There was nothing more they could have done.
She had to remind herself of this every day, even if her heart refused to believe it. It was hard to when one's dreams so vividly replayed the last moments you were truly you; when one's dreams unveiled paths not taken, words unsaid, opportunities your friends had simply been too slow or weak to claim. When she rested her head, closed her eyes, she was plagued with what might have been; and merciless gods, there were so many things that might have been!
They had tried so hard to save you and they had failed.
Everything was going better than expected, up until the moment you faced Emet-Selch. The Ascian was powerful, a greater match than the Scions together could face. But you… You were the Warrior of Light, the Warrior of Darkness. The bearer of Hydaelyn's blessing and the bringer of shadow. If not you, then who?
No one. This they realized suddenly and painfully.
Alisaie had not seen you turn. Emet-Selch had already tossed her aside like she was nothing more than a pestering gnat. The others soon followed, but by the time the strongest of them came-to, you were already near gone.
They said it was an awful sight, beautiful in a way that ripped their hearts to shreds and singed what little hope they had left. What you became killed them all in a way that no physical blade could. Had the Crystal Exarch not risen and used what little remained of his strength to teleport them all to safety, then you would have physically slaughtered them, too.
She hated that she could not save you, but Alisaie was grateful her last real glimpse of you was while you were still yourself. When she closed her eyes and dreamed of what could have been, she saw you as she would always remember; strong and bold, a light in the darkness and a comforting shadow in the blazing light. Her inspiration, her comrade, her…
Months had passed. For a time, Emet kept you locked away in his illusion of a city, holding you like a savage pet. They did not know what he did to you, what he said, nor what he wanted. It was assumed that he made you stronger, somehow; that he sculpted you for his own gain, to use you as the final catalyst to rejoin the First with the Source. Eventually he set you free, but by then you were far gone from the Warrior of Light you had been… and in the time since, Norvrandt had suffered under your terror.
You were hard to track and impossible to slay, and gods know there were many who had tried. Thancred had been the first, his fury driving him to near madness. Even Alisaie, who felt her own mind would tear itself apart in her heartache and rage, could not match his thirst for vengeance. Minfillia was gone and now you, and somehow poor Ryne was not enough to hold him back. He went after you and she followed…
You did not bother to turn either of them; they were slain, quick and clean, and their aether consumed by the Eaters you commanded.
The Crystal Exarch and Urianger were the next to seek you out, but neither dared draw close enough for you to kill. Or perhaps they did and simply fled. No one knows, for upon their return, Urianger retreated to the fae lands and the Exarch locked himself within the tower. Neither spoke of what they did or saw, and though the Exarch eventually left his haven, Urianger did not once leave Il Mheg.
Where hope once united Norvrandt, fear and despair now shattered the world.
Y'shtola made for the Greatwood, unwilling to waste the time and energy on a lost cause. Alphinaud returned to Eulmore, finding a distraction in helping the people there.
Alisaie considered returning to her post in Amh Araeng, but instead chose to remain at the Crystarium.
There she spent the days training and hunting sin eaters in the surrounding forest.
She trained hard, often remembering past training sessions she had spent with you. Always, Alisaie longed to be better, stronger. There was a prowess in you that she was determined to match and nothing would change that; not even your becoming a Light Warden.
And so she trained and trained and trained herself sick. She trained and kept a keen ear on any news of your presence, any knowledge of your whereabouts and doings. She learned to track your path from what rumors she heard. Like so many powerful eaters before you, you had the habit of following a familiar journey. You began in the desert and then moved to Kholusia, retracing the first steps in your adventures. Afterward you would end up in Il Mheg and then the Greatwood. From there, a return to Kholusia and then back to Amh Araeng.
The only place you would not wander was Lakeland. Alisaie could not understand why.
Most news about you came on sorrowful wings. More often than not your presence meant death, for innocent civilians and the brave adventurers who sought to end you. Cruel and foolish as it was, the rumors that none could kill you only gave the bold hunters more reason to try. But all those who tried failed, and all those who would try were destined to follow.
Alisaie knew this, for she knew what none of them could.
You had a weakness.
And your weakness was her.
It was for this reason that Alisaie trained and tracked your whereabouts. When she felt the time was right, she would hunt you herself.
She did not expect to kill you – she was skilled and confident, but not an idiot. She knew that you would kill her as easily as you had killed Thancred and Ryne, But whatever happened, she had to face you, she had to fight you, because that is what you would have wanted. You would not have wanted your friends to give up just because you were now a monster. No, Alisaie knew you would want them to keep fighting, to slay you and rid the world of all Light Wardens; to finish what you had begun or die trying.
She was willing to die trying.
And if, by some miracle, the Gods did grant her the strength to bring you down, then she expected you would fall together .
She was your weakness, after-all.
But you were also hers.