FFXII - Script - Ch 8: Feywood - Pharos

[At the Feywood, "a dense Mist prevents you from advancing". The group stands around, unsure how to proceed. Ashe notices the ghostly image of Rasler admist the Mist...she approaches it, and the Mist dissapears in a bizarre... explosion? the ghostly image of Rasler walks away]

[In the next area, a large plant hangs from a tree... it falls down, and it's boss fight time vs. Rafflesia, easily defeated]

[The group continues through the Feywood, eventually arriving at the Ancient City of Giruvegan]

Ashe: On the farthest shores of the river of time, shrouded deep in the roiling Mist.

[Fran is holding her hand to her chest]

Penelo: What is it, Fran?

Fran: The Mist runs thick here.

Vaan: Like on the Leviathan?

Fran: Do not worry. I will behave myself. The Mist here is cooled. I sense something like the shadow here.

Balthier: Venat. It appears Cid has yet to arrive. We'll lie in wait for him here.

Penelo: So we're not going inside?

Balthier: Not unless you want to end up twisted. Like the old man.

[He walks up to Ashe, who's staring straight ahead at the city]

Balthier: Something there?

[We see that she (and, we assume not Balthier) can see the ghostly image of Rasler... he turns and walks towards the city... Ashe follows him]

Penelo: What is it?

Vaan: She can see him. Let's follow her.

[The group has a boss fight vs. Daedalus - probably the easiest fight in the entire game - and then ventures deep into the city of Giruvegan. At one point that notice a massive brown... rock? crystal? something or other in the distance]

Penelo: I can't shake the feeling we're somewhere we're not meant to be.

Vaan: Yeah, it's exciting.

Penelo: Exciting?

Basch: You are not troubled by the unknown? Who can say what lies ahead? We may encounter the very creators of nethicite.

Vaan: Yeah, I don't know what we'll find. I like it better that way.

Balthier: You're sounding more like the sky pirate every day.

[They proceed through this area, known as the Great Crystal... the Mist gets brighter as they proceed further... eventually arriving at another bright crystal]

Penelo: I've never seen this much Mist. Are you all right?

Fran: I am fine. Thank you.

Ashe: Is that nethicite?

Fran: I wonder.

Ashe: With that much nethicite in one's grasp-

Fran: You could destroy all of Ivalice. If you wished it.

[Proceeding further, into that other crystal, they have a boss fight vs. the esper Shemhazai. The path to a new Waystone is cleared, and by touching it, get transported to some fantastic realm. Ashe is along on a crystal platform]

Ashe: Where is everyone?

Voice: Fear not, princess of Dalmasca. We Occuria have chosen you, and you alone.

[Swirling blue energy departs nearbye statues and flies around... we see Ashe is surrounded by beings like Venat]

Occurian: Ashelia B'nargan Dalmasca. We see your heart desires power, and power most holy shall we grant. Seek you the Sun-cryst, slumb'ring star. In tower on distant shore it dreams. The mother of all nethicite, the source of its unending power. The Dynast-King, his fallow shards, coarse trinkets cut from Sun-cryst's light.

Ashe: Such power exists?

Occurian: In time that are long passed away, we thought to save this Ivalice... and chose Raithwall the Dynast-King. He took the sword and cut the Cryst. Three Shards he took from its gilt grasp. His words and deeds run through your veins.

Ashe: That's why I was given it - the Sword of Kings.

Occurian: The treaty held with kings of old is but a mem'ry, cold and still. With you we now shall treat anew, to cut a run for hist'ry's flow.

[A sword materializes in mid-air]

Occurian: Now take this sword, this Treaty-Blade. Occurian seal, mark of your worth. Cut deep the Cryst and seize your Shards. Wield Dynast-King's power! Destroy Venat!

Ashe: But Venat - Venat is an Occurian. A being like you.

Occurian: Venat is a heretic!

[The Occurian is pissed... wind blasts forth from it as a result of its anger. Ashe raises her hands to shield her face. Four new Occurians appear in front of 4 other statues surrounding Ashe]

Occurian: The nethicite is ours to give, to chosen bearer or to none. The heretic trespassed and set the rose of knowledge in Man's hand. With imitations they profane, it is anathema to us.

Occurian: We give you now the Stone and task. Administer judgment: destroy them all!

Ashe: Judgment?

[She looks ahead...Rasler's ghostly image is there]

Ashe: Destroy them all? The Empire?

Occurian: The humes ever skew hist'ry's weave. With haste they move through too-short lives. Driven to err by base desires, t'ward waste and wasting on they run.

Occurian: Undying, we Occuria light the path for wayward sons of Man. Oft did we pass judgment on them so that Ivalice might endure. Eternal, we are hist'ry's stewards, to set the course and keep it true. The chosen is our hand, our fist, to let live some and crush the rest. Princess, you have been chosen. Take revenge against those who stole your kingdom. Fulfil your role as savior.

[Rasler's ghost touches the sword handle; Ashe moves her hands towards it, but hesitates]

Occurian: Attain to your birthright!

[She grabs it, and the screen goes white... the scene fades back in on Ashe, holding the sword, but in the same realm as before but no longer discussing with the Occurian. The surrounding sky is purple... and the rest of the group is behind her]

Vaan: Ashe! What's with these Occuria? What gives them the right to tell you what to do?

Fran: Will you take revenge, as they ask?

[Ashe gasps]

Basch: We could not see them, but we heard the Occuria speak. They may be gods, but we are the arbiters of our destiny. Your Highness, I am against this. The Empire must pay, but destruction?

Penelo: Um... Does anyone know what happened to Doctor Cid? Wasn't he saying he'd be here?

Basch: He should've arrived by now.

Balthier: And I should've realized by now. He's not coming. He laid out the bait, and we bit. Remember what he said? He wanted Ashe to get the stone. He wanted that all along. That's why he flaunted his nethicite, and reeled us in with stories about Giruvegan. All to bring Ashe to the Occuria.

Penelo: But wait - if we got a hold of the nethicite, wouldn't that be bad for the Empire?

Balthier: Maybe he wants to see what happens when foes with nethicite collide? That'd be just like Doctor Cid.

[Ashe pauses]

Ashe: I will search out the Sun-cryst.

[The group walks away, except for Balthier and Ashe. As she begins to walk away...]

Balthier: "History is built by our hands." That's his favorite line. He'd never stand by and watch the Occuria's Stones shape things. So... he was talking to Venat all along. He wasn't mad at all then, was he.

[They walk away.... and you obtain the Treaty-Blade! Scene change: over in Archades, Larsa, Vayne, Cid and Judge Gabranth are in the Emperor's chamber in Archades. Vayne is seated on the throne, with Larsa by his side; Cid is in the distance looking out a window, and Gabranth is far away.]

Larsa: Restore Dalmasca's sovereignty, and make our amends with Lady Ashe. It is the only way to avert war!

Vayne: It is a war of necessity. Your Lady Ashe herself is bent on it. She desires it above all else. She will not rest until her revenge is full-wrought.

Larsa: I fear you misread her intent. She would sooner shun war than embrace it.

Vayne: You are young, Larsa.

Larsa: And you presume beyond your ken!

Vayne: Then let us look closer. Judge Gabranth! I would have you seek after the Lady Ashe... and adjudge whether she makes overtures of peace, or war. Yours shall be the eyes of the Empire.

Gabranth: And should I espy war, I am to put her to the sword. Is that your wish, Excellency?

Larsa: It will not come to that, I am sure. I have faith in her - faith in you both. On you, Gabranth, shall I wager all our fortunes.

Gabranth: As you will.

[Gabranth turns and leaves. Larsa walks forward, looking at Vayne one last time, before leaving as well]

Cid: That so sweet a child could be your brother is hard to believe.

Vayne: Larsa is as he should be.

[Cid turns his head]

Cid: What's that, Venat? Ah, taken the bait already, have they? Splendid.

[He turns to Vayne]

Cid: The Occuria have given the Princess her Treaty-Blade.

Vayne: The Gods have chosen their scribe, to write history as they deem fit. Yes, and she with fresh nethicite to aid her.

Cid: To hell with the Occuria and their stones! What good a power that cannot be harnessed? Baubles best-suited for study, no more.

Vayne: We conquered two kingdoms, that you might study these "baubles."

Cid: Oh, I am grateful for the sacrifice. Without it, manufacted nethicite would have eluded us - an unrivaled weapon. [He turns around] Tell me, Venat. Have I not been an apt pupil?

[Venat materializes]

Venat: My counsel did but guide your able hand. Through power of Man, the Stones did you perfect. Yes. So much accomplished in six fleeting years. Man's fervor o'er all obstacles prevailing.

Cid: Our lives are much too short. You undying might waste long centuries away, but we, I fear, cannot.

Vayne: Just so. Had we more time, we might have used more "prudent" measures.

Cid: Your greatest work still lies before you. Not lightly will the Occuria allow you to wrest the reins of History from their grasp.

Venat: Indeed. What claim does Gerun have on history's reins... seated on throne immortal, rent from time? For your ascendance, Vayne, I offer prayer. May you attain all that which is your due.

Vayne: Attain it I shall.

[The screen fades to black]

Vayne: For too long have my deeds gone unrewarded.

[Scene change; back to our main group, at a Way Stone in Giruvegan, considering their next move]

Basch: In tower on distant shore dreams the Sun-cryst. Do these words mean aught to you?

[Fran shakes her head]

Vaan: Didn't Reddas say he was going to follow some "other course"? Maybe he found out something that can help.

Balthier: I'd rather stay out of that sky pirate's debt, thank you.

Vaan: What's wrong with Reddas? If you can't trust your own kind, who can you trust?

Balthier: You're an expert on pirating now, are you?

[Oh Balthier & your snide comments! Over to Balfonheim Port and Reddas' Manse, the main man is barking orders at his subordinates]

Reddas: Ships in the water! Send fishing dories if need be, I care not. Glossair engines are as good to us as sky to a fish. Leave what boats have foundered. I want souls saved, not driftwood!

[His trio of subordinates run out, as our group enters]

Reddas: Our armada ran afoul of bad water near the Ridorana Cataract. All engines stopped asudden, becalmed. Trouble with a Mist thick as death, it seems. Those seas are jagd. I expected airship trouble, not a fleet foundering midst the waves. Tell me of what happened in Giruvegan. From the lay of your eyes, I measure all did not go well. Cid - was he false as I feared?

Ashe: Yes. But we may have caught a glimpse of his true intent. We may now know what it is that Cid searches for.

[Screen fades to black & fades back in... Ashe has apparently brought Reddas up to speed. He's sitting in the chair behind his desk]

Reddas: So the deifacted nethicite was only a fragment? Any these Occuria - I know not, and care to know even less.

Fran: If we strike this Sun-cryst with the Sword of Kings, no new Stone may be born. We say the Sun-cryst is the source of all nethicite's power. If we might break it, the Dusk Shard would be as a thing lifeless. As for the manufacted nethicite, who can say?

Balthier: There is another way. Use the Treaty-Blade to cut a new Stone to fight the Dusk Shard and the manufacted stones.

Reddas: Would you like to know the best use of nethicite? Will or nill, I'll tell you. You pick it up, and throw it away.

Vaan: Either way, we gotta find this Sun-cryst first, right? Don't we? Across the sea... In a tower on a distant shore... Reddas?

Reddas: Familiar words, Vaan. I saw something of the sort in some documents I chanced upon during my visit to Draklor. The Naldoan Sea, the Ridorana Cataract, and the Pharos lighthouse. I sent my fleet to fish out the truth behind these words...and caught trouble.

Basch: Then proof is ours. This lighthouse on the Naldoan Sea is the tower on the distant shore. The Mist that becalmed your ships is a grim, yet clear, sign. The Sun-cryst is there.

Balthier: All well and good, but how do we get there? Those seas are in jagd, as I recall.

Reddas: Try putting this one in your ship. 'Tis a skystone made to resist jagd.

[He tosses the stone to Balthier]

Balthier: More spoils from the Draklor labs, is it? Why not use it yourself?

Reddas: That's just the thing. My ship's a Bhujerban model - it will not work. But should it fit the Strahl, she'll fly in jagd. Lady Ashe. I would accompany Your Highness... if you do not object.

Ashe: I am in your care. But, tell me one thing: why do so much for us?

Reddas: The Nabudis Deadlands.

Ashe: Nabudis...was your home?

Reddas: Nay, but a memory forever burned in my heart.

[Reddas joins the party as a guest! Outside the Manse, Vaan approaches Reddas' three subordinates]

Rikken: Ah, it is you. Have you heard? Our ships sent to the Pharos have foundered! Thankfully enough, it were just as the fishing sculls came home. We sent 'em out straightaway!

Elza: Ridorana...the great Pharos and the bottomless Cataract. No man of Balfonheim would willingly go there, so oft are we warned as children. But Reddas is no man of Balfonheim. There were many against this expedition, but he...he knew no fear.

Rikken: You make for the great Pharos? That place is in jagd, you know. You will not be able to fly there.

[A small moogle in a green jumpsuit runs up]

Nono: There you are! The repairs on the Strahl are complete, kupo! You can leave whenever you want from the Aerodrome! Kupo! You've a skystone that can fly in Jagd!? I'll put it right in the Strahl, then, kupo!

[Nono leaves, and we're told it got installed... you're notified the Strahl can travel through jagd]

Raz: Ah, that's a spot of good fortune. That new skystone should ease your journey considerably. Now, you know the way? The Pharos, that "tower on a distant shore," stands on an island at the Ridorana Cataract, in the Jagd Naldoa southeast of here. Take care...

[The group boards the Strahl, and we see a gorgeous FMV of it arriving at the Ridorana Cataract. It lands, and the group debarks]

Fran: A tower on distant shore. And about its peak, a piercing Mist.

Ashe: And in that Mist, the Sun-cryst waits.

Reddas: My lady. Your words still sound of doubt. Pray you reach your answer, ere we the Sun-cryst.

Ashe: And? Should I choose revenge, what then?

Reddas: Then your woe shall be your own.

[The group ventures forward, except for Balthier. Vaan is at the back of the pack]

Balthier: Vaan. A word. If something untoward should happen to me, you're taking the Strahl.

Vaan: Untoward? What's this about?

Balthier: I am the leading man. Might need to do something heroic. Don't worry, I'll show you how to fly her.

[The group makes their way through the Ridorana Cataract, eventually arriving at the Pharos at Ridorana, and a boss fight vs. Hydro. Afterwards, they walk up the steps leading to the Pharos, and Vaan notices an inscription on the wall]

Vaan: Hey, Fran. Something's written on the wall.

Fran: Engraved by someone, it seems. It's quite old. "Lo, seeker in days unborn, god-blade bearer. Know you: this tower challenges the sky. Ware the watcher; the ward of the Three Waits, soul-hungry, unsated. He without power, want it not. He with power, trust it not. He with sight, heed it not. Rend illusion, cut the true path. In blood, Raithwall."

Ashe: The Dynast-King?

Fran: Does it startle you? He took his sword from the Occuria. It was here he claimed the nethicite. He must have known he was not the last the Occuria would choose. He left this for you. Rend illusion, cut the true path. Words of much mystery. Yet his blood runs in your veins. Perhaps it whispers to you the truth?

[Ashe does one of her customary gasp-sighs, and approaches the doorway. It opens up, and the group enters. They gradually ascends the towering dungeon, fighting numerous enemies and a trio of bosses who act as "Watchers" of the Pharos: Pandemonium, Slyt and Fenrir. They eventually reach an elevator which takes them from the 88th floor to the 90th... but their elevator is disabled en route, and they debark to see an Esper flying into view, a ferocious beast with the face of a lion - Hashmal. Boss battle vs. Hasmal]

[After the battle, the group reaches the 90th floor and continues onwards. At the 97th floor...]

Fran: The din of the Mist grows greater.

Basch: The Sun-cryst must be near.

[Basch looks at Ashe, who's leading the pack]

Penelo: I wonder if she'll really do it. Take revenge against the Empire. I mean, I know how she must feel. It's hard losing someone you care about.

Vaan: Something we all got in common.

Penelo: But, you know, no matter how hard we try, we can't change the past. There's nothing that can bring them back. Still, sometimes, when I close my eyes... I can see them so clearly.

Reddas: Illusions of the past. You think to have cast them off, only to find them years later, unwearying, unrelenting. The past can bind a man as surely as irons. Cut the true path. But will she?

[The group finally reaches the 100th floor... and in front of them, a brilliant, radiating stone, shining so brightly you can barely even SEE the stone beyond all the light]

Reddas: So this is the Sun-cryst.

[Ashe approaches it, grasping the Treaty-blade in one hand, and the Sword of Kings in the other]

Ashe: King Raithwall stood here. With this sword he cut the Sun-cryst... and took its power in his hand.

[Vaan approaches her]

Vaan: But you're going to use the sword to destroy the Sun-cryst. Aren't you, Ashe.

Ashe: Don't interrupt me, Vaan.

[She lifts the Sword of Kings, as it glows blue. FMV; Mist swirls around the exterios of the Pharos, and the skies overhead turn a most ominous black]

[Back inside the Pharos, the stone has stopped shining. Ashe steps forward, but the ghostly image of Rasler appears before her once again]

Basch: Lord Rasler!?

[Ashe pauses]

Ashe: You want revenge. You would have me use the Stone?

[Rasler reaches his arm out]

Ashe: You would have me destroy the Empire? Is this my duty? Is this what you want? I cannot.

Gabranth: Why do you hesitate?

[The group turns around...Gabranth's voice is heard outside a nearbye window. Sure enough, he's standing on the window's ledge, wielding his two swords]

Gabranth: Take what is yours. The Cryst is a blade. It was meant for you. Wield it! Avenge your father!

[Ashe gasps, as Gabranth enters the room]

Gabranth: Yes, it was I who wore Basch's face - who cut down the Life of Dalmasca. Lady Ashe! Your father's murderer is here!

Ashe: You!?

Vaan: And Reks!

Gabranth: I slew your king. I slew your country. Do these deeds not demand vengeance?

[Ashe drops the Sword of Kings, and firmly grasps the Treaty-blade]

Gabranth: Yes. Good! Find your wrath! Take up your sword! Fight, and serve those who died before you!

[At the end of Gabranth's line, he viciously slashes in Vaan's direction... only to be stopped by Reddas's blades]

Reddas: A Judge Magister there was... 2 years past, he took the Midlight Shard and used it not knowing what he did... and Nabudis was blown away. Cid ordered this of him to learn the nethicite's true power. He swore such power would not be used again. He forsook his Judicer's plate, and his name.

[Reddas steps back]

Gabranth: Judge Zecht!

Reddas: It's been too long, Gabranth. Reach out your hand, Lady Ashe. But that which you must grasp is beyond revenge, something greater than despair. Something beyond our reach. Try as we might, Gabranth, history's chains bind us too tightly.

[Reddas attempts to strike Gabranth, but his blows are easily parried & he gets knocked down]

Gabranth: No, we cannot escape the past. This man is living proof! What is your past, Daughter of Dalmasca? Did you not swear revenge? Do the dead not demand it?

[Ashe bows her head for a moment, then looks to her right side. Rasler nods. To her left, Vaan picks up one of Reddas' blades. Vaan and Ashe's eyes meet; she can see the hatred in his eyes turn to anguish. Rasler outstretches his arms]

Ashe: Rasler. My prince. Our time was short. Yet I know this: You were not the kind to take base revenge!

[She swipes the Treaty-blade through him]

Ashe: The Rasler I knew is gone.

[Rasler looks down at the remnants of the tear through his ghostly image. He speaks, but his voice is that of an Occurian!]

Rasler: You are our saint, Ashelia B'nargin. You must be the one to straighten history's weave!

[She swipes the sword through him again, and he dissapears]

Ashe: I am no false saint for you to use!

Vaan: Ashe...

Ashe: In all Dalmasca's long history, not once did we rely on the Dusk Shard. Our people resolved never to use it, though their need might be dire. That was the Dalmasca I wanted back.

[She drops the sword]

Ashe: To use the Stone now would be to betray that.

[She turns around]

Ashe: I will destroy the Sun-cryst! I will discard the Stone!

Gabranth: You claim no need of power? What of your broken kingdom's shame? The dead demand justice!

Vaan: You're wrong.

[Gabranth goes "Huh?" and faces Vaan]

Vaan: What would change? I can't help my brother now. My brother's gone. He's dead!

Ashe: Even with power, we cannot change what has passed. What is done, is done.

[She drops the Shard in her hand... it rolls to a stop at Gabranth's feet]

Gabranth: Yet without power, what future can you claim? What good a kingdom you cannot defend?

Basch: Then I will defend queen and kingdom both!

Gabranth: Hah! Defend? You? You who failed Landis and Dalmasca? What can shame hope to keep safe? Your shield is shattered! Your oaths poison those you would protect!

[Boss Battle vs. Gabranth. Partway through the battle...]

Gabranth: Hear me, Basch! Do not think killing the kingslayer will win you back your honor! When you abandoned home and kin, your name was forever stained with blood!

[At the battle's conclusion, Gabranth, gasping for air, assumes a battle stance as he squares off in front of Basch & company]

Gabranth: So you, too, would leave your debts unpaid?

Cid: Enough of this! I can bear no more!

[Gabranth turns around, and sure enough, Cid has entered though the same place Gabranth had earlier. Cid approaches him]

Cid: You dissapoint me, Gabranth. He trusted you.

[He pushes Gabranth]

Cid: When you bared steel against the Princess, you foreswore your obligations to your emperor! You shame yourself and make mockery of Lord Larsa's trust. You are unfit to serve him as sword or shield. And so I release you from that service. Your presence is neither required nor welcome.

[Cid walks forward... Gabranth, furious, raises his sword to strike Cid in the back]

Basch: Gabranth!

[Suddenly, Venat appears where Cid had been... his sword passes though Venat's immaterial body. Gabranth looks to his left, to see Cid calmly standing there. In an instant, Venat is send flying through the air, crashing against a stone pillar before falling to the ground]

Balthier: You were only a tool of this Venat.

[Venat appears beside Cid]

Cid: How quaint. We are allies! The Occuria give men power as a master feeds his dog: it is meant to tame us. How well you've resisted their wile. By turning your back on their stones, you give us free hand to write our own history.

Ashe: And at what price? Dalmasca's freedom for your nethicite? I shall not suffer you to have it. The Sun-cryst be damned!

[In the meantime, Cid had strolled right by the group and is now standing in front of the Sun-cryst]

Cid: Oh, be sure that it is! For what other purpose do you think you've brought us here? But stay your Occurian sword! The Sun-cryst is glutted with Mist, too precious a thing to waste! Let us use the Stone! Finish this, Venat!

[Cid throws the stone he had been holding in his hand into the air, and Venat follows it. We see three different-coloured lights, possibly representing the three shards, form a triangle... and pouring out from the center of this triangle is Mist. Cid laughs maniacally]

Cid: Shards of nethicite! Cocoon of the Sun-cryst! Spill forth your Mist upon this Ivalice! Let sea and sky be awash in it, that Bahamut may come and drink his fill!

[The three lights appear to get reabsorbed into the Sun-cryst. More Mist than ever is emanating, and the group struggles to stay upright against the force emitted from it]

Cid: And lo! How brightly burned their lanthorn! Casts it back the shadow of Occurian design! Testament that Man's history shall be His alone!

Balthier: You made your nethicite for this.

[Balthier, undaunted by the Sun-cryst's fury, steps forward]

Balthier: You mimic the Occuria's Stone for what? To become a god yourself?

Cid: On whose shoulders better to stand than those of the would-be gods! Such high hopes I once had...but you ran, and they with you! Alas, your return is too late. Come, Ffamran! Revel in the glory of my triumph!

[Boss Battle vs. Doctor Cid. After taking off a chunk of his HP, we see Cid, clutching a glowing orange piece of manufacted nethicite in his hand...]

Cid: Behold the manufacted nethicite... the fruit of our power and knowledge! See what the Stone of Man is capable of! Witness its power with your own eyes! Famfrit! To me!

[He throws the stone into the air... the esper, Famfirt, gets summoned! Boss battle vs. Famfrit... upon its defeat, the group goes back to battling Doctor Cid. Upon the battle's conclusion, we see Cid, gasping for breath, squaring off against Balthier and the rest. He attempts to raise his guns, but is too weak, dropping them before collapsing himself]

[Cid is now face-down on the ground, still alive (barely) as the Sun-cryst rages out of control behind him. Balthier attempts to approach him, but Venat materializes between them. Balthier smirks]

Cid: Let him by, Venat. It is done.

[Cid slowly gets to his feet]

Cid: Ah, how I have enjoyed these six years.

Venat: The pleasure was all mine.

[Venat drifts to the side, before dissapearing entirely. Balthier steps forward... Cid appears to be slowly dissolving into Mist]

Balthier: Was there no other way?

Cid: Spend your pity elsewhere. If you are so set on running, hadn't you best be off? Fool of a pirate.

[Cid dissapears in a flash of light. Penelo, Vaan and Ashe are seen looking on, before turning around]

Penelo: Fran?

[Fran is lying down on the ground. Penelo races to her side]

Fran: The Mist burns. To bursting it beats. The cocoon!

[Balthier walks over, and Penelo steps aside]

Fran: The Sun-cryst bursts. You must run. As far as you can.

Balthier: Easy, Fran.

[She places her hand on his cheek]

Fran: Hadn't you best be off? That's what a sky pirate does. You fly, don't you?

[Balthier touches her hand]

Balthier: I suppose you'd better hang on then.

[The Sun-cryst emits Mist more violently than ever]

Vaan: Ashe! The sword! We have to stop it!

[Ashe, clutching the Sword of Kings, struggles against the Mist, but it's hopeless: she can barely even step forward. Reddas, however, is at her side!]

Reddas: You must quit this place. It's reacting. I have not seen its like before! Nay, never this large. Never such threat impendent.

[He's now holding the Sword of Kings!]

Reddas: For Nabudis.

Vaan: Reddas?

[Reddas runs forward, jumps through the air, but is stopped in mid-air just as he nears the Sun-cryst]

Vaan: Reddas, no!

Reddas: I, Judge Magister, condemn you to oblivion!

[He strikes the Sun-cryst. For a brief moment, the Mist stops pouring forth... only to resume, stronger than ever before. All sound ceases, and we're shown some quick scenes: we see Jote in Eryut Village, as she looks up; in Jahara, the Great-chief is surrounded by his fellow garif around a fire; at Mt. Bur-Omisace, several Nu Mou look upward; at in Balfonheim, a group gathers by a pier and looks up, noticing a bright light in the distance. The screen goes white for several long seconds... when it fades back in, we see the Strahl hovering beyond the Pharos. It's back to a sunny day with a blue sky, none of the ominous darkness before. All is peaceful... but the cost of peace was high. The top floor of the Pharos appears utterly demolished; Ashe's hand is on Vaan's back, as if to comfort him]

Vaan: Reddas...

[Yep, Reddas is dead. Very sad ;( After being given the option to save your game, we're back in Balfonheim Port... Reddas' three stooges are looking at the ocean]

Rikken: Blast the sea! Blast the waves! Blast it all! I don't believe he's gone... He's Reddas... How could he die?

Elza: Hadn't you noticed? He'd been searching for a place to die all along.

Raz: Lord Reddas weren't the sort of man to run away from his problems by dyin'! He weren't! How could he abandon this town!?

Elza: You'd have him regret passing? You'd have him suffer and wail for eternity...?

Raz: Th-That's not what I meant... No, if he's gone, then he should rest in peace. Gods know, he deserves it.

Elza: Then let him. If you've time to mourn and curse him, then you've certainly time to carry on what he started. If you don't wish an eternity of regret on him, then let's do our part here, and know he's watching over us...satisfied.

Rikken: Satisfied? Reddas? We'd be lucky if we earned a "not dissapointed" from him! But I suppose everything depends on us now.

Elza: Us...and Vaan's crew.

Raz: Arr? Since when have you trusted that lot with more than swabbing the deck?

Elza: I wasn't blind. I saw that faith that Reddas had in them. I'm sure they'll discover what it is they need to do in short time. Speaking of which, did you tell them about our guest?

Raz: They should be meetin' up at the manse as we speak... Who was that odd fellow anyway...? (squawk)

[Scene changes to the group in the manse, where they discover...]

Vaan: Al-Cid?

[Al-Cid is sitting behind Reddas' desk... his loyal female assistant is standing at his side]

Al-Cid: We let ourselves inside. The situation is one demanding some haste, you understand.

Vaan: How did you know where we were?

[He gets up from his table and strolls over to Ashe]

Al-Cid: My little birds, they tell me many, many things. My lady, the war begins now.

Ashe: Then you were unsuccessful in stopping the Rozarrian fleet?

Al-Cid: All went according to plan until it came time to request withdrawal of our most devoted generals. In their enthusiasm for war, our great military leaders went behind my back... Straight to Marquis Ondore's Resistance.

Ashe: The Resistance?

Al-Cid: During training, a division of the Resistance ignored their orders and disappeared. They were next found exchanging broadsides with the Imperials over Old Nabradia.

Basch: Why would they go there? They were asking to be found!

Al-Cid: You misunderstand. Those ships most surely belonged to a Rozarrian division. They may have joined Ondore's resistance forces as patriots, or even mercenaries... but they are regulars of the Rozarrian army under direct command of our war-pavilion. This fifth column has invaded Imperial airspace and provoked a response. His Excellency the Marquis was obliged to give his main fleet the order to attack. And the battleground... is Dalmasca.

Balthier: Rozarria will enter the fray, the defense of Dalmasca as their excuse... and we will have a war between empires.

Al-Cid: They will bide their time - wait until the Empire has spent itself against the Marquis. But Vayne - he will crush them and the Marquis both between his hands.

Basch: Vayne holds the Dusk Shard no longer. His advantage is lost.

Al-Cid: Vayne has advantages enough. He stands on higher ground, and my birds tell me he has awoken something quite large. Bahamut, Lord of the Sky. There was a stirring in the Mist near Ridorana. Bahamut awoke soon after this.

Fran: It is the Mist that came before the Cryst was undone. It breathed life into this Bahamut. If Reddas had not stopped it when he did, how much more Mist might it have drunk? All went according to Doctor Cid's designs.

Balthier: Yes, the man's last great accomplishment, I fear. And so it falls to me to put an end to the thing.

Ashe: Vayne commands Bahamut himself?

Al-Cid: He comes to Rabanastre.

Ashe: Then I will defend Dalmasca and stop this Bahamut. This is my charge -

[Vaan steps forward, to Ashe's left]

Vaan: That's our charge, actually.

[They look at each other. Penelo moves up to Ashe's right side; Ashe looks at her]

Penelo: It's our home. It belongs to us all.

[Ashe glances behind her to see Balthier, Fran and Basch, and smiles. Al-Cid's assistant exits, and Al-Cid heads to the door]

Al-Cid: And my charge is to hinder and delay this Rozarrian invasion for as long as is possible. I will do what I can. Ah, yes...

[He turns back and touches Ashe's hand]

Al-Cid: When this unpleasantness is done, you must come to Rozarria. I will take you to the Ambervale of Clan Margrace. Such things I will show you! Until then, I will be waiting.

[He departs... Ashe seems a bit shell-shocked. Balthier looks back and forth, and sighs]

[Scene change... back outside with Vaan and Reddas's trio]

Rikken: Lo, Vaan! Word from the Resistance! The Imperial sky fortress Bahamut is on the attack! This... this could be bad... We have no chance of fighting it from the ground. No, the only way to fight the Bahamut is to go to it... by airship!

[The Strahl can now travel to Bahamut!]

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