FFXII - Script - Ch 3: Bhujerba - Dreadnought Leviathan

[Cutscene: Penelo is in a room, her hands bound]

Ba'Gamnan: You've seen to her feeding, yes?

Bangaa: I have, my brother. She eats well.

[Ba'Gamnan and his Bangaa entourage walk on-screen]

Ba'Gamnan: See that she does. We need her alive. Balthier's bait must be fresh.

Penelo: I keep trying to tell you! I barely even know who Balthier is!

Bangaa: My brother! A message come from Rabanastre! The Strahl, she's set sail! She makes straight for the Skycity of Bhujerba!

Ba'Gamnan: Barely know, was it? Yet at a trice he goes bounding off for you. Tell me, how could that be?

Penelo: That's what I'd like to know! I just met him that one time-

Ba'Gamnan: Does that tongue never stop? What if we plucked it from your head?

[He turns to his comrades]

Ba'Gamnan: As for you! We need Balthier alive! His corpse fetches but half the bounty!

[They begin to leave the room]

Bangaa: A tender beating. My specialty!

Other Bangaa: There's no fun for it if we can't tease out a scream or two!

[Penelo's all alone, frowning]

Penelo: Where are you?

[She looks outside the window. FMV: the Strahl soars through clouds, reaching the floating continent and the aforementioned Skycity of Bhujerba. The quartet debark into the Aerodrome. Several Archadian soldiers are passing through it]

Balthier: [to Basch] Easy.

[Basch nods]

Soldier: No good. He's not here. Keep searching!

[The soldiers run off]

Balthier: You're a dead man. Don't forget it. And no names.

Basch: Of course.

[The group exits the Aerodrome. "The Skycity of Bhujerba" is plastered across the screen]

Balthier: The Lhusu Mines are just up ahead. Though, I do hear there's not much left there these days.

Boy: You're on your way to the mines?

[A young boy, possibly teenager, is nearbye. His hair is jet black and he has an air of nobility about himself...]

Boy: Then please, allow me to accompany you. I've an errand to attend to there.

Basch: What manner of errand?

Boy: What errand? I might ask the same of you.

Balthier: Right, come on then.

Vaan: What?

Boy: Excellent.

Balthier: Do me a favor and stay where I can keep my eye on you. Should be less trouble that way.

Boy: For us both.

Vaan: So what's your name?

Boy: Oh, I-I'm Lamont.

Vaan: Don't worry. I don't know what's in that mine, Lamont, but you're in good hands. Right, Basch?

[Balthier momentarily has a shocked expression, then looks ticked off. Basch sighs; Balthier smirks. Vaan smiles. Lamont joins the party as a guest!]

[The group makes their way through Bhujerba, eventually arriving at the entrance to...]

Balthier: The Lhusu Mines: one of the richest veins in Ivalice.

Basch: Under Imperial guard, no doubt.

Lamont: Actually, no. With but few exceptions, the Imperial army is not permitted in Bhujerba. Well, shall we proceed?

[Lamont goes forward. Balthier and Basch exchange glances. After walking into the Mines a bit, the group runs forward... from another direction, a Judge, the Marquis Ondore and their respective entourages stride forward]

Judge: You will forgive me for asking, but you are diverting the purest of the magicite-

Marquis: I can assure you it reaches Lord Vayne most discretely.

Judge: You wear your saddle well.

Marquis: Be that as it may, I have no intention of of being bridled, Your Honor.

Judge: Then you prefer the whip? Stubbornness will see not only you broken, Excellency, but Bhujerba as well.

[They walk up the steps leading out of the Mines; Lamont emerges from a pillar he was hiding behind]

Lamont: Halim Ondore IV, the Marquis of Bhujerba. The Marquis served as mediator at the negotiations of Dalmasca's surrender. It would appear that he is somewhat less neutral now.

Balthier: They say he's been helping the resistance.

Lamont: They say many things.

Balthier: You're certainly well informed. Who did you say you were again?

Vaan: What difference does it make? We have to find Penelo.

Lamont: And Penelo is your-

Vaan: She's a friend. She was kidnapped and taken here.

[Vaan runs into the mines; the rest follow. "Lhusu Mines" is emblazoned across the screen. They make their way through the mines, eventually arriving at a large cavernous area. Lamont kneels and pats the ground]

Lamont: This is what I came here to see.

[He pulls a blue crystal out from his shirt]

Vaan: What's that?

Lamont: It's nethicite. Manufacted nethicite.

Vaan: Nethicite?

Lamont: Unlike regular magicite, nethicite absorbs magickal energy. This is the fruit of research into the manufacture of nethicite. All at the hands of the Draklor Laboratory.

[It appears that last line piqued Balthier's interest for some reason... Lamont stands up and approaches a wall]

Lamont: So this is where they're getting the magicite.

[Balthier begins walking towards him]

Balthier: Errand all attended to, then?

Lamont: Thank you. I'll repay you shortly.

Balthier: No, you'll repay us now. We have too much on our hands to go on holding yours. So where did you hear this fairy tale about "nethicite"? And where did you get that sample you carry? What do you know about the Draklor Laboratories? Tell me: who are you?

Vaan: Balthier-

Ba'Gamnan: You kept us waiting, Balthier!

[Ba'Gamnan and his crew walk on-screen]

Ba'Gamnan: You slipped away in Nalbina. We missed you! First the Judge, and now this boy. The whole affair has the smell of money. I may have to wet my beak a little.

Balthier: Keep your snout in the trough where it belongs. This thinking ill befits you, Ba'Gamnan.

Ba'Gamnan: Balthier! Too long have I gone unpaid! I'll carve my bounty out of that boy!

Vaan: Where's Penelo? We're taking her back!

Ba'Gamnan: The girl? Why keep the bait when you've landed the fish? We cut her loose on the way here and then off she ran, crying like a babe!

[Lamont throws the nethicite at Ba'Gamnan's head; Ba'Gamnan is momentarily stunned. Lamont runs by him and picks it up; the rest of the group follows (Balthier shoving him down). He gets up]

Ba'Gamnan: After them!

Balthier: We'll not be able to take them all! Fight who we must, leave the rest.

[Normally the game expects you to run away, and the dialogue will reflect that later on, i.e. "oh looks like they stopped following us". Welllll I decided to beat up on them. After defeating all of them, Ba'Gamnan swings his weapon]

Ba'Gamnan: Confound you! I will have my pound of flesh yet, Balthier!

[He runs away. The trio continue to follow Lamont as he runs to the entrance of the Mines. Eventually they reach it... they hang back as Lamont approaches a group of people waiting at the entrance, including the Judge, Marquis Ondore, a few soldiers, and Penelo!]

Judge: I see you've been out walking without the company of your cortege... Lord Larsa.

[Vaan notices Penelo is standing there. We see him about to run out & get her, but Balthier grabs him back behind their hiding place]

Judge: We caught her wandering out of the mines. You must take care with such undesirables about.

Penelo: I was kidnapped-

Judge: Silence!

Larsa: If it is a crime to wander on one's own... then I, too, am guilty.

[He turns to face the Marquis]

Larsa: Marquis. I trust that your estate can accommodate another guest?

Ondore: Why not?

Larsa: Judge Ghis, I shall heed your counsel. I will not travel unaccompanied any longer.

[He takes Penelo's hand & they walk off together]

Ghis: That was unexpected.

Larsa: Thank you, Penelo.

Penelo: O-Of course.

Vaan: What's Penelo doing? And what's the deal with that Lamont?

Balthier: That's no "Lamont." Larsa Ferrinas Solidor. Fourth son to Emperor Gramis... and brother to Vayne.

Vaan: What? That kid!?

Fran: Do not worry. I believe he will treat her well.

Balthier: Nobody knows men like Fran does.

Basch: Our purposes lead the same way: to Ondore. We must find means to approach him.

Balthier: The Marquis is channeling money to organizations opposing the Empire. We'll start there.

Basch: Marquis Ondore announced my execution 2 years ago. If news of my survival were to spread, the Marquis may find his position compromised.

Balthier: The men he's been funding bear little love for the Empire. They won't be thrilled to discover that the rumors of your death were, in fact, greatly exaggerated. If we were to raise a clamor to that effect, we might just get their attention.

Vaan: Nothin' to it! I'll just go around town spreading the word. How 'bout this?

[Press Square, and Vaan shouts...]

Vaan: I'm Captain Basch fon Rosenburg of Dalmasca! Well, whaddaya think?

Balthier: That certainly qualifies as a clamor. All right, Vaan, get to it. For the girl's sake, eh? Oh, and the more people around to witness your little performance, the better. If we're going to reach the Marquis, it's up to you. We'll be waiting here, if you need us.

[Vaan goes around shouting platitudes for Basch and negativities about Ondore. Once the Notoriety bar reaches 100%, Vaan is surrounded by several individuals...]

???: You, boy. You will come with us.

[Vaan is thrown into a room with a tiled floor by a grey-skinned Bangaa]

Bangaa: This is the one, Havharo. Says he's Captain Basch he does.

Havharo: He would sooner pass for the King.

Bangaa: I knew he weren't no Captain! That was a mean trick to be playing.

Havharo: If at trickery it ended, it would end well enough. But why this boy, and why Captain Ronsenburg? An explanation is due, and I will hear it. The Empire's hounds grow passing bold indeed.

[Balthier and Fran walk in]

Balthier: A shame if they learnt the Marquis trafficked with the likes of you. Agents masquerading as guides. A hideout at the back of a tavern. Not exactly earning high marks for originality, are we?

Bangaa: Now you've done it!

Havharo: Wait!

[In strolls Basch]

Havharo: So Basch fon Ronsenburg does yet live.

[Scene change: The Estate of the Marquis Ondore's Drawing Room. Penelo is seated at a couch, at Larsa is sitting at a desk, writing a letter]

Penelo: So Vaan really is all right. I didn't think I'd ever get to see him again.

Larsa: You will join him soon. And until then I shall see that you're kept from harm.

Penelo: Thank you.

Larsa: I am troubled. The Rabanastre Imperial guard appear to have overstepped their bounds. I intend to speak on this with the Consul.

Penelo: What?

[Larsa stands up]

Larsa: Vayne Solidor, the Consul, is my brother.

[Penelo gasps, he walks over to a window and looks out it]

Larsa: The first duty of the Consul is to maintain order in Dalmasca. My brother - my brother is not one given to failure. Perhaps things aren't going as well as they might be... but give him a little time, and he will put things to rights. Be not troubled. My brother is a remarkable man.

Penelo: He frightens me.

Larsa: Why?

Penelo: I'm sorry. He is your brother. It's just - you don't understand how much we lost to the war. My friends, my parents.

Larsa: So, you fear the Empire?

[He goes in front of her & kneels]

Larsa: Listen to me. The men of my family, we are taught to place the needs of others before those of our own. I will see that you are kept from harm. It is my duty to House Solidor.

Penelo: But how - how can I trust you?

Larsa: Because I give you my word. My brother would do no less.

[Back to the group in the Resistance's tavern]

Havharo: I knew there must be more to it, but to find you at the end of this tale... Ah, to see the Marquis' face when he learns of it.

Basch: I should like nothing more. I would meet him, and see for myself.

Havharo: How say you, my lord?

[Havharo is referring to a creature who we saw, in a previous scene, as one of Ondore's attendants]

Attendant: There is little to be said. I shall arrange a meeting with the Marquis. We shall expect you at the estate.

[Everybody leaves; on to the Marquis' estate]

Ondore: Sir Basch fon Ronsenburg. It was not so very long ago that I announced you had been executed.

Basch: And that is the only reason I draw breath.

Ondore: So you are the sword he's strung above my head. Vayne has left not a thing to chance. And?

Basch: A leader of the Resistance has fallen into Imperial hands. A woman by the name of Amalia. I would rescue her, but I need your help.

Ondore: This resistance leader - this Amalia. She must be very important.

[Basch gestures]

Ondore: You understand I've my position to consider.

Vaan: Would you let us see Larsa? He's got my friend with him.

Ondore: I'm afraid you're too late. Lord Larsa's cortege has already rejoined the Imperial detachment. I am told they will depart for Rabanastre upon the arrival of the fleet this eventide.

[FMV: a large fleet of ships, with an especially huge one in the centre, approaches Bhujerba. Several smaller ships drop out of it and approach the city. Back to the group - Balthier is restaining Vaan; Ondore and Basch are still face-to-face]

Vaan: What are we waiting for!?

Balthier: For you calm down.

Ondore: Captain Ronsenburg. Surely the exigencies of position are not lost on you. Why indeed, you should find the enemy's chains... an easy burden to bear.

[Basch has a surprised look on his face - as surprised as the emotionless Basch can mustre]

Balthier: Wait!

Basch: Sorry. Can't be helped.

[He pulls out his sword]

Ondore: Summon the guard!

[An attendant opens a door; several Bhujerban soldiers enter]

Ondore: They're to be taken to Judge Ghis.

[Scene change; the Royal Palace of Rabanastre's Consul's Chambres. A Judge is with Vayne]

Vayne: Those decrepit, basking fools in Archades tie my hands, and look what happens! I tell you, this country's obstinancy knows no bounds.

Judge: The insurgents in Rabanastre operate alone at present. However, should they garner external support, the situation could worsen. We have found the counter-Imperial elements in Bhujerba to be conspicuously well-funded. No doubt Marquis Ondore is behind this. Ondore must be reined in.

[Vayne pulls out a letter]

Vayne: By the way, the Marquis has written us a letter. He claims that he's recaptured our runaway. He's given him to Ghis.

Judge: He will die by my hand.

Vayne: Your fraternity is moving. Ah, Ghis returns with Larsa. Tomorrow morning they will leave Bhujerba. See him home safely, Gabranth. Now, I'm expecting Doctor Cid. You may leave.

[Gabranth nods and turns around to leave. The door to the room opens... in walks Cid, alone. He appears to be talking to himself]

Cid: We must see the real thing to be sure. Nabudis taught us much! Yes, it's well hidden. They'll be off chasing after shadows, the fools. Ah, yes! The reins of history back in the hands of man.

[The Judge pauses]

Cid: Hah, Vayne! You seem to be enjoying your job as consul.

[The Judge leaves]

Vayne: I was kept waiting fully 2 years. What news of Archades? Our honored members of the Senate?

Cid: Hard at work as always, trying to find a dagger for your back.

[Vayne smirks]

Vayne: They are welcome to try.

[FMV: Vaan and company are onboard an airship, hands in chains, being taken onboard the massive ship that leads the fleet of airships: the Dreadnought Leviathan. Inside, they're taken to the bridge]

Soldier: The prisoners, my Lord.

[We see four individuals; two soldiers, Judge Ghis, and Amalia! She gasps and runs towards Basch]

Basch: Majesty-

[She slaps him]

Amalia: After what you've done! How dare you! You're supposed to be dead!

Ghis: Come now, come now. Have you forgotten your manners? This is hardly the courtesy due... the late Princess Ashelia B'nargin Dalmasca.

Vaan: Princess?

Ghis: To be sure, she bears no proof of her former station. No different than any mean number of the insurgence.

Ashe: The Resistance.

Ghis: The Consul asks the ministry of the disthroned royal family in restoring peace to Dalmasca. Those who foster instability and unrest, who claim royal blood without proof... they shall meet their fate at the gallows. There are no exceptions.

Ashe: I will not play puppet to Vayne.

Basch: King Raminas entrusted me with a task. Should the time come, he bade me give you something of great importance. It is your birthright: the Dusk Shard. It will warrant the quality of her blood. Only I know where to find it.

Ashe: Wait. You took my father's life! Why spare mine now? You would have me live in shame!

Basch: If that is your duty: yes.

Vaan: Stop being so stubborn! Keep on like this and you're gonna get us all killed.

Ashe: Don't interrupt!

[She gasps; Vaan is holding the crystal in his hands, and it begins to glow]

Basch: Vaan. That stone.

Vaan: It was in the palace treasure.

Balthier: Well, well.

Ghis: [laughs] Splendid! You're brought the stone with you! This spares us a great deal of trouble.

Ashe: Don't give it to him!

[Vaan doesn't really have a choice. He looks at Balthier, who understands he's between a rock and a hard place. Fran nods]

Vaan: You have to promise: no executions.

[He hands it to Ghis]

Ghis: A Judge's duty is to the law. Take them away. Lady Ashe is to be quartered separately.

[They all get taken away; Judge Ghis is left behind, holding the Dusk Shard]

Ghis: Vayne Solidor. What fascination does this hold for you?

[Elsewhere, the prisoners are being escorted... somewhere]

Basch: So you were carrying it all along. The Fates jest.

Balthier: Tell these Fates of yours to leave me out.

Soldier: Keep quiet!

Basch: There was nothing else that I could do. You know that.

Balthier: Oh, I understand. Honor, duty, and all that. I still can't believe that was the Princess.

Soldier: I said keep quiet!

[As he attemps to spear Balthier with his weapon, Balthier steps aside, and grabs a hold of it; as the soldier stumbles forward, Basch slams his stone hand restraints on the soldier's back. Another soldier is swiftly kicked in the back by Fran. Behind them, the last soldier is dispatched by... another soldier? This final soldier removes his helmet to reveal it's Vossler!]

Basch: The Marquis has been busy.

Vossler: Not lightly did I beg his aid. Listen, it has been a full two years. I alone have kept Her Majesty safely hidden. I doubted friend and foe alike. I could trust nobody.

[Vossler removes Basch's restraints]

Basch: You did your duty. And mine for me.

Vossler: I'm getting her out. I need your help.

Basch: Of course.

[Vossler joins your party as a guest! He warns you against passing through security beams that would trigger an alarm. The group makes it way through the Leviathan, dispatching some soldiers and nameless judges along the way, before finding the cell that Ashe is stuck in]

Vossler: You are unharmed.

Ashe: Vossler! I-

[She nearly faints; Vossler keeps her upright]

Vossler: Majesty!

Ashe: It's nothing. I'll be fine.

[She sees Basch and once again becomes extremely pissed!]

Ashe: You.

Vaan: Come on, come on! Let's go! What are you waiting for? Penelo's still out there!

Balthier: We should hurry. They won't be long.

Vossler: We will talk later.

[Ashe joins the party! The group leaves the Brig area, as sirens begin to sound]

Basch: Majesty. We will cut you a path.

Ashe: I will not place my trust in the sword of a traitor!

Vossler: Yet trust his sword we must, traitor or no. I see no other way. We track back, commandeer a ship and make our escape.

[Basch nods. Everyone runs off except Basch and Vossler]

Vossler: Her Majesty cannot abide weakness, least of all in herself. We must make her confront the reality of our plight.

[The group proceeds through the Leviathan, eventually coming across Larsa and Penelo!]

Penelo: Vaan!

[They hug]

Vaan: It's okay. We're okay.

Larsa: Ghis knows you've escaped. You must hurry.

[Vossler and Ashe exchanges looks]

Larsa: You are Captain Azelas. You will follow me. We must reach the airships before they do.

Vossler: You would let us leave knowing who we are?

Larsa: Lady Ashe. By all rights you ought not even to exist. That you and Captain Ronsenburg were made to appear dead... is like a hidden thread laid bare. Your actions hereafter will pull at that thread... and we will see what it unravels. This is our chance. We must see this through, and get to the bottom of it. I believe 'tis for the good of Dalmasca, and the good of the Empire.

Ashe: Very well, then.

Vaan: Thanks "Lamont."

Larsa: I must apologize. Penelo, for you.

[He hands her the nethicite]

Larsa: May it bring you good fortune.

Penelo: Thanks.

Larsa: Let us go.

[Vossler and Basch exchange nods; Larsa and Vossler head off in one direction, the rest of the group in the other. Vossler leaves the party & Penelo joins it, and you also obtain "a piece of Manufacted Nethicite". They continue onward to the Airship hangar... Judge Ghis is waiting there for them!]

Ghis: Such a great shame. I must confess: I thought you were the one who would help us restore peace to Dalmasca. No matter. We hold the proof of your royal lineage. A maid of passing resemblance will serve our purposes now.

[A ball of energy crackles in Ghis' outstretched hand]

As for you, my dear... the Empire requires you no more!

[He launches it into the air. It appears poised to destroy the group... but is absorbed by Penelo's nethicite]

Penelo: What was that?

Balthier: The nethicite.

Ghis: Your Majesty does not dissapoint! Ever quick to spurn an honorable surrender, as was your father.

Ashe: You know nothing of my father!

[Boss fight vs. Ghis & 3 Imperial Soldiers. Afterwards, Ghis's helmet falls off, revealing an individual with gray hair. He places his hand on his face. Vossler runs in]

Vossler: We've secured an Atomos. Come!

[Everybody runs out]

Balthier: An Atomos? All skiff, no ship. Hardly fit for a leading man.

Vaan: So I can fly it then?

Fran: Are you mad?

[Vaan sighs]

[FMV; they're onboard the Atomos and begin to move]

Penelo: Can't we go faster?

Fran: Not yet.

[A group of other small ships approach them, but fly right by]

Ashe: They passed.

Fran: Any faster and they'd have noticed.

[The Atomos flies away. The group arrives at Bhujerba's Aerodrome. Penelo runs up to Balthier]

Penelo: Balthier, your handkerchief. I thought you might want it back.

Balthier: I shall wear it close to my heart.

[Ashe, Vossler and Basch are talking]

Ashe: Perhaps you forget all that Ondore has wrought.

Basch: I do not forget, Majesty. It was by his counsel, dangerous though it may have been, that we were able to free you. You must meet with him, Your Highness, and give ear to his words. He may act in league with the Empire, but his heart is not.

Vossler: It is as he says. I ought not have kept Ondore at so great a distance for so long a time. I have played the fool!

Ashe: You were only being cautious.

Vossler: I would ask you for some time. On our own, we struggle in vain to restore Dalmasca. I must search out some other way. Until I should find it, I would have Basch remain at your side. Doubt him you may, but I measure his loyalty to Dalmasca no less than my own.

Ashe: I know you would not speak so lightly. Very well.

Vossler: [to Basch] Keep her well. Go to Ondore, and there await my return.

[He walks away. The group makes their way to Ondore's residence, for yet another meeting with the Marquis]

Ashe: When Vossler learned my father had been killed... the night of the treaty-signing, he returned to Rabanastre to aid my escape. There was still time before Vayne's reach extended too far. We thought that you could protect me.

Ondore: However, when I then made the announcement that you had taken your own life... I must have seemed a model citizen of the Empire.

[Ashe nods]

Ondore: The announcement, you see, was Vayne's suggestion. At the time I was reluctant, but I could not perceive his reasons. Now it is clear: he meant to drive a wedge between us.

Ashe: Halim, we are past all this. Bhujerba must stand with us. We can stop Vayne.

[Ondore sighs, and stands up. There's a moment of silence]

Ondore: I once knew a girl whose only wish... was to be carried in her uncle's arms. Your Majesty is a woman grown now.

Ashe: Then Bhujerba will aid me?

Ondore: Suppose for a moment you were to defeat Vayne... what then? You cannot simply rebuild your kingdom with the only proof of your birthright stolen. The Gran Kiltias on Bur-Omisace cannot recognize you as the rightful heir without it. You may yet be a princess, but without proof of your identity, you are powerless. You will remain with me. We do nothing till the time is right.

Ashe: I cannot just wait!

Ondore: Then what does Your Majesty propose we do?

Ashe: Uncle Halim-


Balthier: Incidentally, what is the going rate for rescuing princesses these days?

[Ashe walks away]

Balthier: Food would be a start - the good stuff, mind you.

Ondore: This can be arranged, though it will take some time.

Balthier: Time enough for a bath, I hope. Dirty business, you know. Ah, best bring a change of clothes too.

[Scene change; the Strahl is docked. We see Ashe sitting at the helm of the controls]

Vaan: What are you doing? This is Balthier's ship.

Ashe: I'm going to retrieve the Dawn Shard. It's the proof that I need. I know where it's hidden. I'll return his airship later.

Vaan: Are you crazy?

Ashe: This is something that I have to do! For myself and all those who have fallen. I will not be made to hide! I'll fight alone, if I must.

Vaan: You still have Basch, right? Besides, you can't just go around stealing people's ships. What are you trying to do?

Ashe: I'm trying to concentrate!

[Ondore's voice comes over the intercom system]

Ondore: That's quite enough, Your Majesty.

[Ashe and Vaan turn around; Balthier's standing in the entranceway, holding a mic... which disguises his voice to sound like Ondore's]

Balthier: What do you think? A bit over the top? In my line of work, you never know when something like this might come in handy.

[He sets it to mimic Ashe's voice]

Balthier (as Ashe): I'm trying to concentrate!

[He approaches the pair]

Balthier: I'm leaving you with the Marquis.

Ashe: You can't.

Balthier: Trust me, you're better off staying here.

Ashe: Suppose you kidnapped me instead? You're a sky pirate, aren't you? Then steal me. Is that so much to ask?

Balthier: What do you have that I would want?

Ashe: The Dynast-King's treasure. The Dawn Shard is but one of the riches that lie waiting in King Raithwall's tomb.

[Balthier whistles]

Balthier: King Raithwall, you say?

Basch: Kidnapping royalty is a serious offence.

[Basch walks in]

Basch: It won't do much to lower the bounty on your head.

Balthier: How much is the price on your head these days, I wonder?

[Basch approaches Ashe]

Basch: Allow me to escort you in Vossler's place.

[In walk Fran and Penelo]

Fran: Will you be joining us?

Vaan: What, are you kidding? I don't wanna stick around this place.

[Penelo runs to a seat and sits down]

Penelo: Then I'm coming too!

Vaan: Penelo?

Penelo: Don't leave me here.

Vaan: Of course not.

Fran: Then it's settled. We should leave before the Marquis realizes she's missing. Like proper kidnappers.

[FMV: Archadian Empire, the Imperial City of Archades... the camera pans to a massive tower in the centre of the city. An airship descends; one part opens up. Gabranth exits and strides confidently forward. Inside the throneroom, his helmet is removed and he's conversing with the Emperor]

Emperor: Doctor Cid does this at Draklor?

Gabranth: I have confirmed he receives funds from Lord Vayne. His agency in the fall of Nabudis is also certain... yet with Judge Zecht, who led the assault, missing... the truth remains difficult to ascertain.

Emperor: The long, cold years have clouded my eyes. I cannot see my own son's heart.

[He coughs violently]

Gabranth: My Lord.

Emperor: This illness...will claim me. So then, who is to be my successor? The senate fears the capable peregrine Vayne. They prefer a young, fledgling emperor. Gabranth. Once in the past, I laid siege to your homeland.

Gabranth: The Republic of Landis is long since gone. My allegiance lies wholly with the Empire.

Emperor: Perhaps, but what of your brother? He did not accept us as you did. He fled to Dalmasca. Did you never think to follow him?

Gabranth: I follow his every move. He is an enemy of the Empire. He will be cut down.

Emperor: So you would kill even your own brother for the Empire. Be that as it may, Gabranth. Your ruthlessness is not without merit. But it must not become this way with Larsa. You must ensure that it does not.

Gabranth: So then, you ask me to be his sword, to strike where he might not?

Emperor: Rather be his shield. Gabranth, keep your close watch on Vayne. His is the keenest blade of all.

Gabranth: My Lord.

Emperor: Do this for me, Gabranth. I could not - I could not bear... to see my sons war with each other again. [coughs]

[Scene change; Dalmasca Westersand. The Strahl, floating in mid-air, cloaks; Vaan and Penelo, on the ground, are amazed. We see the others are with them]

Ashe: This "come in handy" often?

Balthier: It's tough being popular. Wouldn't want admirers dropping in while we're away. Well now, that's as far as she goes. We'll be in Jagd from here onwards.

Ashe: Across the sandsea, to the Valley of the Dead. And to King Raithwall's tomb below.

[Ashe goes "Hmm?" and turns around. Vaan is talking to Penelo]

Vaan: So when you're in Jagd, skystones don't work at all. That's why we gotta hoof it the rest of the way, ya see?

Penelo: Happy you get to teach me something for a change?

Vaan: Well, if you want to be a sky pirate, you have to know your - Hey! What do you mean "for a change"?

[They begin to playfully argue]

Balthier: At least we thought to bring entertainment.

[Ashe sighs]

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