FFXII - Script - Ch 1: Opening - Giza Plains

[A flock of birds fly through the air, as an airship flies by and we see the overview of a sprawling city. We're told it's "Year 704 Old Valendian", and the city in question is the Royal City of Rabanastre in the Kingdom of Dalmasca. The marketplace is bustling with activity, as we're introduced to assorted races; Humes (humans), the lizard-like Bangaa, the sultry rabbit-eared Viera, the piggish Seeqs. The beat of a drum erupts into the grand orchestral flourish a massive parade/procession celebrates the impending nuptials of Princess Ashe of Dalmasca and Lord Rasler of Nabradia. Inside the cathedral...]

Priest: In the name of the Father, and in the presence of these holy relics... I hereby pronounce you man and wife from this time forth. May the blessings of the gods light your path for all eternity. Faram.

[They kiss. Time jumps ahead, and the music grows more ominous... a knight in armor marches down a hallway towards a war room, where military operations are being discussed]

Man: If Archadia should launch by both land and air, our Kingdom will stand little -

[The door opens. Everyone turns to look at it - it's the knight. We see the King of Dalmasca standing at the head of the table; Lord Rasler is also there]

Knight: Nabudis has fallen!

King: Impossible!

Rasler: My father?

Knight: I know not. I am sorry.

Man: If Nabudis has indeed fallen... it is only a matter of time before they reach the borders of Dalmasca. There is nothing to halt their advance.

King: Secure Nalbina with all haste.

Knight: I will go.

[The Knight turns around and heads to the door...]

Rasler: And I will go at his side.

[The King is somewhat surprised; Rasler turns and leaves. We see preparations for the oncoming battle, as airships descend and legions of soldiers march in formation through the streets of Rabanastre. At the top of the stairs leading into the royal palace, the King hands a sword to Rasler]

King: Galtea stand watch over your life.

Rasler: That I be considered worthy.

[He looks at his wife (Ashe), then turns around to face the massive crowd, lifting his sword into the air & shouting a battle cry as the soldiers cheer. The airships lift into the sky...]

[...and the scene cuts to nighttime, as the airship gets blasted into pieces. At the Dalmasca-Nabradia Border, a fierce battle for the very existence of Dalmasca is occurring at Nalbina Fortress. A barrier of blue energy, only visible when something strikes it, protects the fortress from enduring any physical damage from above]

[At the ground level, Archadian soldiers break through the main gate, and a vicious swordfight occurs between them and the Dalmascan soldiers on the other side. A pair of knights are on chocobos]

Knight #1: Decurion!

Knight #2: Sir!

[They attempt to cut a path through the soldiers, but get knocked off their chocobos after a few seconds]

[Above the fray, riding along a bridge (with another massive swordfight involving hundreds in front of them) are Lord Rasler and the Knight from Dalmasca, also on chocobos. The Knight takes down several soldiers with his bow; Rasler strikes them with his sword]

Knight: The Fortress is lost! We must withdraw!

Rasler! No! The paling still stands!

[He looks up at the blue barrier of energy. Inside a tall tower, several priests hold their hands up, surrounding a large crystal in the centre of the room]

Priests: Shield beyond sight, ne'er failing light.

[Their chant is broken up by the arrival of Archadian soldiers, who promptly slice them up. The energy dissipates from the crystal, as the Paling fails, and the Fortress beings to receive damage]

Rasler: The Paling's fallen.

Knight: Then it's over.

Rasler: For my father. For my father!

[The Knight gasps; a soldier in the distance has his bow primed & ready, with Rasler as his target!]

Knight: Lord Rasler!

[The Knight fires an arrow which takes the soldier down, but too late; Rasler gets struck, right in the heart area. The Knight picks him up off of his chocobo, but by this point they're surrounded on all sides by Archadian soldiers... the Knight looks up, as an airship gets struck, and falls, landing in a tremendous explosion. It's a sufficient distraction for the Knight as his chocobo barrels through the crowd. Too little too late, though, as Nalbina Fortress has fallen to enemy forces...]

[Another scene change; a gray, rainy day in Rabanastre, and Ashe is wearing a black headdress... ]

Priest: Blessings of the Great Father descend... and guide your body's return to the earth.

[In front of her is Rasler, in his casket adorned by flowers]

Priest: Great Father, guide your spirit's return... to the Mother of All. There, you shall find peace. Faram.

[Outside, under overcast skies, we see a murder of crows pecking at assorted wreckage, as a pair of enemy airships fly overhead..... "Final Fantasy XII" is emblazoned across the screen]

[Next up: the first of many voiceovers from what will become a familiar face - Marquis Halim Ondore]

The death of Lord Rasler Helos Nabradia was but one of many tragedies to befall the Kingdom of Dalmasca.

The air of hope that had surrounded H.R.H. Princess Ashe's wedding was now quite lost: Dalmasca had been set adrift, at the mercy of history's restless tides.

[An image of the map of Ivalice is shown; an area in the lower left corner is named "Rozarria" and is tinged with blue, while an area in the upper right corner is named "Archades" and tinged with red. The remainder of the land is tinged with a beige colour; the strip of land between the two countries is labelled Nabradia]

At this time, two great empires struggled for dominion over Ivalice: Archadia in the east, Rozarria in the West.

The invasion of the kingdom of Nabradia was Archadia's first step in its westward march.

With Lord Rasler's beloved homeland consumed by the hell-fires of war, it seemed clear that Archadia would soon mete out a like fate to Dalmasca.

The fall of the fortress at Nalbina tolled the destruction of the greater part of Dalmasca's forces.

A counter-attack was mounted by the Order of the Knights of Dalmasca, ever brave and faithful, but against the martial might of the Archadian armies, they stood little chance of victory.

Indeed, their defeat was to be absolute.

Soon thereafter, Archadia came forward offering terms of peace. Or, as one might rather put it, terms of Dalmasca's surrender.

Lord Raminas, King of Dalmasca - and my dear friend - had no choice but to accept these terms. It was, thus, only with reluctance that he set out for Nalbina Fortress - now under Archadian occupation - to affix his seal to the Emperor's treaty of peace.

The King had scarce departed his royal city of Rabanastre when the remnants of the Order made their return. And not a moment too soon, for a terrible revelation awaited them.

The treaty would be signed with steel and writ in royal blood.

-Memoirs of Mqs Halim Ondore IV. Chapter 12: Of the Fall of Kingdoms.

[The voiceover stops; the screen is pitch black. A booming voice cuts through the silence]

You, there. Can you hear me?

[The individual being spoken to slowly opens his eyes. A knight is crouching in front of him; another soldier is beside him]

Soldier: It's as I feared. They're slowing us down.

Knight: Do not say that. Not all of us are here for love of battle. He fights to defend his homeland.

[We see the face of the individual who slowly opened his eyes. We also see the face of the Knight; it's the same one who was with Rasler in the opening FMV]

Knight: Your name?

Reks: Reks, sir. My name's Reks.

Knight: Good. Reks. You bore a few cuts, but you are still whole. Well, can you stand?

[He hand is outstretched; Reks grabs it and stands up. The bottom right portion of the screen notes that they're at "Nalbina Fortress - North Ward". As the camera pans up at the fortress, we see several injured, possibly dead soldiers, scattered around them]

Knight: Think you can fight?

Reks: I'm fine, sir.

Knight: How old are you, Reks?

Reks: Seventeen, sir.

Knight: Young. Family?

Reks: My brother is all I have left, sir. He's two years younger than I. Living in Rabanastre.

Knight: So young. You're barely old enough to be a man. You shouldn't be forced to wield a sword.

Reks: No, sir. I want to fight. For my homeland and for my parents.

Soldier: Time, Basch! Save the discussion for later. We must reach the King before they act! Or all our efforts will be in vain.

Basch: I'm aware of the situation.

-We've found them!
-Over there!

[A group of enemy soldiers, outfitted in armor and helmets, holding swords & shields, storm out of the fortress]

Basch: Vossler, go ahead! I will handle this rabble.

[The remaining Dalmascan units race toward the fortress. Vossler, the aforementioned soldier, gestures to Basch]

Vossler: Godspeed.

[Vossler heads off. The enemy soldiers reach Basch, and he wrecks them all with his Knightly prowess. Reks gasps]

Basch: Steady, Reks. Keep your wits about you and you'll make it. We move!

[Basch runs in; Reks follows. After some in-game tutelage, Reks speaks to a nearby Dalmascan]

Dalmascan: Life is worth too much to throw away, Reks. Do what you can, but don't try to be a hero. Save the hero stories for your brother once we're back in Rabanastre. Just listen to the Captain and we'll get through this.

Basch: We'll enter the fortress through this gate. We must go.

[More gameplay; open the gate]

Basch: It is time. We will drive back any Imperials standing between us and the King. Dalmasca's future hangs in the balance. Stay focused on the foes before you, Reks. I will watch rearward.

[They enter, and the group heads forward... but Basch is perplexed. Reks turns to face him]

Reks: Captain?

[Basch looks up; one of the floating mechanical units from the opening cutscene is there, facing them! It rapidly descends, and we're thrust into a boss battle vs. Air Cutter Remora. After the battle; the Air Cutter is floating in front of them. Basch steps forward and lets look a viscious beam of dark energy, wrecking it. The pilot calls in for assistance]

Remora pilot: Antlion, this is Tonberry! My engines are hit. She'll not hold much longer!

Antlion pilot: We receive you, Tonberry. You've leave to retire. Well fought.

Remora pilot: My thanks, Antlion! Tonberry disengaging!

[It flies off]

[Next screen; the group runs ahead, while Basch and Reks stay behind]

Basch: Vossler. Where are you?

Reks: What if Captain Azelas has fallen?

Basch: [Turns to face Reks] Don't talk such nonsense! Vossler's laughed in the face of Death far too many times for him to stop now. Men like him don't die in places like this. [He turns and walks forward, Reks follows] We must make haste to reach the King. We will take him to safety.

Reks: Is his majesty unharmed?

Basch: He'll agree to an unconditional surrender. They would not dare touch him until the wax on his seal is dry.

Reks: But if we arrive after he's signed the treaty--

Basch: Wait.

[They stop]

Basch: Quickly, Reks!

[They make their way through the fortress. Eventually...]

Intruders! Don't let them escape!

[We see enemy units running up the stairs, as the Dalmascan remnants run along]

Reks: Sir! We have little time! You must go to the King! I'll handle these!

Basch: Fight well.

[Basch leaves, and Reks takes on some swordsmen. Afterwards, he proceeds to where the King should be. The door to the room is slightly open. Reks goes inside inside and gasps.. the bodies of soldiers, both Archadian and Dalmascan, are spread out around the floor. Reks slowly moves forward, eventually setting his gaze on the throne - where the murdered King of Dalmasca is slumped over, blood seeping from a wound on the left side of his chest. The sound of Reks' heartbeat is heard.]

Reks: Your Majesty...

[He suddenly turns around; Basch is there, and he stabs Reks!]

Reks: Captain, why? Our King - what have you done?

Basch: The King intended all along to sell Dalmasca to the Empire. His Majesty was a traitor.

[Basch walks towards the throne. Reks slowly turns to face him, the dagger still embedded in his stomach]

Reks: Captain, I-

[He falls down. Basch turns to see a battalion of Archadian soldiers storm in... along with someone possessing a noble, forceful voice]

Voice: Seize the insurgent!

Soldier: M'lord!

[Reks struggles to stay conscious; he's able to see the possessor of the voice, as he approaches Basch, who's being restrained by a couple of soldiers]

Voice: Well, so much for peaceful negotiations.

Basch: We'll never surrender to you! We are not cattle to be sold by a traitor-king!

Voice: But the war is over, my dear captain. You have lost. Dalmasca is the property of the Empire, now. And to think, we intended to let you keep some of your sovereignty , out of respect. But now you've gone and ruined that. Haven't you, Captain?

Basch: We will never bow to you!

Voice: And the people of Dalmasca will hate you for it. Take the captain away.

[Reks slowly closes his eyes, as we hear his laboured breathing...]

Reks: Vaan...

[Back to Ondore's voiceover]

Pretenses of peace left by the wayside, the Archadian forces resumed their advance toward Rabanastre. Dalmasca's doom had been decided.

To make resistance would serve no end. With this foremost in my thoughts, I, to the people of Dalmasca:

"Sons and Daughters of Dalmasca. I bid you lay down your Arms. Raise songs of prayer in their stead. Prayer for His Majesty, King Raminas, ever merciful. A man devoted wholly to peace.

"Prayer, too, for the noble Princess Ashe, who, wrought with grief at her kingdom's defeat, has taken her own life."

"Know also that Captain Basch for Ronsenburg, for incitement of sedition and the assassination of H.R.M. King Raminas, has been found guilty of high treason and put to this death.

"They who at this late hour choose still the sword are cut of the same cloth as the captain: traitors who would lead Dalmasca to her Ruin."

Dalmasca's surrender without terms was soon to follow.

-Memoirs of Mqs Halim Ondore IV.
Chapter 13: The Province of Allies

[Scene change; an elaborate underground sewer system; waterfalls gush in the distance. A couple of rats are scurrying about. Our hero, Vaan, is standing around, small sword in hand. A boy shouts to him]

Boy: Vaan! Hurry it up or they'll find us!

Vaan: I know, I know! Just a little more. You keep an eye out for me up there, Kytes. [Vaan looks at the rats] One... two... three more. Right. Time to clean house.

[Vaan kills the rats]

Kytes: Wow, Vaan! You got 'em all yourself? Guess I know who to call when something big comes along!

Vaan: Hey, it's good practice for the desert. I'm ready for anything now.

[Vaan walks up to where Kytes was waiting. The two begin to walk out of the area]

Vaan: That's enough for today. You should get back to Migelo's place, Kytes. Aren't you running errands for him?

Kytes: Oops! Heh. Totally forgot. You should come, Vaan. He's busy today. Might have some work for you to do, too.

Vaan: I've got other "work" to do. Hey, lock this place up for me, will you? If Migelo finds out we've been down here, he'll tan our hides.

[Scene change; it's a sunny day, not a cloud in the blue sky, and the camera descends on a bustling market of a large city. "The Royal City of Rabanastre" is displayed on the screen. It also notes it's "Year 706 Old Valendian, Two years after the fall of Dalmasca". Vaan tosses a fruit into the air, catches it, and takes a bit out of it. An Archadian soldier with a surly British accent is harassing one of the vendors]

Soldier #2: Huh? What'd you say?

Vendor: Sir, you haven't paid, and-

[The soldier chokes him]

Soldier #1: What? Haven't paid?

Vendor: On second thought, please, sir. Take it. It is a gift.

Soldier #2: Leave the poor sod be. We don't want trouble today.

[The first soldier removes his chokehold]

Soldier #1: Your luck, peddler.

[As the soldier walks away, Vaan bumps into him before running off]

Vaan: Sorry!

Soldier #1: Watch where you're going, churl!

Soldier #2: What? My pouch! It's gone!

Soldier #1: The boy!

[They try to run after Vaan, but the marketplace is blocked by a large Bangaa]

Soldier #1: Get out of the way!

[The Bangaa doesn't move; the soldiers are stuck and go "arrrgh!" out of frustration. Elsewhere, Vaan stops running, pouch in hand. He turns around to make sure he's not being pursued, when somebody behind him grabs the pouch! A peppy blonde-haired girl is holding the pouch, and scowls at Vaan]

Vaan: Hey, that's mine!

Girl: What do you mean, "yours"? You've been stealing again. What happens if they catch you? We need you to be there for us, Vaan. You're no good to anyone if you're locked away in a dungeon!

[Vaan walks away]

Vaan: Oh, what, am I the leader now? We're orphans. The first thing you learn is you gotta watch out for yourself. C'mon Penelo. You know it as well as I do.

[Vaan turns around; Penelo is peering inside the pouch]

Vaan: Hey, you give that back! What do you think you're doing?

Penelo: I thought that this money was the people of Dalmasca's property. The Imperials stole it from us, so it's only fair that we take it back. It's our duty as Dalmascans. Well, wasn't that what you said?

[She takes out a single silver coin; Vaan grabs the pouch back from her]

Vaan: Yeah, but I never said anything about taking it back from me!

Penelo: This is for that bread you took the other day. Just because I help Migelo out every now and then... it doesn't mean that you get to eat for free, too, you know.

Vaan: I know that. You think I like living like this?

[A shadow passes over the two of them. They look up to see an airship passing overhead, blotting out the sun. Vaan gazes at it longingly]

Vaan: One of these days I'll fly an airship of my own. I'll be a sky pirate, free to go where I will.

[Penelo looks at him, smiles, and walks away]

Penelo: Well, be careful. You'll never fly anything if you're rotting in a dungeon! Oh, Migelo had some errands that need doing. He wanted you to drop by his place. It might be a good idea to lend a hand!

[Vaan goes there... an elderly blue Bangaa is standing in front of Migelo's shop; Vaan approaches him]

Migelo: Ah, Vaan, I was waiting.

Vaan: Penelo said you needed something?

Migelo: Ah! Had me some packages supposed to be arriving by courier in the morning. Perhaps he ran into some trouble out in the desert. Now I've no foodstuffs to prepare for the banquet tonight!

Vaan: So you want me to find this courier? Hey, no problem!

Migelo: No problem? The desert teems with trouble. I'd be sending you to an early grave, m'boy. No, I've arranged for some replacement goods from Tomaj over at the Sandsea.

Vaan: So you want me to go to the tavern to pick 'em up.

Migelo: Actually, I asked Kytes to do that. Wouldn't you know he's gone missing on me, too. Bah. I can't leave my shop, and I've got Penelo on another chore at the moment, you see. I want you to run over to the sandsea and fetch Kytes back! What do you say?

Vaan: Sounds wild.

Migelo: It's easy work, and you'll thank me for it someday.

[Vaan walks off, heading to the Sandsea, the local drinking establishment. Inside, Vaan comes across Kytes, who's looking at a board with various papers posted on it]

Vaan: There you are, Kytes. Stop loafing around!

Kytes: Look, Vaan, look! This is it! This is why Migelo's courier didn't get here on time!

[Vaan leans forward to read a posting]

Vaan: "Creature spotted in the Estersand." What is that thing?

Tomaj: Ah, Vaan. Migelo send you, too, did he? He's a busy man these days, that Migelo, if I dare say so myself. I don't envy him the work, though. Not a bit. Quite the affair, throwing a banquet to welcome the Imperials, eh?

Vaan: Welcoming? We should be - ah, whatever. Say, Tomaj, what's this?

Tomaj: Ah, don't remind me. Got some nastiness out there in the Estersand what's stopping our couriers... And that means shortages all around. Thought I'd put up a bill... Offer a reward to anyone who can knock that nasty back in its place.

Vaan: Now that's work. Sounds ten times better than running errands for Migelo.

Kytes: That's right! Vaan, you should give it a shot!

Vaan: And you should be getting back to Migelo. Now, Kytes. He was waiting for you.

Kytes: Oh! Right, right.

[Kytes runs off. Vaan and Tomaj glance at the posting board. Tomaj explains the process of hunts and marks]

Tomaj: So, here's how it works. People post bills here on the notice board when they have a monster they need taken care of. Headhunters track people, right? Well, hunter track monsters. The monster you're hunting is called your mark. [The bill appears on-screen] Here's the bill I posted for the Rogue Tomato, the mark I've petitioned to have hunted.

[Tomaj then gives you all the details about hunts, marks and petitioners. You obtain the Clan Primer]

Tomaj: Go ahead and take this, while you're at it. Just a little something to commemorate your first hunt. [Obtain Orrachea Armlet!] Hmm, looks like you can't even equip that yet. Know why? You don't have the license for it. Think of licenses as mile posts, marking your progress as your combat skills improve. Swords, bows, black magicks, white magicks... none of it does you a lick of good until you have the license to use it. Same goes for that armlet. Tomaj, how can I equip this great treasure you've bestowed on me, you ask? Easy: learn by doing. Let's give it a try.

[License tutorial continues. Licenses get added to the Party Menu]

Tomaj: I'd say you're ready to hunt that mark for me. Oh, you'll be needing this to leave the city. Just show it to the watch at the gate. [Obtain writ of transit] The East Gate's the one you'll want to head out. Once you've taken care of that mark for me, let me know. Your work won't go unrewarded.

[Vaan heads towards the East Gate, but then...]

Soldier: You there! Let's see some papers, boy. No public passage on account of the Lord Consul's parade.

Vaan: Oh, gee, that's too bad. You see, it just so happens that your provisioner for the fete tonight... he sent me to pick up a few choice morsels for the, uh, Consul's dining pleasure. He wants 'em quick. I got the writ of transit right here. See? Signed: Migelo. I'd just hate to see the Consul upset because his food wasn't ready on time. And I'd sure hate to see him take it out on you.

Soldier: The Lord Consul is a great man... and not one to take offense at such trifling... matters...

[Two other soldiers approach him. He looks at them and grumbles]

Soldier: Move along, boy. Wouldn't do to keep the Consul waiting. Right! Gates are closed after this!

[The Gate opens up; Vaan walks out and ventures into the Dalmasca Estersand, encountering the Rogue Tomato. Upon defeating it, Vaan approaches it, but is distracted by nearby flowers]

Vaan: Galbana lilies? [He approaches them] Never thought I'd see them growing out here. [He grabs them; just two flowers] This'll make a nice souvenir. Time to call it a day.

[You obtain a handful of Galbana Lilies! Once it's defeated, Vaan returns to Rabanastre, only to find the doors to the city are barred shut and a group of people are standing outside. Kytes is one of them]

Kytes: Ah, Vaan! I guess I'm not the only one who got locked out of the city! I told Penelo about the mark you were going after, and I guess I got her worrying. So the two of us headed out here to find you. As soon as I stepped out, the guards closed the gates and things got crazy. I haven't been able to find her since.

Soldier: Stand back, there! Back! This gate's closed until the ceremony's over, do you hear?

Vaan: [sighs] Now what?

[A fancily-garbed white chocobo passes beside Vaan]

Soldier: Open the gate! [The gate opens] All right, out of the way!

Vaan: Wait a second! How come you let these chocobos through the gate and not us?

Soldier: What of it?

Soldier #2: This here's a pedigreed parader, boy. Cost tens of thousands of gil, this one did.

Soldier: A prettier price than a hundred of you provincials would fetch.

Soldier #2: Keep your distance! We don't want the chocobos stinking of peasant.

Vaan: What did you say?

Soldier: Step aside!

[The soldier shoves Vaan aside, as the chocobo moves forward]

Soldier: Right then, move 'em in.

[Vaan notices the chocobo stepped all over his Galbana Lillies...]

Vaan: That does it.

Migelo: Ho ho! A fine, fine chocobo you have there. Yes! Tchita Downs stock, if I'm not mistaken. Change the soil, change the chocobo. Am I right?

[Migelo steps out of the open gate, with Penelo following behind him. She rushes to Vaan's side]

Migelo: Yes, yes. Different soil means different bouquet, too. Take a Dalmascan Barose wine, eh? It may lack the flavor and depth of some of your Archadian wines... but it has a certain strength of character. It's not bad, really, once you get used to it. Care for some, sirs? There's more than enough for all to cool their throats, of course.

[The first soldier grabs the wine and speaks to the second, standing beside him]

Soldier: You, let these carts through then we close this gate as ordered.

[The second soldier nods, as the first walks away]

Soldier: My mail's choked with this sand.

[Migelo nods, as the people gathered in front of the gate pass through. Migelo turns to face Vaan, whose arm is being held by Penelo]

Migelo: Don't give me a scare like that. You're lucky that ended where it did.

Penelo: Right. Now's our chance to go through.

[A bell begins to ring in Rabanastre]

Migelo: Ah, the ceremony'll be starting soon. I'd best be hurrying.

Penelo: Okay, well -

[Vaan runs inside, Penelo chases after him]

Penelo: Vaan! Wait! What is it? Vaan?

[FMV; A float ventures through the streets of Rabanastre. Vaan chases after it, followed by Penelo. The man stands on the float is the "Voice" from Nalbina Fortress! The one who was there when Basch stabbed the King! Eventually, Vaan stops running after it, and Penelo holds his arm. Outside the Palace, a large group of people are waiting to hear this individual speak... a Judge stands at the podium]

Judge: We will have order! I give you your new consul... His Imperial Highness Lord Vayne Solidor... Commandant of the Archadian Empire's Western Ar-

[Vayne walks towards the crowd]

Judge: Your Excellency!

[He approaches his float, as we see Vaan and Penelo sitting in bleachers on the side of the rode. Vayne steps up to the top of his float]

Vayne: People of Rabanastre! Is it with hatred you look upon your consul? With hatred, you look upon the Empire?

[The crowd reacts negatively]

-Spit on your Empire!
-Go back to Archadia!

Vayne: There was little point in asking. But know this: I harbor no idle hopes of frustrating that hatred. Nor shall I ask your fealty. That is the due of your fallen king, and rightly so. King Raminas loved his people. Strove to bring you peace. His was a rule worthy of your devotion. Even now, he remains among you, protecting you. His ardor for the peace and weal of Dalmasca falters not. I would ask only that you do your king honor. Together, let us embrace the peace His Majesty would surely desire. Two years now divide us from war's bitter end. Yet still its shadow looms over all, stifling the infant peace. A pall only you may cast off! Achieve but this one thing... and your hatred of me, and of the Empire, will grieve me not!

[Members of the crowd look amongst each other, some in disbelief at what they're hearing]

Vayne: I will stand fast. I will endure your hatred, suffer your slings and arrows. I will defend Dalmasca! Here I will pay my debt! I swear it now! Though King Raminas and Lady Ashe be gone, they stand ever at the side of their people. In honoring peace... you do honor to their memory, and to Dalmasca. What I ask, I ask plain. My hopes now rest with you.

[Vayne bows, and the crowd begins to cheer. Penelo and Vaan, who were bored on the verge of falling asleep, are more than surprised to hear the positive reaction around them.

[Back to regular cutscenes: Vayne steps off the float]

Soldier: Is Rabanastre to your liking, my Lord?

Vayne: It is magnificent! Take this cathedral, for instance.

[Vayne gestures to a massive cathedral looming in the distance; the soldier turns around to see it]

Vayne: Elegant, yet whimsical in its execution. A stunning example of Galtean architecture. I hope Lord Gramis might one day look upon it himself.

[The scene cuts back to Vaan and Penelo in the stands. Vaan is staring intently at Vayne; Penelo looks at him. Back to the soldier and Vayne...]

Soldier: The patron of this evening's banquet, may it please Your Excellency.

[Migelo bows, then kneels]

Migelo: I am Migelo, Your Highness. It is truly a profound honor to make the acquaintance... of our future emperor, Highness. The people of Rabanastre join me in welcoming-

Vayne: That's enough of "Highness." Though indeed I am our emperor's son, I am no prince. Archadia's emperor is freely chosen by her people. I am but an elected official and nothing more.

Migelo: [hangs head in shame] I meant no disrespect.

Vayne: Now that I think on it... I would not have you address me as Lord Consul, for that matter. Henceforth, I am a citizen of Rabanastre. Why don't you call me Vayne?

Migelo: Eh, I could not. That would not be right.

Vayne: You are overly fond of formalities. I've just the remedy for that.

[Vayne kneels, and puts his hand on Migelo's shoulder]

Vayne: Tonight you will join me, and we shall drink until you call me by name.

[They both stand up; Vayne walks away, Migelo grumbles dishearteningly and hangs his head again. Back to Vaan and Penelo in the stand]

Vaan: How can he stand to bow to him like that?

Penelo: Vaan, you just do not get it, do you. He's not doing it because he wants to. You know what would happen if he didn't?

Vaan: I know. It's just-

Penelo: So, what would you do different?

Vaan: I don't know. [sighs, stands up] Well, I'd do something.

[Scene change; the screen is black]

Penelo: Vaan? Vaan! You haven't heard a single word I've said, have you.

[Vaan and Penelo are taking a leisurely stroll down a street in Rabanastre]

Penelo: The place has changed so much. It's like it's not even Rabanastre anymore. Like the Empire is swallowing it whole.

Vaan: Hey, Penelo. That fete tonight. You think they'll let us in?

Penelo: Are you crazy? It's in the palace, and we don't have an invitation, if you hadn't noticed.

Vaan: So... How are we getting in?

Penelo: As if I'd know. Why not ask Migelo to get you in? Or go see Old Dalan in Lowtown. Why the sudden interest, Vaan?

Vaan: I told you! I'm going to take back what's ours! Give back to Dalmasca. C'mon, what do you think? If I find something, and it fetches a good price, how 'bout I, uh... I buy you all dinner!

Penelo: Oh please! You know as well as I do the first thing you'd buy is an airship! All hail Vaan, sky pirate of Dalmasca! It's got a nice ring to it! Stay outta trouble!

[She runs off]

Vaan: Hmm. An airship. I dunno. Maybe. But not through Migelo. Time to pay Old Dalan a visit.

[As Vaan runs off, the camera pans over to a group of Bangaa. The leader is grey skinned with a greenish head. A 4th Bangaa approaches them...]

[Vaan walks into Old Dalan's place. Dalan's an elderly, soft-spoken yet eccentric man with a rabbit in his lap; he pets the rabbit with one hand and grasps a hookah with the other]

Dalan: Ah, if it isn't Vaan Ratsbane. Come for a tip on how to skewer something bigger and in armor? By the east gate?

Vaan: What, you already heard about that?

Dalan: Wise as I may not be, but well-informed I am.

Vaan: They'll get what's coming to them someday, believe me. But that's not why I'm here.

Dalan: Do tell!

Vaan: I want to know how to sneak into the palace. They've got to have some great stuff in there! Thought I'd partake.

[Dalan laughs]

Dalan: Not one to mince words are you, boy. The Empire protects what's hers. That means the palace and all the treasures inside.

Vaan: That's why I'm gonna do it! To take back what's ours!

[They look at each other]

Dalan: So our champion of the sewers aspires to noble action. Admirable. Perhaps I can help you. Ah, now that I think on it, there was a rumor, yes. A secret passageway into the palace vaults, a door, and a magicked stone to open the way.

Vaan: That's it! This is exactly why I came to talk to you first, Dalan. So... where's this, uh, magicked stone?

Dalan: Eh? Oh, I've had it for years. If I can remember where I've tucked it away...

[Cutscene switches from voice acting to just text; you get the impression that Dalan's explained everything to Vaan]

Vaan: I've heard all I need. So this, uh, Crescent Stone. Can I have it? Then I can find that secret passage into the palace, right?

Dalan: Not much of a listener, are you... The Crescent Stone has lost its magicks. Without the power of a sunstone, it will be of little use.

Vaan: Right. So, where can I get one of these sunstones?

Dalan: You see Giza Plains. Speak with the Nomads there. You will find your sunstone. Leave by Southgate and continue south. Their village is not far. There are like to be beasts on the plains, so be careful, m'boy.

Vaan: You don't have to worry about me. I'll be back before you know it.

[Once Vaan exits Old Dalan's place...]

Vaan: Let's see, Giza Plains... Hang a right here, and I'm practically at Southgate. This'll be easy.

[Vaan goes to the Nomad Village in the Giza Plains]

Masyua: Have you come to see the dark crystals? Not everyone takes well to the heat of the Giza Plains. ...Ah, so it is a sunstone you seek! You've come to the right place. They can only be made here in Giza. They're quite valuable, though, so we can't go handing them out to just anyone who happens to wander through our camp. You see, we make and sell sunstones to earn the money we need to survive. Still, perhaps we can come to some arrangement... Would you hear my offer?

[Pick "Sure." or "No, thanks." Since you need this sunstone...]

Masyua: The making of sunstones is a chore we give to the children of our camp. They roam the plains, traveling from dark crystal to dark crystal, drawing the light from the crystals into shadestones. One of these children, Jinn, has not yet returned. He left carrying our supply of shadestones. If you'll find Jinn for me and tell him to come back to the camp, you may take one of the sunstones he's made in return. Some of the children said they might have seen him to the south of the camp. You may want to speak with them yourself before leaving. Please, find Jinn and tell him to return at once.

[Cutscene; Vaan approaches a group of children - and Penelo is with them!]

Vaan: Penelo? What are you doing here?

Penelo: I could ask you the same! Though the answer's pretty clear: no good.

Vaan: What? I'm being good.

Penelo: Hmm. Is that right? So then you wouldn't mind if I, say, tagged along, would you? Oh, don't worry. Migelo's busy with preparations for the fete up at the palace. Why, I'm free for the whole day. Well? Let's get going!

[Penelo joins the party! Now let's talk to "Nomad Youth", the kid standing in front of Vaan]

Camina: Guess what! I saw Jinn off in the south part of the plains-in the Crystal Glade. He was right by a small crystal. I asked if he wanted to come back to camp with me, but he said he still had some work to finish up. The Crystal Glade is to the south of our village. Just head out into Giza Plain and wind your way south. We take breaks in the glade, since monsters seem to stay away from it. I was a little worried because Jinn looked like he might have been hurt, but I was afraid to push him too hard to come back. Now I'm wondering if I did the right thing.

[When you try to leave the village...]

Penelo: Hey, Vaan. Let me give you these before we go. There are all sorts of monsters out there, so you can never be too careful!

[You obtain 3 potions, 2 tufts of Phoenix Down!]

Penelo: So far you've been traveling by yourself, but now that I'm here we can travel as a party. You can give commands to allies in your party just like you've been doing for yourself up to now. I'll make my own decisions about what to do, too, but you can also give me specific commands and I'll take care of those first. Got it?

[Vaan nods; you can now change leaders and issue party commands]

Penelo: Oh, one more thing! If you don't want me to fight on my own, you can always turn my gambits off. With my gambits turned off, I won't do anything until you give the word. You should really think about using gambits for yourself, you know. They can make managing a battle a lot easier.

[Gambits added to battle menu]

Penelo: Well, you ready to go?

[Exit the west side...]

Penelo: Vaan, wasn't Jinn supposed to be somewhere to the south of the village? If we work our way around, we should find him!

[The duo makes their way to Crystal Glade. Once there, they see a kid is sitting on the ground beside a large black stone]

Jinn: Yeah, my name's Jinn... What's it to ya? Masyua wants me to come back to the village, huh? Hmm, that could be a problem. Let's see... maybe my leg's better now.

[He tries to stand up, and crouches almost immediately]

Jinn: Nope, no good-still hurts. I tripped running from some monsters...guess I pulled something. I'm never gonna get any sunstones made like this. I just needed to make one more to be finished for today. I didn't want to head back short, so I thought I'd give my leg a rest and try again. Why are you out here looking for me, anyhow?

[Choose "Explain the situation" or "Leave". First option, naturally. He stands up]

Jinn: So you need a sunstone, huh? Well, if Masyua doesn't mind, I'll give you a shadestone. But I'm still not sure I can walk yet-you'll have to turn it into a sunstone, okay? Don't worry, I'll tell you how. You do know that we use dark crystals and shadestones to make sunstones, right?

[You obtain Shadestone]

Jinn: There's your shadestone. As for the dark crystals, you'll find them all over Giza Plains. This stone right here beside me is one of the smaller ones. The bigger crystals have something inside that soaks up sunlight and shines really bright. See that one over there? [They look at a shining crystal in the distance] If you take that shadestone I just gave you and bring it near one of those shining dark crystals, it will absorb the energy from it. There are four shining dark crystals in Giza right now. If you have trouble finding 'em, just stop and scan the horizon. There's no way to tell how much energy you can draw from any one crystal without trying. You shouldn't need to use all four, though. [A gauge appears: energy 0%] This gauge will show you how much energy the shadestone's absorbed. When it's full, you'll have yourself a sunstone! Once you've made the sunstone, bring it to me. I'll make sure it's up to snuff. I'll go ahead and mark the dark crystals on your map, too. See you back here when you're done!

[Vaan and Penelo charge up the sunstone]

Jinn: So here's what happened. Masyua's always warning us to stay away from the werewolves, right? Well, a bunch of us decided we'd have a little contest-see who's the bravest. It started out as a lark, but Tott said that none of us kids living on the plains should be scared of monsters... I guess I got carried away. Don't let any of the grown-ups know, though, okay? [Jinn kicks his hurt leg into the ground] Anyway...My leg's feeling better now. Let's head back to the village. I'll race ya-try and keep up! [Jinn waves at them and runs off; they follow him]

[Back in the village, Vaan and Penelo approach Masyua, with Jinn by her side]

Masyua: Jinn made it back home safe and sound. He is a good boy, but how his mind wanders! He never thinks of the worry it causes me! I'm sorry if he was any trouble. Please, take these with my thanks.

[He gives you 50 gil, 2 potions, 2 teleport stones]

Masyua: Jinn gave you a sunstone, yes? I hope it may be of some help to you.

[Vaan and Penelo exit the village]

Penelo: Hey, Vaan? It's been a long time since we did anything together. Too long. I had a really good time. Well, I should probably get back to the store. Actually, I was kind of supposed to be watching the place for Migelo. And, Vaan-Try to stay out of trouble. For me? I don't know what I'd do if you weren't here. If something happened to you.

Vaan: I'm not going anywhere. Okay?

Penelo: That's what I wanted to hear. See ya later.

[Penelo runs off]

Vaan: Sorry, Penelo.

[Penelo leaves the party]

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