridge shattered, and he fell. Luckily, Cid was able to pull him through at the last minute.
On the other side of the voidgate, the remaining members of NOAH were doing everything they could to keep the gate open, and when G'raha Tia and the Warrior of Light came through, Cid knew something was wrong. He told the other members of NOAH to hold the gate as long as they could, and leapt through to save Nero. When they both emerged, the gate finally shut behind them.
Aftermath of the Expedition
Celebrating their hard-earned victory, and mourning the loss of Doga and Unei, NOAH and the members of the Sons of Saint Coinach headed back to Saint Coinach's Find to rest and discuss how to seal the tower. On the way back, a barrier erected behind them at the door, separating them from G'raha Tia.
With the blood of the Allagans, he remembered the purpose of his bloodline: to safeguard the tower. This mission was given to Desch by the last heir of the Allagan bloodline so many millennia ago: Princess Salina. They were to watch for the return of the tower, then use the power of the Royal Allagan bloodline to seal it and send it back into its slumber. And now, that duty fell to G'raha Tia.
The members of NOAH argued with him, pleading for him to return to camp with them where they could discuss this, but G'raha Tia's mind was made up. He would stay and slumber within the tower. Then, when mankind's knowledge rivaled that of the Allagans, he would awaken and guide them into a brighter future. Realizing there would be no changing his mind, the members of NOAH promised to work hard and close that gap of knowledge and wake him up before he knew it. Saying goodbye a final time, the doors to the Syrcus Tower closed, and it fell to sleep once more.
Once back to camp, the members of NOAH recovered, and spent time compiling their notes with the ones G'raha Tia had made, and created a full report on their discoveries within the Crystal Tower, so the knowledge of what they found could be cataloged, but not misused. With the tower asleep, Nero left the group of NOAH to set out and discover the next Allagan relic he would try to use to overcome the name of "Garlond".