FFXII - Script - Ch 6: Stillshrine of Miriam - Old Archades

[Next stop... a long journey through the Paramina Rift, eventually arriving at the Stilshrine of Miriam. They proceed through the Stilshrine's puzzles taking out a boss, and an esper (Mateus, the Corrupt), eventually arriving where they wanted to go all along]

[In the centre of a spinning construct is a sword. Ashe approaches it with the Dawn Shard in her hand... it begins to glow, and she gasps. The spinning construct stops spinning, and the sword floats in mid-air... Ashe grabs it]

Vaan: You should try it on the Dawn Shard. See if it can destroy nethicite or not.

Ashe: What?

Balthier: He just may be on to something. The Dawn Shard's no use to us, after all.

[She places the shard on the ground... it still glows]

Ashe: The stone bleeds Mist.

Fran: It has been roused. It fears the sword.

[Above the Shard, the ghostly image of Rasler appears again. She raises the sword, and strikes the Shard with all her might... he smiles, and fades away. The Shard stops glowing]

Fran: The Stone is quiet.

Ashe: This is the sword. The nethicite destroyer.

Balthier: Should it find its mark.

[The group walks away]

Ashe: Vaan.

[He turns around]

Ashe: Tell me. Did you see him again?

Vaan: I didn't. Not a thing. Not even my brother. Not...not anything.

[He walks away. The group obtains "the Sword of Kings"! They return to the entrance to the Stilshrine]

[FMV: Another of Archadia's massive airship legions flies by overhead, with Judge Zargabaath leading the charge]

Zargabaath: The Empire's debts grow legion.

[Soon thereafter, Fran points to Mt Bur-Omisace]

Fran: There!

Vaan: Smoke?

Ashe: What could it mean?

[Oh, I think you know what it means! The group returns to Mt Bur-Omisace, and sure enough, smoke is coming from the temple. They approach it, passing by the destruction & wounded kiltias along the way. Entering the main area, they see a Judge is there]

Judge: Ah, our vagrant princess. Swift has your lust for revenge led you to the Sword of Kings.

[He steps aside; Anastasis is on the floor, dead! Everybody gasps]

Judge: You will surrender it to me. Too late, and to their sorrow do those who misplace their trust in gods learn their fate.

[As he walks towards the group, they see a brief image of a white being hovering above the judge - the same being who seemed to possess Mjrn in the Henne Mines]

Vaan: There it is again.

[The Judge begins to glow, due to the power of nethicite]

Balthier: Fran, I don't like the look of that.

Fran: This Mist - he holds a Stone! It controls him as it did Mjrn!

Judge: No. No, the power of manufacted nethicite is the power of Man! A weapon forged by his wisdom... who would challenge the gods themselves! A fitting blade for a true Dynast-King. Raithwall did but pretend the title... a cur begging nethicite scraps from his master's table. Hark! Ivalice hails her true Dynast-King, Vayne Solidor! He shall defy the will of the gods, and see the reins of History back in the hands of Man! His time is nigh! The new Ivalice holds no place for the name Dalmasca. The stain of Raithwall's blood... shall be washed clean from history's weave!

[Boss fight vs. Judge Bergan and 3 generic judges. Upon Bergan's defeat, he thrashes around wildly; the nethicite glow subsides, and the nethicite in his chest disintegrates, causing beams of energy to fly around the room. He collapses... Balthier kneels by his side, investigates, and returns to the group]

Balthier: He set his very bones about with manufacted nethicite. The Gran Kiltias?

[Penelo shakes her head]

Penelo: Wait - what about Larsa?

Al-Cid: Gone. Spirited away by Judge Gabranth.

[Al-Cid gingerly walks into the room, supported by his servant girl. The group runs up to him]

Vaan: You okay?

[He sits down]

Al-Cid: So he was here. Ah, as for our young lordling, he went along - to avoid trouble, you see. But Judge Bergan had other ideas. He flew into a rage, and I was left to fend for myself. Please, Princess. You must permit me to take you back with me to Rozarria.

Ashe: So that you can protect me?

Al-Cid: I would lay down my life at a single word to be sure... but I harbor no maundering delusions of valiant grandeur. Vayne has our War Pavilion jumping at shadows. They favor a pre-emptive strike. But you - you will convince them otherwise. You will see that they do not start this war.

Ashe: This I cannot do. Forgive me. But my errand here is not yet done. I must wield the Sword of Kings, and with it bring an end to the Dusk Shard.

Al-Cid: Ah, this Stone. Do you even know where it is?

Balthier: I can venture a guess. The Draklor Laboratory. In Archades. The Empire's weapons research begins and ends there. [He approaches Ashe] How soon do we leave?

Ashe: At once. [She turns to Al-Cid] As for matters in Rozarria... I bid you luck.

[The servant girl helps Al-Cid stand up once more]

Al-Cid: So you would leave each to fend for his own. Let us hope that you are not dissapointed. [He begins to leave, but stops] Ah, that's right. Larsa left a message. "The differences between our two lands will fade before the shard dream of men."

[He slips his sunglasses on]

Al-Cid: My leave I take.

[They walk away. Outside the temple, the remaining kiltias are praying]

Ashe: How do you propose we reach Archades? Archadia's borders will be well guarded for fear of Rozarrian invasion. We dare not approach by air.

Balthier: And their navy will see that the coast is watched as well... no, we'll go by foot. We'll cross into Archadia in the Salikawood. We can reach the wood any number of ways, but the easiest is to head north from Nalbina.

Fran: There is a hunter's camp just beyond the Salikawood. The camp sits within Archadia's borders, so Imperial patrols there should be sparse.

Balthier: Getting that far should be half the fun. Let's be sure we go prepared.

[The group undertakes a lengthy, time-consuming journey... through the Estersand and the Mosphoran Highwaste, to the Salikawood. There, they get the chance to visit the Necrohol of Nabudis... it's optional, of course. Up front are Basch, Vaan and Penelo; Fran, Balthier and Ashe hang back]

Basch: This is all that remains of Nabudis. 2 years ago it was destroyed by a mysterious force. The work of the Midlight Shard.

Vaan: This? In just 2 years? How?

Basch: As the Dawn Shard brought down Leviathan, a fell Mist spelled forth. It is like the same thing happened here. The Mist has corrupted the life of this place. It is a necrohol overrun with beasts. We tread here on a fool's errand. We had best turn back.

[Fran approaches Ashe]

Fran: Is it revenge that you desire? Yes or no, not this way lies the capital. The road to Archades leads east of Salikawood, beyond the Phon Coast and Tchita Uplands.

[The group walks away]

[Eventually, the group makes their way to Phon Coast. Beautiful beaches next to a sparkling ocean w/ palm trees, a picture-perfect locale. Above it, several airships fly by...]

Balthier: It would seem we made the right choice. If we'd taken the easy way and come by airship... one of those patrols would no doubt have been quick to roll out the red carpet. We're on the Empire's doorstep now, so we shouldn't have to worry quite so much... but that's no excuse to get sloppy. It is still a long road to the capital.

[Onward they continue, eventually arriving at a "Hunters' Camp". Vaan and Penelo excitedly run off, as he goes "Race you to the water!". The other 4 stroll along... Ashe almost trips, but Balthier helps her regain her balance by... holding her hand. She walks away]

Balthier: Why the capital?

Ashe: The nethicite. I must destroy it.

Balthier: Are you sure? You don't want it for yourself? Use its power to restore Dalmasca - something like that? The best intentions invite the worst kind of trouble.

Ashe: Lusting for ever greater power, blinded by the nethicite. Is that how you see me?

Balthier: That does sound like someone I know. He was obssessed with nethicite. It was all he cared about. He'd babble nonsense, blind to aught but the Stone's power. He'd talk about some 'Eynah', or was it 'Venat'? No matter. Everything he did, he did to get closer to the nethicite, to understand it. He made airships, weapons... he even made me a Judge.

Ashe: You were a...a Judge?!

Balthier: Part of a past I'd rather forget. It didn't last long. I ran. I left the Judges...and him. Cidolfus Demen Bunansa. Draklor Laboratory's very own Doctor Cid. That's when he lost his heart to nethicite, lost himself. And I suppose that's when I lost my father. Don't follow in his footsteps. I ran away. I couldn't stand seeing him like that, a slave to the Stone. So I ran. Free at last. Funny how I went for the Dusk Shard. How could I have known that it was nethicite? And then, of course, I met you. All that running, and I got nowhere. It's time to end this - cut my ties to the past.

Ashe: It's hard to leave the past behind, I know.

[Ashe touches her ring finger... flashback FMV: Rasler and Ashe on a ledge overlooking Rabanastre]

Rasler: A marriage of convenience. A symbol of the alliance between Nabradia and Dalmasca. This is how they see our match.

Ashe: They do, do they?

Rasler: These roles we play. I must admit I find it... wearying.

Ashe: I will play mine.

Rasler: I would have no other.

[Back to the present]

Balthier: The choice is yours to make. But don't give your heart to a stone. You're too strong for that, Princess.

Ashe: I pray you're right, Balthier.

[They continue past the Phon Coast, and through the Tchita Uplands, eventually entering a vast underground cavern]

Vaan: Hey, you sure this rabbit hole's really the way into Archades?

Balthier: Better a hare unseen than a rat in a trap. Then again, if you'd prefer to go knocking on the front gates of the city, be my guest.

Penelo: But what about once we're inside? Won't the city watch find us?

Ashe: We'll do what we can to blend into the crowd. Our names may be notorious, but our faces are not far-known.

Vaan: True, true. You're out princess, and we didn't even recognize you.

Ashe: I noticed.

[She walks away]

[And so, the dungeon crawling continues, through the Sochen Cave Palace, eventually opening up a door and arriving in a huge room... where the group is confronted by 5 creatures... some with heads shaped like fruits. Boss battle vs. Mandragora Prince, Onion Queen, Pumpkin Star, Topstalk and Alarune King. After they get defeated, you see the 5 of them on the ground... and their vegetable spirits rise into the sky. Pretty funny. More journeying, and another boss fight vs. Ahriman]

[More journeying, and then, finally... out of the cave and into what appears to be a run-down village? Balthier stretches]

Vaan: Smells less like a capital... and more like a sewer.

Balthier: Even empires have need of sewers. The runoff from Archades proper pools here: those who lack papers to live in the city itself. The mighty who have fallen, and the fallen who would be mighty. Their eyes never leave Archades.

Vaan: I guess it must be a lot nicer than this place.

Balthier: Oh, to be sure. Archades reeks of a different filth. Let's be off! We can follow our noses to Draklor.

[The screen informs you you're in Old Archades.... the camera pans over the huts and general poorness to reveal the beauty of Archades in the distance...]

[The groups proceeds through, eventually arriving at a staircase that they can see leads up to Archades.... but two Archadian Soldiers are blocking it, and refuse to let them through without the proper credentials. Afterwards, Vaan approaches the rest of the group, who are just standing around... they're kind of stumped as to how to proceed]

???: Well, well, well...there's a sight for sore eyes. Didn't think I'd be seeing you again. Not here.

[We see a shifty looking character nearbye... dressed like an Old Archadian vagabond, with the thinnest of moustaches. Balthier smirks]

Balthier: oh wonderful. Enter the streetear.

???: A pirate would do well to smile. Wouldn't want to sour his reputation.

[He approaches the group]

Vaan: You know this guy?

Balthier: An old...friend. He's a steetear - a peddler of rumor and hearsay, by the name of Jules. He'd bite a gil given him by his own mother, and shave it by half to pay for her funeral.

Jules: Sometimes an ear with tight purse strings's the order of the day. Like when a pirate decides he fancies going up in the world.

Vaan: To the City? You know a way?

Jules: In Archades, knowledge is power. And power has a way of opening doors, boy. Now, a fool will buy a sack of feathers for his pillow, but a wise man... he'll buy the whole stinking cockatrice and get his fill of meat into the bargain. So, wise man, how does 1500 gil sound?

[You have to pay up...]

Jules: Bright boy. You learn fast. I call this meeting to order. Tell me, boy, heard any rumors in town?

Vaan: I haven't heard much of anything.

Jules: I need to hear before I talk. A boy would do well to see what his ears can pick up off the streets.

[After hearing some tales of lost & recovered bags of coin...]

Jules: I call this meeting to order. Tell me, boy, heard any rumors in town?

Vaan: Actually, I did hear about a man who picked a bag of coins out of a barrel.

Jules: Bags in barrels, eh...? A boy would do well to bring that morsel to a man named Beasley near here. Tell him what you've heard.

[Vaan tells Beasley... Beasley's pissed. Back to Jules, who's now sitting on a crate elsewhere...]

Jules: You told him just as I told you? Good boy!

Vaan: I'm not sure what any of this has to do with going up in the world.

Jules: Oh? Witness the power of knowledge, m'boy. See? It begins.

[Vaan turns his head]

Commoner: 'Ey, 'tis a fight! Beasley's gone wild!

[Other Old Archadians follow the Commoner... we see the two Archadian Soldiers running by soon after]

Vaan: Now's our chance! Thanks, Jules.

[Vaan runs off]

Balthier: Never thought you'd go for such a meager price.

Jules: A pirate should know that words are worth gil uncountable. Here's some words for you: The prodigal Bunansa son's come back to to the Imperial roost. See? Words of much value, these.

Balthier: Bah. [walks away]

< Previous
Take Me To The Next Page [ Ch 7: Archades - Draklor Laboratories ] >