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    FAQ/Walkthrough by zukowskc

    Version: Al-Cid | Updated: 12/22/07 | Printable Version | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
    
    F I N A L 
    F A N T A S Y
    T W E L V E
    
    ~~ The political simulator
    
    ---------------------------------------
    zukalous(at)gameintestine(dot)com
    
    THIS FAQ CAN ONLY BE POSTED ON THE FOLLOWING SITES:
    www.gameintestine.com
    www.gamefaqs.com
    www.ign.com
    ---------------------------------------
    
    
          _____________________________________________
         |  Introduction                               |
    
          
    Well here we are again. Number 12.  Same old same old: Androgynous brat 
    fights to save the world by traveling deep into some dungeons, monsters 
    approach only to stand around as we hack them to death, talking rabbits 
    perform magic and giant chickens run around.  It must be Final Fantasy 
    because in what other franchise is that considered same old same old.  This 
    version is actually the first game to use gambits which has finally 
    programming fun.  
    
    This iteration should be pretty good.  I was looking at the box and it is 
    rated T for Teen because of the following "alcohol reference, partial nudity, 
    and suggestive themes" which means we will probably get to see some pixilated 
    boobs attached to someone who is drunk.  Read this guide and I will be sure 
    to point it out when it happens.
    
    Final Fantasy 12 is a bit of a departure from the other 11.5 (or however the 
    frick you calculate FFX-2) in that it is actually a political revolution 
    simulator.  
    
          _____________________________________________
         |  About this guide                           |
    
    
    The audience for this guide is the casual Final Fantasy player.  Maybe you 
    like the games, been playing them since FFVII, curious about the cut scenes, 
    when you beat the game you may try a few sub quests.  But, you are not going 
    to even try and hunt down all weapons, find every esper, and kill every boss.   
    This is like the Wii of guides. 
    
    I want to get you through the main storyline with as little hassle as 
    possible.  Before any big boss fights I will give you a shopping list of 
    potions, armors, or spells you may need.  Recommended character levels will 
    also be listed throughout the game to make sure your party is strong enough 
    to proceed.  Final Fantasy games like to trick you into getting stuck in 
    dungeons with only one HP potion left and then sending the hardest boss 
    against you.  I feel bad for people that get stuck like that.  This guide 
    will keep that from happening.  
    
    I also want point out all the cool things in this game.  The art direction is 
    quite good and there are a number of details people may miss if they don't 
    look closely enough.  The architecture, most specifically, has some parallels 
    to our real-life world and I will be sure to point them out. 
    
    This guide is also for people who may have put the game down for a month and 
    are just getting back into it.  I have detailed the plot so that you can do a 
    little back reading to catch yourself up with what is going on in the overall 
    story.  
    
    Finally, if you are one of those hard core types I will tell you what chests 
    not to open so that you can get the zodiac spear.  
    
    So, before we start here are some tips, background:
    - Do not use ethers, elixirs, or any other MP boost potion.  In FFXII they 
    are very scarce and will need to be saved for the final boss
    - Don't sell accessories - they have saved me a few times, bosses in future 
    battles may tie you down with something you can use later.
    - I will use the following terms:
           + Tanks are your front line who rely on shields and swords
           + Casters/Healers are your magic users
           + Buffs are any effects that increase your character's performance 
    
          _____________________________________________
         |  The Themes of Final Fantasy XII            |
    
    
    Identity - Before the empire invaded, there was an entire ruling class 
    hierarchy.  However following the fall of Damalsca everyone who held power 
    lost it.  Look at key characters such as Basch and Ashe and see how they seek 
    to reclaim/deal with their new identities.  
    
    Human made solutions to problems - FFXII seems to emphasize the fact that 
    "man-made" objects will not always be the best.  Pay attention to what the 
    various judges think about man-made objects vs natural or divinely created 
    things.  Also see how the people in old and new Archades live with the 
    ultimate man-made object: money.  
    
    Science Vs Nature - Magicite is a powerful element.  However, there is a 
    debate over what is manufactured and what is real.  Is it good for Humes to 
    create such a powerful device?  Sound similar to today's politics?  Mmmm 
    Hmmm.
    
    The Outcast - each one of the characters is an outcast to some regard.  
    Balthier - The judges
    Fran - Her village
    Ashce - Kingdom
    Vaan - From his home
    Basch - Trator
    Pinelo - Not sure
    
    Fate vs Free Will - The gods play an important role in this game.  They often 
    seem to influence the actions of the people in Ivalice.  Watch out for terms 
    such as "the fates", "string", "thread" or being "bound."  Also, any time 
    characters are brought together due to amazing odds, they were probably 
    driven there by the gods.  On the other side is Free Will, or humans having 
    total control over their destiny.  Key words are "history" and "hands of 
    man."
    
    Revenge - Keep track of who is trying to level the score with whom.  Also see 
    who forgives and who maintains their grudge.  
                            
          _____________________________________________
         |  Hour by Hour review of FFXII               |
    
    
    The following is a graph of how entertaining FFXII is on an hour by hour 
    basis.  The vertical line is the entertainment factor from 1-10.  The number 
    of hours is listed along the bottom.  FFXII started strong but slows in the 
    middle before resurrecting itself by the end. 
    
    
    10|
     9|               
     8|   *  *   **               *             *
     7|   *  *   **         *     *           * *
     6|   *  *   **       * *    **         * * *
     5|   **** ****       * *    **         * * *   **        **   ***      *
     4|   ***********  *  * ***  **         * * *   ****      **   ****    ** * 
     3|**************  ** **********        *** *** ****** ***** * ********** *
     2|********************************* *  ********************** ************
     1|************************************************************************
       012345678911111111112222222222333333333344444444445555555555666666666677
                 01234567890123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901
    
    
    
    For a description of what was done at each hour go to:
    
    www.gameintestine.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=178 
    
    
          _____________________________________________
         |  Contents                                   |
    
                
                  ACT I
    
                       Title Screen ----------------- (x01)
                       Red and Rotten in the desert - (x02)
                       Giza Plains ------------------ (x03)
                       Royal Palace of Rabanastre --- (x04)
                       Garamsythe Waterway ---------- (x05)
                            BOSS: Firemane ---------- (x05a)
                       Nalbina Dungeons ------------- (x06)
                       Barheim Passage -------------- (x07)
                            BOSS: Mimic Queen ------- (x07a)
                       Return to Rabanastre --------- (x08)
                       Bhujerba --------------------- (x09) 
                       Lhusu Mines ------------------ (x10)                        
                       Dreadnought Leviathan -------- (x11) 
                            BOSS: Judge Ghis -------- (x11a)
                       On to Ondore ----------------- (x12)
                       Ogir-Yensa Sandsea ----------- (x13)
                       Nam-Yensa Sandsea ------------ (x14)
                       The Tomb of Raithwall -------- (x15)
                            BOSS: Garuda ------------ (x15a)
                            BOSS: Demon Wall -------- (x15b)
                            BOSS: Belias ------------ (x15c)
                            BOSS-ler ---------------- (x15d)
    
                 ACT II
    
                       Giza Plains in the Rain ------ (x16)
                       Ozmone Plane ----------------- (x17)
                       Jahara - land of the Garif --- (x18)
                       Ozmone Plane / Golmore Jungle  (x19)
                       Golmore Jungle --------------- (x20)
                       Eruyt Village ---------------- (x21)
                       Henne Mines ------------------ (x22)
                            BOSS: Tiamat ------------ (x22a)
                       Back to Golmore Jungle ------- (x23)
                            BOSS: Elder Wyrm -------- (x23a)
                       Paramina Rift (North) -------- (x24)
                       Mt. Bur-Omisace -------------- (x25)
                       Note to the Player ----------- (x26)
                       Paramina Rift (South) -------- (x27)
                       Stilshrine of Miriam --------- (x28)
                            BOSS: Vinuskar ---------- (x28a)
                            BOSS: Mateus ------------ (x28b)
                       Mt Bur-Omisace --------------- (x29)
                            BOSS: Judge Bergan ------ (x29a)
    
                 ACT III
    
                       The Mosphoran Highwaste ------ (x30)
                       The Salikawood --------------- (x31)
                       The Phon Coast --------------- (x32)
                       Tchita Uplands --------------- (x33)
                       Sochen Cave ------------------ (x34)
                            BOSS: Mandragora -------- (x35a)
                            BOSS: Ahriman ----------- (x35b)
                       Old Archades ----------------- (x36)
                       Archades --------------------- (x37)
                       Draklor Laboratory ----------- (x38)
                            BOSS: Dr. Cid ----------- (x38a)
    
                 ACT IV
    
                       Balfonheim Port -------------- (x39)
                       Feywood ---------------------- (x40)
                            BOSS: Rafflesia --------- (x40a)  
                       Ancient city of Giruvegan ---- (x41) 
                            BOSS: Daedalus ---------- (x41a)
                            BOSS: Tyrant ------------ (x41b)
                       The Great Crystal ------------ (x42)
                            BOSS: Shemhazai --------- (x42a)
                       Ridorana Cataract ------------ (x43)
                       Pharos - First Ascent -------- (x44)
                            BOSS: Hydro ------------- (x44a)
                            BOSS: Pandaemonium ------ (x44b)
                            BOSS: Slyt -------------- (x44c)
                       Pharos - Second Ascent ------- (x45)
                            Boss: Fenrir ------------ (x45a)
                       Third Ascent: Mete of Dynasty  (x46)
                            BOSS: Hashmal ----------- (x46a)
                            BOSS: Gabranth ---------- (x46b)
                            BOSS: Cid --------------- (x46c)
       
                 ACT V
           
    
                       The Final Preparations ------- (x47)
                       Sky Fortress Bahamut --------- (x48)
                            BOSS: Gabranth ---------- (x48a)
                            Boss: Vayne ------------- (x48b)
                            BOSS: Vayne Novus ------- (x48c)
                            BOSS: The Undying ------- (x48d)
                       Denouement ------------------- (x49)
    
                 APPENDIX 
    
    
          _____________________________________________
         |  Title Screen (x01)                         |
    
    An airship descend through some clouds which part and the camera descends 
    like it is the opening of "The Simpsons" but only if it was "Simpsons 3035 
    AD."  Actually the text tells us that it is the year 604 in the Kingdom of 
    Dalmasca.
    
    PUSH START!
    
    View of the market.  It is just a typical busy day at the bazaar: Lizards 
    talk with giant pigs and a pair of Tyra Banks clones hurry on their way to 
    work at the Playboy mansion. 
    
    A Disneyland-esq parade swings into full gear lead by an army of Teddy Ruxpen 
    dolls.  There is a chicken drawn carriage and there is a handsome couple 
    riding on it.  The couple is actually in the middle of their wedding.  She is 
    wearing a traditional white wedding gown while he is wearing an Apollo Moon 
    Landing space suit (sans space helmet).  This whole extravaganza (Teddy 
    Ruxpins and all) was clearly her idea.  Guys, if a girl ever tells you that 
    she wants a fairytale wedding, you say no!  You can kiss any freewill goodbye 
    from that point on.  Like most grooms he is just along for the ride, waving 
    carefully, breaking a smile here and there, just trying to make the best of 
    it and make her happy.  He half smiles at her probably because he is half 
    hung-over and half anticipating all the crap he is going to get from his 
    buddies.
    
    The couple moves inside a huge cathedra and someone "Pronounces them man and 
    wife."  A hundred white birds signify the upcoming wedding night.  But before 
    that, quick cut to the wedding reception, which is being held in a war room. 
    Instead of dancing, everyone plays some kind of Risk/Strategy game. An Albino 
    comes running in proclaiming that the Nabudice has fallen.  The guy who was 
    just married volunteers to fight with the albino for the sake of the kingdom. 
    
    A huge starwars-esq air ship descends as warriors prepare for battle.  Atop 
    the cathedral, the groom gets a new sword and looks over at his new wife then 
    turns to the assembled crowd and performs a William-Wallace-style yell.  The 
    crowd eats it up like candy.  
    
    A flying high-heeled shoe zooms off and then reappears in the heat of battle.  
    The battle for middle earth rages below.  I would tell you who is winning but 
    it really looks a giant free-for-all.  I can't even tell who is on what side.  
    They really should play shirts VS skins.
    
    The groom, the albino, and a bunch of other soldiers ride in on chickens.  
    Albino says that they should withdraw.  The groom disagrees because there are 
    still some guys chanting around a giant bon fire.  The groom shouts that this 
    is for his father and then he is quickly given an arrow tracheotomy.  A huge 
    spaceship falls on the battle below.  The albino picks up the groom and on 
    fowl-back they jump over the attackers. 
    
    Well, the wedding probably lasted longer than the marriage because we are now 
    at a funeral for the groom.  His bride, I don't know if she had time to 
    change out of here wedding dress, looks over his open casket.  We started 
    with a wedding and ended with a funeral.  Open casket funeral, it looks like 
    they laid him to rest in a lettuce wrap.  Pan over a smoldering battle field, 
    crows are everywhere.  Well, way to start this game off on a high note.  
    Makes me really want to continue.   
    
    Final Fantasy: Ecks, eye, eye!
    
    Spotlight on a book.  Ugh I hate words?  I didn't play a video game so I can 
    read.  A man who sounds like a speak-n-spell says "The death of Rasler Hetos 
    Nabradia was a tragedy for Dalmasca." 
    
    He goes on to tell us how the Archadian Empire was advancing towards the 
    other Empire of Rozarria.  First step to Rozarria is through Nabradia (the 
    grooms home).  The next country in line for the Archadian march, Dalmasca 
    (the bride's country) counter attacks the Empire and ends up loosing the 
    fight.  Dalmasca has no choice but to sign a surrender treaty.  The treaty is 
    said to be "Signed with steel and Writ in royal blood."  I don't know why 
    Writ is capitalized.
    
    All black: someone asks if you can hear me.  Eyes slowly open.  A man in 
    front of us has awfuly crusty hat hair.  I have never seen hair like that, 
    actually I have but he worked the grease fryer at an Arby's.  Greasy asks if 
    "I" can stand.  It turns out "my" name is Reks am "I" am in Nalbina Fortress.  
    Reks is seventeen and is an orphan living in Rabanastre.
    
    Reks and the party he is with are attacked by sworded men.  Do I get to 
    fight?  Nope!  More cut scene.  Greasy - name Basch - kills all of them.  
    Reks is alarmed to see all this bloodshed. 
    
    Enter the tutorial mode.  Learn to look, walk, and talk.  Try it out by 
    talking to the guy by the gate.  Run up to the gate to open it.
    
    Basch tells us to open the party menu, I used to open the party menu a lot 
    more in college, but now that I am old, not as much anymore. <<frown>>
    
    Time for another cut scene.  A spaceship attacks us and its name is 
    Tornberry.  Start attacking it - don't worry it is very unlikely that you 
    will die.  Basch Shoots green fire at him.  Tornberry has a Scottish accent.  
    Tonberry escapes - more like lameberry.  The attacking party runs through a 
    castle.  Reks asks if Vossler has died.  Basch tells Reks "men like him don't 
    die places like this."  It looks pretty nice - I wouldn't mind dieing there.  
    Basch tells Reks that we need to find the king because the attackers may kill 
    the king the moment he signs the surrender.  Run around the halls and look at 
    the minimap for the green flashing rectangles - those are the doors.  Go up 
    them and on the second floor is a save crystal.  Go up and around to the next 
    set of stairs.  
    
    Someone says intruder and attack us.  Reks says he will stay behind to fight.  
    Let the battle run on auto pilot.  Keep attacking the enemy with the lowest 
    power.  If you kill off one of them, press X again to attack another one.  
    After defeating the three, don't go up the stairs, go through the passage 
    door.
    
    Run around and see the cut scene of a bunch of dead guys.  Reks gets all 
    huffy-breathy and sees the king lying dead in his throne.  The greasy captain 
    gets right in Reks face and stabs Reks.  Basch killed the king because his 
    majesty was a traitor. Guards rush in and seize Basch and let Reks die.  A 
    Black Pants man enters and Basch says "we will never surrender to you."  Then 
    black pants says that the Empire owns Dalmasca now.
    
    As he dies, Reks yells out "Van!"  A little strange that Reks' last though 
    was of his ride.  I mean even if it is a totally boss 1978 conversion van 
    with the indirect black lights, built in keg-erator, and a mattress in the 
    back, shouldn't he be thinking of his family. 
    
    The narrator-n-spell describes how Dalmasca falls to the Archadian Empire, 
    and Princess Ashe (the bride in the wedding) kills herself.  Basch Fon Greasy 
    was put to death for killing the king.
    
    A new scene of waterfalls.  This may be the Hoover damn.  Is that Meg Ryan?  
    Oh, it's not, just a kid named Vaan.  He is standing in exceptionally clean 
    and architecturally impressive sewers that contain three rats.
    When you have control of him, kill all of them (look for the red spots on the 
    map).  After killing them, Vaan tells his friend Kytes that he has "work" to 
    do real; suspicious like. We know it is not work that he will be doing.
    
    Vaan emerges from the sewer and the camera descends on the town.  The town is 
    Rabanastre and it is two years after fall of Dalmasca.  Rabanastre is under 
    the iron grip of the Empire.  However, the town doesn't look that bad.  In 
    fact, the village would have a whole exotic, Morocco, Bedouin feel too it 
    except that everyone is either Aryan or a giant lizard.  Some guys in armor 
    with English accents steal from a fruit vender.  Probably trying to steal 
    limes.  Really, if this petty crime is the most oppressive thing the Empire 
    does, I don't think the people of Rabanastre can complain.  Vaan pickpockets 
    from the Knights and is able to disappear into the crowd.  For tyring to 
    impress upon us the dread that is a marshal state, the music sure is upbeat.
    
    Vaan doesn't get far because he runs into Cindy Brady.  Her name is Penelo 
    and she accuses him of stealing.  She tries to be all Robin Hood and return 
    it for the Dalmascans.  Vaan, even for a thief, is a real prick.  He steals 
    and doesn't share, steals bread, and doesn't work for their friend Migelo.  
    They discuss how hard and poor they are even though they are both wearing 
    immaculate and custom tailored clothing.  A huge airship passes overhead as 
    an excuse for a quick up-skirt shot of Penelo (keep in mind the instruction 
    book lists here at 17 years old - yuck!)  Vaan says he wants to be a Sky 
    Pirate.  However, that vest of his is saying more "Pirates of Penzance" than 
    "Sky Pirate".  Penelo smiles because, well, I don't know why.  Penelo tells 
    you to lend a hand to Migelo.  I think "o" is added to anything to make it 
    sound exotic.  Lets see: check your mapo and head southo to the lowest branch 
    of the towno.  Ya it works.
    
    Using your map, head towards the southern pocket of the town.  Everyone 
    either talks about how Rabanastre is in lockdown because there is a new 
    Council or about how horrible the Empire is.
    
    When you get into the generally southern quadrant of town, Migelo tells you 
    that he lost some foodstuffs.  He rambles and wants us to fetch Kytes (the 
    other kid in the sewer) back from the bar.  Vaan says it "sounds wild" and I 
    can't tell if he said that sarcastically or fearfully.  Press select to 
    access your map and head towards the flashing red X.  
    
    The destination is a tavern and there is Kytes.  He explains that he was 
    looking for a courier and discovered why the courier got lost.  Vaan looks at 
    a picture of a tomato-head monster that is tacked to the wall.  Tomaj shows 
    up and says "nastiness" is stopping the couriers.  Vaan volunteers to kill 
    off the monster.  Tomaj explains bills and bounties.  
    
          _____________________________________________
         |  Red and Rotten in the desert (x02)         |
    
    
    Check your map and head for the red X.  When you get to the gate, the guard 
    stops Vaan. 
    
    Vaan lies up the guard about how he is getting some food for the consul.  The 
    guards are scared about making the consul mad so they let him through the 
    gates.  On the other side, there is a group of people waiting to get in.  Hit 
    the save crystal. 
    
    Venture off and into the desert.  It is your typical desert where T-Rexes 
    chase wild tiger-wolves.  Walk straight ahead to the cliff.  If you see that 
    T-Rex, run, and do not fight it.  The tomato is under the tree at the end of 
    the cliff.  Start attacking it.   When it is low on Hit Points (HP) it will 
    jump down.  Follow it then finish it off.  
    
    Cut Scene: Vaan sees some flowers and picks them.  He says that these 
    "Galbana Lilies" will make a nice souvenir.  And that was it - anticlimactic 
    end to fighting an animated tomato beast.  Go back the way you came to 
    Rabanastre Proper 
    
    Talk to the Kytes to start a cut scene about getting back into Rabanastre.  A 
    white Chocobo comes up and the guards let it pass because the birds are 
    parade grade.  Vaan's flowers get smashed.  Note the metaphor, at this point 
    I am guessing they mean hope - which is smashed by the empire.  Miguelo comes 
    out of the gate and starts talking up the guards.  He is one of those close 
    talkers.  The guards let everyone back in through the gates probably because 
    they don't want to talk to Migelo any more.  
    
    Cut Scene:  Daniel day Lewis in full Mohican mode rides through Rabanastre 
    atop a parade ship.  He smugly looks down at the people - who all look like 
    they just got back from their government forced workout at the gym.  Penelo 
    holds Vaan's arm, I hope she is not his sister because that would be real 
    creepy.  Side note though to the girls: hold a guys arm like that and he will 
    be yourse.  An armored guard introduces the new Councilor from Arcadia.  His 
    name is Lord Vayne - how Dickens.  He jumps from the ship and goes down to 
    mingle into the monochromatically well-tanned crowd.  The Councilor asks why 
    people hate him.  The crowd says stuff like "spit on your Empire."  Vayne 
    references the slain King to show his sympathy.  The camera switches to the 
    sky cam.  Lord Vayne says lets make peace just like your King would have 
    wanted.  He tells them that you can hate me all you want but that is fine as 
    long as you welcome peace.  Oh and he used the phrase "Slings and arrows" -
    what a bard.  He shoots off typical political lies/promises that he "will 
    defend Dalmasca."  I guess the two years of oppressive Empirical rule were 
    not so bad because after a two minute speech the crowd starts clapping.  How 
    naive are these citizens if they can be lulled into approval by a few 
    sentences spoken in iambic pentameter?  I think I heard someone yell out 
    "CHURCH CHURCH."
    
    Satisfied with his speech, Vayne turns from the crowd.  He says to one of his 
    advisors that the cathedral there is magnificent.  I would call it gaudy, but 
    looking at his armor, I have a feeling there is very little that he finds 
    overindulgent.  
    
    Migelo comes up to kiss ass but Vayne is all "hey man we are on the level, 
    just call me dude and lets go get some beers."  The Councilor sounds like a 
    decent guy but if you have played any Final Fantasy game before you will know 
    that any guy with long hair always turns out to be evil. 
    
    The camera then turns to Penelo and Joan Rivers sitting on the steps.  Oh 
    wow, my mistake that is Vaan.  Vaan wants to try to get into the Fete.  I 
    looked it up, and a Fete is a "day of celebration; holiday" 
    (www.dictionary.com).  Vaan says that he will sneak into the palace and get 
    all the treasure.  With the loot he is sure to acquire, Vaan offers to buy 
    everyone dinner and Penelo teases by saying that he would just buy an 
    airship.  She runs off.  Did she just turned down dinner?
    
    Follow the map to the gate that leads to Lowtown.  Lowtown is implied to be 
    the slums of Rabanastre.  However, it looks about as rough as the red-light 
    district in Salt Lake City.  It actually looks like what would happen if you 
    took Rabanastre proper and titrated out everything that looks like it came 
    from the Aladin Hotel and Casino.  I like Lowtown much better.  Pull up the 
    map and head for the red X - which is Old Dalan's place.  
    
    ZODIAC SPEAR WARNING: The Zodiac Spear is a special weapon that is not 
    required AT ALL to beat this game.  It is, however, super-secret and super-
    difficult to obtain because it spawns only 1 out of 1000 times.  Furthermore, 
    it will only spawn if you DON'T open certain chests.  I will tell you which 
    chests to avoid so that you can have a shot at this weapon.  Here is the 
    first chest to avoid. 
    
    ZODIAC CHEST: Do not open the chest that is right near Dalan's place.
    
    
    Cut Scene:  Dalan looks like the Maharishi.  You know he is exotic too 
    because there are rugs behind him.  Vaan asks him how to get into the palace 
    because he wants to steal all the treasures.  Dalan smokes a hooka and his 
    accent migrates from East Indian to Jamaican.  He says there is a secret 
    passage to the Palace that can only be accessed with a magic crescent stone.  
    The camera focuses on a book - that looks like the one at the beginning of 
    the story - does that mean he was the narrator?  Or maybe it is just a 
    script.  Or maybe that is just the book from the Never Ending Story.  Dalan 
    tells Vaan that he need to charge the sunstone to make the crystal work.  So 
    to charge it, go to the Nomads of Giza Plains. 
    
    Leave, and make a quick right outside of Dalan's and go to the gate to get 
    out of Southgate.  Get a map of Giza by going through the main gate and back 
    into town.  From the SOUTHERN PLAZA go to the Northwest to find a little 
    Moogle that will sell you a map to Giza for 30 gil.  Buy it, and then head 
    back to the south gate and into Giza Plains. 
    
    You should also activate the clan provisionar at this point so that you can 
    earn extras as you defeat bosses. 
    
    - Go to the bar that is located in EAST END of Rabanastre.  That is the same 
    spot where you read about fighting that tomato. 
    - Go to the balcony to talk to Tomaj he will give you 300 Gil for killing the 
    tomato and will tell you to see Bangaa, he is in Rabanastre's NORTH END.  The 
    face icon on your map indicates where it is.
    - Go inside and talk to the moogle at the top of the stairs: named Montblanc
    - After he gives you the proper papers, talk to him again.  He will give you 
    a prize for each big boss you defeated.
    - The clan shop in MUTHRU BAZAAR will now be open to you.  The actual shop is 
    indicated with the pot icon.
    - As you finish posted hunts you will be given marks.  The more marks you get 
    the more stuff will be available at the Clan Provisioner.  Here are the 
    levels of the items you need.
    - As you beat bosses in this game come back to Montblanc because he will give 
    you additional rewards.
    
          _____________________________________________
         |  Giza Plains (x03)                          |
    
    Shopping List
    - Heal from the White Magic 1 on the License board
    - Heal spell from the magic shop in Rabanastre
    
    THRONE ROAD > NOMAD VILLAGE > GIZAS NORTH BANK > GIZAS SOUTH BANK > CRYSTAL 
    GLADE
    
    THRONE ROAD
    In the Giza Deserts, head south to the Nomad Village.  Talk to the nomad 
    named Masyua to learn about the Sunstone.  Vaan needs to find Jinn, who went 
    exploring to the south.  These nomads let a boy run around a monster filled 
    desert?  When I was a kid I wasn't even allowed to go trick or treating 
    alone. 
    
    Cut Scene: Penelo looks like she is on a Greenpeace mission to the Nomads of 
    Giza.  Vaan wonders why Penelo is there and she says she would be surprised 
    too but assumes that he is up to "no good.  She doesn't have to guess that he 
    is up to no good, Vaan already told her that he was going to rob the palace - 
    that is "no good" no matter how you look at it.  Penelo still wants to tag 
    along though.  Do you think that is head lice causing their hair to move or 
    just those Giza winds?  Use the save crystal then listen to what she has to 
    say about Gambits and parties.  Follow the directions at the top of this 
    section to navigate the Giza Planes.  If you die and Penelo is still alive, 
    use a phoenix down to revive him.  
    
    CRYSTAL GLADE
    At the southern most field, find Jinn sitting under a black rock.  He hurt 
    his leg running from monsters.   He gives us a shadestone to absorb the 
    energy from the sunstone.  Go to each golden, glowing Sunstone and press X by 
    it to charge up your shadestone.  Find the stones in several of the zones in 
    Giza, you can see them from quite a distance.  You need three to charge the 
    shadestone.  After every charge, Vaan holds his head like he is going to do a 
    lap dance.  When all stones are charged, a cut scene shows Vaan/Penelo 
    returning to the nomad village.  The nomads let Vaan keep the sun stone. 
    
    Return to Rebanastre and venture down to the lowtown.  Walk back to Dalan's.  
    Penelo talks and says that its been a long time since we did anything 
    together.  Her crotch is right in camera.  She hints that she would really 
    hate to see me go...  Vaan lies that he will not be going anywhere.  Vaan 
    then gives the stone to Dalan who tells him how to get into the palace.  
    Don't worry what he has to say because I will tell you how to get through 
    there.
    
          _____________________________________________
         |  Garamsythe Waterway (x04)                  |
    
    
    Shopping List:
    - 5 x Eyedrops - buy from the Traveling Merchant in Northwest lowtown.
    
    CENTRAL SPUR STAIRS > NORTHERN SLUICEWAY > NORTH SPUR SLUICEWAY 
    
    Cut Scene:  A man with a buzzy beetle on his head tells another guard to 
    prepare for an invasion.  A woman with a blue belt walks up and the scene 
    fades away.  That must belt must have some relevance.
    
    Go to the north east corner of Lowtown.  The music has handclaps, I love 
    that, if I wasn't holding a controller right now I would clap along.  Kytes 
    tries to get us in through a gate.  Continue through the doors to the 
    Garamsythe.   
    
    CENTRAL SPUR STAIRS
    Use the blue crystal to save.  Then continue through the tunnels east.  
    
    Note: if there is a dead end on the map, it usually has a treasure chest at 
    the end of it.  
    
    NORTH SPUR SLUICEWAY
    Run up the stairs to reach the Royal Palace.
    
    Cut Scene: Fireworks over the castle.  Two people are riding a hover 
    motorcycle through the hallways.  One of them doesn't seem to be a very good 
    driver so the guy not driving jumps off then hmphs at the camera like "ya I 
    know she is bad driver but look at how hot she is, you would tolerater her 
    too."  
    
          _____________________________________________
         |  Royal Palace of Rabanastre (x04)           |
    
    
    CELLAR STORES > CELLARS > LOWER HALLS > SECRET PASSAGE > THE GARDEN STAIRS
    
    CELLAR STORES: When you regain control of Vaan, don't enter the gate yet.  
    Turn around for a map in the Urn - they turned grandpa into a map?  And a 
    save.  Now enter the doors.  
    
    CELLARS
    ZODIAC CHEST: If you are thinking of going for the Zodiac Spear (I strongly 
    recommend against going for it - it is a waste of time), do not open the 
    chests that are located in the south east corner of this room. 
    
    Everyone is talking about the Fete.  A Guard tells the servants to stay in 
    line.  Talk to the guard watching the stairs.  He tells you to go back to the 
    room.  Talk to the fat lizard servant.  He will tell you how to get past the 
    guards.
    
    LOWER HALLS
    It smell like a stealth game in here - which smells like a day old halibut.  
    The object in this room is to sneak up to the Lion Signet and unlock the 
    secret passage.  To do so, run around to the easternmost hallway and call for 
    the guard.  Then, run around to where they were guarding. The Lion Signet is 
    located in the east/west hallway that is second from the top.  
    
    Stand on the signet (which is on the floor) and select "use crescent."  It 
    will tell you that the secret passage is lit.  Call any guards in your way 
    and head to the northwest corner of the room.  Look for a faint green light.  
    Select "approach" and the wall will open.  Inside the next room, run to the 
    small dead-end and press the switch to unlock the "Suspicious-looking Wall."
    
    Cut Scene: Treasure room.  What is that sound?  Whats with the moaning and 
    grunting?  Please don't show it, please don't show it...  Oh good, its just 
    Vaan rummaging.  The face of a statue opens and there is a glowing thing in 
    there.  In walks the man and his totally hot rabbit ear girlfriend.  In a 
    Colin Farrell accent he says "Quite a performance and he said he is the 
    leading man."  He demands that Vaan give him the Magicite.  When he looks 
    away, Vaan escapes out the window.  Hey! That ragamuffin just escaped with 
    our Macguffin.
    
    When you regain control of Vaan, go up and around the stairs.  
    
    Cut Scene: Guards are fighting people.  Someone drops a bomb.  Colin Farrell 
    says they are the Ifrit and they have good timing.  Vaan tries to escape but 
    gets caught by Colin, his girlfriend and their bike.  
    
    Cut Scene: They have crashed and rabit ear asks "What happened?  Our hover 
    didn't just drop - it disappeared.  Ya just keep playing dumb, try telling 
    that to the insurance company... "Ahh ya my brake pads disappeared just 
    before I ran into that tree."  After some introductions we hear that his name 
    is Balthier and you would think his super-hot girl-friend would probably have 
    a super exotic name but nope, it's Fran.  I wonder what he uses her ears 
    for... 
    
    He says she is a Vierra and "Deign to partner with a hume."  Which means she 
    condescended to join him.  The relationship between them remains ambiguous.  
    Balthier is a sky pirate, just like Han Solo.  Fran is his sexy-beast 
    sidekick, just like Chewbacca.  Balthier offers Vaan a position in piracy and 
    Vaan is like "oh yes, yes, yes, they like me they like me.  Ok man play it 
    cool... play it cool."  There is that constant wind again that causes their 
    hair to pulsate. 
    
          _____________________________________________
         |  Garamsythe Waterway (x05)                  |
    
    
    EAST SPUR STAIRS > EAST WATERWAY CONTROL > NO. 11 CHANNEL > EAST SLUICE 
    CONTROL > SOUTHERN SLUICEWAY > WEST LUICE CONTROL > NO. 10 CHANNEL > CENTRAL 
    WATERWAY CONTROL > OVERFLOW CLOACA
    
    EAST SPUR STAIRS
    Use the save crystal. 
    
    Cut Scene: Balthier says that the people we saw attacking were the rebles 
    trying to assasinate Vayne.  However, he was smart enough to know they would 
    attack and drew all the rebles into a trap. Balthier then complains that he 
    soiled himself and needs a change of wardrobe. Follow the lesson on gambits.  
    set up the gambits as follows:
    
    For Vaan: Buy the license for heal if you have not already
    Vaan: 
    [Ally: HP < 70% > Cure]
    [Foe: Nearest Visible > Attack] 
    
    Balthier - 
    [Ally: HP < 70% > First Aid], 
    [Foe: leader's target > attack]
    
    Fran 
    [Foe: leader's target > fire]
    [Foe: leader's target > attack]  //placing this second means Fran will 
    automatically use physical attacks when she runs out of MP.
    
    EAST WATERWAY CONTROL
    Look along the east wall to pickup a map and eye drops.  Work your way south 
    through the sewers.  
    
    NO. 11 CHANNEL
    Watch out for the toads as they pack a wallop.  It is best to pick one off 
    then flee, heal everyone, run around in circles to restore your MP and then 
    go back to get the next one.
    
    EAST SLUICE CONTROL
    Use the save crystal here.
    
    Cut Scene: A woman is attacking a series of "bucket heads."  Vaan tell her to 
    jump down.  She falls in his arms and they meet eyes, I bet she smells sweet 
    like red/cherry Sanford Mr. Sketch scented markers.  The woman joins our 
    party.  Fran complains that our party is growing too large - why should she 
    care?  Beat back the guards. 
    
    Vaan introduces everyone, her name is Amalia, and the music swoons which 
    means there is a crush forming.  Amalia indicates that she was leading the 
    group that Vayne trapped and killed.  Is Vaan turned on?  Because his crotch 
    starts glowing.  Oh wait, it is just the crystal he stole.  Vaan invites the 
    woman to come along despite the fact that she is super bitchy - I say leave 
    her.  Run back up to her.  She complains that thieves are guiding her.  All 
    of sudden Balthier is all for Amalia joining our party as a "Guest."  Quick 
    mood change?  
    
    SOUTHERN SLUICEWAY 
    Run into the room and we see blobs on the roof and all around us.  They are 
    called Flan which is funny if you have ever had the Mexican dessert.  
    
    Fight blobs (named flan):  just attack the purple glowing one first because 
    he casts magic to blind your team.  If he does blind one of you, use the eye 
    drops.  After he is dead, attack the largest Flan.  Then work down from 
    there.  Screen says CONGRATULATIONS.
    
    CENTRAL WATERWAY CONTROL
    The semicircle has a save crystal, use it.
    
         -----  BOSS: Firemane (x05a) ----- 
    
    - Watch for status attacks like poison and use antidote to remove it.  
    - Turn off any health gambits so that your party will spend more time 
    fighting instead of healing. 
    - Watch closely and use potions if a part member gets too low on health.
    - Keep Amelia in the attack party, and keep her alive, she will automatically 
    revive someone who gets killed in battle.
    - Make sure that no one uses a fire based magic because it will refill 
    Firemane's health.
    
         ----- END Firemane -----
    
    Death sequence: it turns into a fireball again and flies off into the rest of 
    the sewer.  Guards with crossbows surround the party.  Balthier tells Amelia 
    to stand down.  Vayne is there and he looks puzzled or probably just worried 
    that the humid sewer air will cause kinks and split ends. 
    
    The Dalmascan crowd around them whispers stuff like "what a bunch of thieves" 
    and "they deserve whatever they get."  Ashe is shocked to hear that people 
    think she is a common thief - not in that dress sister.  Penelo tries to 
    fight for Vaan's freedom.  Vaan looks over at her, shows her how his hands 
    are stuck in a cinder block and then says "Sorry, that dinner will have to 
    wait."  Whoa! I think I just controlled this cut scene with my mind because 
    that imperial guard just slapped Vaan in the back of the head real hard.  
    Balthier calms Penelo by giving her a security blanket, scratch that, a 
    security handkerchief to hold on to until they get back.  Watching from 
    around the corner, two lizards complain that they should be the ones who get 
    to kill Balthier.  
    
    Cut Scene: Cut to a light filled window.  Vaan enters a small white room with 
    a bed and medical equipment and all of a sudden we are playing E.R. XII.  His 
    brother Reks is sitting in a chair and then turns and says "Let's Rock" (in 
    backwards talk).  Vaan gives him Galbana Lilies, there is the symbolism.  
    These were the flowers Vaan picked after the Red and Rotten in the Desert 
    hunt.  The flowers were smashed by the incoming Chocobos.  My guess is the 
    flowers represent Reks who (like the flowers) grew up in the desert and was 
    trampled by the incoming empire.  Reks says nothing.  Vaan worries that Reks 
    was part of the king's assassination.  He then thinks that if it was Reks who 
    killed, he was probably brainwashed by Basch Fon Greasy.  Reks disintegrates 
    out the window and Vaan holds the ring that was on his brother's finger.  
    White light floods the screen and the scene ends.  At least we didn't have to 
    see a creepy Michael J. Anderson dance sequence.  
    
          _____________________________________________
         |  Nalbina Dungeons   (x06)                   |
    
    
    STOCKADE > ARENA > CONFISCATORY > THE BLACK WATCH
    
    Vaan awakens and we are looking up at Dormin?!  He want's us to go kill a 
    Colossus?  Oh, no this is FFXII and we are back now with Vaan.  He was 
    knocked out by that emperial guard that I miraculously commanded into 
    striking.  Balthier tells him that they are in a dungeon which he surmises 
    must be the bottom of the palace.  Fran is looking for a way out.  Vaan 
    decides to go for a little walk.
    
    STOCKADE
    Run to the northern most part of the dungeon to the save.  As far as dungeons 
    are concerned, it doesn't look too bad, just very sandy.  Everyone you talk 
    to says how bad the empire is and how bad it is in the dungeon.   Run around 
    to the various chests and collect four "Knots of Rust." Go out the door.  
    
    Vaan enters a large room with an oculus.  Two pigs start beating one of those 
    lizard men.  Vaan begs the pigs to stop beating the skinny lizard.  First 
    rule of prison: never yell at the big guy everyone calls Tuff Susan.  Here is 
    an example why not: the pigs go after Vaan and knock him out.  Gather round 
    chillin'!  Looks like we got ourselves a good ol' fashion backwater pig 
    fight!  
    
    Note: I can't believe I worked so hard for a college degree so that I could 
    someday write about a lizard/pig/hume fight.  Sometimes I wonder why I do 
    this.
    
    Fight against the pigs:
    - Focus your attacks on one pig at a time.  
    - Use heal and cure as needed to keep your party alive.  
    - Throw the knots of rust you got from the treasure chests to inflict damage.
    
    Cut Scene: All the other lizards gather around to see what is happening when 
    the guards arrive.  Vaan and Balthier find a real crappy hiding place and 
    then Fran appears to tell them that there is a way through the oubliette.  A 
    green lizard scolds the soldiers about their incompetence for loosing 
    Balthier.  The Judge shows up - he is the leader of the imperial commanders.  
    The judge approaches the lizard and tells him off - is that a black jock 
    strap on the lizard's nose?  The lizards and guards strike out to find the 
    prisoners.  They should check the OTHER SIDE of the CAGE that Vaan and 
    Balthier were LOCKED IN.  
    
    CONFISCATORY
    ZODIAC CHESTS: If you are thinking of going for the Zodiac Spear, do not open 
    the chests that are located in this room.  I recommend opening them, the 
    Zodiac spear is not that great and your chances of getting it are so slim.  
    Don't waste your time.  But, if you want to be a dumbass, skip these piles of 
    goodness - I hope you enjoy your stupid spear.
    
    
    Use the save crystal and don't open the treasure chests here if you are going 
    for the spear. Head into the next zone.
    
    The gates nearly close on the party, trapping them in a room swarming with 
    soldiers.  A guard looks over at the strange sound Balthier made.  The 
    guard's mask laid sideways looks like the following emoticon [>-<].  
    
    THE BLACK WATCH
    Head around the large room to the door in the center of it.  Fight any of the 
    guards you see to pick up some good loot and EXP.  
    
    When you get close to the locked magick door you will see a cut scene of the 
    soldiers using a magic spell to unlock it.  I swear the magic words were "How 
    are my roots Eliza Dushku?"  Follow those knights.  
    
    A cage is pulled up from the depths and Basch is in it (he was the one who 
    allegedly killed the king and taught us how to talk to NPCs and open doors).  
    His emaciated frame implies he has been there the whole two years since the 
    assassination or spent a lot of time doing calisthenics.  The judge removes 
    his mask (he looks a lot like someone we know...) and asks Basch why he still 
    clings to life.  Basch says that he is covering for Ondore. 
    
    The Judge tells the imprisoned Basch that Amalia was caught.  As the Judge 
    leaves, he blames Basch for killing the king and thus "throwing away our 
    homeland."
    
    As the party walks by Basch pleads for his escape.  When Basch tells the 
    party to do it for the good of Dalmasca, Vaan jumps on his cage and blames 
    him for the death of his brother.  Hearing the approaching guards, Fran and 
    Balthier join in the cage jumping and descend into the abyss.
    
    Basch is free and Vaan attacks him but is pulled away.  Balthier calls Basch 
    a "Sword Arm".  Which would make me a "controller arm".  Vaan seethes with 
    all the teenage angst he can muster.  It just makes him look like Julie Bowen 
    from TV's Ed and TV's Lost (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0100866/)
    
          _____________________________________________
         |  Barheim Passage (x07)                      |
    
    
    The Barheim Passage appears to be a mine or a subway system.  There are 
    tracks and broken mine cars.  The wires sit everywhere.  The arches in this 
    area are directly copied from a real-life building in Spain called the Great 
    Mosque of Cordoba.  Those alternating red and white stripes that make up the 
    arches are one of the most copied elements in all of architecture.  You will 
    see it everywhere.  I live by the University of Arizona and several buildings 
    make use of it.  Go to 
    
    www.gameintestine.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=129
    
    for pictures of the temple and of examples of other real building using it.  
    Each stripe that makes up the arch is called a voussoir (pronounced voss-wa).  
    
    Now go tell your mom that you learned about architecture from a video game 
    and maybe she will buy you another one.  Get her to pre-order of God of War 
    II.  Based on early screen shots, there is a lot of real world architecture 
    in it.
    
    
    THE LIGHTWORKS > OP SECTOR 29 > GREAT EASTERN PASSAGE > OP SECTOR 36 > OP 
    SECTOR 3 > OP SECTOR 37 > SPECIAL OP SECTOR 3 > NORTH-SOUTH JUNCTION > GREAT 
    CENTRAL PASSAGE > THE ZEVIAH SUBTERRANE > TERMINUS NO. 4 ADJUNCT
    
    THE LIGHTWORKS
    Open the nearby treasure chests and use the save crystal 
    
    || HOUR - 4:13 || 
    
    From the second story, walk up to the large cylindrical thing in the middle 
    of the room.  Balthier says the fuse is blown so there is no power.  Talk to 
    the merchant at the bottom to get a Tube Fuse.  Go back up to the cylinder 
    and insert it.  Then, go back to the bottom floor and sell all your loot 
    except for teleport stones.  You can sell anything in your "items" category 
    that is not equipped.  
    
    Now is also the time you need to pick who will be your casters and who will 
    be your tanks.  A caster will be the person is responsible for healing, 
    applying status cures, enemy status ailments and shooting off magic attacks.  
    Tanks are the front line of team and will need the best weapons and best 
    armor.  It really doesn't matter which character you pick for which role 
    because none of the characters in FFXII are pre-disposed to one job or 
    another.  Furthermore, by the end of the game most of your characters will 
    have so many licenses that their abilities will overlap.  It is just in this 
    early half of the game that you must assign roles and stick to them.
    
    I arbitrarily picked Fran and Balthier as my caster.  I use Vaan and Balthier 
    as my tank.  When you pick your caster, buy just that person the Poisona 
    square from the License Board.  Note, to use the spell you must buy it from 
    the License Board and have purchased the spell from the merchant.  
    
    See Lloyd1337's License Grid map at GameFaqs 
    (http://db.gamefaqs.com/console/ps2/file/final_fantasy_xii_license_grid_na.pn
    g)
    
    Shopping List
    - Blizzard for everyone
    - Thunder for caster
    - Slow caster
    - Blindna, Poisona (for your caster)
    - 2 x phoenix downs
    
    If you don't have enough to buy all of these things fight through the dungeon 
    to gain loot.  Then, come back to this merchant and sell what you have 
    collected.
    
    Tanks: 
    On the License board, head straight south to pick up Shield block, battle 
    lore, +100 HP and that quickening.
    
    Path - send a second tank to the north east to pickup Accessories, 2, 4, 5, 
    9, then the quickening.
    
    Casters: Buy the Magick lores.  The direction they will head on the board is 
    north east.  
    
    When done with your purchases, press the switch that is adjacent to the 
    merchant and enter the opened door.
    
    Balthier explains that this whole area is basically a big mimic crack den 
    where they lie around sucking down the juice.  When you first see one, run 
    right up to it and kill it to prevent it from further consuming the power.  
    The fight is easier if you cast their weakness, blizzard.  In order to find 
    them all in the level, regularly check your map and look for the word 
    bubble/exclamation point icon.  
    
    OP SECTOR 29:  
    Continue south through the dungeon and focus all attacks on any mimics that 
    are feeding off of the power.  Continue south through here.  
    
    GREAT EASTERN PASSAGE
    When you get to the middle of this zone, head up the narrow hallway that 
    leads north.  There is a map urn at the end of it.  Head south here and enter 
    the door located along the northern wall to get to...
    
    OP SECTOR 36
    Kill the mimic in here and return to GREAT EASTERN PASSAGE.  Move south to...
    
    SPECIAL OP SECTOR 3
    Kill all the mimics in the room then go to..
    
    OP SECTOR 37
    Head to the north end of the room to the switch.  Press it to unlock the gate 
    located back in OP SECTOR 3.
    
    Cut Scene: Fran says the "mist seethes."  Basch, with a bad case of Kerri 
    Russell hair, finds a sword.  Balthier coos "Nice moves captain" - that 
    sounded like a come-on to me.  Vaan corrects him: "traitor."  Whoa touche.  
    They have a little back and forth and Vaan accuses Basch of killed his 
    brother Reks. 
    
    Bloobidy Bloobidy Bloobidy - Flashback:
    
    We hear a bunch of stuff that is real fast and blurry.  Somehow Balthier was 
    able to make sense of it realizing that Basch has a twin brother who actually 
    did all the killing.  Vaan does not believe it and I wouldn't either.  Then 
    Balthier ends the argument by giving the most half-assed resolution - "what 
    is done is done".  Now nothing is resolved and we can have another flashback 
    and more confrontation later. 
    
    Cut scene: A thick green viscous fluid pours over the mimics as they are 
    dropped from the mimic boss.  I know it is wrong, but I just got a hankerin 
    for omlettes.  Pan back of the beast and we find out her name is Mimic 
    Queen... wait, isn't that the name of a Freddie Mercury cover band?  
    
         ----- BOSS: Mimic Queen (x07a) -----
    Levels: All party members: 9
    Gambits: 
    Caster
    [ally HP < 60% > cure]
    [Foe: any > blizzard]
    
    Tank
    [Foe: any > blizzard]
    
    - She and her babies are vulnerable to Blizzard
    - First clear out all the mini mimics that feed off the power.  If the power 
    reaches 0 you are in big trouble.
    - When all the mini mimics are dead, focus your attack on the queen.
    - If the queen sends out more mimics, kill them before they feed for too long
    - Use cure to keep your party healthy
    
         ----- End Mimic Queen -----
    
    Cut scene: Everyone escapes from the collapsing underground and out into the 
    desert.  Basch says "Damalscan air tastes so sweet" - maybe he thinks this is 
    a dessert not a desert.  Balthier calls him captain again and says "lead the 
    way."  Basch says that it is time for his return.  Not in those words though, 
    he says it in a Yoda sort of way.  
    
          _____________________________________________
         |  Return to Rabanastre (x08)                 |
    
    PASSAGE ENTRANCE > SAND-SWEPT NAZE > YARDANG LABYRINTH > OUTPOST > THE 
    STEPPING
    
    PASSAGE ENTRANCE
    Save and then head to the next zone.
    
    SAND-SWEPT NAZE
    Check the map and proceed towards the red X that is located in the southern 
    edge. 
    
    OUTPOST
    You can find some glinting gil in the sand and chocobos to rent.  Just 
    continue south.  When you reach the final field...
    
    THE STEPPING
    Go to the gate, it leads to Rabanastre.  If you see a T-Rex named Saurian, do 
    NOT attack it, it will still kill you. 
    
    Cut scene:  They arrive back in town and Balthier advices Basch to lie low 
    because he is a traitor.  Basch says that "The resistance will find me soon" 
    - especially if you are running around wearing a cod piece like that.  Basch 
    tries to reassure Vaan that he did not kill his brother by awkwardly saying 
    "I would pay my respects to your brother."  
    
    Vaan asks Balthier if he still wants the stone - probably to remind Balthier 
    that he is a good pirate.  Balthier does not want it because it is "ill-
    favored."  Ill-favored eh? Vaan decides to give it to Penelo instead. 
    
    Save at the stone then proceed through the gate that leads to Lowtown.  
    
    SOUTHGATE > SOUTHERN PLAZA > EAST END > SOUTH SPRAWL > NORTH SPRAWL
    
    SOUTHGATE
    Head back to Migelo's to see if Penelo is there to show her that you "got 
    something."  Kytes is there instead and tell you to see Dalan.  Return to 
    Lowtown to talk to Dalan.  
    
    Cut scene: Vaan shows Dalan the stolen stone but Dalan seems to feign 
    interest in it.  He then asks Vaan to take a sword to Azelas.  Vaan 
    recognizes it as a sword of the old order - an elegant weapon for a more 
    civilized age.  Dalan whispers something about "reminding someone about what 
    the order once meant."  
    
    SOUTH SPRAWL
    Proceed to the marked X.  
    
    NORTH SPRAWL
    Talk to the boy sitting on a crate.  He is wearing Capri pants, a corset and 
    his name is Balazac (sorry about the name dude, Jr. High must have been 
    rough).  The kid lets Vaan through.
    
    Cut Scene: A group of resistance fighters debate Basch's twin-brother-kill-
    king story.  One of the men surmises that if it were true that a Judge killed 
    the king, then Basch (the Captain) would be a brother to an Imperial stooge.  
    Basch comes walking in having cleaned up a little.  And I do mean a little.  
    He looks like a homeless George Washington.  I bet still smells like dungeon.  
    And really, if all you can grow is that pathetic puberty beard just shave it 
    all off. 
    
    Basch asks the men if they will fight with him and against the Empire.  They 
    don't trust him.  Someone mentions Reks and of course Vaan gets all butt-hurt 
    about it.  Basch defends Vaan's brother by explaining that Reks was killed 
    because he was a witness to the king's killing.  The Empire could not frame 
    Basch if Reks knew the truth; so he was killed.  
    
    The clan leader, Vossler, does not believe any of this and decides not to 
    talk to Basch any more.  Vossler can't trust anyone because he suspects there 
    is a mole in the resistance.  Basch says "you going to hold me here in 
    chains?"  Quick cut to the two of them staring at each other for a LONG time.  
    It gets awkward so Vossler does the only thing he can think of: tossing a 
    sword to Basch.  Vossler lets him leave warning him that everyone in the 
    resistance thinks he is a king-killing spy.  
    
    God these Rabanastrians are gullible.  First they bought Vayne's I'm-on-your-
    side speech and now Vaan trusts Basch after he says just one positive thing 
    about Reks.  Now Vaan has a total man-crush for Basch and agrees to take him 
    to see Balthier. 
    
    NORTH SPRAWL > EAST END
    
    NORTH SPRAWL 
    Leave Lowtown through the Gate to Rabanastre.  Balthier and Fran-bacca went 
    out for dinner at The Sandsea. It is in the EAST END of Rabanastre and 
    identified by the bottle and cup icon.
    
    Cut Scene: Vaan and Basch see some kids and Vaan talks about how he is an 
    orphan and that he lived with Penelo's family.  Vaan comes full circle and 
    trusts Basch and blames the Empire for his brother's death.  
    
    EAST END
    Enter the Sandsea and head up the stairs.  Migelo is urging Balthier to 
    rescue Penelo because a ransom note said "We have Penelo, send Balthier to 
    rescue her."  Vaan offers to save her but I have a feeling that he just wants 
    to see Balthier's airship.  Basch offers to join in the adventure and 
    Balthier assumes that it is to see someone called the Marquis.  Vaan offers 
    the crystal as payment.  Fran growls "god's are toying with us" - easy 
    Chewie.  Notice the mention of god's controlling their lives - think FATE.
    
    Levels: Most characters should be at 10.  Head out into the eastersand if you 
    need more experience.  
    
    While you are leveling up you should also use this opportunity to earn Gil by 
    picking up loot dropped by beasts.  To get the best loot you should do 
    something called "Chaining."  Chaining is a bit like racial profiling in that 
    you are only attacking creatures of a certain species.  The more species you 
    kill of one type the higher your chain will get.  As the chain gets higher 
    more valuable loot is dropped which will fetch a higher price when sold in 
    the shops.  If you kill another species while you are chaining your combo 
    will drop back down to zero and you will not get the valuable stuff until you 
    build it back up again.
    
    Stock up in the various shops, make sure have all the gambits that are 
    available in town.
    
         _____________________________________________
        |  Bhujerba  (x09)                            |
       
    
    To start the quest for Penelo, proceed to the Aerodrome.  The door to it is 
    marked with an X on the map.  Enter and talk to Balthier who is standing at 
    the top of a little sunken living room, looking out the window.   Tell him 
    you are ready.  
    
    Cut scene:  The clan enters Balthier's airship named "The Strahl."  It looks 
    like it has a colorful candy shell.  Balthier notices Vaan's airship boner 
    and asks him if he wants to look around.  The adults plan the route to 
    Bhujerba.  Watch closely because Vaan looks down Fran's shirt and she turns 
    around like don't even try it.  Basch reminds that if anyone learns he is 
    alive the Marquis will loose favor.  Everyone was so happy when Basch was 
    dead.  The engines rev its wings lock into fly mode and it takes off into the 
    sky.  I guess that is the end of the game because the Strahl flew right back 
    to the title screen.  Tune in for Final Fantasy XIII to see if Penelo ever 
    gets saved... Ah never mind.
    
    Cut Scene: Penelo is doing her best Anne Frank when the bounty hunting 
    lizards arrive.  They are using Penelo as bait to lure Balthier so they can 
    claim a bounty.  Penelo looks at the window and says "where are you."  I feel 
    bad for her because as those bounty hunters should know, a sky pirate 
    wouldn't give two craps about saving a little girl.  But then again, Balthier 
    is driving off to get her.  Maybe sky pirate doesn't mean what I think it 
    does.  Maybe in the world of Ivalice "sky pirate" is just another name for 
    "high school guidance councilor."
    
    Cut Scene: The clan lands and some Imperial guards run by.  Balthier turns to 
    Basch and calls them "easy."  Yup, Balthier just call a pack of the guards 
    sluts.  Basch must know what he means because he nods in agreement.
     
    Walk out the back door to enter Bhujerba.
    
    Cut Scene: The clan walks out into the city and Balthier says "The Lhusus 
    mines are just up ahead so hurry so we can have time to visit the gift shop."  
    A sprightly you lad stops the clan and asks them if he "can accompany them".  
    Basch asks what errand the kid has in the mines and the kid retorts "well why 
    do you want to go to the mines?" No! We asked first times infinity!  Balthier 
    offers to take the kid (who is named uh... ah... Lamont) as long as he can 
    keep his eye on him.  Vaan is all trusting of the kid - probably because he 
    has not yet said anything about his brother.  Vaan then blows Basch's 
    airtight cover when he uses his real name. 
    
    TRAVICA WAY > MINERS' END > LHUSU SQUARE > LHUSU MINES
    
    Buy a map from the moogle located at the first intersection of TRAVICA WAY.  
    Upgrade your party in the shops as you proceed through twon.
    
    Shopping List:
    - A shield for Basch - just make sure that he has enough LP to buy the 
    upgrade needed to equip the shield
    - Antidote x 5 (buy from the potion merchant in LHUSU SQUARE)
    - Add a gambit for [Self > Libra] 
    
    LHUSU SQUARE:
    After buying the antidote from the merchant, run down the stairs to enter the 
    Lhusu Mines.
    
    Cut Scene:  Balthier, as always, knows all about this place and of course has 
    to tell us all about it.  The Bhujerbans mine magicite out of it.  Lamont 
    one-ups him by telling him that this is neutral territory and the Empire 
    rarely gets involved.  I bet Lamont has a collection first place geography 
    bee ribbons at home. 
    
    Cut Scene:  A judge and his entourage are exploring the mines by Bhujerba's 
    local authority the Marquis.  These mines are quite the tourist trap.  The 
    judge is there to make sure the mines are supplying the empire with an 
    adequate amount of Magicite.  All the talk about saddles, bridals, and whips 
    is just a weird/wrong way of describing Bhujerba's reluctant cooperation with 
    the Empire.  Think Bhujerba : magicite :: Middle East : oil.  It is implied 
    that the Marquis is helping the resistance fight the Empire.
    
         _____________________________________________
        |  Lhusu Mines  (x10)                         |
    
    
    SHAFT ENTRY > OLTAM SPAN > TRANSITWAY 1 > SHUNIA TWINSPAN > SITE 2
    
    The clan enters Lhusu mine.  If your party only includes Vaan and Lamont, go 
    to the party menu and select another two members to round out squad. 
    
    For a mine it sure is shallow and quite detailed.  The whole mine looks like 
    Grand Central Station with its lights turned off.
    
    SHAFT ENTRY
    Battle the bats in this unfortunately named room.  If the bats are giving you 
    trouble, you may need to upgrade your party.  Buy a few Battle Lore / Magick 
    Lore square from the license board or go back to town and buy new 
    swords/armor.  
    
    SHUNIA TWINSPAN
    Watch out because there will be a steady stream of attacking skeletons.  If 
    you are having trouble beating the group of them I strongly suggest fleeing.  
    If your can kill them with little problem, fight it out here to build up a 
    pretty long chain of loot.
    
    SITE 2
    Cut Scene: Our Rococo companion, Lamont, prances into the open site.  I hope 
    I never have to see a cos-player dressed like him.  He pulls out a small, 
    blue, glowing stone.  The stone is Nethicite which is a man-made substance 
    that can absorb Magickal energy.  This mine, however, is filled with 
    Magicite; the naturally occurring -cite.  The Draklor Laboratory is using the 
    Magicite in this mine for the production of Nethicite.  I think this is 
    research for Lamont's sure to be prize winning science fair project called 
    "Science is Alright with Nethicite"
    
    Balthier gets suddenly Socratic and asks, you done?  Where's my money?  Where 
    did you hear about Nethicite?  Where did you get it?  Draklor Labs?  Who are 
    you?
    
    The lizards who were looking for Balthier in the prison are back.  One of 
    them is carrying a huge spinning chainsaw that could make quick work of weeks 
    and underbrush.  The lizard is Ba'Gamnan and is glad to finally have 
    Balthier.  Listen closely because as the lizard talks he gains a Scottish 
    accent.  It hits its peak when he says Penelo ran off "crying like a babe."  
    Lamont throws his nethicite at Ba'Gamnan and escapes.  The rest of the party 
    runs off too.
    
    Don't even try to fight the lizards.  They are too strong for your party at 
    this time.  Run through the level to the exit following the same path you 
    used to get into the mines. 
    
    When you exit via the SHAFT ENTRY see the cut scene of the whole party hiding 
    behind the columns.  Lamont approaches the judge who scolds him for running 
    unaccompanied and exposed to crazies such as Penelo.  Lamont lies that he was 
    alone - thus saving the party from discovery. 
    
    Lamont asks if Penelo can spend the night.  The Marquis agrees and the whole 
    entourage leaves the mines.  Vaan seems a bit too preoccupied with Lamont and 
    his sudden interest in Penelo.  Balthier knows that Lamont is really named 
    Larsa and is the kid brother of Vayne.  Fran reassures Vaan that she is in 
    safe hands.  Balthier says "Nobody knows men like Fran does" then everyone 
    pauses for the laugh track... and then Basch continues with the narrative.  
    
    Basch explains that the Marquis is indeed helping the rebels fight the 
    Empire.  The reason Basch is still present is because the Marquis publicly 
    signed an execution paper but secretly kept Basch alive.  Balthier thinks he 
    is all literary by alluding to Mark Twain's famous quote "Rumors of your 
    death were, in fact, greatly exaggerated."  Balthier actually misquotes there 
    - and many people make this mistake.  You see Mark Twain actually said "the 
    report of my death was an exaggeration."  Samuel Clemens was responding to 
    his premature newspaper obituary.  I am not making this up.  If you want to 
    get a more complete background of this commonly misquoted line see: 
    http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=191570
    
    NOTE: In this next part you may want to make sure there is no one in the room 
    you would be embarrassed by. Because this next part is super uncomfortable, I 
    felt embarrassed and I was all alone playing it. 
    
    Balthier gets the idea that if we spread rumors that Basch is alive the 
    resistance will bring them right to the Marquis.  The clan decides that when 
    it comes to being annoying, no one does a better job than Vaan.  They are 
    right when Vaan belts out "I'm Captain Basch Fon Ronsenburg of Dalmasca!"  I 
    still hear that when I close my eyes at night. 
    
    NOTE: Before you start going around yelling about how you are "THE Bashe" and 
    "not listening to Ondore's Lies" you should hit the shops because this is 
    your last chance to stock up before a boss fight. 
    
    -- Shopping List ---
    - You MUST get Charge from the techniques shop.  Don't get anything else from 
    that shop though.
    - Quickenings for 2 of your tanks. The one in the accessories, the other at 
    the bottom of the grid. 
    - Visit the magic shop and get some de-enhancers to cast against your 
    enemies.
    - Levels: 10s for most of your party.
    
    Run around the city and press the "Testify" button near anyone with a smiley 
    face over their head.  Al Sharpton also has a "Testify" button but his has 
    turbo mode (which is always engaged).  You get more Notoriety for annoying 
    people named "City Parijanah."  Do not yell anywhere near guards in full 
    armor because you will loose a lot of the points you gained.
    
    When you fill the notoriety meter, Vaan gets picked up by guards and thrown 
    into the resistance fighters' secret hideout. 
    
    Cut Scene of Marquis palace:  Penelo says she was glad to have seen Vaan.  
    Larsa is busily working on an extra credit book report and says "You will 
    join him soon"... in HELL.  He actually tells her that his brother is Vayne 
    the Counsel of Dalmasca.  Larsa further apologizes for Vayne but is confident 
    that as Counsel things will be ok in the end.  Penelo tells him that she 
    fears the empire; he is shocked that she is and promises that she will not be 
    harmed.
    
    The clan and the resistance fighters gather around a table discussing a 
    meeting with the Marquis.  The man who is sitting at the table has an accent 
    that sounds like an American imitating an Englishman mocking an Irishman.   
    
    Talk to the lion-faced assistant to find out where to go (northern end of 
    TRAVICA WAY - it is marked on your map too).  When you get to the gate, talk 
    to the guards and they will take you to the Marquis.
    
    Cut Scene: Basch begs the Marquis to release Amalia from the Empire's custody 
    because she is an important leader in the resistance.  Vaan asks about Penelo 
    but Marquis said she has already left with the Judge's entourage for 
    Rabanastre.
    
    Meanwhile, a huge craft hovers over Bhujerba and takes an airship-style dump 
    on the Marquis' castle.  Vaan gets hysterical.  Basch pulls out his sword.  
    Marquis calls the guards.  
    
    Cut Scene:  Vayne is talking to one of his own personal robo-teddy about the 
    rising insurgency in Bhujerba.  Oh wait it is Judge Gabranth and he thinks 
    the Marquis is responsible for the insurgency's enduring success.  Vayne 
    mentions the news that the Marquis has turned Basch over to Judge Ghis.  
    
    What a shame that the term "coked-up" has been so cliched that people use it 
    to describe kids at a birthday party (well white-trash people anyway who 
    would  consider Parliaments a good substitute for candles).  Because when 
    Doctor Cid enters and starts talking to himself about "The Reigns of History 
    back in the hands of man" I need to call him "coked-up" and really mean it.  
    Dr. Cid reports that the Senate is just trying to stop Vayne's power.  Vayne 
    says bring it.  
    
    Cut scene: The clan is taken via a small airship to a big white airship 
    called the Dreadnought Leviathan.  Ironic choice of name considering that we 
    should dread it quite a bit.
    
    Someone yells out "The Prisoners my Lord" referring to the clan.  They step 
    out to see Amelia standing there with the Judge Ghis.  Amelia recognizes 
    Basch and slaps him and says "How dare you, I thought you were dead."  The 
    Judge introduces her as Princess Ashe, daughter of the now dead King of 
    Dalmasca.  I would expect her to react stronger than a "how dare you" 
    considering she thinks Basch is her father's killer.  
    
    But she has even bigger problems as she has no proof of her lineage.  
    Furthermore, Vayne is asking all royalty of the previous monarchy to help put 
    down the insurgency.  So even if she can prove her royal blood, she will be 
    executed for helping the Rebels.  Vaan barges in and Ashe says shut up.  Vaan 
    looks legitimately surprised, like no one has ever told him "no" before.  The 
    stone he took from the palace starts glowing because it is the Dusk Shard and 
    it is reacting to Princess Ashe's blood.  I think my pan-European-commoner 
    blood would turn that stone a light to medium brown.  Vaan gives it to Ghis 
    under the promise of no executions.  Vaan really isn't showing that he is Sky 
    Pirate material at this point. 
    
    Judge Ghis mentions that this is deifacted nethicite.  The root word being 
    deity, and thus, coming from a god.  So if a girl has a really heavenly body 
    you could just say she has a deifacted figure.
    
    The clan is brought back in shackles.  Basch remarks that the fates are 
    toying with them by bringing the Dusk Shard into play (notice this second 
    mention of the Fates - the other was back in the Sandsea bar).  The party 
    gives a Jackie-Chan style beat down to their captors.  Vossler, last seen at 
    the resistance meeting back at Dalmasca, had infiltrated the guards and will 
    help free Ashe. 
    
         _____________________________________________
        |  Dreadnought Leviathan (x11)                |
        
    
    PORT LAUNCH > PORT SECTION > LARGE FREIGHT STORES > AIRSHIP BERTH ACCESS > 
    CENTRAL BRIG ACCESS > BRIG NO. 1
    
    PORT LAUNCH: 
    Save here, but do so in another save slot, there is no way to transport back 
    to the mainland until you beat this area.  
    
    Tip: If you are running low on MP use the charge technique that you should 
    have bought in Bhujerba.  Otherwise, run around in circles.
    
    PORT SECTION
    Vossler warns not to trip the red lasers.  You can find a route through this 
    section without hitting any of them.  But, if your party is strong enough to 
    handle fighting four or five guards at the same time, I recommend tripping 
    them to gain the EXP and loot.
    
    Tip: If you get in over your head run back to the last zone you were in and 
    the guards will not follow you.  You can heal up then go back with a fully 
    ready party. 
     
    Tip: If your party is looking real haggard, run back to the blue save crystal 
    for a full refresh.
    
    AIRSHIP BERTH ACCESS
    You will be ambushed by several high powered enemies.  Focus your attack on 
    the Magnus to stop all the spells.  Then, fight the weaker ones first so you 
    can unleash your party's might on the Judges. 
    
    BRIG NO. 1
    Free Ashe.  She is afraid of Basch like he is the good version of Arnold 
    Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2 coming to get her out of the insane asylum. 
    Ashe is Linda Hamilton, Vaan (naturally) would be John Connors.  Use the save 
    crystal and open the urn for an access key.  Buy supplies at the moogle.  Buy 
    like you are going to a boss fight because, well, you are going to a boss 
    fight. 
    
    -- Shopping -- 
    - 10 x Potions //find out if that moogle gives you potions.  You are shopping 
    for a boss fight here.
    - Protect
    - Shell
    - All the gambits the moogle has.
    
    The Escape Path: AIRSHIP BERTH ACCESS > LARGE FREIGHT STORES > PORT SECTION > 
    PORT LAUNCH
    
    AIRSHIP BERTH ACCESS
    Cut scene: Vossler says that Ashe must confront the reality of our plight.  I 
    wouldn't consider it a plight for her; she is in the company of four 
    bachelors.
    
    LARGE FREIGHT STORE
    Stop fleeing for a second and go to the "Security Stations" located on the 
    east and west walls.  Turning them off will give you 60 seconds of unmolested 
    escape time.  For the rest of the airship hold the R2 button to flee past all 
    the guards.
    
    PORT SECTION
    The party runs into Penelo and Larsa who both get this look on their face 
    like "uh... we weren't making out."  Penelo is glad to see Vaan and hugs him.  
    The boy tells the clan that Ghis is aware of their escape.  Larsa then uses a 
    weak analogy using thread to try to tie up the letting us escape plot hole.   
    Larsa gives Penelo a clump of manufactured nethicite - Vaan pouts in the 
    background by flexing his abs as hard as he can. 
    
    Just as the party is about to escape, the judge stands in the way and uses 
    his Fire Flower to pitch a Mario style fireball at Ashe.  Penelo's 
    manufactured Nethicite absorbs the magic just as Larsa said it would.  The 
    judge says Ashe will die easily just like the king did.  Ashe retorts "you 
    know nothing of my father" and thank god Judge Ghis doesn't say "No, I am 
    your father."  
      
         ----- BOSS: Judge Ghis (x11a) ----- 
    
    GAMBITS:
    Caster:
    [Ally: Any > Phoenix Down]
    [Ally: HP < 40% > Cure, potion ]
    
    Tank:
    [Foe: Any > Attack]
    
    STRATEGY:
    - Send in one Tank and two Casters
    - Attack the judge's assistants, would those be his clerks?
    - Half way through the battle, use the quickenings I told you to get for your 
    Tanks.  
    
         ----- END GHIS -----
    
    Cut scene: Judge Ghis' helmet is knocked off and he holds his hand up to his 
    face like "<sigh> it's been a loooong day."  Then he thinks to himself "I 
    would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for you meddling kids!"  Actually 
    if this were indeed Scooby-Doo it would turn out that Judge Ghis' was just 
    the local Gas Station Attendant trying to scare people away from his stolen 
    Aztec Gold. 
    
    Vossler enters to tell the party that he has secured a ship called an Atomos.  
    Balthier complains that the ship is no good and then he refers to himself a 
    "leading man."  Kinda pushing on the "4th wall." 
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_wall)  
    
    Fran is in the driver's seat as the clan tries to sneak out of the empire's 
    airship.  This is going to be chancy but it is a good thing Fran's foot is 
    lucky.  Penelo urges "can't we go faster?"  "Keep your distance though, 
    Chewie, but don't look like you're trying to keep your distance, I don't 
    know.  Fly casual"  Fran-bacca pilots the ship past some Imperial Ice-cream 
    cones and safely back to Bhujerba.
    
    The party files out into the Aerodome.  Penelo gives the handkerchief that 
    Balthier gave to her before he, Fran, and Vaan were taken into the dungeon.  
    He says "I shall wear it close to my heart."  She does this shoulder shrug 
    and Balthier joins Larsa on Penelo's crush list.  It is actually a cute 
    little scene.  
    
    Basch, Vossler and Ashe discuss what they will do next.  They will consult 
    Ondore - another name for the Marquis - because he actually does support the 
    resistance.   Vossler starts trusting Basch and tells Ashe to do the same.  
    For being such an uncharismatic guy, Basch sure does get people to turn 
    around on him quickly.  Wasn't it just yesterday that Vossler told Basch that 
    their "paths will remain separate."
     
         _____________________________________________
        |  On to Ondore  (x12)                        |
    
    
    This is cool: if you talk to the people in the airport they refer to Vaan as 
    Basch because of that yelling stunt he pulled the last time he was in 
    Bhujerba.  
    
    Leave the Aeordrome and head to the red X.  Talk to the guards there.  
    
    Cut Scene: Ashe recounts to the Marques what happened after the night the 
    Dalmascan Emperor was killed.  She says that Vossler hid her.  Vayne played 
    the Marquis against Ashe by having him provide a fishy suicide story.  Ashe 
    could not trust the Marquis if he was making up stories about suicide for the 
    empire.  She urges him to makeup so that they can stand together against 
    Vayne.  The Marquis is her uncle but he will not stand up to her because at 
    this point she has no credibility.  Look at the glossy-eyed Basch in the 
    background - I think all of this is going right over his head.
    
    Balthier breaks in requesting food and a bath.  I think he intends the bath 
    for Basch - his hair is looking extra crusty since Lhusu mine.
    
    The Strahl: Vaan catches Ashe playing with the Strahl's buttons.  She intends 
    to use the ship to get the Dawn Shard to prove her royal lineage.  She is 
    frustrated by the Marquis' inaction and will do anything to get her kingdom 
    back.  Balthier finds them and demonstrates his magic microphone that can 
    make voices sound like someone else's.  Ashe begs Balthier to take her to 
    where she wants to go.  Eventually everyone is there and everyone has a 
    reason to seek the dawn shard. 
    
    Imperial City of Archades:  Pan up of a long phallic spire.  A Ship lands on 
    a dock and Judge Gabranth exits then sashays down the bridge to the building.  
    
    The emperor asks about Doctor Cid and his weapons research.  Judge Gabranth 
    tells him that Vayne is funding research and there is some strange stuff 
    going on - The emperor does not like this.  The Emperor starts coughing and 
    says that the illness will claim him.  
    
    The Emperor asks Gabranth about his advice as to who will succeed him as 
    emperor: the psychopath Vayne or the little turd Larsa.  Gabranth explains 
    that he is loyal to the Empire and despite his home being raped and pillaged, 
    he is a total Empire stooge - even enough to kill his own brother.  The 
    Emperor likes Gabranth's Ruthlessness.  However, The Emperor does not want 
    Larsa to be such a nutcase yes man.  He tells Gabranth to be Larsa's 
    protector even if it is Vayne who attacks.  
     
          _____________________________________________
         |  Ogir-Yensa Sandsea (x13)                   |
        
    
    Cut Scene: The party is in the Dalmasca Westrsand.  Balthier pushes a button 
    and the Strahl disappears.  The destination is King Raithwall's tomb to 
    obtain the dust shard that will prove Ashe's lineage.  Vaan tries to explain 
    away the reason why we can't just fly the airship to the front steps of the 
    tomb.  Penelo says your dumb and for once you know something I don't.  Vaan 
    gets all bothered by this and then the rest of the party is all "oh puppy 
    love <gleam> <ahh>."  Everyone except that cold hearted imperial - Ashe she 
    is annoyed by this whole exchange.  
    
    Vaan, dressed in his futuristic Tevas, approaches the edge of the Sandsea.
    The sands churn like they are made of water and he reaches into the sand.  It 
    dribbles out like sand but floats water-like.  It is impassable - the 
    catwalks above it is how the party will get through.
    
    I have to say that the Ogir-Yesa Sandsea is my favorite area in all of FFXII.  
    The endless expanse with its absolute desolateness contrasts so strongly with 
    the complicated technology of the oil refinery platforms.  For one, I am 
    totally fascinated by complicated machinery.  Secondly, the presentation 
    reminds me of the great surrealist painters such as Dali, Magritte, and most 
    importantly de Chirico.  In fact, it actually feels like running around in de 
    Chirico painting.  
    
    www.gameintestine.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=135
    
    Check the link and see the de Chirico's painting called The Red Tower and try 
    to tell me it does not remind you of fighting in the sand sea.  In the 
    painting, look at how quiet emptiness of the field is contrasting with the 
    striking red tower - same thing in this game.
    
    PALATFORM 1: EAST TANKS > PLATFORM 1: REFINERY (GET MAP) > PLATFORM 1: SOUTH 
    TANKS > SOUTH TANK APPROACH > YENSA BORDER TUNNEL
    
    PLATFORM 1: EAST TANKS
    Before you head into the Sandsea, go east back into the Westersand.  Use the 
    orange crystal and then buy supplies from Lohen 
    
    
    -- Shopping List -
    - LEVELS: 11
    - Make sure you have Protect and Shell
    - 10 x Alarm Clocks
    
    This will be your first confrontation with a new set of beasts.  Try to fight 
    the little red Alraune and if you can not beat them use your accumulated LP 
    to upgrade your MP and Battle skills.  If you are still facing problems, go 
    back to the Westersand to rape the earth some more by poaching animals so you 
    can get some semi-precious resource like Loot, EXP, LP, or while you are at 
    it, ivory.  What I really mean to say is go level up in Westersand.
    
    Cut Scene:  Vaan stares at the strange machinery.  Basch approaches to give a 
    bit of history.  The Rozarrians built it to extract oil.  Vossler arrives 
    because he realized that Ashe had escaped.  Just a lucky hunch that she would 
    be wandering around in the Sandsea?  I wonder if cel-phones will ever make it 
    into a Final Fantasy game.  Vossler could have just called her and said "hey, 
    Ashe where are you?  The Sandsea?  Cool, I will be there in a Half Hour." By 
    the way, is Vossler wearing two little fanny packs 
    
    Justifying his reason for the trip, Basch is trying to improve his total 
    royals protected percentage.  His record took a big hit when Prince Rasler 
    took that arrow to the throat.  Protecting Princess Ashe my improve that 
    average a bit.  Vossler joins the party too.
    
    Fran's rabbity senses start tingling because some pretty bad beasts will be 
    coming.  Sand people riding on the back of tremors ride through the sand.  
    The party runs and Vossler insists that we get the dawn shard.
    
    PLATFORM 1: REFINERY
    Get the map in this zone; it is actually located on a platform separated from 
    the main one.  You will need to get off the main catwalk and cross the sand 
    to a square shaped structure.  The map urn is located on it.
    
    YENSA BORDER TUNNEL
    Use the save stone and purchase goods from the merchant.
    
          _____________________________________________
         |  Nam-Yensa Sandsea (x14)                    |
        
    
    AUGUR HILL > WITHERING SHORES > THE URUTAN-YENSA SEA > THE SANDSCALE BANK
    
    AUGUR HILL
    Get the map by crossing the bridge at the middle-north part this zone.  This 
    is not the bridge that leads to the next zone, but the one just to the south 
    of it.  The urn sits on a small island. 
    
    Return to the bridge at the north of AUGUR HILL to get to WITHERING SHORES.
    
    THE SANDSCALE BANK
    Use the blue save stone then talk to the Sandsea moogle.  One of the sand 
    people (a urutan-Yensa) asked him for help in killing a giant tortoise.  
    
    WITHERING SHORES
    Go back to here to fight the turtle called Urutan Eater.  Poor name choice 
    because the turtle doesn't really eat the Urutan, he just stomps them to 
    death.  Well, perhaps he is just tenderizing them first, then eating them.  
    Urutan Eater
    - Attack him with two casters and a tank. 
    - Use wind and basic melee attacks.  
    - Observe that super shinny shell, that is all I looked at during this fight
    - After his demise, think of secondary uses for that shell: I would suggest 
    affordable public housing unit or using it as a roadster body. 
    
    THE SANDSCALE BANK
    Return to this zone and talk to the moogle.  He will tell you to go to THE 
    OGIR-YENSA SANDSEA to talk find the Urutan that sought your aid. 
    
    PLATFORM 2: REFINERY 
    Climb up the ramp and the Urutan will run back to...
    
    THE SANDSCALE BANK
    Follow it to see a Urutan gathering.  There group is lead by a queen who 
    looks like a cross between bozo the clown and Susan Powter.  She lectures her 
    fellow Urutanians on the sins of outsourcing their problems to other species.  
    The punishment for such interspecies collaboration, immediate and 
    unconditional vaporization. 
    
    The little Urutan is gone and his brethren flee.  All that remains is a small 
    flower - just like in "Where the Red Fern Grows".  Run up to the flower and 
    press "X" and you will get Eksir Berries which will be useful against the 
    coming boss.  I don't mean to get picky here but berries don't come from 
    flowers.   Flowers become berries after they are fertilized.  The designers 
    should have named them after flower parts - maybe "Eksir Pistils", "Eksir 
    Carpels" or "Eksir Stigmas."
    
    THE URUTAN-YENSA SEA > WITHERING SHORES > DEMESNE OF THE SANDQUEEN > TRAIL OF 
    FADING WARMTH
    
    THE TRAIL OF FADING WARMTH
    Isn't the name of this zone what they should call marriage?  Talk to the 
    merchant and stock up before your next boss fight.  Listed are some things to 
    buy.
    
    Shopping List: 
    - Raise
    - Esuna
    - Cura
    - 10 x Alarm Clocks
    - The boss is flying so he will be invulnerable to melee attacks.  So, make 
    sure a couple of your fighters have ranged attack weapons such as guns or 
    bows. Magick attacks also hurt flyers.
    - Instead of buying your tanks bows, I suggest buying them the water spell, 
    it will hit flying enemies.
    
    When you go to the next zone, you will be asked to save.  Do so, but use a 
    new slot instead of overwriting your current one.  Just in case the boss is 
    too difficult for your current setup.
    
         _____________________________________________
        |  The Tomb of Raithwall (x15)                |
        
    
    Cut Scene:  Arial shot of a mausoleum cut out of the stone cliffs - wait, how 
    did this camera get a flyover?  I thought the sand caused problems to all 
    fliers.  The temple looks a bit like the Cambodian temple Angkor Wat.  This 
    is the Tomb of Raithwall and the location of the stone that will prove Ashe's 
    blood is good.  Walk down the central colonnade and you are confronted by a 
    large flying bird.
    
         ----- BOSS: Garuda (x15a) -----
    
    - Start by throwing the Eksir Berries you picked from the vaporized Urutan
    - Put in all your range fighters and attack with arrows or water spells
    - Basic Melee weapons will not work on the boss.
    
         ----- End Garuda -----
    
    Cut Scene: A candle holder starts moving and if you have ever played a video 
    game before you know that inanimate objects don't get their own cut scene 
    unless they are magic or evil or both.  Ashe uses this opportunity to give a 
    bit of history.  She drops names and territories and ruling classes like she 
    is giving a freshman survey course on the world of final fantasy.  Here are 
    the basics:
    - The gods gave Raithwall some magical crystals and a mighty beard.
    - He was dubbed the Dynast-King
    - He ruled a vast territory and brought stability/peace to many of the 
    factions in Ivalice
    - There were three shards that Raithwall had that gave him his power: 
         + Midlight Shard-given to House Nabradia (Ashe's husband was Nabradian)
         + Dawn Shard-hidden in Raithwall's Tomb for emergency use only 
         + Dusk Shard-given to Dalmasca (Ashe's family)
    
    In the background, Balthier gets bored and turns around.  Basch pretends that 
    he is interested but I know he lost track shortly after Ashe said "The gods 
    granted their favors to King Raithwall..."  Balthier doubts this quest and 
    says no deal, it is too dangerous.  Really?  Balthier?  A sky pirate?  The IT 
    guy at work is more sky pirate than him.  Ashe reminds him there is treasure 
    inside and he changes his mind.
    
    Save at the orange crystal and use it to transport to other areas if you need 
    to buy supplies or level up.  Otherwise go down to the stairs in front of the 
    temple.
    
    Shopping List:
    - 10 x Alarm Clocks 
    - 10 x handkerchiefs
    - 4 x Bacchus's Wine
    - 10 x Phoenix Downs 
    - 20 x Hi-Potions
    - 10 x eye drops
    - Every gambit from the Rabanastre Gambit shop 
    - Cura 
    - Oil 
    - Berserk 
    
    Levels: 15
    - Get your grind on if your party is not to the recommended levels. Transport 
    to YENSA BORDER TUNNEL and chain the beasts in the Ogir-Yensa Sandsea.  Focus 
    on the Urutan-Yensas and look for treasures hidden among the various 
    catwalks. 
    - Buy more Quickenings for party members.  Each tank should have at least two 
    at this point.  
    - When your party is to the right levels and has the right supplies, go to 
    the way stone at Raithwall's tomb.
    
    Cut scene: The Cambodian architectural influence changes to a more Middle 
    Eastern style on the inside of the temple.  It is very Egyptian and uses some 
    more elements from the Spanish Mosque of Cordoba.  All the doorways have 
    horse-shoe arches on them.  That is the really what they are called - not 
    very creative are they.  
    
    Go to the following link to see some of those horseshoe arches:
    www.gameintestine.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=137
    
    Also, the game refers to the burning torches that line the walkways as 
    braziers.  This makes me think of those bra-burning's in the 1970's.   The 
    entire temple gives me an ancient, scary, magical feeling. 
    
    HALL OF THE DESTROYER > HALL OF THE SENTINEL > ROYAL PASSAGE
    
    HALL OF THE DESTROYER
    While on the upper platform, cast protect on your entire front line melee 
    fighters - it will be important in the coming boss fights.  
    
    Descended down the central staircase.  The wall comes alive and pursues the 
    clan.  Run from him, you will not be able to beat him at your current levels.  
    Much later in the game you will be strong enough to beat him though.  Hold R2 
    and run to the back door. 
    
    HALL OF THE SENTINEL 
    Cut Scene: The entire room is black and Vaan wanders around.  Another demon 
    wall emerges and as he does, all the torches light.  Fran yells out at the 
    party that "we must be quick!  Together we can bring it down!"  Wow! I just 
    realized that Fran has a slurry, South African/English/Finland-esque accent.  
    I looked up who did the voice work of Fran and her name is Nicole Fantl.  She 
    is an English actress and I have to say she is hotter than Fran.  Her only 
    real world acting credit was a bit part in Star Wars Episode II as Senator 
    Lexi Dio (that name actually sounds like it would have been a character from 
    the erotica version of Ep. II.)  
    
         ----- BOSS Demon Wall (x15b) -----  
    
    Note: Don't get too discouraged by this boss. Defeating him is really 
    dependent on a number of random factors all going your way.  Several times I 
    would have him down to 10% HP and then the next time not even getting him 
    down to 75%.  However, if you are consistently not even close to defeating 
    him, I recommend going back to the Sandsea and leveling up, buying 
    enhancements from the LP board, and/or upgrading your armor/weapons. See the 
    shopping list at the top of this section for more information as to what to 
    get and where to level up. 
    
    GAMBITS:
    Caster: Don't use them for this boss
    
    Tanks: 
    [Ally: Any > Phoenix Down]
    [Ally: HP < 20% > Hi-potion]
    [Ally: Sleep > Alarm Clock]
    [Ally: Blind > Eye Drops]
    [Foe: Any > Attack]
    
    Part I:
    - Quickness is the most important thing in this battle. 
    - All status ailments should be fixed with potions rather than spells.  
    - Attack with three of your tanks.  You don't have time for casters to be 
    using spells 
    - Before attacking, run straight for the wall and touch the torch right next 
    to him.  
    - If the "brazier" flame turns blue, the demon wall will speed up, if it 
    turns orange, the wall will be slowed greatly.  If the flame does go blue, 
    run to the very next torch and touch it to cancel the speed increase.
    - Once you successfully start an orange flame, unleash a quickening (you 
    should have many party members with quickenings so you can chain them)
    - Burning Bras: When the slowdown effect of the brazier fades, have your 
    party leader run to another one and touch it.  Pray for another orange flame 
    but if it turns blue, quickly go to another torch. 
    - Switch out any fighters that are sent to the X-Zone (isn't that what they 
    call raves?)  The banished character will be out until you go to the next 
    room.
    
         ----- End Demon Wall -----
    
    Cut scene:  The hallway is now clear giving you access to the door behind the 
    Demon wall.  The sweeping shot of the central room to the temple is quite 
    impressive.  It reminds me of the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.  
    
    Vossler looks over at Fran and Balthier and condemns them because they are 
    intent on stealing the treasure from this sacred temple.  Ashe says we need 
    their help to get through this temple.  Ashe says she can feel the dawn shard 
    the same way a pregnant woman says she knows what gender the baby is
    
    ROYAL PASSAGE
    Get the map - it is hidden behind the way stone.  The only save stone in this 
    tomb is the one at the main entrance.  In case you accidentally die and thus 
    have to fight that demon wall again go save now.  Use the middle way stone 
    that is colored white to take you back to the HALL OF THE DESTROYER.  Once 
    transported, use the way stone there to transport you to the Tomb entrance.  
    
    After you have saved, use the way stones to get back to the ROYAL PASSAGE.  
    The temple is split into a northern and southern half; each of which you will 
    need to access to get to the Dawn Shard.  The red and the green way stones 
    here don't work at this time so you have to walk all the way down to the 
    north and south passages to activate them.  I suggest tackling the Northfall 
    passage first, and then go for the Southfall passage.
    
    NORTHFALL PASSAGE
    From the ROAYL PASSAGE, descend down the northern staircases. Once you reach 
    the bottom, wind your way through the various rooms to the very center.  You 
    should be strong enough to fight all the beasts here - my favorite the Lesser 
    Chimeras because it looks like a giant turkey.  There are several undead 
    monsters here so set your castors with the gambit [Foe:undead > Cura].  Note 
    that Cura will affect all the monsters in range, so try and round up a bunch 
    of them before casting the spell.
    
    When you reach the center, make sure your team is fully healed and ready for 
    an ambush.  Touch the glowing red stone lodged in the "Northfall Pedestal." 
    The party stands there for a second and it looks like they are waiting for an 
    elevator.  The pedestal lowers and then out come the zombies.  After clearing 
    the room, transport back to the ROYAL PASSAGE by touching the red way stone.  
    It would be a good idea to go back to the orange save crystal again to save.
    
    SOUTHFALL PASSAGE
    Like in the Northfall passage, work your way room-to-room to the center.  
    When you get there, prepare for another ambush before touching the green 
    Southfall Pedestal. 
    
    The party is ambushed again but this time by ghosts called Liches.  They 
    attack your party by spraying them with oil and then shooting them with fire.  
    The oil will greatly increase the potency of the fire attack so you should 
    set up a gambit [Ally: Oil > Handkerchief].  
    
    Another good idea is to send in all your female protagonists so that they all 
    end up oiled.  Just imagine the three of them all slick, shinny, pushing off 
    each other as they swing theirs swords around and probably grunting a lot 
    too.  Ya, that's hot.  I guess you could send in just guys if you like it 
    that way. But, I can't imagine Basch getting any oilier than he already is.  
    
    After the fight, teleport back to the ROYAL PASSAGE using the newly activated 
    way stone.  Go back again to the orange save crystal. 
    
    There is another boss fight coming and this is your last time to upgrade.  
    Refer to the following shopping list. 
    
    -- Shopping List --
    Levels: 15
    
    - protect spell
    - Shell
    - 10 x handkerchiefs
    - 20 x Hi-potions
    - 10 x Phoenix downs
    
    HALL OF THE DESTROYER > ROYAL PASSAGE > SOUTHFALL PASSAGE > CLOISTER OF FLAME 
    > CHAMBER OF FIRST LIGHT
    
    SOUTHFALL PASSAGE / NORTHFALL PASSAGE
    At the very center of both the SOUTHFALL PASSAGE and NORTHFALL PASSAGE is a 
    secret room that was unlocked when you pushed both of the Pedestals.  To get 
    there use either of the way stones that transport you down there.  Enter the 
    secret room by going through the opening on the west side of the Way Stone 
    room.  The hallway will lead you around to a door that leads to CLOISTER OF 
    FLAME
    
    CLOISTER OF FLAME
    Cut scene: The clan descends into the central room and the air is brown.  
    Penelo wonders about the fog.  Fran says "Not fog - mist."  Thanks for the 
    big distinction Fran but we didn't ask you.  And of course she goes on - the 
    Mist is dangerous but it lets magick happen.  Penelo says "I will keep that 
    in mind" with the same phrase and tone I use when responding to bums who yell 
    strange advice at me like "keep your nose clean and all your dreams can come 
    true."  
    
    Penelo then looks over at Vaan who is talking to Vossler.  You can't hear 
    him, but Vaan goes "Hey Vossler, do my abs look more like a plate of buffalo 
    wings or popping-fresh rolls?"
    
    Descend around the stairs and into the center of the room.  Along the middle 
    ring of hallways there are a number of chests.  Two of them contain Elixers 
    which are VERY helpful in this game's very, very, final boss fight.  So DON'T 
    use them until then.  Before you get to the very bottom of this room make 
    sure everyone in your party has protect and shell cast on them.  Doing so 
    will save time in this boss battle.
    
    When you get to the bottom of the room, a large beast with a thick red beard 
    awakens and then approaches the party.  Belias has a parasitic twin who keeps 
    his arms crossed most of the battle.  But, when needed, the little guy will 
    start pointing and casting Firaja.  The pair also has a sword with a cute, 
    ornate heart on the end of it.  
    
         ----- BOSS: Belias (x15c)-----
    
    Levels: 16 on all party
    
    GAMBITS:
    Casters:
    [Ally: any > Phoenix Down]
    [Ally: any > shell]
    [Ally: any > protect]
    [Ally: HP < 40% > Hi-Potion]
    [Any: foe > water]
    
    Tanks:
    [Status: oil > handkerchief]
    [Any: foe > attack]
    
    Part I:
    - Don't use ethers - save them for later in the game.
    - Hit him with a quickening at the start
    - Keep Vossler alive because he can not be swapped out.
    - Belias is immune to ice and lighting but he hates water.  
    - Fire spells will give him health.
    - If someone is covered in oil, clean it up.  It increases fire damage.
    - Use potions to heal instead of your magic.  Your casters need to save their 
    MP for water attacks.
    
         ----- End Belias -----
    
    Cut scene: Belias falls.  The little one puts his hands on its knees - cute 
    in a freakish way.  It growls and then explodes.  A Rorschach test appears.  
    I see an owl wearing a kimono. 
    
    Everyone stands around and it feels post-coital.  Some of them even start 
    with little pillow-talk stories.  Fran goes first with a poem that describes 
    espers as challengers to the gods who are trapped in the Mist.  Ashe, never 
    to let someone one-up her, tells a story that uses the word "thralldom."  I 
    looked it up, thralldom means slavery.  Ashe's story is that the boss we just 
    beat served King Raithwall and he is really the treasure of the legend.  
    Basch sits quietly deciding whether he should go next and tell everyone about 
    the time he got a free 32-oz steak at Rusty Pete's Chuck Wagon because he ate 
    it in half an hour and then got to wear a cowboy hat for the picture that was 
    pinned on the wall of fame.  He opts to wait for the next boss fight to tell 
    it.
    
    Go back to the temple entrance and save.  This is the only time to actually 
    buy power-ups for your next boss battle.  
    
    -- Shopping List --
    
    - Levels: 15
    
    - 10 x Hi-potion
    - 10 x Phoenix downs
    - Upgrade your Armor
    - Have one of your tanks purchase the Esper from the LP board.
    
    Way Stone your way back to the room where you fought the Gigas Boss and 
    proceed through the door that was behind him.  Go down one set of stairs and 
    up the other.  
    
    CHAMBER OF FIRST LIGHT
    Get it?  The room is called First Light... it holds the Dawn Shard... very 
    clever.
    
    Cut scene:  There is a stone floating in a pedestal.  Vossler gets a strange 
    look on his face and tells Ashe that we need to get out of here.  Ashe 
    ascends the stairs and just before she reaches the stone she sees her late 
    husband, Rasler, in ghost form.  It seems as if Vaan can see him too.  Ashe 
    toys with her wedding ring and then says "you will be avenged."  Funny, 
    because in her hand appears the item that will help her with that vengeance: 
    the Dawn Shard.  I have to say that this is some pretty good emotion that the 
    artists are able to get out of a cluster of polygons.  
    
    Go back to either the SOUTHFALL or NORTHFALL PASSAGES and teleport your way 
    back to the Tomb's entrance.
    
    Cut scene: Vaan runs out of the tomb and the shadows of airships pass over 
    him.  The whole armada is there overhead - they seem to have no problem 
    flying over the Sandsea.  Vaan is all this is soooooo cool until a pack of 
    attack ships come down and arrest him and the rest of the clan.
    
    Judge Ghis fondles his gold helmet then addresses the clan.  He has grey 
    umpa-lumpa hair.  Ghis wants the nethicite - the good stuff, not that 
    manufactured crud.  King Raithwall's Dawn Shard is pure, deifacted nethicite.  
    So wait, how did the judge know we got the good stuff?  Vossler betrayed Ashe 
    and ratted her out.  He justifies his actions by telling her that this is a 
    pragmatic approach that would give the Empire what they wanted (nethicite) in 
    order to get her back in power and thus Dalmasca's sovereignty back.
    
    Ashe reluctantly gives up the Dawn Shard.  Ghis says that Dr. Cid will love 
    to analyze this sample - he is the coked up weapons expert we saw earlier.  
    Ghis gives the stone to a lab tech for testing just to make sure that it 
    isn't fake.  
    
    The clan is flown to a secondary airship for transport back to Rabanastre.  
    Vossler discusses his future plans and Ashe is quite mad at him for betraying 
    them.  Remember when we first met Vossler back in Damalsca, he was looking 
    for a mole - it turns out it was him all along.  
    
    One of the lab techs places the stone in Michael Jackson's hypobaric oxygen 
    tank.  Note: Nine times out of ten I prefer Ashe over Fran.  However, this 
    next scene could be one of the hottest in all of video-game-dom.  It starts 
    when Ghis and his crew begin heating up the Dusk Shard.  Fran starts to feel 
    some the Mist-related side affects.  As the heat is turned up further, she 
    has some slight herbal-essence style quivering but quickly transitions into 
    all out finger curling, in heat, orgasmic, fervor.  A guard notices her 
    strange reaction and tries to control her but she jump kicks his face.  
    Exactly!  Kicks his fat Imperial face!  The controller even shocked me.  Fran 
    goes on a total tear jumping and kicking and Balthier says "I always knew 
    Fran didn't like to be tied up" - oh I bet you don't.  Guards are thrown 
    around and it sounds like she is beating the crap out of bag full of Bud 
    Light cans.  Vossler thinks this has all gone far enough and tries to stop 
    the party by force.  
    
    Cut Scene: Vossler looks at Basch and asks him if he realizes that he is 
    going up against the whole Empire.  Basch says "I do know, All too well" and 
    then his brow furrows and he stands there with an empty look on his face.  I 
    have a feeling he doesn't know, and that he doesn't understand what is going 
    on.  
    
         ----- BOSS: Vossler (x15d) ----- 
    GAMBITS:
    [ally:any > raise]
    [ally: HP < 40% > cura]
    
    - Send in 2 healers and keep Fran in.
    - Keep Fran in her berserk state and keep her healed.  You can't control her 
    during this battle.
    - Defeat the Vossler's helpers before attacking him.
    - Cast the new Esper to attack Vossler and it should kill him.  It is listed 
    under the Mist ability on the Tank that you purchased it from.  Note your 
    character that purchased the Esper must have full MP to summon him.
    
         ----- End: VOSSLER -----
    
    Vossler falls and says "gasp, gasp, guttural sounds."  Cut to the main deck 
    of the Dreadnaught Leviathan an all the sirens are going off.  The nethicite 
    is draining all of its power.  Vossler says that he was always trying to do 
    the best for Dalmasca.  Vossler turns Ashe-sitting duty over to Basch.  Basch 
    doesn't know what to say so he just runs away with Vossler crouching there 
    like he is ready to run the 100 meter dash.  Vossler looks bad but not on his 
    deathbed; Basch may have been able to carry him back to an escape pod. 
    
    Ghis' ship, the Dreadnaught Leviathan, makes this sound like the DC metro 
    pulling into the station and then implodes on itself sending out a layer of 
    gooey, buttery fire.  All the other ships in the fleet are taken out by the 
    resulting fireball.  Balthier and party escape via a stolen imperial craft.  
    Penelo, looking like a gelfling, asks "what's that?"  It is the dawn shard 
    trying to sneak away from all the carnage that it wrought.  Balthier turns 
    the ship around to pick it up.
    
    Use the save crystal. 
    
    ----------------------------------- ACT II ----------------------------------
    
    Fade in to the candle and the "Special Edition Brady Games Ivalice History 
    and Plot Guide."  I have narrowed it down, it is the Marquis who is narrating 
    all of this.  All of the Empire's 8th fleet was lost by that nethicite 
    explosion.  In light of that blow to the Empire, the Marquis readies the 
    resistance.  Meanwhile, Ashe returns to Rabanastre to play super secret, 
    super hiding princess so she can further build up the resistance.  They will 
    need to be strong because we know that if Fleet No. 8 blew up, there has to 
    be at least 7 more just as strong.  Did you just see that math I did?
    
    Crane shot of the Arcadian Capitol's buildings and cars.  It actually looks 
    like one of those 1950s educational films about how transportation will look 
    in the year 1988.
    
    The Imperial Senate discusses the aftermath of the Leviathan explosion.  The 
    Empire was actually hard hit by this explosion.  Furthermore, it was Vayne's 
    ambitious deployment of that fleet that is putting the Empire in a precarious 
    position now.  The Senate urges the Emperor to punish him.  Furthermore, the 
    Senate suggests that Larsa be the next Emperor.  They say that Larsa's 
    efforts to undo the problems Vayne causes prove that he would make a good 
    Emperor.  That and he is a really good speller.  The Emperor agrees to remove 
    Vayne from Dalmasca and put him back in Arcadia for time-out.
    
    Ashe stands looking out among some cloudy cliffs. Stop right there because 
    that is an almost copy and paste of a famous painting by 19th centry German 
    painter named Caspar David Friedrich. It is shocking how similar the two 
    are.  The painting is called "Wanderer Above a Sea of Fog" and depicts a lone 
    figure escaping the craziness of urban life in order to contemplate on the 
    raw, scary, awesome power of nature. It seems like Ashe would be trying to do 
    the same thing at this point in the story and I think that is why the 
    designers used this artwork as their model.  To see a side by side comparison 
    of the game and the 200 year old painting go to: 
    
    www.gameintestine.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=177
    
    Ashe turns around and is startled to see her husband's ghost.  He gives her 
    the Dawn Shard back then disappears.  Vayne comes walking up and is all "hey, 
    ah... would you like to get a bite of coffee; I mean a coffee cup meal, the 
    cup of coffee some time?"
    
    Back at the party's super secret hideout, Ashe is staring forlornly at her 
    wedding ring.  Wow, is a side effect of Deifacted Nethicite and increase in 
    suppleness and fullness because Ashe looks like she just leveled up with a +2 
    breast size.  Basch finally puts all the complicated pieces together to 
    realize that it was "the Dawn Shard that brought down the Imperial Fleet."  
    Balthier condescendingly mocks him by saying "You know your stuff."
    
    Basch recants a similar explosion.  The Nabrudians (Ashe's husband's 
    homeland) used the Midlight Shard to stop the invading Imperial Army.  It 
    killed everyone - and been a solemn subject ever since.  The Imperials were 
    invading to get that Midlight Shard.  It seems as if all the past invasions 
    by the empire were to get the various shards.  They surmise that Vayne is 
    trying to collect them in order to harness their destructive power.  
    Currently, he has the Midlight Shard.  Vaan gave the Empire the Dusk Shard 
    when he handed it over to Judge Ghis in the Dreadnaught Leviathan (which he 
    stole from the palace).  Ashe holds the only one left - the Dawn Shard.  To 
    further build suspense, Balthier reminds that the Empire has the technology 
    to manufacture this stuff. 
    
    Ashe gets this really bad idea to use the Dawn Shard against the Empire.  She 
    recites a poem that seems to justify Dalmasca's right to use weaponized 
    nethicite.  I think it was by Machiavelli.  Long pause as the clan thinks of 
    a way to tell Ashe she is wrong without using the word "fascist."  Changing 
    the subject, Fran suggests that they all go see the Garif people who may know 
    how to use it.  Balthier will escort Ashe to these people but asks for her 
    wedding ring as payment.  Balthier will give it back when he "finds something 
    more valuable." 
    
    -- Shopping List --
    - Levels: 16
    - Visit the Clan Provisioner moogle named Montblanc to receive the rewards 
    owed to you.
    - Stop by the Gambit shop and get everything they have - you never know when 
    you are going to need a special gambit and they are only 50 gil each.
    - Upgrade your armor and weapons
    - Be sure to have Aero black magick.
    - If you need gil, go back to Ogir Yensa Sandsea and chain those sand people
    
    When you are ready to proceed go out the southern exit of Rabanastre.  
    
         _____________________________________________
        |  Giza Plains in the Rain  (x16)             |
        
    
    THRONE ROAD > NOMAD VILLAGE > TOAM HILLS > STARFALL FIELD
    
    So the rain really does fall mainly on the plain.  In fact this area used to 
    be the dried sandy area we charged the Sunstones.  However, the rainy season 
    has made this land come to life.
    
    THRONE ROAD
    Watch out because a powerful Elemental floats around mad as hell and if it 
    sees you, it will approach and probably kill your party instantly.  If you 
    happen to see one, just pick up and run - even if you are in the middle of a 
    fight.
    
    NOMAD VILLAGE
    Use the save crystal here.  Talk to the only nomad left in the village, his 
    name is Sadeen and he will tell you that he is looking for his lost ring.  
    The ring was taken by a Croakadile.  He offers you a reward if you can 
    retrieve it.
    
    TOAM HILLS
    At an important crossing sits a monster that must be the result of a late 
    night game-developer drink fest: part frog, part crocodile: Croakadile.  He 
    can be brutal to fight but here are some tips:
    - Set your casters to Blind and slow him
    - When he is both blind and slow, use the Esper against the Croakadile
    - Then use every quickening you have.
    - Attack with 2 brawlers and 1 caster to keep him slow.
    
    After defeating it, return to the nomad village to save and talk to Sadeen to 
    get a goody bag with 1200 gil.  Head south to Ozmone Plane. 
    
         _____________________________________________
        |  Ozmone Plane (x17)                         |
    
    Pan shot of the entire plane and the title card comes up "Ozmone Plane."  The 
    music sounds ALMOST like it was done by Aaron Copeland.    
    
    Cross through as follows: FIELD OF FALLEN WINGS > THE SWITCHBACK > HAULO 
    GREEN
    
    I suggest just running through this area as the monsters are super hard and 
    like to gang up on the clan.
    
         _____________________________________________
        |  Jahara - land of the Garif (x18)           |
        
    
    BANKS OF THE SOGOHT > LULL OF THE LAND > THE ELDERKNOLL
    
    BANKS OF THE SOGOHT
    Go to the moogles located to the left of the bridge and buy a Jahara map.  
    That Ozmone Plane map is quite pricy so I skipped it and was never 
    disappointed by my non-purchase. 
    
    The Garif at the bridge says "No place for Hume-children to play at games."  
    Eesh, check out that Engrish.  Time to hire a new localization writer.  Hey 
    Square-Enix, I freelance write.  Call me, no Engrish will get past my 
    watchful eye - at least the non funny ones won't.  
    
    The Garif War Chief vouches for the party's warrior cred.  His name is 
    Supinelu.  Vaan talks but no words come out. I guess Supinelu assumes that we 
    are here to research nethicite.  He walks off.  Notice that although he is a 
    powerful warrior he still has some rather curvaceous birthing hips.
    
    LULL OF THE LAND
    The Garif village has a very mad-max, post-apocalyptic motif going.  All the 
    Garif talk about how noble they are and how some other kid was poking around 
    asking about nethicite.  Hmm, poking around that sounds like something our 
    little prince may be up to 
    
    Stop by the Merchant here and stock up if necessary.
    
    THE ELDERKNOLL
    Go to the far edge of the village and talk to Supinelu again to get the 
    Great-chief.  Supinelu can see the party's true intentions and gives us over 
    to the Great Chief.
    
    Cut scene: 
    It looks hot in Jahara but it seems the Great Chief still needs a huge bon 
    fire next to him.  With nasty elephant man hands, the Chief looks at the 
    nethicite and determines that it has been used.  Ashe gets defensive and says 
    "it wasn't me."  Ashe then presses further by asking how to use it, just in 
    case.  The Chief drifts off into story mode and tells how the gods gave his 
    people the nethicite first.  The gods, in their infinite wisdom and infinite 
    Indian-giver ways, took it back from the Garif.  The gods gave it to King 
    Raithwall and as we know he used it to make peace among the various kingdoms.  
    Notice how King Raithwall points his sword right at Ashe, signifying her 
    relation to him.  I think the chief revels in the irony that even though Ashe 
    is related to Raithwall she does know how to use it.  Maybe the gods need to 
    come down and take it from her.  
    
    He then goes on to tell her that the nethicite is a one shot pistol.  All the 
    mist that was in it was used up when it blew up the Dreadnaught Leviathan.  
    Ashe is all "like no way, I totally didn't get use it even through my grandpa 
    said I could have it."  It takes a long time for it to suck up all the mist 
    required to make it useful for tyrants.  It looks like Ashe is holding a mini 
    watermelon.  
    
    All of a sudden it is a first person shooter as someone approaches the 
    Chief's tent.  Larsa swishes his way up to the Chief's tent and he is all 
    "Hello Bitches!"  Damn those home schooled kids get it easy.  Larsa tells 
    Ashe that the Marquis is readying the resistance for a fight against the 
    Empire.  As a preventive measure, Ashe should go to see the Grand Kiltias 
    (the spiritual leader of Ivalice) so that he can crown Ashe queen.  As queen, 
    she will have the power to tell the Dalmascans not to attack the Empire.  
    Larsa seems pretty reasonable here, considering he is from the Empire and 
    wants to stop an invasion.  Ashe doesn't take to all this talk of peace and 
    treaties and she kind of wants a big showdown with the Empire.  Larsa warns 
    her that if there is a war, Vayne will use the stolen Dusk Shard to nuke 
    Rabanastre.  Larsa says "take me as you hostage."  This would make Larsa 
    prisoner to Ashe who is currently being kidnapped by Balthier. 
    
    It is night now and Ashe leaves the Great Chief's tent.  As she is walking 
    back to her tent she sees Rosler's ghost again.  As she nears, she realizes 
    that it is just Vaan (whose hair is looking extra feathery tonight).  Now you 
    may think because Ashe sees someone she loves juxtaposed over Vaan that this 
    may be the start of some sort of crush, romance, or some high school level 
    chemistry, but get over it.  That chance at romance is killed by Vaan 
    bringing up his dead brother again.  This talk illustrates the many parallels 
    between Ashe and Vaan's lives.  Except Ashe would never use the phrase "I 
    want to be a sky pirate."  Vaan says he has moved on from Empire hating.  
    Maybe it is time Ashe did the same. I mean, it will prevent nethicital 
    warfare.  
    
    The next morning, Ashe tells Larsa that she will follow him to Mt. Bur-
    Omisace to see the Kiltias.  The rest of their discussion is so stiff and 
    forced it sounds like two automated telephone operators having a 
    conversation.  This is supposed to be a big change for Ashe's character but 
    is it really that hard of a choice knowing that when you get there she will 
    be anointed queen.  Cripes, I would walk half way to Montana just to be 
    nominated for Mayor of Flagstaff.  Larsa says that he has someone he wants 
    her to meet waiting at Bur-Omisace.  Let me tell you, as soon as it is know 
    that you are single everyone and I mean everyone tries to set you up.  Vaan 
    wonders about the kid's secrets.  You better watch yourself Larsa, we killed 
    the last guest who disagreed with us.
    
    Balthier has another excuse why we can't use his airship.  Basch accuses 
    Balthier of helping Ashe just to get a hold of the nethicite.  Balthier 
    promises him that he has no intention to.  Then, as he walks away, Balthier 
    pushes against the fourth wall again when he refers to this as a story and 
    himself as a leading man.
    
         _____________________________________________
        |  Ozmone Plane to Golmore Jungle  (x19)      |
    
    
    -- Shopping List --
    Levels: 17
    
    Go talk to the moogle with the red balloon and he will give the party a free 
    chocobo ride, use it to get you quickly to Golmore jungle.  
    
    HAULO GREEN > THE SWITCHBACK > THE GREENSNAKE (greensnake is east of THE 
    SWITCHBACK) > FIELD OF LIGHT WINDS (NE of GREENSNAKE) > SUNLIT PATH 
    (Southeast of FIELD OF LIGHT WINDS)
    
    SUNLIT PATH
    Cut scene: Basch and Ashe talk about the alliance between Dalmasca and the 
    Empire.  If Ashe signs a peace treaty, she is worried she will appear as a 
    flip-flopper and weak on terrorism, I mean weak on the Empire.  Basch says he 
    does not worry about the shame, it would mean that he is saving lives.  Basch 
    says that there is hope of peace between the Empire and Dalmasca.  Then pan 
    over to Vaan, Penelo, and Larsa playing, singing Kumbaya and saying things 
    such as "we are such good friends despite the nations in which we were raised 
    and the economic castes we were born into" and then they end it with "BFF!"
    
    Dear Final Fantasy XII cut scene director:  If you have a scene about 
    political infighting among the judiciary branch (which is already boring) 
    don't make it even less interesting by hiding all the actors behind masks.  I 
    am just going to cover this scene in bullet points because this one is super 
    dull.
    
    - Judge Bergan (The one with the peacock frill helmet and labia collar) gets 
    a military hard-on for Vayne's impressive troop deployment.
    
    - Judge Drace (the female with chrome Princess Leia buns) says not so fast 
    the last judge (Zecht) to have a man-crush on Vayne disappeared in a 
    Nethicite explosion during the battle of Nabudis.
    
    - Judge Zargabaath (the one with the razor sharp pig tails) says stop 
    gossiping Bergan.  
    
    - Judge Gabranth (the other one in curls) arrives and says "staff meeting in 
    10 minutes."
    
    - Judge Bergan gossips (again) that Larsa's mission to influence Ashe into a 
    ceasefire may buy the Empire time to build up their defenses.  Who is Larsa 
    working for?
    
    I am sure that the designers were trying to use the armor to signify the 
    secrecy and hidden agendas of the judges but this looks downright goofy.  In 
    reality all the judges should be standing around saying "What? I can't hear 
    you, take your helmet off.", "did you just say I have beer on my face?", "oh 
    you mean Larsa is in Bur-Omisace." 
    
         _____________________________________________
        |  Golmore Jungle (x20)                       |
        
    
    PICTURE OF WELCOME TO THE JUMGLE
    Status ailments will come aplenty in the Golmore Jungle, make sure all of 
    your casters have the [ally: any > ensuna] gambit setup near the top.
    
    PATHS OF CHAINED LIGHT > THE NEEDLEBRAKE
    
    PATHS OF CHAINED LIGHT
    First, get the map urn by following the path that leads east from the 
    entrance.  Turn down the first right (it leads south).  Run down the stairs 
    and the urn will be just west of the last step.
    
    From the urn, travel east until you reach the eastern most part of PATHS OF 
    CHAINED LIGHT.  Proceed down this path into...
    
    THE NEEDLEBRAKE
    Traveling south, continue past the opening on your left.  However, the next 
    left will have the force field.  There are other force fields in the Golmore 
    Jungle but only this one will trigger the cut scene.
    
    Cut Scene: Fran says "The jungle denies us our passage."  Ashe says "what 
    have we done?" - guilty conscience Ashe?  Fran storms off and all bitchy 
    like.  She tells Balthier that he has been caring too much about the 
    nethicite - I think this is code for "you hang out with your friends more 
    than you have been with me."  She waves her finger around like she is in a 
    rave and a grass field expands in front of her.  
    
    She tells the party to talk to the Vierra (Fran's people, or Fran's rabbits, 
    or whatever) so that they can get past that force field.  Yup, we are going 
    into babe city.  Now, judging by all the forum posts about what they want to 
    do to her thong and what they want to stick in her ears, Fran has a pretty 
    big nerd following.  However, I have a hard time getting it up for a 
    character that I know was designed by a bunch of otaku game artists during a 
    late night character design meeting.  Every time I catch myself staring at 
    her digital rack I get these pictures in my mind of fat Japanese guys with 
    pork ramen stains down their shirt drawing pictures of her in their Hello 
    Kitty notebooks.  That is the reason I am an Ashe guy: I have a feeling she 
    was just modeled after the cute secretary at the front office.
    
    Fran will not be going with the clan, she is an outcast.  It is probably 
    because of her relationship with Balthier.  
    
    Proceed down the path to continue to Eruyt Village.  I don't want to get 
    anyone's hopes up but I think visiting Fran's home world is probably our best 
    bet to see some partial nudity that the ESRB promised us. 
    
         _____________________________________________
        |  Eruyt Village (x21)                        |
        
    
    ROAD OF VERDANT PRAISE > THE SPIRITWOOD > THE FANE OF THE PATH
    
    Vaan leads the party through the secret passage and into Eruyt Village.  
    Their mission is to bring Mjrn (which sounds nothing like it is spelled) back 
    to the entrance so Fran can talk to her.  A couple OF moogle merchants enter 
    Eruyt village.  Nestled in a deep forest, the Eruyt Village is just a 
    timeshare that is co-owned by the Ewoks, Wookies, and Donkey Kong. 
    
    www.gameintestine.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=143
    
    ROAD OF VERDANT PRAISE
    Get the following Spells from the Moogles
    - Berserk 
    - Float 
    - curaga
    
    Now if you have heard the urban legend that women who live together sync 
    their cycles, you can rest assured that it is true after visiting Eruyt 
    Village.  Don't expect more than a raised white eyebrow when you try to talk 
    to them.  Travel north along the catwalks to locate the Vierra town hall.  
    
    THE FANE OF THE PATH
    Cut scene: When the clan arrives in the town hall they all gawk like tourists 
    saying to themselves things like "wow look at this bridge", "ah look at that 
    tree," and "so this is what Switzerland is like."  Vaan asks for Mjrn.  A 
    woman comes out of one of the nearby huts and tells the party to leave.  Vaan 
    gets real stern with the woman telling her they are not leaving until they 
    see Mjrn.  Now you may be thinking to yourself "boy Vaan's character arc is 
    coming around and he is actually taking a leadership role" - but it is more 
    of his sexual frustration speaking.  I would be in the same mood if I found 
    out that the fabled home of a super-sexy super-race was actually just full of 
    xenophobic lesbians.  Vaan then says "Fine we will find her ourselves" - 
    starting with a thorough search of the bathhouses.
    
    Fran arrives to tell the party that Mjrn is not in the village but demands to 
    know where she went.  Jote doesn't tell her but instead lays a big guilt trip 
    on Fran for leaving the wood.  Jote then raises her arms, kicks up a small 
    whirl wind, and tells the clan that she went west.  Fran says something 
    really convoluted but it boils down to "you can take the Viera out of the 
    Eruyt but you can't take the Eruyt out of the Viera."
    
    Balthier compliments Vaan on his pirate-like negotiation skills.  Larsa 
    thinks that Jote's cryptic message was referring to the Henne Mines and 
    recommends we go investigate.  On their way out, Vaan asks Fran now old she 
    is.  Set eyeballs to roll mode... ok... now roll them.  Dumb Vaan doesn't 
    know you don't ask a girl her age.  Ha Ha <slap knee> Lets go.
    
         _____________________________________________
        |  Henne Mines (x22)                          |
    
    
    LEVELS Recommended for the Henne Mines: 17 for all characters
    
    Return to the Golmore Jungle.  If you encounter a Treant, use Aero spell to 
    really damage it.  This is a good area to level up.  Target the Panthers and 
    Malboros.  
    
    When you are ready, proceed north through NEEDLEBREAK > PATHS OF CHAINED 
    LIGHT.  Use the save crystal in SUNLIT PATH and talk to the two soldiers.  
    Offer up the potion and get a chocobo in return.  You need it to access the 
    hidden path to the mines.
    
    Take the Chocobo through SUNLIT PATH > FIELD OF LIGHT WINDS > THE SHRED
    
    FIELD OF LIGHT WINDS
    To get to THE SHRED run along the southern wall of FIELD OF LIGHT WINDS.  
    Turn left at the white flowers, there is a chocobo standing there.  Continue 
    south from there. 
    
    NORTH ENTRANCE
    Cut scene:  Along the grassy entrance to the cave lie dead soldiers and 
    civilians.  Larsa asks "what were researchers doing here?"  Balthier replies 
    "Research" and I can't figure out if it was sarcastic or mournful.  Dismount 
    the Chocobo and enter the mines.
    
    NORTH ENTRANCE > PITHEAD JUNCTION A > PHASE 1 SHAFT > PITHEAD JUNCTION A > 
    PHASE 1 DIG > CROSSOVER A > CROSSOVER B > PITHEAD JUNCTION B > CROSSOVER A > 
    CROSSOVER B > STAGING SHAFT
    
    NORTH ENTRANCE
    Henne Mines has a bit of an Art Nouveau style to it.  If you have ever seen 
    those Metropolitain subway signs in Paris you will know what Art Nouveau 
    looks like.  See the following link for an images of this.  
    
    www.gameintestine.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=144
    
    Proceed south and stop at the switch, the map indicates it with gears.  Press 
    it.  Continue down the right path and read the notice posted on the wall.  
    The switch will toggle between blue and red doors.  
    
    PITHEAD JUNCTION A
    Talk to the guard then look for a second switch located in the junction.  
    Before you hit it ensure that your party is ready for an ambush by casting 
    protect on everyone.  
    Set the following gambits:
    Caster:
         [enemy: any > oil]
         [enemy: oil > fire]
    Tank:
         [enemy: oil > fire]
    
    Hit the switch and jellys fall from the sky and will continue to come in 
    multiple but finite waves.  If your party is looking ragged, run out of the 
    zone and get your party healthy again before returning to the fight.  
    
    PHASE 1 SHAFT
    After defeating the jellys, heal your party and then head south to get the 
    map.  You will be ambushed again but this time by bats.  You can fight them 
    or just dash in, get the map, and then escape.  
    
    PHASE 1 SHAFT
    Go back to the pithead junction A, press the switch and go west and then 
    south through PHASE 1 SHAFT
    
    PHASE 1 DIG
    Work your way through the winding shafts towards the exit on the east.  As 
    you proceed, keep a lookout for the many treasure chests scattered throughout 
    this zone.
    
    CROSSOVER A
    Follow the tunnel north.  In the hallway is a powerful T-rex.  Why, you may 
    ask, is a dinosaur down here?  Because, dinosaurs love mines.  That's why 
    archeologists have to dig so deep to uncover them.  To defeat him get all the 
    spell casters to shoot Aero at him.  Don't worry about the bats, just work on 
    him.  When defeated, continue to the north end of the tunnel and turn east 
    to...
    
    CROSSOVER B
    Fight any baddies in this room.  Then, get everyone all healed, protected and 
    charged up before heading into the next room.  When ready, move south down 
    the last hallway to...
    
    PITHEAD JUNCTION B
    Position yourself so you can make a quick escape out the western red gate.  
    Hit the switch and it is jellys all over again.  Just run, it is not worth 
    fighting all of them especially since there has not been a save for a while.  
    Once you are out of PITHEAD JUNCTION B stop, don't run too far.  Recharge 
    after the slime humanity.  
    
    CROSSOVER A
    Slowly proceed west and take care of the next two T-rexes one at a time.  
    When done, continue west, then north. Go east to CROSSOVER B and west to 
    STAGING SHAFT where there is a save. 
    
    STAGING SHAFT
    Cut scene: The party enters the mines and Larsa admires all of the magicite.  
    He surmises that the weapons research facility called Draklor is heading this 
    operation as a source for their development of manufactured nethicite.  The 
    Empire is focusing on the Henne mines specifically because it will still be 
    in their hands if they go to war with Dalmasca.  The first mines we visited 
    in Bhujerba were located in Dalmascan territory and would be cutoff at the 
    first sign of conflict.
    
    Something growls and then runs off.  Fran thinks it may be Mjrn.  It is!  She 
    saunters in and is totally blotto.  She boozes philosophically about the 
    party: "the stench of humes", "the stench of power."  Yup! That would be 
    Basch and Ashe and in that order.  Ashe asks what's wrong with her and she 
    whips her head around and points the bitch-finger right at Ashe.  "Power-
    Needy Hume!"  Ashe is all "Oh my god nuh-uh."  Then, Mjrn drunkenly runs into 
    the next room.  This is just like Prom!
    
    The boss in the next room is a doozy.  You will need to go back to town in 
    order to prepare for this battle.  
    
    -- Shopping List -
    
    - Levels: 17
    - Upgrade the Shields and Armor for your front line - aka tanks.
    - Make sure they have Shield Block abilities purchased from the LP board.
    - Buy 20 x Phoenix down, 20 x Hi-Potion
    - Make sure healers have: revive, ensuna, charge 
    - Several Quickenings across multiple characters
    
    When you are ready enter the next room to fight the next boss.  
     
    Mjrn tiptoes around and darts right under a T-rex with wings.  Ahwwwww it 
    looks like the little terror got his head stuck in that metal ring that goes 
    around the garbage disposal.  Which I think is called the shiny-grindy-ring.
    
         ----- BOSS: Tiamat (x22a) ----- 
    
    GAMBITS
    Casters: 
    [Ally: Any > Phoenix Down]
    [Ally: any > Ensuna]
    [Ally: HP < 40% > Hi-Potion]
    
    Tanks
    [foe: any > Attack]
    
    PARTY: 1 healers, 2 tanks, Larsa
    - Start off using your Quickenings, and Summon the Esper - But before you 
    start your quickening, take out your casters so that it does not drain their 
    MP.
    - Always ensure that Larsa is alive, healthy, and non-disabled because he is 
    your major healer with his unlimited supply of Hi-Potions
    - keep reviving fallen comrades instead of swapping them out with other 
    teammates.
    - Keep an eye on you MP because this fight is long enough that your tanks 
    should fill up their MP enough to cast a second quickening.
    - Save the second quickenings for the end because as Tiamat's health is low, 
    his defense goes up.
    - It will take many tries to beat this one, so just be patient.  Go back and 
    level up some more if you are still having problems.
    
    0000
    
    Cut Scene:  Whatever Migr was on finally catches up with her as she falls 
    into a pile of ears and platinum hair and then teeters on consciousness.  As 
    she wobbles, she drops a nethicite crystal.  It shatters and a ghost without 
    arms appears behind her.  When she falls Vaan asks "That thing insider her?  
    What was it?"  Migr comes to, recognizes Fran and then describes how she got 
    into the state she was in.  Some soldiers entered the wood.  And like her 
    sister Fran, Migr got a bit curious about human men.  She followed them into 
    the mine and then they gave her some nethicite - perhaps they were expecting 
    to have a rohipinol-like effect.  Then she went bonkers just like Fran did on 
    the Leviathan.
    
    This makes Larsa realize that manufactured nethicite has more potent than he 
    thought.  He snatches it from Penelo because girls just can't handle the 
    stuff.  Ashe says "There is a place for all things, even dangers like this."  
    Yes, Yucca Mountain.
    
    Cut Scene: The clan returns to Eruyt village.  All of the girls are standing 
    together in a line, god they look like someone ran the negative filter on 
    them.  Jote says the wood told her about the clan's deeds.  Because they have 
    a noble goal, she decides to give them Lente's Tear.  With it, the clan can 
    pass the barricades and deeper into Golmore jungle.
    
    When she was out man hunting, Mjrn got a taste of the real world and pleads 
    Jote to do something to stop the decay of Ivalice.  But really, what would 
    the Viera do to save this world?  Touring Negligee shows?  Hair grooming 
    clinics?  Mjrn tells Jote that she wants to leave the wood - once you go Hume 
    you never go back.  Fran tells her to stay in the wood and forget she even 
    has a sister.  Fran can no longer identify with the wood, can't hear it, and 
    for that reason, she doesn't want her sister to go through the same 
    transformation.  Fran asks Jote to ask the forest if she hates her.  Jote 
    tells her "the wood longs for you" (use whatever penis joke you have now)  
    
         _____________________________________________
        |  Back to Golmore Jungle (x23)               |   
    
    
    Leave Eruyt Village and unlock the force fields using Lente's Tear.
    
    THE NEEDLEBRAKE > WHISPERLEAF WAY > THE PARTING GLADE > DELL OF THE DREAMER > 
    THE BRANCHWAY > THE GREENSWATHE
    
    THE PARTING GLADE
    Save and transport to Bhujerba.  Go on some hunts and level up because you 
    will need the following for the coming boss battle.
    
    Shopping list
    - Average party level = 19 
    - Number of Quickenings = 6
    - 10 x Handkerchiefs, 10 x Gold Needles, 10 x Alarm Clocks, 10 x phoenix 
    downs, 10 x echo herbs, 10 x antidote 
    - If you need money and LP I suggest going to Lhusu Mines.  Chain the 
    skeletons, especially in SHUNIA TWINSPAN.
    
    DELL OF THE DREAMER
    Cut scene:  This next boss looks just like the last one, Tiamet, except it is 
    covered in moss. It is the Chia Tiamat.  I would totally buy a Chia-pet 
    shapped like FFXII bosses. 
    
         ----- BOSS: Elder Wyrm (x23a)-----
    GAMBITS:
    Healers:
    [Ally: Any > Phoenix Down]
    [Ally: Any > Esuna] 
    [Foe: Any > silence]
    [Foe: Party Leader's Target > Aero]  
    
    Part I:
    - Rush in with both healers firing off silence spells at just the Wyrm until 
    he is properly silenced.
    - Disable the healer's silence gambits and switch them to shoot aero at the 
    leader's target.  
    - Focus all attacks against the two other monsters that are not Wyrm.
    - When the secondary monsters are dead, remove the aero gambits. 
    
    Part II:
    - Use any and all Mist Quickenings against Wyrm to get a good start.
    - THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO AGAINST THIS BOOSS: Select 
    whomever you ranged fighter is (usually the healer/caster) as your party 
    leader.  Do this by pressing down on the control pad and selecting that 
    person.  During the entire battle, move them around as far away as you can 
    from the rest of your party. Doing this prevents the Wyrn from affecting more 
    than one fighter when he fires off his Chia moss.  You will only have to cast 
    ensuna on one character rather than your whole party.
    - Make sure you cast Ensuna on that affected fighter.  Use the other non-
    affected fighter to toss a handkerchief to stop the oil.
    - Continue fighting, healing, and using Ensuna as the tank and Larsa slowly 
    chop away at Wyrm's health.
    - Use phoenix-downs instead of raise because they are faster and your healers 
    will not have to use MP.  Save that MP for Ensuna.
    - Make sure Larsa is always healthy so he can keep supplying you with Hi-
    potions.
    
    After the battle return to the save crystal.  Proceed through the jungle as 
    follows 
    
    THE PARTING GLADE > DELL OF THE DREAMER > THE BRANCHWAY > THE GREENSWATHE
    
         _____________________________________________
        |  Paramina Rift (North) (x24)                |
        
    
    I hope Vaan and his exposed midriff are ready for this chilly, chilly 
    mountain pass.  The music, the lighting, and the posture of the non-player 
    characters all suggest a place of desperation.  This does not seem like a 
    place where one would want to be despite the excellent powder and choice ski 
    trails.  The entire mood that is evoked at this part of the game is very well 
    done.  
    
    Progress: FADING VALE > HEAD OF THE SILVERFLOW > FREEZING GORGE.
    
    FADING VALE:
    Talk to the pig refuge, he is so desperate that he resorts to Engrish: "When 
    Newcomers WHAT can't walk on their own arrive..." - come on Square Enix, 
    that's SNES quality talk. 
    
    The goal for now is to head up to Mt. Bur-Omisace.  So take every northern 
    path to get to your destination.
    
    HEAD OF THE SILVERFLOW:
    Cut scene:  A group of refuges slowly trudge up the snowy mountain path.  
    Balthier makes a little speech criticizing the Empire who is indulgent and 
    won't pay for shoes for the refugees.  Larsa whines that he is working for 
    peace and trying to solve this.  To prove his point, Larsa says his dad will 
    choose peace. Balthier counters that "you can never know another, not even 
    your father."  Daddy issues Balthier? (see Oedipus).  Larsa reacts the best 
    way a little Emperor could - by pouting.  I have a feeling Larsa won't be 
    sending Hi-Potions to Balthier any more.  
    
    Cut Scene: Flash to the Emperor's corner office - it looks like a level from 
    Mortal Kombat 3.  Vayne is talking to his father, the Emperor, and is 
    discussing his plans to dissolve the senate.  The Emperor criticizes Vayne's 
    jump to violence.  Vayne looks up at the Solidor-crest hanging behind the 
    Emperor's desk and mentions the sword in it as proof that sometimes Solidor 
    must use the violence to its benefit.  
    
    The Emperor kind of changes the subject by asking Vayne if this is his 
    attempt to get back at the Senate for pulling him out of command in Dalmasca.  
    Vayne counters that it is not vengeance but necessity.  Sometimes there is no 
    other choice but remove an entire branch of government.  Vayne says that they 
    need to do this so that Larsa can have an easier time when he is Emperor.  
    The Emperor realizes that sometimes to keep the empire running there needs to 
    be someone to do the dirty work. 
    
    Featured prominently behind the Emperor's desk is the seal of House Solidor.  
    Notice how it has a large sword running down the center of two intertwined 
    snakes.  As Vayne mentioned, this sword symbolizes the violence that the 
    family must use sometimes to preserve its own.  Larsa wears the same Solidor 
    seal around his neck.  Except for one thing.  The sword down the middle is 
    missing.  This is an important omission and it symbolizes the peaceful 
    approach that Larsa takes instead of the violent methods Vayne is so fond of.  
    If you want to see a close up of both I have added a comparison picture in 
    
    www.gameintestine.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=146
    
         _____________________________________________
        |  Mt. Bur-Omisace (x25)                      |
        
    
    Cut Scene:  A beautiful flying shot of some surreal stone towers piercing the 
    low-hanging clouds.  Other chunks of rock float magically.  It looks like the 
    cover of a "Yes" album.  
    
    SAND-STREWN PASS > TEMPLE APPROACH > TEMPLE GROUNDS > HALL OF THE LIGHT
    
    SAND-STREWN PASS
    Save at the orange crystal. 
    
    IMPORTANT:  From the merchant pig buy six Gold Amulets.  They are expensive, 
    but this is one of the most important accessories in the entire game.  When 
    equipped all License Points earned will be doubled.  This one tool will make 
    leveling up a breeze and an absolute must to speed your game along.  If you 
    do not have enough, go hunting for loot now so that each character is always 
    wearing one.  In fact, don't proceed to the next dungeon until you have all 
    six members equipped with Gold Amulets.  Remember, even characters that are 
    not in the active party will earn this LP.  
    
    Also buy haste from the magic merchant.  The map for Paramina Rift is a bit 
    expensive - don't buy it.  I will guide you through the hard bits.  
    
    IMPORTANT:  Now is a very, very good time to go level up.  You need to get a 
    lot of gold to buy all six of those golden amulets and the boss fights from 
    here on out get pretty tough.  But the most important reason to level up now 
    is Larsa.  I won't spoil anything but he will be leaving your party soon.  I 
    won't tell you why but it is nothing big like we kill him or he turns into a 
    demon.  He just leaves.  So this is your last time to fight with him and use 
    his endless Hi-potions.  He will make leveling up go much faster.  Here are 
    my recommendations:
    - LEVELS:  Get all of your fighters to level 24
    - LOCATIONS TO LEVEL: the snowy PARAMINA RIFTS - if the monsters are too 
    hard, go to GOLMORE JUNGLE and chain the Malboro or Panthers.     
    - REQUIRED ITEM: The gold amulet - must have it when leveling up to increase 
    your rate of LP earned.
    - You may also want to practice your quickenings.
    
    TEMPLE APPROACH
    The Mt. Pass is home to a makeshift refuge shanty town.  The Empire's armies 
    don't dare attack it because of its proximity to the holy ground of Bur-
    Omisace.  The refuges find peace but also a desolate life style.  North of 
    here is the Temple grounds.  Everyone figures you for a pilgrim because you 
    want to see the Temple.
    
    Cut Scene:  Arial shots of the castle.  Notice the Large Egg, the many 
    minarets and the grand door.  If I were a refuge I would hang out here on the 
    temple grounds.  
    
    TEMPLE GROUNDS
    The clothing and scenery here is trying to evoke a Shangri-La much like 
    Tibet.  The art direction here is quite impressive.  I can't believe the PS2 
    can render all of this. 
    
    Cut Scene: The party arrives in the main hallway of Grand Kiltia's temple.  
    Everyone goes up and just stares at him because he seems to be asleep.  Vaan 
    asks the obvious question and telepathically or using some sort of 
    ventriloquism gimmick he says that he lives in-between the dream and real 
    world - much like Timothy Leary did.  He tells Ashe that he has "Dreamt your 
    dream."  He tells her that she is a good person to carry on the Dalmascan 
    lineage and it is good that she wants to restore Dalmasca.  Just before 
    Kiltias endorses Ashe as successor to the Dalmascan lineage, my second 
    favorite character in all of FFXII comes in. 
    
    Al-Cid Margrace.  He is a quasi-Spanish, quasi-ruler, total-lothario who 
    emits Don Juan vibes like others emit stink.  I think he actually is how the 
    Japanese picture American Rock Stars: flowing hair, frilly clothes, 
    surrounded by women.  But Al-Cid actually comes off as the quirky jack like 
    Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park or Howard Stern.  He is so cheesy and cliched 
    that you have to love the FFXII designers for thinking this would pass.  
    
    He comes in and gives Larsa a playful semi-noogie and calls him his little 
    Emperor-in-waiting.  I love that and I love this guy!  Larsa introduces him 
    as being from the Rozarrian Empire - they were the ones that built the 
    Sandsea oil tankers - just another reason to love him!  He approached Larsa 
    to work out a peace deal with the Empire.  Foppishly, he gives his assistant 
    his sun glasses - I hope that is her only job because that would be awesome!  
    He then kisses Ashe's hand, Penelo in the back gets another crush.
    
    Kiltia's tries to ignore what is going on probably because he has seen Al-
    Cid's dreams and they are a bit twisted.  He brings everything back on 
    subject by summing up the gravity of this meeting: three ambassadors from 
    three nations all on the brink of war.  He says that if they were to find 
    peace together this would be a new age in Ivalice (maybe something like the 
    Dynast-King's time).
    
    Ashe and Al-Cid counter what Kiltias is saying because he is being too 
    idealistic: they just want a practical solution.  All of this talk of 
    compromise is petty, says Cid, because the Emperor was killed.  This was the 
    first Larsa heard of this news. 
    
    Cut Scene: Emperor's office in Archadia:  
    Gabranth rushes past a flurry of guards and voiceovers by Senators reacting 
    to the news.  All the judges are gathered in the Emperor's chambers.  
    Unmasked, they are all arguing with Vayne over the implications of this 
    latest tragedy.  Vayne blames his death on a poisoning by the Chairman of the 
    Senate.  Sighting national security, Vayne dissolves the Senate and places 
    himself as head of the Empire. 
    
    I like to picture the following scene as how the US Supreme Court really 
    decides cases behind closed doors.  The honorable Judge Clarence Thomas will 
    be played by Judge Bergan.  Judge Drace accuses Vayne of regicide (Vocab 
    word: a mummer is a jester).  Zargabaath thinks it's a good idea to have a 
    dictator in order to react quickly in times of war.  Drace places Vayne under 
    arrest.  Bergan places Drace under arrest.  Drace then denounces Bergan 
    (Vocab 2: a motley is jester's clothing/hat).  Bergan then grabs her by the 
    face.  Yes the face.  Then he throws her across the room BY HER F'ING FACE.  
    She calls him inhuman.  Then he makes a face that looks like Nick Nolte's and 
    growls.  I rewound that part like four times; someone needs to make a YTMND 
    for it.  If you do, email me at zukalous@gameintestine.com
    
    Video at: 
    www.gameintestine.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=147
    
    Vayne sends Zargabaath and Bergan off to go pickup Larsa.  Gabranth protests 
    because if you remember back a few scenes, the Emperor assigned Gabranth as 
    bodyguard for Larsa.  Vayne says "oh really why were you tattling on me to my 
    dad?"  Vayne then calls him a hound and asks him to execute Drace because she 
    violated the law.  Now this gets a little intense for a video game.  Gabranth 
    slowly runs Drace through with his sword.  Forget the "Partial Nudity" 
    warning by the ESRB, this game should have a "Slow, Painful, Blunt Object 
    Execution" tag.  A piece of side boob warrants a "T" rating but showing a 
    slow death is fine?  
    
    Back at the Bur-Omisace, Al-Cid brainstorms ways the two empires can handle 
    the new Emperor Vayne.  Watch Larsa, you can see in his face that all hope 
    for a logical, peaceful solution have just been destroyed because of Vayne.  
    Al-Cid reports on the advancing Emperial Army.  As he talks note the darting 
    camera: Al-Cid even gets his own camera technique!  
    
    Addressing the Kiltias, Ashe asks a super loaded question as to whether she 
    should use nethicite against Vayne.  She wants to wield the nethicite.  It is 
    so shocking Kiltias wakes up and talks.  He tells her she needs to get the 
    Sword of Kings, the only thing that can destroy nethicite.  Larsa leaves the 
    party to go help his father be less dead.  If Larsa is going to leave our 
    party, I want it to be something huge.  Like what if he gets bitten by a 
    zombie and then becomes a little emperor zombie (with yellow eyes) but is 
    still our ally and actually eats the brains of other beasts until his arms 
    fall off from decay and then he has to leave to seek the help from the witch 
    princess to restore him.  
    
    Return back to the Refuge camp and then south through the Paramina Rift.  The 
    clan has a new objective to get the Sword that can counter the power of 
    Vayne's Nethecite.  
    
    LEVELING UP TO LVL 24 HERE
    
         _____________________________________________
        |  NOTE TO THE PLAYER (x26)                   |
    
    
    Well here were are, half way through the game.  You have already seen some of 
    the best this game has to offer.  You fought some cool bosses, got to meet 
    one of my favorite characters (Al-Cid), got a good handle on the Gambits 
    system.  But, if you are on the fence about whether or not you like this game 
    and if you are wondering if you really want to sink another 30 or so hours 
    into it, quit now.  
     
    I am not saying that the rest of the game sucks - my favorite character still 
    hasn't fully come into the story yet.  But, it is more of the same from this 
    point on.  So, if you like what you have played so far continue on soldier.  
    Otherwise, for those of you who dragged through the last few dungeons 
    thinking "when is this going to end?" or "is this going to pick up?" I would 
    stop now.  If you really want to know the rest of the plot I have posted the 
    actual cut scenes and plot descriptions for the entire game at 
    www.gameintestine.com.
    
    If you will be staying with us, please continue on.  Otherwise, thanks for 
    playing (and reading).  
    
    Chris of Gameintestine.com
    
         _____________________________________________
        |  Paramina Rift (South) (x27)                |
    
    
    Head back to the snowy plains, however, this time you must proceed south 
    through them to get to Stilshrine. 
    
    Progress: FREEZING GORGE > FROZEN BROOK > PATH OF THE FIRSTFALL > SPINE OF 
    THE ICEWYRM > SILVERFLOW'S END
    
    If you are dying a lot run right through these fights.  They are harder than 
    the temple that you will be entering.
    
    PATH OF THE FIRSTFALL
    Use the save crystal here.
    
    SPINE OF THE ICEWYRM
    Ensure that you party has Libra cast when you pass through because of the 
    numerous traps.
    
         _____________________________________________
        |  Stilshrine of Miriam (x28)                 |
    
    
    Shopping List for Boss 1:
    - Levels intended: 24
    - Number of Quickenings 6
    Shopping List for Boss 2:
    - 15 x Alarm Clock, 15 x Phoenix Downs, 15 x golden needles
    - Ice shield for your tanks
    
    Progress: WALK OF SKY > WALK OF MIND > WARD OF VELITATION > WALK OF 
    REVELATIONS > WARD OF THE SWORD KING > WARD OF MEASURE > COLD DISTANCE > WARD 
    OF STEEL > VALUT OF THE CHAMPION
    
    WALK OF SKY
    This is just a straight walk with no purpose other than to impress us with 
    the massiveness and majesty of the temple.  It works.  By the way where is 
    all the snow?  
     
    Notice all of the arches have those red and white voussoirs. Once again 
    referencing the Spanish Temple in Cordoba. Overall this game joins the movie 
    Dune in a Middle Eastern / Mediterranean art style. And because airships are 
    involved I bet I could turn this style into some sort of "punk" term. 
    Spicepunk? Dunepunk? Berberpunk? Whatever. But if people start using the term 
    Crescentpunk to describe stories that focus on high technology in the mideval 
    Persian Gulf, you know that I made up the term first, right here in this 
    guide. 
    WARD OF MEASURE
    At the center of the room is a platform - indicated as gears on the map.  
    Equip your non-caster leader with the Dawn Shard and touch the pedestal.  
    Then the pharos's eyes glow purple like someone just touched his pedestal.  
    The Dawn Shard saps all your MP as long as you have it equipped.  If one of 
    your party member's MP is always 0 you forgot to unequip the Dawn Shard.  Now 
    you won't have to ask the forums why Ashe's MP is 0 and unleash all the wrath 
    of flaming forum trolls.  God I hate forum nerds.  
    
    WARD OF VELITATION
    The definition of velitation is "a test."  This area will test your health.  
    I recommend just running; these dragon beasts are so nasty you will loose if 
    you try to fight them.  
    
    WALK OF TORN ILLUSIONS
    Fight off any Egyptian style heads.  The mumbled voice makes me laugh.  In 
    this room is another pedestal that requires you to equip the dawn shard.  
    After activating the pedestal you will unlock the stairs in...
    
    WALK OF REVELATIONS
    This room contains a monster that is a master of evolution.  It disguises 
    itself as a save crystal, when you defeat it, you can use it to save.  The 
    easiest way to kill it is to setup a three person quickening.  Don't worry 
    about your MP because when it is defeated it becomes a save crystal which 
    will restore your MP and HP to 100%.  Take the central staircase to...
    
    WARD OF THE SWORD KING
    There are a lot of other baddies in here so when you get low on health run 
    back to WALK OF REVELATIONS and heal (but not save).  All the monsters will 
    not respawn so you can pick up where you left off.  Take the southern path to 
    the giant "sword of judgment." Touch it and the door to the north will open 
    revealing a way stone. 
    
    WARD OF MEASURE
    Back to the central room, move along the west wall to see the unlocked 
    pathway in the northwest corner.  Touch the door, the inscription is just 
    superfluous.
    
    COLD DISTANCE
    Proceed down the hall and go through the first door on your right. 
    
    WALK OF PRESCIENCE
    Take the northern most hallway around.  Fight off the zombies first by 
    casting cura on them.  If needed, run down the stairs to the south to heal. 
    Then, take care of the Facers.  When they are all dead touch the statue 
    called "Stone Brave."  Hit "X" next too him, examine him, then rotate 
    clockwise. He should face the room called COLD DISTANCE - check your map if 
    needed, the arrow you see indicates the direction he is facing.
    
    WALK OF REASON
    Kill all the undead, it would be good to set up a gambit here for [Foe: 
    Undead > Cura].  Cura will hit multiple monsters that are in range so it is 
    actually beneficial to be fighting a large group of them.  If you need to 
    level up or need some more Gil, this is a good room because you can chain the 
    undead.  Continue through the winding room until you reach the statue.  Point 
    it north to COLD DISTANCE.
    
    COLD DISTANCE
    The boss is in the next path so go north to save in WARD OF MEASURE.
    
    WARD OF STEEL
    The room is fiery and it looks like nothing could survive.  However, two 
    hands grip the top ledge of the platform and pull up the rest of the body.  
    It is a large, floating creature that has huge feathers like a peacock and 
    hands are made of heads.  
      
         ----- BOSS: Vinuskar (28a)-----
    GAMBITS:
    Caster:
    [various heals, raises]
    [ally: TANK > haste] //replace TANK with the character who is your tank
    [ally: TANK > protect]
    [foe: any > aero]
    
    Tank:
    [self > Decoy]
    [self > Berserk]
    [foe: any > attack]
    
    Part I:
    - A status effect will slow anyone with heavy armor.  The fight is not that 
    difficult so don't worry about making any changes to your party's equipment.
    - Start off casting every single one of your quickenings.  I have read that 
    some people are able to beat him at the first shot.  I was not so lucky - I 
    got him down to half.
    - Don't bother using the summons because Vinuskar will make short work of 
    them
    
    Part II:
    - After the Quickenings, re-charge your magic castors.
    - Cast aero on him to take down a lot of his health.
    - Keep one Tank in to absorb his hits.  Cast decoy on him/her.
    
         ----- End: Vinuskar -----
    
    He falls and his head-hands start writhing around.  If I had heads for hands 
    I would never leave the house.
    
    Proceed to the door behind Vinuskar.  Rotate the last statue to face west.  
    Access the map urn in the same room.  Return to WARD OF MEASURE.  The cut 
    scene shows the colossus slowly lifting his huge papyrus shaped sword.  
    Continue along and then go back outside to save.
    
    WARD OF MEASURE
    Proceed to the back of the room and use the way stone.  Ensure that you have 
    the dawn shard equipped and then touch the way stone.
    
    WARD OF THE SWORD-KING
    Cut scene: Icy.  This may be the Stilshrine's meat locker.  As you may know 
    from my other guides you can make things scary by combining three totally 
    incongruous things.  This is one such scary boss.  In this case: Mermaids + 
    blindfolds + crucifixes = totally freaky Mateus.  
    
         ----- BOSS: Mateus (x28b) -----
    
    GAMBITS:
    Caster:
    [ally: any > haste] 
    [ally: any > protect]
    [foe: any > thunder]
    
    Tank:
    [Ally: any > phoenix downs]
    [Ally: Sleep > Alarm Clock]
    
    Part I:
    - This boss is a classic melee brawl so send 2 Tanks, 1 healer
    - Focus all attacks on the ice balls using lightening and melee attacks.
    
    Part II:
    - When all the ice balls are gone, attack Mateus.
    - Disable all of you magic attacks gambits on her because she can reflect 
    them right back.
    - The boss attacks with status attacks of sleeps, petrify
    - Have the healer character use ranged weapons to stay out of the close 
    combat 
    - You will get this boss as an Esper upon defeating her.
    
         ----- End: Mateus -----
    
    Cut Scene: That woman on the cross screams as the beast dies and ring of 
    white ice balls float in the air like it is that power-on animation for the 
    PS2.  The crystal appears only to shatter and we have as a new Esper.  
    Apparently that Esper was corrupt.  I would call it masochistic but six-of-
    one, half-dozen of the other.  
    
    VALUT OF THE CHAMPION
    This room is really pretty.  The only other time I saw a room like this was 
    at the MGM Grand in Vegas.  
    
    Cut Scene:  Ashe approaches the huge glowing clockwork wall and her gourd 
    stats glowing.  The machine stops rotating and the sword in the middle floats 
    out and chooses the princes.  
    
    Vaan suggest trying to use the sword on the Dawn Shard to see if it can 
    destroy it.  Ya!  Sledge-O-Matic!  I saw Gallegar do this same bit at the 
    Hollywood Bowl back in '81. 
    
    Fran remarks how "The stone bleeds mist", "It is aroused and it fears the 
    sword".  I don't think the stone is the only thing aroused; Fran had quite a 
    reaction the last time someone did something to that shard.  
    
    When watching this scene, keep in mind that the Dawn Shard represents Ashe's 
    vengeance against the Empire who took her husband.  If she destroys it, she 
    will have no trump card to play against Vayne.  Rasler appears to stop the 
    destruction of the shard because he wants revenge as much as Ashe does.  With 
    a quick swing, she purposely misses the shard signifying that she is not 
    ready to give up the past and forgive the Empire. 
    
    Ashe asks if Vaan saw here ghost husband.  Vaan didn't even see his brother.  
    Perhaps Rasler's appearance this time was all in Ashe's head.  Perhaps she is 
    the one convincing herself that the shard is the only path to reconciliation 
    with the empire. 
    
    Leave The Stilshrine by taking the same path used to get here.  Don't equip 
    the Sword of Kings, it is more of a prop than a weapon.
    
    Cut scene: A whole armada of airships flies away from Mt Bur-Omisace.  The 
    lead one looks like a catcher's mask.  Fran notices smoke in the distance and 
    she "wonders what it could mean?"  My guess... Fire. 
    
    Save at the orange crystal.  
    
         _____________________________________________
        |  Mt Bur-Omisace (x29)                       |
    
     
    Proceed north through the Paramina Rift towards Mt. Bur-Omisace.  Just before 
    you enter, make sure all party members have haste and protect cast on them - 
    this is the last time before a boss battle.  
    
    Cut Scene: The camera pans over the black smoke that is rising from Mt. Bur-
    Omisace.  The entire refuge camp is smoldering and everyone is limping 
    around.  
    
    The imperial judges (sent by Vayne to pickup Larsa) came in and ransacked the 
    village.  The guards of the Temple attempted to fight them, but lost.  The 
    refuge tents were burnt in retaliation.  Sad, I know, but a tent village 
    really doesn't take that long to re-build.  Two sticks, a piece of cloth, and 
    maybe an oil drum to burn wood in and then instant refuge camp.  
    
    Proceed through the camp and enter the temple.
    
    The interior is destroyed and Judge Bergan (the one that grabbed Drace by her 
    face) stands at the end of the hall.  The judge knew that the clan went out 
    to get the Sword of Kings for purposes of revenge.  The Grand Kiltias is 
    lying on the ground.  No worries he is probably just sleeping; that is his 
    day job.
    
    Bergan wants the sword to ensure that no one can destroy the Empire's 
    Nathicite.  Vaan sees a ghost appear behind the judge just like the one that 
    was behind Fran's sister, Mjrn.  Fran says that he is using nethicite.  
    
    The judge then gives a speech the likes of which I have not heard since my 
    junior year in high school when intermediate drama had their monologue 
    competition.  I can only assume that a side effect of manufactured nethicite 
    is over-acting.  Try to keep a straight face and if you can get past all that 
    shouting he basically says that Vayne is now in total control and that 
    Dalmasca will be wiped clean.  Note his instance on man-made tools and his 
    emphasis on control away from the gods.  This is a bit of the theme of fate 
    vs free will. 
    
         ----- BOSS: Judge Bergan (x29a) -----
    GAMBITS:
    Caster: 
    [heal, phoenix down gambits]
    [foe: target > slow]  //Cast slow only on Judge Bergan
    [ally: any > protect]
    [ally:any > haste]
    
    Tank
    [self > decoy]
    [self > berserk]
    
    - Party: 2 tanks, 1 healer, 1 Larsa
    - Start the battle by running backwards and gathering all the secondary 
    judges into a tight group.
    - When they are in the same area use all your quickenings, targeting one of 
    the secondary judges.  As long as you chain 3 of your quickenings, the splash 
    damage should hurt the other ones too.
    - Kill off the judges that survive the quickening.
    - Setup your gambits so that the healer does not attack with magic and does 
    not perform raise.  Use phoenix downs instead. 
    - Make sure Bergan is always slowed 
    - Make sure your party is always hasted
    - Let the bruisers hack away at him.
    
         ----- End: Judge Bergan -----
    
    Cut Scene: Bergan dies swinging his swords wildly.  He explodes and his is 
    filled with a cool minty core with retsin.  Balthier looks over him and 
    discovers that Bergan's bones were filled with nethicite.  
    
    The Grand Kiltias was indeed dead - he should have watched Bergan's dreams 
    instead of Ashe's.  Larsa is gone.  Al-Cid comes in injured and calls Larsa a 
    "young lordling" - I like.  Gabranth was able to whisk Larsa away before 
    Judge Bergan and Judge Zargabaath could.
    
    According to a scouting report, Vayne is pulling together an attack and Al-
    Cid wants Ashe to prevent the war.  To make the coming war easier, Ashe will 
    use the Sword of Kings to destroy Vayne's nethicite - the Dusk Shard.  
    Balthier thinks it can be found in the weapons research facility called 
    Draklor Laboratory.  
    
    As Al-Cid leaves, he tells Ashe that Larsa left a message that "the 
    differences between the two lands will fade."  Larsa always maintains his 
    peaceful hopes for the future.  
    
    Balthier suggests that the clan proceeds to Draklor Laboratory on foot to 
    avoid Imperial patrols.  Methinks he is tired of driving the clan around like 
    some sort of Dalmascan soccer mom.  Note that this is the first time the clan 
    will actually be venturing onto the Empire's lands.  This could be considered 
    a pre-emptive strike.  
    
    Talk to Acolyte at the base of the temple stairs.  He will give you the 
    "Stone of the Condemner."  This will allow you to access a secret room in 
    Stilshrine containing a special esper.  This is just a sidequest and don't do 
    it now; the beast is much too powerful for you.
    
    You should go back and save at Mt. Bur-Omisace.  
    There are a ton of new things available in the shops.
    Shopping List
    - Dispel
    - The next level of black magick elemental spells (they end in -aga)
    - Make sure everyone (even Tanks) can cast firaga, haste and oil.
    - Buy major armor upgrades for your Tanks.  The Casters wont need as much 
    armor as your front line.
    
    The next stop is Nalbina fortress. Teleport to RABANASTRE.  When you get 
    there, head out the east gate proceeding as follows:
    THE STEPPING > OUTPOST > YARDANG LABYRINTH. 
    
    On your way through the easterlands, you may be interested to know that you 
    are now strong enough to kill the T-Rex.
    
    NALBINA FORTRESS
    A large air-ship is dropping a supply crate down to one of the towers.  The 
    place is full of water pools, huge waterfalls and lush trees.  Much like 
    Bhujerba and Rabanastre, Nalibna has that Arabian feel to it.    
    
    ----------------------------------- ACT III ---------------------------------
         _____________________________________________
        |  The Mosphoran Highwaste (x30)              |
    
    Levels: 26 across everyone.
    
    WEST BARBICAN
    From the orange save crystal in this Nalbina zone, head west down the path to 
    the Mosphoran Highwaste.  The name, which describes my bathroom at times, is 
    appropriate considering this is an ascending marshy path.  The path is fairly 
    direct:
    
    SOUTHERN SKIRTS > SUMMIT PATH > BABBLING VALE > TRAIL OF SKY-FLUNG STONE > 
    NORTHERN SKIRTS > HALNY CROSSING.
    
    BABBLING VALE
    Save at the teleport stone and buy a map from the merchant here.
    
         _____________________________________________
        |  The Salikawood (x31)                       |
    
    The Salikawood is much like the Feywood in that it is a walkway suspended 
    among the trees.  
    
    The following path will guide you through the Salikawood and on to the next 
    zone.  At this point, many guides and forum nerdlings will tell you to go 
    fight the Bomb King.  I DON'T.  Instead, just continue through the main path 
    and waiting on the bomb king for now.  He is quite difficult at your current 
    level and would waste your time.  Furthermore, the area behind him is even 
    more difficult and there is nothing that important to you at this time.  This 
    walkthrough will eventually give you the strategies for defeating the Bomb 
    King (so don't worry).  I just think it is better to fight him when we are 
    prepping for the final battles.  
    
    Path: THE OMEN-SPUR > PATH OF HOURS > TRUNKWALL ROAD > DIVERGING WAY > LIVING 
    CHASM
    
    PATH OF HOURS
    The path of hours is home to a travel who tells the clan about the hunter's 
    camp.  He is lost.  
    
    TRUNKWALL ROAD
    Pickup the the Map urn here.  You can find it at the end of a path that dead 
    ends on the south western side of the zone.
    
    LIVING CHASM
    Run to the gate and talk to the Moogle Boss.  He explains that the gate's 
    gear is rusted and when repaired, everyone can pass to the Phon Coast.  
    However, to fix it he will need his nine helpers.  They are all in the 
    bungalows scattered around the Salikawood.  Guess whose job it is to find 
    them?  You know what would have no problem making it over a gate?  An 
    airship.
    
    Pull up the map - the bungalows are indicated with the exclamation points.  
    Proceed to each indicated spot and talk to them.  At each stop you tell them 
    that they will get fired if they don't return to work.  They must be union.  
    Seems like a bit of padding if you ask me.  
    
    Cut Scene:  The party stands in front of the gate and the too-cute-for-words 
    moogles all work on it.  What if all labor crews were run by these guys.  I 
    would quit my job, grab a hard hat and work construction with them.  We would 
    frame houses in the morning, dine on whatever the heck a moogle eats and then 
    end the day getting drunk together outside the circle K.  
    
    The head moogle asks us to witness the true power of the moogles.  The gate 
    opens onto the next area thanks to their combined effort.  Pleased with their 
    work, they all line up like it is a wedding and they are going to throw rice.  
    Each one talks about where their next assignment is.  If you talk to the 
    leader he will give you some boots.
    
         _____________________________________________    
        |  The Phon Coast (x32)                       |
    
    
    The Phon Coast looks like "The Silent Cartographer" level from Halo 1.   
    Imperial Ice-cream-cone ships whoozle by.  Balthier compliment himself in not 
    using his ship - dude that was like seven ships, a real sky pirate could take 
    care of that in no time.  We will even chip in for gas.  Balthier then tells 
    us not "to get sluuupy."  
    
    KAUKULA PASS > RESETA STAND > POR-PORA SANDS > CAPE UAHUK > HUNTERS' CAMP > 
    CAIMA HILLS > LIMATRA HILLS > RAVA'S PASS
    
    HUNTERS CAMP: 
    Cut Scene:  The clan gets to a small hamlet along the beach and I swear to 
    god that if I see Jimmy Buffet I am going to unleash a quickening on him 
    faster than he can down a Screwdriver.  The kids get all excited and run to 
    the water.  That's cool.  Even through Vaan and Penelo have seen some 
    horrific things as they slaughter monsters, animals, imperial guards, and 
    judges, it all just peals away and they are just two kids who want to play at 
    the beach (see: lost boys of Sudan)
    
    Ashe, not used to this sand despite living in a desert, trips and Balthier 
    catches her.  Balthier asks her why they are headed to the capitol, even 
    though it was he who suggested that Draklor Laboritories was where we could 
    find the Dusk Shard.  Anyhow, Balthier accuses her of intending to steal the 
    nethicite for the benefit of her own kingdom.
    
    Balthier tells the story of someone he knew who loved nethicite real bad.  
    Fat-kid-loves-cake bad.  He got so hooked on the crack, I mean, nethicite 
    that he would talk about someone named Venat.  This guy did everything to get 
    to nethicite, even made Balthier a Judge.  It didn't fit him and Balthier 
    left after a few years.  This man Balthier was describing ... It was Doctor 
    Cid and he is Balthier's father.  I knew Oedipus was around here somewhere.  
    Balthier warns Ashe not to become a Neth-whore like his father.  
    
    Side Note: the instruction book lists Balthier at age 22.  That is a quick 
    career path considering it would be undergrad, law school, clerk, judgship, 
    being disbarred.  Was Balthier a Doogie Howser of the law world?
    
    The ironic thing is when raiding the Dalmascan capitol on the night of the 
    fete, Balthier was coming face to face again with nethicite in the form of 
    the Dusk Shard.  Balthier realizes that rather than running, he needs to 
    confront it and just stop nethicite for good.  That is the third party member 
    who makes the decision to make amends with their past.
      
    - Vaan (accepting it was the Empire that killed his brother and no revenge)
    - Fran (confronted her homeland, choosing to leave for good)
    - Balthier (decides to confront his father)
    
    Flash back time for Ashe:
    Standing on a tower, dressed in their wedding bests, Rasler and Ashe overlook 
    the city below.  Rasler says "A marriage of convenience - a symbol of the 
    alliance between Nabradia and Dalmasca."  Whoa, wrong voice for that guy.  
    They gave Rasler the voice of a smooth lounge crooner not so fitting for a 
    20-something prince.  I would suggest for him... Neil Patrick Harris or 
    Johnathan Taylor Thomas or Haley Joel Osment.  Wait, aren't they all gay?  
    Ya, that would totally fit.  He reassures her that he didn't marry her for 
    her HUGE..... tracks of Dalmascan land.  She agrees and then they pork.
    
    THE HUNTERS' CAMP
    So explore club med, use the save crystal, buy a map, stock up at the 
    merchant. 
    
    Level Check: 27 
    
    CAIMA HILLS and LIMATRA HILLS
    The two of these zones have paths to THE VADDU STRAND which is an area that 
    has 16 treasure chests.  However a couple of those chests are...
    ZODIAC CHESTS.  If you are going to be going for the zodiac spear do not 
    touch any of these chests.  But in my opinion, the Zodiac Spear is a fool's 
    errand and you will beat the game much easier if you just reap all of the 
    goods that are hidden in the chests.  
    
    This was the last of the forbidden Zodiac treasure chests.  I will not tell 
    you have to get it because you will waste hours and hours replaying the same 
    spot just have a 0.1% chance it will appear.  Seriously, here are some better 
    uses of your time instead of going for the Zodiac Spear:
    - build a tree fort
    - download an emulator and beat FFIII/IV.
    - Watch the entire first season of Lost
    - Work up your courage and tell a girl you love her.
    
    RAVA'S PASS
    Look over and see the two vierra sisters.  Eruyt represent!  They are there 
    because they found the wood too restrictive so they are just lounging by the 
    coast.
    
         _____________________________________________
        |  Tchita Uplands (x33)                       |
    
    
    Tchita Uplands is yet another grassland bringing our total to three.  The 
    others being Giza Plains and Dalmasca Estersand.  
    
    REALM OF THE ELDER DREAM > THE SKYTRAIL > CHOSEN PATH > SOCHEN CAVE PALACE > 
    THE HIGHLANDS > FIELDS OF ETERNITY 
    
    CHOSEN PATH
    A very important save crystal, so use it.  A small kid is standing over one 
    of those Bangaa lizard men.  The kid says that the Bangaa is useless and that 
    he needs real hunters who will kill something in the Sochen Cave Palace.  It 
    is kinda cute because the mark the kid gives you is his own scribbled drawing 
    of the monsters.  I bet it was done by one of the designer's kids and they 
    worked it into the game.  Accept the hunt.  When you accept the hunt you will 
    get the Soul Ward Key from the kid.  From the CHOSEN PATH head north to the 
    entrance of the Palace.
    
    This is your last time to upgrade for a boss battle.  
    Shopping List:
    - Get at least one, preferably more, characters up to level 30.  The Tchita 
    Uplands are a good location if you are strong enough.  If not, the next best 
    location is back at the icy PARAMINA RIFT (steal and chain the skeletons for 
    loot and target Emperor Aevis for lots of EP.)
    - When your leveling be sure that everyone has Golden Amulets equipped.
    - Go back to the hunter's camp or the Bur-Omisace shop.
    - Upgrade the weapons for your casters if they have not gotten anything in a 
    while.
    - This would also be a good time to go on some hunts.  By the end of the game 
    you should have a minimum of 12 hunts completed.  It may be time to knock off 
    a few to get closer to that goal.
    - If you have not talked to Montblanc in a while, go claim some prizes from 
    the moogle in the Clan Hall.  The Hall is located in the NORTH END of 
    Rabanastre. 
    - Dispel
    - 10 x Alarm clock, 10 x antidote
    
    FIELDS OF ETERNITY
    Go through the very thin cave entrance at the northernmost part of the zone. 
    
    Cut scene:  A Misty scary cave.  Vaan looks around says "You sure this rabbit 
    hole's really the way into Archades?"  Hey, don't talk about Fran that way.   
    Balthier says we should enter the Capitol through the sneaky way because he 
    is the Odysseus, Robin Hood, Indiana Jones archetype.  Ashe suggests the 
    party blend in when they get to the capitol.  Like she could blend in 
    anywhere with that skirt.  Vaan thinks we can lay low and adds that he did 
    not recognize that Ashe was a princess.  I think the party needs to set the 
    gambit [Ally: Vaan > Ignore].
    
         _____________________________________________
        |  Sochen Cave (x34)                          |
    
    Path: DOUBT ABANDONED > HALL OF LAMBENT DARKNESS (BOSS FIGHT) > THE ACOLYTE'S 
    BURDEN > MIRROR OF THE SOUL > FALLS OF TIME > DESTINY'S MARCH > HALL OF 
    SHADOWLIGHT > TEMPTATION ELUDED > CHAMBER OF THE CHOSEN > SKYBENT CHAMBER
    
    DOUBT ABANDONED
    Head North and just run through these caves to keep the clan healthy for the 
    coming boss fight.  Use the "Soul Ward Key" on the door.  If you don't have 
    it, return back to the CHOSEN PATH of the Tchita Uplands and talk to the kid 
    to get the key.  
    
    HALL OF LAMBENT DARKNESS
    A large baroque room is the setting for the next boss fight.  This next part 
    is a actually kinda dumb and not that funny.  But what makes it better and 
    just about everything is the Benny Hill Chase theme.  I have attached a link 
    below, play it during the cut scene to make it much better: 
    
    http://calwestray.tripod.com/images/benny_hill1.mid
    
    Five strange looking creatures come in and we are treated to a little 
    slapstick act involving a disembodied head.  
    
         ----- BOSS: Mandragora (x35a) -----
    
    GAMBITS:
    Disable all gambits that will use MP, you must save it for Quickenings at the 
    start of the battle.
    
    Casters:
     [ally: status = sleep > alarm clock]
    
    Tank: 
    - This boss requires you to be very particular as to which foe you fight so 
    do the following:
    - No Berserk Gambits //A berserker tank will attack whatever it he/she wants
    - All gambits should be start with Foe: party Leader's Target //don't use 
    Foe:Any because you will loose control over that tank.  The same applies to 
    your casters.
    
    Part I
    - Attack with 2 tanks, 1 healer
    - When the fight starts make sure all MP gambits are off
    - The little guys will first scatter so have your party focus on just one of 
    the Mandragora.
    - Start beating him - but still don't use magic. 
    - When they start to gather, wait for them to form up in a tight pack.  Then, 
    pick whatever Mandragora is in the middle of the bunch and focus your 
    Quickenings on him.  If you get a chain of 3 or higher you create splash 
    damage for all guys in range.
    - The Mandoragoras may still be in a pack after the quickening so stay as far 
    away from them as possible.  They are most deadly in packs.
    
    Part II
    - Swap in caster that has MP left and set the gambit:
         [Foe: status = Haste > Dispel]
    - Remember the easiest way to swap out a character is to press X and turn off 
    the gambits of the person you don't want.  Just don't forget to turn their 
    gambits back on.
    - When they scatter again, chase the one with the lowest health and attack 
    him.
    - Cast slow on that target too. 
    - You must act fast on killing that target because they heal themselves very 
    quickly. 
    
    Part III
    - When they re-group again, use another quickening.
    - Chase them down one by one and avoid them when they are in a group.
    
         ----- End: Mandragora -----
    
    Cut Scene:  A bell starts tolling and each Mandragora rises like ghosts, then 
    they fade into the white light. The Benny Hill theme still works here. 
    
    Heal your party because you will need to run all the way back to the save 
    crystal in Tchita Uplands.  The Mandragora's were too difficult to leave 
    another fight up to chance.   When you get back to the CHOSEN PATH save, then 
    talk to the kid to get a reward.  The kid says "if you train hard you may be 
    good enough for a house guard."  Shut up kid.  We recently defeated a monster 
    that was so evil it had a naked chick crucified to it - let's see one of your 
    house guards do that.
    
    There is another boss fight ahead.  As long as you are at a transportation 
    crystal it would be wise to stock up on the following.
     
    Shopping List
    - 10 x Remedies - to cure Doom (available in Rabanastre)
    - 15 x alarm clocks, 15 x Smelling Salts, 15 x eye drops
    - Your healers should have the Remedy Lore 3 so they can cure Doom with a 
    Remedy.
    - Character Levels: average is 31 
    
    Run back to the HALL OF THE LAMBENT DARKNESS.  Notice it also has red, white 
    voussoirs - I told you that they would show up everywhere.  Exit through the 
    left or right doorways.  Follow the hallway around, run down the stairs and 
    fight the crystal bug that is in the northern most part of the room.  Use 
    quickenings to easily defeat it.
    
    MIRROR OF THE SOUL
    The imps that swarm you are quite powerful.  I just fled through this room to 
    avoid their attacks.  Follow the easternmost tunnels to locate the Map Urn.  
    From the Urn, move northeast to the next halls.  The boss is located in 
    DESTINY'S MARCH.   Make sure you have plenty of health.
    
         ----- BOSS: Ahriman (x35b) -----
    
    Strangely enough, the Benny Hill theme does not work on him - just not funny.  
    But, if you were to ask me what a tickle monster looks like I would show you 
    a picture of Ahriman.  Those hands look like they could make someone giggle 
    so hard they pee their pants. 
    
    GAMBITS:
    Healers:
    - [foe: undead > curaga]
    - Do NOT have a [ally: doom > Remedy] gambit.  You can be strategic about the 
    Doom ailment if you just manually send an ally the remedies.
    
    Tanks: 
    - [self > decoy, berserk]
     
    Part I
    - Attack with 2 tanks and 1 healer
    - If the boss casts doom, use remedy but not until the doom count is 3.  If 
    you manually send out remedies you will use fewer of them.
    - Have your tanks just slowly beat away at him.
    - Save your quickenings until he is down to the 25% range of health.
    
        ----- End: Ahriman -----
    
    TEMPTATION ELUDED 
    Hold the flee button to run through the long hallway - there is a save 
    crystal in the next room.  Make sure someone has libra cast because there are 
    traps all over the place.  It may be worth it to pull two characters out so 
    no one accidentally hits the traps.  Also, watch out for the imps that are 
    strangely difficult.  When you get to the atrium, turn north.
    
    CHAMBER OF THE CHOSEN
    Activate the lift by using the small pedestal to the right of the elevator 
    and climbing aboard.  At the top of the lift, save.  
    
        _____________________________________________
       |  Old Archades (x36)                         |
    
    
    Path: ALLEY OF LOW WHISPERS > ALLEY OF MUTED SIGHS
     
    Cut Scene:  Emerging from the backdoor caverns the air, as expected, smells 
    like crap.  Vaan, sitting on a balcony like some sort of wily little wood 
    sprite, complains that for a capital, it sure smells bad.  Balthier lectures 
    him that it is ok for stuff to smell bad.  He goes on to explain that people 
    who don't have a permit to live in the city live here.  
    
    ALLEY OF LOW WHISPERS
    From the merchant sitting in the corner, buy the Embroidered Tippet.  What is 
    a Tippet you may ask, well it is like a long scarf that hangs down to your 
    knees. This accessory is just as important as the Golden Amulet because 
    equipping it will double the Experience Points earned.  Only buy three 
    because EP is only earned by active party members (unlike LP which everyone 
    gets).  Have your three active members wearing the Tippets and inactive 
    members the Golden Amulet.  I wore this combination throughout the rest of 
    the game. 
    
    Talking to everyone in the city you find that they are sad, have big dreams, 
    and have the same speech patterns as Eliza Doolittle.  
    
    ALLEY OF MUTED SIGHS
    At the bottom of the stairs talk to someone called "Lucky Man."  Proceed to 
    the end of the south of the city and talk to the imperials.  Respond "I have 
    not."  A man approaches Balthier and says to him that "he didn't think he'd 
    be seeing you again."  Balthier knows him as Streatear.  Streatear (his 
    Christian name is Jules) is very poor and dirty.  So poor in fact that he can 
    only afford half of a shirt.  Pay him what he is asking for - 1500 Gil. If 
    you need the money, go back into the caves to fight more monsters.
    
    With the money, Jules will create a diversion for the clan.  You must talk to 
    a man named Beasley to set things in motion.  He is sitting on the ground in 
    ALLEY OF MUTED SIGHS, just east of the bridge.  When you walk up to him he 
    will be labeled "Archadian Vulger."  After talking to him, go back to Jules, 
    who is now sitting on a crate.  By talking to Beasley, Jules was able to get 
    the guards to bite the hook.  With the guards handling a petty dispute, the 
    gate is now unguarded.  See with all the border security it still just comes 
    down to people.  Jules parts with Balthier but not before touching on the 
    sore subject: his father.
    
        _____________________________________________
       |  Archades (x37)                             |
    
    
    Moving on up from the old section of Archades, the party enters the Empire's 
    center.  The city is gleaming and is bustling with activity.  All the stepped 
    buildings and geometric, metal embellishments exude Art Deco panache.  It 
    looks like the city from 1927's Metropolis.   
    
    Vaan goes running up to the edge of a walkway gawking at some George Jetson 
    cars.  Penelo tells him that he has changed.  But then she says he has always 
    been impatient to get out of Rabanastre.  Vaan changes the subject by 
    reminding her that Larsa is there.  Then both of them are all "I can't 
    believe we are so cool!"  Basch interrupts and talks his Cro-Magnon talk: 
    "Good Vaan - me work for princess."
    
    There are a lot of new items in Archades and it is good to buy them now.  
    Just be careful making your purchases, you must have at least 2500 Gil left 
    over for the next area.  This is also the last chance you have to get some 
    items for a very difficult boss fight.
    - Level: 32
    - Don't upgrade your black magick yet, they are useless against the next boss 
    as he will just reflect them back.
    - Upgrade your tanks' equipment - focus most of your upgrades on defense and 
    armor.
    - Also make sure everyone in your party has Dispel, haste and protect
    - 30 x Hi-Potions, 30 x Phoenix Downs //Yes you need a lot
    	
    Venture into the city and Balthier will leave saying he has stuff to do.   
    When you talk to the citizens of the capitol everyone says they are quite 
    well off.  However, they usually follow that by saying they still are not 
    that happy.  Notice how in Old Archades everyone wants to get to the main 
    city to make their life better.  But, talking to people in Archades, they are 
    still unfulfilled.  This is an example of the Man Made Does not bring 
    happiness theme.
    
    NIBASSE
    At the very south end of this zone is a cab.  The driver says he will take 
    you but you must pay a price.  You can pay in Gil or Chops.  The Gill rate is 
    too high so the only other method is to use chops.  Jules appears and says 
    that he will start you with your first one for 2500.  Pay it and he tells you 
    how to get more - strange that he is so helpful.  He says a friend of 
    Balthier is a friend of mine.  Fran stares at him which means he is not a 
    friend of either. 
    
    To get chops you will have earn them from the generous citizenry.  They 
    reward them for kind deeds so you will have to go around talking to people 
    and telling them good news to get them to give up the chops. Do this by first 
    talking to a person and listening to their story.  When prompted, commit the 
    story to memory.  Then, talk to more Archadians until you find someone who 
    would be helped by the story you memorized.  Select retell story if you think 
    it is appropriate (there is no penalty for telling the wrong story to the 
    wrong person).  If the story you tell is helpful to the person, they will 
    give you a chop.  Repeat these steps to get a total of Nine chops.  You can 
    match up conversations in all four zones of Archades.  The pair of 
    conversations will always be in the same zone.  To check how many chops you 
    have, open your inventory and find them in the loot category.  
    
    TSENOBLE: 
    When you have the nine chops, go back to the cabbie.  The ride will take us 
    to the next part of the city.  Balthier arrives to tell us that he found an 
    ride to the research labs.  Continue through town and you will see that most 
    of the guards are leaving the city.   
    
    Run around this part to find the guards have blocked the entrance.  Run 
    around further to see a cut scene where we learn that Jules took the chops 
    Balthier intended to give to us and sold us just one for 2500.  All that 
    money and he still can buy a decent shirt or shave off that Jr. High beard.  
    Jules goes on to explain that the lab is in lockdown ever since Vayne became 
    dictator.  The camera zooms in and it looks like it is Jule's exposed mid 
    drift is talking. 
    
    Go back to the cab and talk to the guide.  Select the option "You know where 
    to go" - nudge nudge, know whatahmean, say no more.  Confirm and you will be 
    taken to the super secret lab, by a cabbie. 
    
    The cab lands in a huge, awesome looking lab with a giant spinning thing in 
    it. 
    
        _____________________________________________
       |  Draklor Laboratory (x38)                   |
    
    
    Note: There are no orange transport crystals here so you should save in a 
    secondary save.  That way, if you need to buy more armor or potions you can 
    always go back to your last save in Archades to buy more. 
    
    The laboratory is empty and Basch stops just short of saying "its quiet, a 
    little too quiet."  Probably because he can't remember how the quote goes.   
    Balthier was expecting guards, but isn't it more strange that are no 
    scientists in a laboratory? 
    
    The game play in the Draklor Laboratory is much like my first day in high 
    school.  I spent the day running around breathlessly trying to find my next 
    class all the while trying to avoid people.  
    
    Path FLOOR 66 > FLOOR 67 > FLOOR 68 
    
    FLOOR 66
    Move north to the lift.  It is located in the top-center of the floor.  There 
    are some dead soldiers and those that are alive don't say much.  Go to the 
    elevator and select 67F.
    
    FLOOR 67
    From the elevator, head east then north to the end of the hall.  
    
    Cut Scene: Open the door and Fran notes how someone else was tearing apart an 
    office looking for something.  Balthier explores the bad doctor's office and 
    he starts doing that growl-y talk to his non-present father thing that 
    detectives do when they are investigating crime scenes.  Guards start yelling 
    things in Scottish-talk and Fran thinks they are looking for the people who 
    made this room a mess.  She says lie low.  Where?  You are hiding in the one 
    place they will look first.  Balthier says NO lets go kill my dad.  
    
    The clan gets the Lab Access Card and a map.  
    
    Proceed south to the first room on the right - room 6704 East - there is a 
    save crystal in there.  Remember, do not overwrite your last save - just in 
    case things get too tricky. 
    
    Enter room 6703 and hit the switch.  Go back to the elevator and up to floor 
    68F.
    
    FLOOR 68F:  Switch the following bulkheads to get to the southern lift.
    - head north and east to [6803 east] - Switch Red to blue.
    - head north and west to [6804 West] - Switch Blue to red.
    - head south to [6811 West] - Switch Red to blue.
    
    Prepare your party in room 6811.  Run around to charge up party members to 
    get quickenings fully charged.  Make sure everyone's HP is full because you 
    will be ambushed at the elevator.  Aim a quickening at the judges.  Pick off 
    the hoplites first, then attack the judges.  Another option, if you are 
    having trouble with them is to flee from the judges at first sight and run 
    back to the doorway of one of the rooms.  Start the fight there and if your 
    HP is running low, escape to that room, heal, then go back for more fighting.
    
    - Go north to the elevator.  Go to floor 70 because floor 69 is just dirty.
    
    FLOOR 70:  
    Cut Scene: The elevator opens and they all walk out.  A man comes running at 
    Basch swings his sword at him.  Basch then blocks him with his arm.  They 
    slowly push back on each other.  We see the attackers face and it looks like 
    Gamespot's Greg Kasavin with Fran's hair taped to his cheeks.  Greg here 
    could teach Basch a thing or two about growing a beard.  He stops his attack 
    because the clan is not one of Dr. Cid's guards.  Basch puts all the pieces 
    together to realize that this guy was the one who was tearing up the office 
    and killing all those guards.  Dr Cid's voice is coming from the next room. 
    
    Use the save (again, use another slot) cast haste and protect on your party 
    then run up the stairs to fight Dr. Cid.
    
    Dr. Cid is by far my favorite character in this game.  He is voiced by a guy 
    named John Rafter Lee.  Past acting credits are almost non existent, most 
    notable is "Additional Voices" in Princess Mononoke.  Too bad, because I love 
    the crazy actor role.  The good thing is that you get to see this great cut 
    scene a lot because Dr. Cid is very difficult.  
    
    Cut Scene:  Greg Kasavin yells at Dr. Cid for working with Deifacted 
    Nethicite even though he knows how dangerous it is (it blew up that huge 
    airship).  Cid doesn't even answer the question, he just says "Try and stop 
    me."  Balthier arrives and says "you are too old for this."  And then my 
    favorite line in the whole game comes: "Pirate scum of the skies.  What 
    brings you here?"  The inflection is crazy, perfect, and then the animators 
    gave him the perfect sneer at the end.  
    
    Balthier says he wants the Dusk Shard.  If you notice, Cid and Balthier are 
    never in the same shot - it is like that episode of Full House when Uncle 
    Jesse's cousin Starbros visited and both characters were played by John 
    Stamos and they used quick editing so the two characters could talk to each 
    other.
    
    Then, Dr. Cid talks to his imaginary friend.  He tells Cid that the princess 
    is there and Cid says "she is not entirely without merit" all dirty.  The guy 
    with huge chops says "he means to use you" - yuck.  Cid is glowing orange and 
    he laughs.  Fran knows it that it is manufactured nethicite.  Balthier is 
    disappointed in his father.
    
    
         ----- BOSS: Dr. Cid (x38a) ----- 
    
    So Cid must have gotten his doctorate in laying-down-the-smack because this 
    is one hard battle.  If you try all of these techniques and you still can not 
    beat him go back to you last save and level up against all the guards.  Stand 
    by one of the elevators as they come out in an endless supply.
    
    LEVELS: 33 across the team
    
    GAMBITS: 
    Casters:
    [ally: any > protect, haste]
    
    Tanks:	
    [Ally: Any > Phoenix Downs]
    [Ally: HP < 40% > Hi-Potion] 
    [foe: leader's target > attack]
    
    Part I: Rooks:
    - Go in with 3 Tanks and have their gambits do all the healing with Hi-
    Potions and Phoenix downs.
    - Unleash your Quickenings, target one of the rooks - not Dr. Cid!
    - Focus all of your tanks' attacks on one rook until it is destroyed.  Then, 
    I moved on to the next one.  Attack them alphabetically so it is easier to 
    track which ones you defeated. 
    - Don't Target Dr. Cid until they are all gone.
    
    Dr Cid:
    - Swap in one of your healers
    - Cancel Dr. Cid's Haste spell with Dispel (he is immune to Slow)
    - Cast silence on him.
    - Make sure your two tanks have protect, and haste 
    - Bash away at him
    - If you are having trouble beating him use, the one or two Ethers to refill 
    your healer.  This is one time when it is worth it.
    
         ----- End: Dr. Cid -----
    
    When Cid is down to very low health, Sideburns Kasavin does his best Susano 
    (from Okami) impression and casts the final blow after we did all the work.  
    What was he doing during this whole fight?  Dr. deflects the attack with a 
    Smash Brothers style block bubble and stands up to confront the clan.  Cid's 
    imaginary friend appears (which would make him no longer imaginary).  It is 
    Venat and it is that ghost that we have seen with Mjrn and Judge Bergan.  I 
    searched Venat on Wikipedia for any historical/mythological significance and 
    found nothing.  There wasn't even an entry in Tobin's Spirit Guide. 
    
    The bad Dr. turns it all around and blames Ashe for being a power hungry fool 
    and wanting the nethicite for her own gain.  Great.  Now we are the assholes.  
    Cid holds out the Dawn Shard and then drops some obvious hints that he is 
    heading to Giruvegan.  
    
    One of those ice-cream-cone ships picks him up and takes him off.  Before he 
    leaves though he mentions "The reigns of history back in the hands of man."  
    See the Freewill vs Fate theme.  Balthier says "I hate it when he does that."  
    What? Try to kill you and then run off while accusing you of being power 
    hungry fools?  Ignoring the obvious Oedipal issues between Balthier and Dr. 
    Cid, I have a feeling their strife has a more to do with Balthier going to 
    law school and becoming a judge instead of pursuing a medical degree like his 
    old man. 
    
    Sideburns rises and goes over to introduce himself.  He is Reddas and he is 
    joining the clan. 
    
    ----------------------------------- ACT IV ----------------------------------
     
    Marquis/narrator: The Senate is dissolved and Vayne is the new emperor.  The 
    military loved the fact that they had a dictatorship.  The resistance 
    retreats to Hoth, I mean the Brder-Skies to prepare for the "Task Ahead."  
    Task should not be capitalized by the way. 
    
    Cut Scene: Turn your sound up right here because airships scenes are always 
    good.  A ton of resistance aircrafts run training maneuvers over a snowcapped 
    mountain range - I could watch animations of airship armada's all day long.  
    The Marquis is captain of one of the lead resistance ship.  Marquis is ready 
    to attack the Empire even if Ashe could not get the nethicite.
    
    Ashe is standing in a little seaside cabanna which is Reddas' office.  Don't 
    touch anything because Reddas' white hair is all over everything in here.    
    She complains that the pirates sell to the resistance but will not help fight 
    for them.  Reddas says that they have no country, they are pirates.  Speaking 
    of which, check out Reddas' pants - what kind of pirate wears pink.  Ashe 
    asks if the Marquis will push ahead with war.
    
    Flashback to a conversation between Reddas and the Marquis.  The Marquis 
    plans to train and buildup his forces to scare Vayne into peace.  To prevent 
    Vayne from using a nethicite bomb against the resistance, Marquis sends 
    Reddas into the Draklor Laboratories to steal it.  That is why we found 
    Reddas in the Labs killing soldiers and attacking Cid.
    
    Back to the present: Basch thinks Vayne is luring everyone into one battle so 
    that Vayne can blow them all up with one shot.  Balthier is not too when he 
    tells Basch that he is wrong again: Cid has the stone, not Vayne.  His plan 
    is to get it from Cid and destroy it with the Sword of Kings.  Reddas won't 
    be joining us because he has something else to do - which is probably just 
    getting drunk on the beach.  
    
    Reddas is all drunk again and starts talking at anyone who comes within 
    earshot.  Here is the rundown.
    - Vaan: Go talk to my guys about some background info
    - Balthier: That kid is going to make a good pirate
    - Ashe: (watch as she tries to sneak out before he could talk to her - no 
    dice though) - There is more Nethicite in Giruvegan.  She wants the stone 
    just to protect Dalmasca.  Reddas reminds her of Nabudis: the last time 
    nethicite was used in battle. 
    
        _____________________________________________
       |  Balfonheim Port (x39)                      |
    
    
    Since this is a new Act in the game, a whole slew of items and gambits are 
    available in the shops.  You will also be facing a boss soon so get all the 
    items on the Boss list too.  This is a long and expensive list but I 
    recommend some choice places to earn money.
    
    Shopping list:
    - Gambits: Buy all the [Ally = status] 
    - Buy [Self: MP < X] and you can  finally have an automated Charge Gambit.  
    This should have been available at the beginning of the game.
    - Skip all the [Foe HP = X] gambits
    - Buy all the [Foe:Status = X] gambits
    - Upgrade weapons and armor buy from the Pirate infested Balfonheim Port - 
    notice that none of the shops sell ninja swords.  Coincidence?  I don't think 
    so.
    - Get most characters to level 35 (see note below for where to do this)
    - Every character (even tanks) should get the -aga (blizzaga, firaga...) 
    elemental attacks.
    
    For BOSS fight
    - 20 x phoenix downs, 20 x X-potions.
    - 10 x alarm clock, 10 x eye drops, 10 x antidote, 10 x smelling salts, 10 x 
    remedy
    
    For Boss fight 2:
    - 2 x Rose Corsage - get it from the Dalmasca Westersand merchant
    - 10 x echo herbs
    
    NOTE ON LEVELING UP:
    The fastest way to do this is to transport back to THE TCHITA UPLANDS.  For 
    everyone fighting, equip the embroidered tippet and everyone in reserve equip 
    the golden amulet.  Start fighting your way through each zone leading to 
    SKYBENT CHAMBER.  This is the same path taken a while ago when you had the 
    boss fight with all the little Mandragoras.  I was able to level three of my 
    characters up 3 levels, 20,000 gil in about 2 hours.  Also, go to GOLMORE 
    JUNGLE and chain skeletons in the southern most zone called THE RUSTLING 
    CHAPEL.
    
    When enough characters are to 35, transport to the GOLMORE JUNGLE.
    
        _____________________________________________
       |  Feywood (x40)                              |
    
    
    In the GOLMORE JUNGLE walk south through WHISPERLEAF WAY > THE NEEDLEBRAKE > 
    THE RUSTLING CHAPEL > FEYWOOD
    
    GOLMORE JUNGLE
    The jungle is filled with Hellhounds so you will need your party to be at 
    level 35 to get past them easily.
    
    THE RUSTLING CHAPEL
    Chain the skeletons here, they are great for experience and loot.
    
    Exiting south, the clan arrives in the Feywood.  It is a boggy, sloppy forest 
    - think Never Ending story where Artax sank into the Swamps of Sadness.  
    Brilliantly gold Mist fills the air - watch for the cool effect in which your 
    party will be reflected in it.  The Mist is so bad I think it is responsive 
    for the jumbled minimap.
    
    Set gambits for [foe: undead > cura] [foe: haste > slow]
    
    FEYWOOD: WALK OF FLITTING RIFTS > WALK OF STOLEN TRUTHS > ANTIQUITY'S END > 
    REDOLENT GLADE > WHITE MAGICK'S EMBRACE > ICE FIELD OF CLEARSIGHT > THE EDGE 
    OF REASON
    
    WALK OF FLITTING RIFTS
    As soon as you enter the FEYWOOD you are ambushed by a half dozen Deadly 
    Night Shades.  Even at level 35 they can be pretty difficult to defeat.  If 
    you are consistently having problems, run past them.  There is no need to 
    waste your time on them. 
    
    WALK OF STOLEN TRUTHS
    The map urn is located in the north eastern most cul-de-sac.  Check the full 
    screen map.  
    
    ANTIQUITY'S END
    Use the save crystal.  Proceed through the southern gate.
    
    Cut Scene: The clan is stopped because the mist is too thick to pass.  
    Everyone just stands around thinking of way to get through.  Except for Basch 
    of course, he has is arms crossed and is staring right at Fran's ass.  Then, 
    Ashe's dead husband appears and clears out the mist.  In the next room is a 
    boss battle so have haste and protect cast on everyone.  Proceed through the 
    newly opened wall of mist.
    
    Cut Scene: Panning shot of a Feywood clearing and a giant Georgia O'Keeffe 
    painting attacks.  
    
         ----- BOSS: Rafflesia (x41) -----
    
    Levels: 35
    GAMBITS
    Casters:
    [foe:any > disable] //at the start, make sure this is the first gambit
    
    Tanks:
    [foe: leader's target > attack]
    
    - The Boss will quickly drain all MP, so all magic attacks will need to be 
    cast right at the beginning of the fight.  Subsequently, all the remaining 
    attacks on it will be done via physical attacks.
    - Start the battle with your two casters with the only gambits to cast 
    disable.  This will remove all of the positive effects the boss has. 
    - Swap in anyone who has MP to spare and cast a quickening.
    - Set all gambits to fix ailments with potions rather than magic.  These are 
    the affects it will cast - sleep (alarm clock), blind (eye drops), poison 
    (antidote), confuse (smelling salts), sap(remedy) 
    - Heal with X-Potions
    - After his power is lowered significantly, Rafflesia will spawn underlings.  
    Kill them then get back to Rafflesia.
    - Continue to bash away at the enemy.
    
         ----- End: Rafflesia -----
    
    When the boss is defeated, return back to ANTIQUITY'S END to save.
    
    WHITE MAGICK'S EMBRACE
    Find a second map urn in the east of the zone.
    
    ICE FIELD OF CLEARSIGHT
    There is no exit to this zone until you solve the puzzle.  How to beat the 
    puzzle:
    - Run to any of the star shaped shrines (this puzzle is random and so you 
    will have to try each one)
    - Stand in the very center of the temple and if an exclamation point appear, 
    press "X" and read the message.  (If no exclamation point, go to another 
    shrine)
    - Use the right control stick to rotate the camera and notice which one of 
    the openings flashes a green grassy area instead of the snowy one.
    - Run through the opening that flashed that green scene and head in a 
    straight line from there.
    - Walk straight until you reach the next temple.
    - Repeat the "X" press, camera rotate, and green door exit for another two 
    shrines.
    - The final shrine will have two huge and very difficult lizard beasts in 
    them.  To fight them, have everyone cast Blizaga on them.
    - The final shrine will point you towards the newly opened gate to THE EDGE 
    OF REASON 
    
    THE EDGE OF REASON
    There is another shrine puzzle that follows the same rules as the one in the 
    ICE FIELD OF CLEARSIGHT.
    
    When arriving at the gate, summon the esper Belia and with him behind you, 
    select "touch the gate."  Note: Before you can summon him, he must be 
    purchased on the LP board - see the GameFaqs map of it.  Also, the character 
    who purchase it must have full MP.
    
    Cut Scene: The parasitic twin moves his hands around before finishing it all 
    off with a hyduken gesture and then the gate slides open.  A land that looks 
    like Invalice's version of Waterwold sits on the other side.  It is called 
    the Ancient city of Giruvegan.  
    
        _____________________________________________
       |  Ancient city of Giruvegan (x41)            |
    
    
    Ashe starts reciting poetry.  Fran, unable to one up her this time decides to 
    draw attention to her self in another way: complain about the mist.  Balthier 
    says we should wait for Cid because he is not here yet.  Balthier is afraid 
    to enter the city because it may make everyone go Dr. Cid Crazy.  Ashe looks 
    ahead and sees Rasler again - Vaan says we should follow her. 
    
    GATE OF EARTH > GATE OF WATER > THE TRIMAHLA WATER-STEPS > THE AADHA WATER-
    STEPS > THE HAALAMIKAH WATER-STEPS > GATE OF FIRE > GATE OF WIND
    
    GATE OF EARTH: proceed down the raised path and use the save stone to left.  
    Teleport to town to pickup the following if you need them
    
    Shopping List
    - 10 x Phoenix downs 
    - Most of your party should be at level 36
    - Curaja for Tanks and Healers
    
    GATE OF WATER
    Hearbeat.  A man with no head and very large shoulders whips his sword 
    around.  Ha!  Look at those crappy wings.  Daedalus attacks us and we are in 
    for another boss fight:
    
         ----- BOSS: Daedalus (x41a) -----
    
    Gambits:
    - Healer
    [Any > Phoenix Down]
    [Any > Protect]
    [foe: Haste > Dispel]
    [Foe: Undead > Curaja]
    
    Tanks:
    [self > Haste]
    
    Part I:
    - Attack with two tanks and one healer.  
    - Make sure he is dispelled.
    - Bash away at him using your two tanks and healer casting Curaja.
    
    Part II: 1/3 energy left
    - As Daedalus' health gets lower, his attack speed increases
    - When he is at 1/3 energy, use as many quickening as you have available.
    - If he is still alive after the quickenings, turn off all tank gambits 
    except for the tank's [Foe > Curaja].
    
    After the defeat of the boss, return to the save stone back in GATE OF EARTH.
    
    The area of Giruvegan is one big love note to Greek mythology.  For one 
    thing, Giruvegan parallels the Greek legend of Atlantis: lost, covered in 
    water, technologically stunning.  Secondly, the boss you just fought, 
    Daedalus, was the inventor of the great labyrinth and placed the Minotaur in 
    the middle of it.  He also crafted the wax wings for his son Icarus 
    (represented by Daedalus' crappy wings).  And just like the Daedalus myth, 
    the next few zones in Giruvegan are mazes.
    
    But, before you enter the maze, you should prepare because this is the last 
    place to get supplies before two very difficult bosses.
    
    Shopping List: 
    Most of the following can be found in Balfonheim Port.
    Boss #1
    - 10 x X-Potion 
    - 20 x Phoenix Down 
    
    Boss #2
    - 10 x Echo herbs 
    - 10 x Vaccine 
    - 10 x Chronos tear
    - Regen
    - Immune
    - Blizzaga
    - Oil
    - BUBBLE
    
    Note:  I suggest being at the 35 to 36 level for the start of Giruvegan.  
    Then use the enemies in the THE TRIMAHLA WATER-STEPS and THE AADHA WATER-
    STEPS to level up to 40.  Be sure to equip your embroidered tippets and grind 
    away in preparation for boss 1.
    
    THE TRIMAHLA WATER-STEPS
    The entire area is a giant dark room that is lined with those tiny lights 
    that they use on the walls of movie theaters.  This zone is a maze of green 
    shields and switches that unlock them.  Press the switches in the following 
    order:
    - From the entrance, head south 
    - Touch Avrio Gate Stone
    - Continue south to the southern most corridors
    - Chthes Gate Stone
    - Then head north to the next left, pull a u-turn so you will be heading 
    south.
    - Wind your way west by zigzagging through the next hallways. 
    
    When the clan reaches the bottom, walk across the clear green lily pads.
    
    THE AADHA WATER-STEPS
    Continue through the switches much like the last zone.
    - Touch Paron Gate Stone (This gate switch is not necessary but it will 
    unlock a treasure later)  
    - Then Wind down the path heading north.
    - Touch Parelthon Gate Stone (The corresponding gate is back at the start of 
    this zone.  It is not necessary to go back so continue along the path which 
    leads west from the stone)
    - Zigzag south to...   
    - Tychi Gate Stone: Turn around and head back the way you just came.  Journey 
    North West to exit the THE AADHA WATER-STEPS.
    
    When you get to the most north western platform, step off the western side of 
    it - even though there is nothing below you.  A green path will appear.  
    Don't worry, that annoying grinding sound is coming from your party walking 
    on the energy field.  Stop and the sound stops.  I thought it was my heater 
    making that sounds and actually stopped my game and went over to the air 
    intake to see if anything was loose.  
    
    Cut Scene: The clan walks along the platform and there is a giant glowing 
    beehive to the right.  At least I think it is a beehive - it may just be a 
    giant dog turd if that dog had eaten Tinkerbell.  Penelo says "I can't shake 
    the feeling were somewhere were not meant to be".  Then Basch gets real close 
    to her, able-to-smell-him close.  You can even see Penelo back up a bit.  
    Vaan shows off his abs again and Basch says "you're sounding more the sky 
    pirate every day."
    
    Continue across the green path and open the green scissor-like gate.  Save at 
    the blue crystal.
    
    Open the gate and head to the west end of the zone.  Climb to the top of the 
    long set of stairs.  When you get to the top walk off the edge of it.  The 
    green will extend again.
    
    This next boss is one of the hardest yet.  The biggest challenge from this 
    boss is that all techniques are useless.  That means charge is off the table.  
    I beat this one on pure luck and with Balthier standing alone on the corpses 
    of his fellow team-mates with 25% of his health left.  All I can say is try 
    the following technique and hope for the best.
    
    Cut Scene: Tyrant comes running at you and it seems like he can't stop.  He 
    looks like a dragon and I have lost count as to how many bosses we have 
    fought that have wings.
    
    
         ----- BOSS: Tyrant (x41b) -----
    
    LEVELS:
    - Healers: 40, 36, 38 
    - Tanks: 40, 41, 36 
    
    GAMBITS:
    
    Healers: 
    [Ally: any > phoenix down]
    [TANK > decoy] //replace TANK with the character that is your tank
    [TANK > haste]
    [Ally HP = 30% > X-Potion] (Use Cura when out of X-Potion)
    [Foe: Status = Shell > Dispel]
    [Foe: Any > Blizzaga]
    
    Tanks:
    [Foe: Any > Blizzaga]
    [Foe: Any > Attack]
    
    - Go in with one tank and two healers.
    - When your healers are out of MP swap them out.  I even used a few of my 
    tanks as healers for this match.
    - Be sure to cast dispel right at the start of the battle.
    - Have your tank attack with the blizzaga attack until his/her MP is gone, 
    then attack.
    - Don't cast quickenings until he is down to his last 10%.  You need the MP 
    for the fight.
    - I confess that I used two ethers on this one.  
    
    Again, this one is tough and it will take many tries to defeat him.  When 
    defeated, turn around and save at the blue crystal that was before the boss.
    
         ----- End: TYRANT -----
    
    Touch the way stone that is left after the boss has been defeated and you 
    will be transport to the center of that beehive/turd/cream of wheat pile.
    
        _____________________________________________
       |  The Great Crystal (x42)                    |
    
    
    There is no map and no arrow to tell you which way to go through this area.  
    I will give you as much of a description of each zone as I can.  
    
    Inside the Great Crystal: it feels very embryonic.  Platforms float above 
    what looks like the layered center of a Butterfinger bar.  The music here 
    sounds like the climactic character discovers the spaceship or dinosaur scene 
    in any Spielberg film.
    
    A PRAMA VIKAARI
    From the way stone, head along the green ramp that descends.  
    
    KABONII JILAAM PRATII'VAA
    Fight off the two cougars here.  They can be tricky so dispel their shell, 
    cast slow, attack with oil then firaga.  When defeated, obtain the treasure - 
    it has a trap on it.  Then proceed on the next descending ramp.
    
    KABONI JILAAM AVAA
    Defeat the next two cougars
    
    DHA VIKAARI BHRUM
    Touch the Way Stone 
    
    A VIKAARI KABONII
    There are three paths from here.  One in the middle leads up and then two on 
    either side of it lead down.  Take the path that is on your left.  
    
    STAHAANA CANCER
    There will be two Golems here defending a gate stone.  Hit them with oil and 
    firaga.  Then touch the stone.  Proceed through the path that you have not 
    yet taken - it leads up.
    
    BHRUM PIS AVAA
    Get the treasure. Then, go down the path that you have not yet taken.  It 
    leads back to the way stone that brought you here in A VIKAARI KABONII.
    
    VIKAARI KABONII
    Of the three paths here, take the one on the far right (it descends and is 
    the only one you have not yet taken)
    
    BHRUM PS PRATII
    Kill the cougars then continue moving down the path.
    
    DHA VIKAARI TRAHK
    Don't fear the reaper, Oil and Firaga it instead.  Touch the Way Stone V.
    
    A VIKAARI BHRUM
    Your goal here is to deactivate that Pisces Gate, the switch is two rooms 
    away.  Take the path that descends. 
    
    TRAHK PIS PRAA
    Kill the three cougars.  The next path will descend.
    
    STHAANA PISCES
    Defeat the two Golems and touch the stone to bring down the Pisces gate.  
    Backtrack through TRAHK PIS PRAA and A VIKAARI BHRUM.  
    
    A VIKAARI BHRUM
    You can be sure you are in the right spot because this room has way stone IV 
    in the center.  There used to be the Pisces gate until you deactivated it.  
    Go down the path that was behind the gate - it is the one that descends.   
    
    DA VIKAARI JULA
    This room has Way Stone III in the center.  Touch it. 
    
    CRYSTAL CORE: 
    
    Cut Scene: The party transports to the inside of the great crystal.  Penelo 
    sees all the swirling Mist and asks Fran if she is ok.  Fran is fine.  You 
    know, I am starting to think that Fran's whole Mist affliction is made up.  I 
    think she is using it like those kids who say they have asthma any time they 
    don't want to do something or when they want attention.   
    
    Ashe sees this huge piece of Nethicite and her mind starts pondering the 
    possibilities.  Fran realizes her intentions and says "You could destroy all 
    of Ivalice if you wished it."  Ashe looks at her and then downward; I swear I 
    heard Ashe say redrum under her breath.
    
    Use the blue save crystal.
         ----- BOSS: Shemhazai (x42a)----- 
    
    Shemhazai looks like the aftermath of a woman and three legged horse 
    collision. Oh and the woman was wearing a poncho.
    
    LEVELS:
    - Tanks: 41, 40, 37
    - Healers: 40, 38, 36
    
    GAMBITS: 
    Healer: 
    - Turn off all elemental black magics such as firaga, water, blizzaga
    - [Ally: any > Raise] [Ally: HP < 40% >  Cura] [Ally: Disease > Vaccine]   
      [Self: MP < 40% >  Charge]  [Self > Protect] [Ally: Any > Haste]
      [Ally: Any > Protect] [Foe: Haste > Dispel] 
    
    Tank:
    - [Foe:any > Attack]
    
    PHASE I 
    - Send in all of your tanks (no healers) and start off with a quickening.
    PHASE II
    - Dispel first to eliminate Shemhazai's haste
    - Have a party of 2 healers and 1 tank 
    - Let your Tank do all of the attacking and the healers keep that tank 
    healthy.  
    - Keeping everyone protected will stop one hit kills from Shemhazai
    - Have both healers equip Rose Corsage to keep them silence free.
    - If your Tank is hit with silence ignore it.  They should not be casting 
    spells anyway
    - Use echo herbs to keep MP available for cures/raises 
    - Be aware that as Shemhazai's health decreases she increases in strength 
    - When Shembhazai's health is down to the 2% to 5% range, use a quickening
    
         ----- End Shemhazai -----
    
    When defeated, continue out the back door to a sunken living room containing 
    the Empyrean Way Stone.
    
    Cut Scene: 
    A beam of light hits a floating platform and then it is Ashe in the sky with 
    Demons.  Before she can figure out where she is, the Prophet's talk to her 
    and they still sound a little pissed off that Master Chief blew up their 
    Halo.  They hit her with a wave of Vick's Vapor Rub.
    
    They are the Occuria, the gods of Ivalice, and they tell Ashe that they chose 
    her to make more Nethicite by cutting it from the source of it all, the Sun-
    Cryst.  Cutting the Sun-Cryst was the same way King Raithwall got his 
    Nethicite.  They want her to make new cuts of it because the old ones either 
    fell into the wrong hands or were all used up.  They give her the Treaty-
    Blade which is the only thing that can shave off new nethicite from the Sun-
    Cryst.  Occurians rule humans by dealing out nethicite like crack.  We humans 
    need it so bad and respond to it so well that we will do anything the 
    Occurians want.  
    
    And that is why Ashe is listening so carefully when the Occurians tell her to 
    kill Venat (Dr. Cid's imaginary friend) because Venat left the Occurian 
    clique and told humans (Vayne and Cid) how to make Nethicite.  Venat, 
    Ivalice's version of Prometheus, made the humans self-sufficient.  If humans 
    no longer rely on the Occurians for Nethicite, the Occurians are obsolete.  
    Kind of like how your parents feel when you move away to college.  
    
    To fix this rogue Occurian and the threat of manufactured nethicite, they 
    want Ashe to "administer Judgment" and "destroy them all."  Ashe is 
    suspicious, understandably because the Occurians seem like total fascist 
    douche bags.  They go on to tell her that they know best because they live 
    forever while we dumb humans don't live long enough to know anything.  Every 
    so often though, they need a human to serve as their "fist" and steer the 
    human race in the right direction.  Ashe will be this "Jesus Cryst."  They 
    chose Ashe because they know as well as you or I that it is easiest to pickup 
    a girl when she is on the rebound.
    
    The Occurians then bring out Rasler and use some pretty heavy peer pressure 
    to say "come on kill the Empire, you know you want to, take revenge, what? 
    are you going to cry?  Rasler wants you to kill.  Why don't you just do it?"  
    Ashe's lip quivers and it looks the developers equipped it with a modified 
    version of the Dead or Alive Xtream VBall breast physics engine.  Ashe caves 
    and grabs the sword so that she can make more nethicite and make more nuclear 
    explosions. 
    
    Ashe is beamed back down to the rest of the clan.  They all heard what the 
    Occuria were saying and they are all against the Occuria's plan to make more 
    nethicite.  Then, Balthier realizes that Cid had tricked the clan into going 
    here so that the Occuria could use Ashe for their own good.  Balthier 
    surmises that Cid just wants to see Vayne and Ashe blow each other up with 
    nethicite.  Ashe looks into the camera and says "I will seek out the Sun-
    Cryst."  WRONG.  ANSWER.
     
    Cut Scene:
    Hey! It's the Lordling, we haven't seen that fop since Bur-Omisace.  He is 
    there asking Vayne to make peace with Ashe.  Vayne counters that it is Ashe 
    who is the one who is ready to fight, the Empire is just reacting to her.  
    Larsa is all "No she's not."  Then Vayne says "Yah Hu."  To settle their 
    spat, Vayne sends Judge Gabranth to spy on Ashe.  Larsa prances off.
    
    Dr. Cid approaches Vayne and asks how they are related.  Venat gives Cid an 
    update: Ashe will be going to make more nethicite.  Vayne then says that Ashe 
    is their scribe, she is the one who will make things the way that they want 
    it.  Notice how the Occuria call her their fist where as Vayne calls her 
    their scribe.  Vayne is a little concerned that she will have fresh 
    nethicite.  But Cid says "bah, nethicite is overrated."   Vayne reveals that 
    they invaded Dalmasca and Nabudice all for the nethicite.  However, Cid says 
    that the nethicite was useful to study but now that the Empire makes 
    manufactured nethicite, Ashe's Sun-Cryst stuff is not that great. 
    
    Venat appears, he actually looks like a Jawa wearing an oversized Mexican 
    Poncho.  It was Venat who instructed Cid on how to make nethicite.  Making 
    Venat a true Prometheus.  It turns out that Vayne's motive is not to conquer 
    all of Ivalice, rather, it is really to stop the Occurians from controlling 
    us.  Vayne and Cid refer to having control over their lives as "history."  
    
    This is where I sympathize with Vayne just a bit.  All Vayne wants is 
    freewill.  Although, when I think of freewill, I think of being able to 
    choose who I marry or what I will do as a profession.  For Vayne, free will 
    probably means he gets to choose which race to decimate.
    
    Back in the Giruvegan, Vaan wonders aloud if Reddas could help us find the 
    Sun-Cryst.  Balthier says he is not to be trusted and shut up.  Vaan answers 
    his challenge by once again flashing his abs. 
     
    Go back to Way Stone in CRYSTAL CORE.  Then make the long trek back through 
    and the CITY OF GIRUVEGAN.  Use the orange transport crystal in GATE OF EARTH 
    to transport back to BALFONHEIM PORT.
    
    
    Save in the Water Steps: 59:28
    The Water Steps are a good place to level up.  Spend some time chaining the 
    monster of your choice and bring your party up a couple of levels to the 40 
    to 42 range. 
    
    Save in GATE OF EARTH.
    
    When your clan emerges from the depths of the WATER STEPS and reaches THE 
    EARTH GATE (where you fought Daedalus) save at the Orange Stone.  Then 
    transport back to Balfonheim Port.
    
    Check your map when in Balfonheim Port and proceed to the red "X".  Talk to 
    the guard to be let into Reddas' Green Zone.
    
    Quick cut to Reddas who is back in his pirate cabana.  He is yelling at his 
    swarthy crew to prepare for an escape.  I think they are going to use his 
    busty red crewmate as a floatation device.  Reddas tells the teleporting clan 
    that his fleet got stuck on some Mist at a place called the Ridorana 
    Cataract.  
    
    The clan tells Reddas what happened in Giruvegan and about the Sun-Cryst.  
    They tell him that they have two plans to counter Vayne's Dusk Shard.  Either 
    they use the Sword of Kings against the Sun-Cryst and nullify Vayne's 
    nethicite.  Or, they fight fire with fire by using the Treaty Blade to make 
    their own piece of nethicite.  Reddas gives us his own plan which is "throw 
    it away."   Reddas, did you listen to a single thing we just said?  Even Vaan 
    ignores Reddas' inane plan and says lets just go find the Sun-Cryst.  It is 
    in a lighthouse that is across the sea.  Balthier asks "how do we get there?" 
    and Reddas tells him to "try putting this one in your ship."  Balthier 
    extends his middle finger and says "why not try sticking this one up your 
    ass."  The stone in questions will let the Strahl fly in Jagd territory.  
    
    Reddas joins your party.  You are free to do some shopping in preparation for 
    the next section. 
    
    Shopping List for the next levels
    - 10 x Remedy
    - 20 x Vaccine
    - 10 x Antidote 
    - Remedy Lore 3 for Healers/Casters 
    - Ensunaga
    - Everyone (even Tanks) should have Firaga and Aeraga 
    - Party Level range: 40 to 42
    
    When you are ready to move on with the story, go to the Aerodome in the 
    eastern part of the city.  Talk to the woman standing behind the counter with 
    the name "Private Airships."  At the map screen, select the destination 
    Ridorana Cataract.
    
    Cut scene: Flying over the sea and there is a huge castle right next to and 
    on top of a giant waterfall.  That is cool, the castle is at the edge of the 
    world.  
    
        _____________________________________________
       |  Ridorana Cataract (x43)                    | 
    
    
    The party arrives on the beaches of the island and Fran reminds us that this 
    is the "tower on distant shore."  She also mentions a "Piercing Mist" at the 
    top.  She looks a little nervous, would someone get her a the cardboard 
    center to a toilet paper roll to chew on.  Ashe worries about making the 
    right choice when she gets reaches the Mordoor-like top of the tower.  
    Balthier tells Vaan that if he has to die or sacrifice himself that he can 
    have the Strahl.  Balthier seems to be confused about the "leading man" 
    figure and the "Christ" figure.
    
    The Cataract is like that scene in Jason and The Argonauts in which he fought 
    all those stop-animation skeletons.  However, instead of skeletons you are 
    fighting the bugs from Starship Troopers.  It really is quite a cross 
    breading of genres.  Be sure to have Libra cast at all times because this 
    place is full of traps.
    
    FOOTFALLS OF THE PAST > ECHOES FROM TIME'S GARDEN > COLOSSEUM > CITY OF OTHER 
    DAYS > PATH OF HIDDEN BLESSING.
    
    FOOTFALLS OF THE PAST
    
    COLOSSEUM
    Go through the hall at the north of the zone and circle around to the 
    northwest corner of the zone to get the map urn.  Look around because there 
    are lots of treasures in these hallways.  When ready, continue north to...
    
    CITY OF OTHER DAYS
    There some good treasures located in a small alcove at the northern end of 
    the zone. 
    
    PATH OF HIDDEN BLESSING: 
    Save, but watch out for the line of traps. 
    
        _____________________________________________
       |  Pharos - First Ascent (x44)                | 
    
    
    THEY WHO THIRST NOT > THE WELLSPRING > BLACKROCK VAULT
    
    THEY WHO THIRST NOT
    A dragon gets up and sounds all crunchy and sloppy.  It descends the stairs 
    towards the party.  When it reaches the bottom, it rears back to roar.  Of 
    course it has wings.
    
         ----- BOSS: Hydro (x44a) -----
    
    GAMBITS 
    Healers:
    [Ally:Disable > Ensuna] [Ally: Doom > Remedy] [Ally: Sap > Ensuna] [Ally: 
    Disease > Vaccine]
    
    - Start with Dispel to remove Haste
    - Cast oil on him
    - Set everyone's gambits to [FOE: Oil > Firaga]
    
         ----- End Hydro -----
    
    Cut Scene: Hydro's knees get wobbly and I guess the camera man looses focus 
    and falls back looking at the sun.  Lens flare back to Hydro just in time to 
    see him fall right on his face.  I kind of feel bad for him.
    
    Cut Scene: A huge gate blocks the entry into the tower.  Vaan goes up to look 
    at the plaque but can't read and asks Fran to do it.  She translates that the 
    Dynast King was here before and wrote the message to warn anyone who enters.  
    He wrote it for his descendant he knew would come one day: Ashe.  Then Fran 
    repeats the following words rhetorically "Rend illusion, cut the true Path. 
    Words of much mystery. Yet his blood runs in your veins. Perhaps it Whispers 
    to you the truth?"  Ahhh... ya, thanks Fran we asked for a translation, not a 
    sermon.  Why don't you shut your rabbit hole and get back in line.  The door 
    rotates open and the party enters.
    
    THE WELLSPRING
    The central room has been split into three separate parts by a cave-in.  The 
    two rear rooms can only be accessed from the LABYRINTHS that are to the north 
    and south of this central room.
    
    Save at the orange crystal.  Follow the path that circles around the large 
    central atrium until you see the "Altar of Night" which will be on your left.  
    Read the inscription.  The text instructs you bring Orbs back to the Altar.  
    
    You get Black Orbs by fighting monsters.  Randomly, the defeated monster may 
    drop a small blue thing which will float over their body, it looks like a 
    firefly.  Run up to it and press X when you have the exclamation point over 
    your head.  You will be prompted to touch it, do so and they will pop.  I bet 
    they taste minty.
    
    GO to the southern door to reach...
    
    WELLSPRING LABYRINTH
    Proceed east through the narrow hallway until the last right.  Then, fight 
    room-to-room heading south and eventually east.  Your destination is a long 
    room flanked by columns.  At the end of this room is the map urn. 
    
    Continue to fight beasts in the LABYRINTH until you obtain at least 3 black 
    orbs.  When you have them, head to the far east end of the narrow hallway.  
    The door leads to one of the two back rooms of the WEELSPRING.  In this room 
    is an altar that also requires a black orb.  Touch it to place it.  You will 
    "Break the Seal."  I guess you better find a bathroom - all that water 
    probably doesn't help either.  Exit the way you came and return to the 
    central room of the WELLSPRING.
    
    THE WELLSPRING
    Walk southeast to the altar and activate with the second of your black orbs.  
    Walk back towards the center of the WELLSPRING but enter the northern door to 
    access the northern section of the WELLSPRING LABYRINTH.
    
    WELLSPRING LABYRINTH
    In this northern part, head east through the hallway to gain access to the 
    other obstructed room of THE WELLSPRING.  Place the last orb on that Altar.
    
    When all orbs have been placed, return to the orange save crystal.  Go to the 
    eastern most point in the WELLSPRING LABYRINTH.  The door here was unlocked 
    when you broke the dark seals.  This place is also indicated on your map.
    
    Open the door and you are in Sedona, Arizona.  No wait, on second thought I 
    think saw Dave Mathews play here back '97.  Follow the path around until you 
    get to a giant rock that looks like an Outback Bloomin' Onion.
    
         ----- BOSS: Pandaemonium (x44b) -----
    
    Levels
    Tanks: 43, 41, 41
    Healers: 43, 43, 42
    GAMBITS:
    [Ally:Petrify > Ensunaga]
    
    - Send in 2 Tanks, 1 Healer.
    - Start by dispelling the Boss.
    - Do not use quickenings, they don't do that much damage and it will drain 
    all of your MP.
    - Instead, just beat him with physical attacks.
    - He is immune to Firaga so the oil and Firaga trick will not work.
    - About half way through Pandaemonium will cast "perfect shield" and will be 
    totally immune to attack for one minute.  So turn off all attack gambits and 
    switch everyone to cast heal, haste, and protect on each other until his 
    spell stops.  Keep watching Reddas' attacks and start your attack when his 
    hits no longer say IMMUNE.
    - Continue with the same 2 Tank, 1 Healer attack method.
    
         ----- End: Pandaemonium -----
    
    When you finally whittle him down to nothing, he runs right into a rock wall.  
    I feel sorry for him.  I mean he was just sitting in this nice desert until 
    we came along.  The clan reappears in the LABYRINTH and we are told that the 
    way stone is open for business.  Use it to be transported to the next 
    section.  You know how I can tell that this area is magical - the 
    architecture floats.  Any time you see a platform that should be very heavy 
    being held up by nothing, there is a good chance all of it or at least most 
    of it is magic.  Either that or the designers thought it looked too cluttered 
    to put in the necessary pillars and buttresses that would make all the 
    platforms functional in the real world.
    
    WELLSPRING RAVEL - 1ST FLIGHT
    Head east and up the stairs.  Kill the two brainpans at the top to activate a 
    bridge.  From there, continue up the stairs.  
    
    At 14F there is another bridge that needs to be constructed by killing the 
    following brainpans:
    - Kill the brainpan at the bridge
    - Run up the stairs north of you and kill the one hiding in a small alcove at 
    the top 
    - The third one is sitting in a room all by himself.  
    
    Those brain pans remind me of something from Return to OZ. 
    
    WELLSPRING RAVEL - 2ND FLIGHT
    I have to laugh because a Chimera rolls down the long staircase right in 
    front of you.  I bet they do that all day.  Run up the stairs and observe the 
    quite impressive water torrent - the humidity in there must be killer.  
    
    Extend the bridge on 25F by killing the following 
    20F - 2 Brainpans 
    21F - 1 Brainpan
    25F - 3 Brainpans 
    
    If the flying Aeronite comes near you, hit him with Oil and Firaga.
    
    Extend the bridge on 31F by killing the following 
    29F - 2 Brainpans
    30F - 1 Brainpan (behind the "Ancient" Door)
    31F - do NOT kill the Deidar at the gate, run past it to the next 2 
    Brainpans.  If you do kill Deidar, a bridge block will be subtracted.  If you 
    did kill Deidar, go back to 30F and kill the respawned Brainpan.
    
    Its funny that the designers picked red and green as the two colors of the 
    flames for Brainpan and Deidar.  20% of all males are red/green color blind.  
    If you do have problems with the colors, check the names, you want to kill 
    Brainpans, not the Deidars. 
    
    Extend the bridge on 35F by killing 10 Brainpans.  In this section the 
    Brainpans will respawn so you should just make a loop killing them until you 
    have 10.  Here is the breakdown of floors and numbers of each.
    32F - 1 Brainpan, don't kill the Deidar
    34F - 2 Brainpans
    35F - 2 Brainpans 
    
    WELLSPRING RAVEL - 4TH FLIGHT
    Extend the bridge at 47F: You only need to kill 4 Brainpans but they give you 
    a ton of them.
    36F - 2 Brainpans 
    38F - 1 Brainpan
    40F - 2 Brainpans
    42F - 1 Brainpan
    46F - 1 Brainpan
    
    HORIZON'S BREAK
    Use the save crystal here.  Travel counter-clockwise around the ring to find 
    the door in the southwest corner.  Enter and head left and up the stairs to 
    the door.
    
    HORIZON'S CUSP
    Circle around to the Ancient door.  Make sure everyone has haste before 
    entering.  This leads to the room of the second watcher (the first was the 
    giant stone turtle named Pandaemonium).  Notice how instead of desert this 
    one is based in a marsh.
    
         ----- BOSS: Slyt (x44c) -----
    
    Slyt, as its name would have you believe, is not a female.  Instead, it is a 
    giant flying fish.  This boss is quite possibly the easiest boss in all of 
    FFXII.
    
    - Send 2 casters and 1 Tank
    - Oil him 
    - Set everyone to cast Firaga.
    - I disable healing spells on one of my casters so they could focus on being 
    a blowtorch.  
    
         ----- End Slyt -----
    
    After the battle, proceed through the hall and touch the Way Stone.
    
        _____________________________________________
       |  Pharos - Second Ascent (x45)               | 
    
    
    The Second Ascent is about sacrifice.  The Pharos levels are intended to be a 
    tower that cleanses travelers by subjecting them to trials.  It is almost 
    like the Stations of the Cross in Christian Imagery.  
    
    THE REACH
    Travel around the circle and use the save crystal located at 9 o'clock.
    In the next part there are four doors and each will lead you to the end but 
    you will have to sacrifice one thing.  Here is the list of sacrifices and 
    their location around the circle.  
    - Threshold of Wealth - no items - (2 o'clock)
    - Threshold of Knowledge - no minimap - (4 o'clock)
    - Threshold of Magicks - no magick - (7 o'clock)
    - Threshold of Steal - no weapons - (10 o'clock)
    
    I can't stress enough to go into the knowledge door and give up the mini map.  
    You are reading the guide anyway, I will tell you where to go.  Plus, you can 
    just push select and get a map anyway.  If you are dumb and want to go in 
    another door you are on your own.  I will see you on the other side sucker - 
    being dumb does not make you 133t.
    
    So, having picked Knowledge as your path, go over to the altar and touch it.  
    Open the door behind it.
    
    From the door turn left and run up the stairs.
    
    STATION OF BANISHMENT 60F
    Using the map head.  Move room to room towards the very south western edge of 
    this floor.  Proceed up the two flights of stairs.  
    
    You know with all the small chained rooms like this and the central column, 
    this building could be converted into a pretty nice hotel.
    
    STATION OF SUFFERING
    There is a map urn in the northwest corner of this floor.  However, to get to 
    the next floor you need to proceed to the far south east corner.  The easiest 
    path is the one heading from room to room east and a little south.  Head up 
    the stairs to the next floor...
    
    STATION OF ASCENTION
    From the far southeast corner of this floor, head to the staircase which is 
    in the northwest corner.  The easiest way there is by going to the center 
    ring and then running around it to the doorway at 2 o'clock.  Then head west 
    from there.  Before you enter the long room, make sure your party is healed 
    as you will be attacked by three really tough guys.
    
    REACH OF THE DAMNED
    Proceed to the central ring and save at the crystal.  Run to the southwest 
    corner of the ring and proceed through that doorway.
    
    BOUNDS OF TRUTH
    Run down the hallway and enjoy the icy environment.  The final of the three 
    watchers, Fanrir, looks like one of Siegfried and Roy's wet dreams.  Be glad 
    Fenrir doesn't exist (or that S&R couldn't inbreed their tigers enough to 
    create this monstrosity) because their show's final act would have involved 
    them each sitting on the backs of their own personal Fenrir as they swing  
    stainless steal and ribbon covered battle axes at each other.  Majesty and 
    illusion would roam free in the background.  Did I mention that the tiger 
    striped loin cloth would be part of the show. 
    
    
         ----- Boss: Fenrir (x45a) -----
    
    Levels: 
    Tank: 44, 43, 45
    Caster: 44, 43, 44
    
    - Send in 2 tanks and 1 Healer
    - Dispel his positive effects
    - Turn off all elemental attacks - including Firaga - he is immune
    - Keep everyone enhanced with protect and haste
    - Slash away at him.
    
         ----- End Fenrir -----
    
    Proceed through the hall and the doors with the pink fallopian tubes on it.  
    In the rotunda, touch the altar that corresponds to the ability you 
    sacrificed before.  Go to the 9 o'clock position of the rotunda and climb 
    aboard the elevator. Your destination is 67F.
    
    REACH OF THE OCCULT
    Exit the elevator and use the save crystal.  Then touch the way stone that is 
    near it.
    
        _____________________________________________
       |  Third Ascent: Mete of Dynasty (x46)        | 
    
    
    On this floor, you will be using a complex network of way stones to move 
    through this level, if you touch two incorrect way stones you get sent to a 
    room full of zombies.  So don't do it.
    
    SPIRE RAVEL - 1ST FLIGHT: 
    Kill the bombs then run up and touch the Black Sigil Stone (located in the 
    north west corner of the platform). 
    
    Run down the hallway which will end at a large stone room (it looks like the 
    Ara Pacis) with a dragon inside it.  I suggest skipping the dragon to save 
    health.  Turn south from the stone room entrance head down what looks like a 
    dead end.  At the very end of the eastern wall there is a segment that looks 
    like a garage door.  Go up to it and it will say "Fool's Facade" press the 
    "X" button.  The wall crumbles so proceed through it.  Get the treasure and 
    press the green sigil.
    
    SPIRE RAVEL - 2ND FLIGHT:
    The first trap you see in front of you will heal you.  The rest of them do 
    not.  Run down the right hallway until you get to another fool's facade.  
    Bust through it and then the second one.
    
    Head up the stairs, defeat the aeronite with oil and firaga and then touch 
    the Red Sigil of Sacrifice.
    
    Fight the two lag-inducing aeronites, grab the treasure, and then touch the 
    stone that corresponds to the ability you gave up in the 2nd ascent.  I listed 
    them with their cardinal direction in parenthesis.  
    Pink = Knowledge (SW) 
    Yellow = Items (NW)
    White = Weapons (NE)
    Purple = Magick.  (SE)
    Yes pink and purple look the same so pick the one in the Southwest corner if 
    you gave up the minimap.
    
    You got to the right place if there is a Carven Pillar at the end of the 
    hall.  Don't worry about fighting the monsters on the platform because those 
    way stones are all fake.  Head north through that long dead end hallway.  
    Along the west wall is another one of those garage door-esque "fool's 
    facades".  Break it and touch the way stone in the room.
    
    In the new room, there may be a giant golem called Tower.  Dispel his shell.  
    He is immune to fire so just beat on him.  Have 2 healers and 1 tank.  When 
    Tower is dead, heal up your party because your next stop is a fight with 
    another boss.  Enter the elevator and go to 90F.
    
    This boss looks like Squenix took a bald eagle and infused it with kick-ass 
    nethicite.  I mean check out its guns, they are bigger than its thorax.  
    Forget the bald eagle, I think America has found its next national mascot: 
    Hashmal.  I actually downloaded the US National Anthem and played it during 
    the fight. 
    http://www.geocities.com/eugenef_86303/MIDI/usa.mid    
    
         ----- BOSS: Hashmal (x46a) -----
    
    GAMBITS:
    Tanks 
    [Ally: Disease > Vaccine]  
    [Foe: any > attack]
    
    Healers - 
    [ally: any > arise] //towards the end of the fight use Phoenix Down to speed 
    up your healing.
    [ally: any > protect] 
    [ally: any > haste] 
    [HP < 30 cura], Use araise, save phx downs till the end
    
    - Send in 2 healers and 1 tank.
    - Hack away.  As long as you are in a good groove don't use quickenings.  
    They don't work that well against him and you will drain everyone's MP
    - Swap out you healers when then run out of MP. 
         
         ----- END: Hashmal -----
    
    You defeat Hashmal and it starts snowing and then explodes.  You get an apple 
    jolly rancher as your prize.  
    
    Cut Scene: Fran can hear the mist because the Sun-cryst is near.  Shot# 12 of 
    that water tube.  Panelo wonders aloud if Ashe is really going to take 
    revenge on the Empire and cut out more nethicite.  Now buckle up because here 
    comes the moral of the whole story: Penelo concludes that "we can't change 
    the past" and we have to remember who we lost but once they are gone we have 
    to move on.  That was it.  Wait a minute... that is the same moral from the 
    Lion King.  
    
    Reddas comes by and tells Penello to forget everyone you used to know.  They 
    are just baggage.  Wow that is harsh but I can smell that pirate beer under 
    his breath so he is probably just drunk again.  
    
    The next scene is quite interesting when you look at how the symbolism is 
    used.  Just keep in mind that the blue Treaty Blade represents revenge and 
    the bronze Sword of Kings represents forgiveness and and peace.  See how 
    these elements are interwoven in the scene's drama.
    
    The Party arrives on the top floor with the Sun-cryst which looks like the 
    background to one of those black light paintings of Bob Marley.  Ashe holds 
    in her hands two swords, one to end nethicite the other to propagate the 
    madness.  Vaan says you are going to kill the stone right? She says shut up 
    Vaan.  The make-more-nethicite sword starts glowing and she raises it causing 
    fireballs to circle around the tower.  The seas rise and clouds collect 
    around the point of the tower.
    
    Rasler appears and this time everyone can see him.  Rasler's vote in the 
    revenge vs peace is revenge - he wants there to be more nethicite.  Doesn't 
    seem like prince charming anymore.  
    
    Judge Gabranth comes in from the windowsill.  With all that armor he should 
    be careful around all that lightning. Gabranth immediately starts over-acting 
    and preparing his Darth Maul-esque double sword.  He urges Ashe to take 
    revenge by reminding her that he was the one that killed her father.  You can 
    see how she feels by what sword she caries.  
    
    Reddas stops all this excitement by barging in with his own sub-plot.  It 
    turns out that Reddas was a judge too (who wasn't a judge in this whole 
    fable).  Working in the name of the Empire, Reddas, stole the Midlight Shard 
    from the Nabrudians and used it in the battle of Nabudis.  Back then it was 
    Cid who ordered the attack as a proof of firepower experiment.  Reddas was so 
    upset by his actions that he left his judgeship - he was named Judge Zecht.  
    Reddas says lets fight and lets cut stone, just be sure to think long term.  
    Oh, and did you hear Reddas use the word History?  In order to make the jump 
    on Gabranth, Reddas attacks.  However, just as in his battle against Cid, 
    Reddas gets pushed aside quite easily.  
    
    Vaan picks up Reddas' sword to continue the fight.  He readies his attack 
    against Gabranth, and Vaan is now the one seeking revenge for his brother.  
    Watching this, Ashe realizes how out of control and worthless all of this has 
    become.  Ashe realizes that the insistence on revenge does not match the 
    person he really was.  She slashes at him.  So, I think this is essentially 
    Ashe separating from her husband.  Poor girl.  Really, how many people do you 
    know that have been widowed and divorced to the same person and in that 
    order?  With that, ghost Rasler speaks and it turns out his is just an 
    Occurian disguised as Rassler.  She speaks, realizing that even though 
    Dalmasca was founded under the Dynast-King's Dusk Shard nethicite, it was 
    never used so was not as important as she thought it was.  Taking in all of 
    these latest revelations, Ashe decides to destroy the Sun-Cryst.  Vaan fully 
    accepts his brothers death but not without Gabranth totally rips on his 
    brother, saying he is a failure and such.  
    
         ----- BOSS: Gabranth (x46b) -----
    
    Levels: 44s and a few 45s
    
    - Cast dispel on Gabranth
    - Send in 2 Tanks 1 healer
    - Keep your tanks protected and hasted
    - Berserk one of your Tanks
    
         ----- End: Gabranth -----
    
    Gabranth starts panting and breathing real hard.  I can't imagine what kind 
    of phlegm is collecting inside of that helmet.  As he huffs and puffs, Cid 
    comes in to stop the fight.  Cid scolds Gabranth for forsaking his duty in 
    protecting Larsa.  Having nothing else to swing at, Gabranth swings at Cid, 
    only to have him flash his Venat who teleports beside him.  The Occurian 
    sends Gabranth flying across the room and almost smashes him against a 
    Voussoir but instead, Gabranth hits the arch just a little too low.
    
    Ashe accuses Cid of being a puppet to Venat.  He does not deny it but he does 
    say that because Ashe decided not to cut more nethicite she is turning from 
    the Occurians just as Cid is.  Ashe says the "Sun-Cryst be damned" and Cid 
    says "Be sure that it is!" like he is the Joker.  God I love Cid.  He alley-
    oops the Nethicite to Venat who uses it to demonstrate how Earth and Mars 
    revolve around the sun.  Explosions start and Cid floats above the party and 
    starts looking like Christ, or rather Cryst.  It occurs to Balthier that Cid 
    wants to be a God and is, of course, against this (even though if he would 
    just let this all play out he would automatically become the son of god.)  
    Cid calls out for his own esper named "Ffamfrit" (Notice: Cid typo-ed his own 
    esper).
    
         ----- BOSS: Cid (x46c) ----- 
    
    - 2 Healers, 1 tank
    - Dispel him
    - Hack away at Cid rather than his helper
    - Watch out for Cid's huge gatlin gun - man I wish this game where like mega 
    man where we get his power after he is dead.
    
    Cut scene:  He shows a piece of manufactured nethicite and throws it out 
    which creates the star of Bethlehem.  He summons a new beast called Famfirt 
    who has a keg on his shoulder and is all "hey where the party at?"
    
    Part 2:
    - Dispel the new foe 
    - Focus all of you attacks at Famfrit
    - Cast oil on him
    - Cast firaga
    - Watch out for the silence attacks
    
    Part 3: 
    - Attack Cid
    
         ----- End: Cid -----
    
    Cut scene: Cid tries to raise his guns one last time but falls.  As he dies 
    he looks like Stephen Baldwin.  We get Fanfrit but I would rather have that 
    gatlin gun.  Balthier runs up to help his father.  Venat has this look on his 
    face like "will you be my master if Cid dies?"  Cid say good bye to eachother 
    before Cid dies.  His final words were "Fool of a Pirate."  He must have been 
    a Jedi or something because when he finally passes Cid turns into mist.  With 
    everyone standing so close, they are probably inhaling Balthier's Dad.  Fran 
    says the mist burns.  Balthier tries to help her.  She tells the clan to run 
    as fast as they can.  Then in a touching moment, Fran looks into Balthier's 
    eyes and says "you fly don't you?" - well not for most of this game.
    
    Meanwhile, Ashe and Vaan run toward the activated Sun-Cryst and try to 
    destroy it.  Each caries one of the two swords; one is like the Truman 
    doctrine of escalating weapons production to serve as a deterrent to further 
    usage of atomic weapons.  The other sword is like Reagan Era SALT, in which a 
    de-escalation of weapons would serve a better purpose.  However, they can't 
    get up there.  Reddas says you guys can't do anything right and attacks with 
    the Sword of Kings (the one that will destroy all nethicite).  Everyone in 
    all of Ivalice stops like someone forgot to enter in 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42. 
    
    I figured it out, the Strahl looks like one of those tools to break lobster 
    shells.  Well anyway, the party escapes from the explosive crystal and fly 
    off.  Vaan sulks in the cockpit because he is sad for Reddas. I would be feel 
    sorry for him but I just can't keep my eyes off his new hair cut - it looks 
    like he went to Ashe's stylist?  Everyone else is sad too but why don't they 
    just use a Phoenix Down on him?  Maybe they just choose not to because all he 
    did for them was get drunk and then hand out awkward advice.  Oh yah and his 
    sideburn hair got everywhere. 
    
    The clan pulls into the pirate port and it is empty.  His two captain buddies 
    use a lot of words to say "don't forget him and he would have like it this 
    way."  For pirates they sure do talk a lot.  Then they call us Vaan's crew - 
    the kid doesn't even know how fly an airship.  Who died and made him pirate?
    
    Cut Scene: Al Cid is sitting at Reddas' pirate desk.  He barged in because he 
    had to report urgent news and it required "haste."  I love how he says haste.  
    He tells us that the war is starting.  A few rogue Rozarrian generals got too 
    excited for war, ventured into Imperial territory and so the Marquis used it 
    as an opportunity to attack the Empire.  See Dr. Strangelove.  Balthier 
    concludes that this will pull Rozarria, Dalmasca, and Arcadia into the fight 
    and will be a war "between empires" - actually Balthier with three or more 
    parties it would be a "war AMONG empires."  Al-Cid predicts that Vayne will 
    crush the other kingdoms and the resistance not with his Nethicite but with 
    the Bahamut.  This secret weapon is fueled by Mist and when Dr. Cid opened up 
    the Sun Cryst the resulting tidal wave of Mist super charged the Bahamut.  
    Dr. Cid was planning this from the beginning and I guess because Balthier is 
    his son he says "and So it comes to me - to put an end to the thing."  Oh 
    shut up Balthier, for the last time, you are not a Christ figure.  
    
    Ashe and the party will attack the Bahamut while Al Cid tries to slow the 
    rebellion's attack against the Empire.  With the plan set, Al-Cid takes some 
    time to work it with the ladies - primarily Ashe.  He wants to show her his 
    Rozarria and Balthier fumes in the background because Cid didn't ask him to 
    see the Ambervale.  Fran looks over and is all "don't worry mama-Fran's still 
    loves your skinny sky pirate ass."
    
    ----------------------------------- ACT V -----------------------------------
    
        _____________________________________________
       |  The Final Preparations   (x47)             | 
    
    
         -- THE SHOPPING LIST --
    
    NOTE: This mega shopping list is arranged in the order you should get them.
    NOTE: Most of the following items will only be available after you have 
    defeated the Pharos.  If you are not there yet, I suggest waiting before 
    venturing off to see if they are there.
    
    Level and earning money (getting to the levels first will make the rest of 
    your shopping easier):
    - Tanks: 45, 45, 48 (at least this level - it is easier if they are at 50)
    - Casters: 43, 46, 47 (at least this level - it is easier if they are at 50)
    - Lots of Gil to purchase all the equipment needed - see "Get Money" below 
    for best spot to earn Money
    
    - Protectga - Merchant in Balfonheim port
    - Shellga - Merchant in Balfonheim port
    - Flare - Merchant in Balfonheim port  //Every Character must have it
    - Holy - Merchant in Balfonheim port //Every Character must have it
    - Curaja - Merchant in Balfonheim port
    - Arise - Merchant in Balfonheim port //Every Character must have it
    - 3 x White Mask - Weapons/Armor Merchant in Balfonheim port
    - 3 x Rubber Suit - Weapons/Armor Merchant in Balfonheim port
    
    - 3 Quickenings for each party member - LP Grid
    
    - Hastega - Merchant in Eastersand - See notes below
    - Scourge - Merchant in Eastersand - See notes below
    
    - Bravery - Clan Provisioner in Rabanastre - See notes below       
    - Bubble - Clan Provisioner in Rabanastre - See notes below  
    - 3 x Bubble Belt - Clan Provisioner in Rabanastre - See notes below
    
    - Scathe - hidden merchant in Nechrol - See notes below
    - 30 x Ether - hidden merchant in Nechrol - See notes below
    - 30 x Phoenix Downs - Any merchant
    
         -- Level Up --
    
    Good areas to level up if you are in the 40s range are:
    - FEYWOOD (see "Get Money" for more information)
    - THE CEROBI STEPPE - The wilds located to the north of Balfonheim Port
    
         -- Get Money -- 
    
    The following was first proposed in the GameFaqs forums by Kairi and 
    LionHeart11.  The following procedure will describe how to chain a certain 
    beast that yields some very profitable loot.  By the time you chain about 25 
    of the Mirrornights, they will start dropping multiple Windslicer Pinions.  
    You can re-use these steps to increase the amount of money you earn.  
    
    - Use an orange crystal to transport to Golmore Jungle
    - Head to the Feywood through THE PARTING GLADE > WHISPERLEAF WAY > THE 
    NEEDLE BRAKE > THE RUSTLING CHAPEL
    - From the Feywood go through WALK OF FLITTING RIFTS > WALK OF DANCING SHADOW 
    > ANTIQUITY'S END
    - Head to the very southern half of ANTIQUITY'S END and look for the 
    mirrornights - they are the giant birds.
    - As you kill them, make loops around the southern part of ANTIQUITY'S END to 
    find more.
    - Also setup a gambit for Foe: HP = 100% > Steal to get some extra goodies.
    - Use dispel on Mirronights who have reflect cast on them. 
    
         -- Merchant in EASTERSAND -- 
    
    - To get the very important spells of Hastega and Scourge, start in 
    Rabanastre and head out the eastern gate.
    - Cross through the deserts via THE STEPPING > OUTPOST > YARDANG LABYRINTH > 
    SAND-SWEPT NAZE > BANKS OF THE NEBRA > SOUTH BANK VILLAGE.
    - The merchant is sitting on the ground near the water's edge. 
    - Buy the spells 
    
         -- Clan Provisioner --
    
    - Do the following to find Montblanc and the Clan Provisioner
    - Go to the bar that is located in EAST END of Rabanastre.  That is the same 
    spot where you read your first hunt posting for fighting that tomato.
    - Go to the balcony to talk to Tomaj.  He will tell you to see Bangaa, he is 
    in Rabanastre's NORTH END.  The face icon on your map indicates where it is.
    - Go inside and talk to the moogle at the top of the stairs: named Montblanc
    - After he gives you the proper papers, talk to him again.  He will give you 
    a prize for each big boss you defeated.
    - The clan shop in MUTHRU BAZAAR will now be open to you.  The actual shop is 
    indicated with the pot icon.
    - As you finish posted hunts you will be given marks.  The more marks you get 
    the more stuff will be available at the Clan Provisioner.  Here are the 
    levels of the items you need.
    - Bubble - need 12 marks
    - Bravery - need 12 marks
    
         -- Secret Merchant that sells Ethers --
    
    NOTE: Before starting this journey out to this merchant have about 80,000 
    Gil.  The items he sells are expensive and you don't want to have to go back 
    a second time.
    
    - Use the airship to go to MOSPHORAN HIGHWASTE
    - Run north through it to the SALIKAWOOD.
    - Proceed through the SALIKAWOOD using the following path THE OMEN-SPUR > 
    PATH OF HOURS > TRUNKWALL ROAD > SUN-DAPPLED PATH > GARDEN OF DECAY > 
    QUIETENED TRACE > GRAND BOWER > CORRRIDOR OF AGES 
    - At GRAND BOWER you will fight the Bomb king.  It is easiest to beat him if 
    your levels are at 45-48 range.  Ignore the secondary bombs and focus all 
    attacks on the Bomb King.  Do not cast fire, it will just heal him.  When the 
    king gets down to 25% HP start casting your quickenings.  If you let him get 
    too low on power he will re-generate and you will have to start over.  Some 
    forum posts say that he will only regenerate 2 or 3 times then stop, but have 
    never had such luck - they seem endless.  If you are having continued 
    troubles, buy fire shields to lessen his attacks.  
    - After defeating the bomb king, continue to CORRIDOR OR AGES to the NECROHOL 
    OF NABUDIS.
    - Avoid the monsters of the NECROHOL OF NABUDIS because even in and around 
    level 45 they are very tough.  I held R2 and "fled" through all of them to 
    get to the hidden room. 
    
    See the following steps to get to the hidden room:
    - The secret merchant is in the first room of the Necrohol called HALL OF 
    EFFULGENT LIGHT. 
    - From the entrance of HALL OF EFFULGENT LIGHT, run west to the last right. 
    - That last right is a very long hallway that leads north
    - At the very end of this hallway there is a small room on the east side
    - Enter the room and then head south, the southern walls are open and are not 
    indicated on the minimap. 
    - When you go as far south as you can there is a small column on the eastern 
    wall.  
    - Run up to it and you will be notified with a "???".  
    - Press X and a merchant will come out and talk to you.  
    - Buy as many Ethers as you can (I got 30). Buy Scathe, and buy the armors 
    called Maxmillian and the male.  Both are good.
    - When finished, return to the SALIKAWOOD and find the orange teleport 
    crystal.
    
        _____________________________________________
       |  Sky Fortress Bahamut  (x48)                | 
    
    
    When you are ready for the last battle, save.  There are no save crystals 
    once you start the final attack on the Bahamut.  Proceed to any Aerodome 
    (Rabanastre, Balphonheim Port, and Bujerba all have them) and go to the 
    private airship desk.  Select your destination the world map screen, in this 
    case the icon that is just east of Rabanastre.
    
    Cut scene:  Wind and shadows kick up around Rabanastre and it looks like 
    another Arizona monsoon.  Actually it is an enormous dark tornado that is 
    headed for Rabanastre.  The townspeople are scared and run around.  The 
    twister is actually a huge airship (the Bahamut) that must operate on some 
    sort of Tasmanian Devil principle. 
    
    Vayne and Larsa are in this giant command ship en route for the resistances' 
    heavy cruiser.  Vayne reflects on the loss of Dr. Cid at the son and muses 
    how it parallels his own recent patricide.  Larsa pleads for Vayne to stop 
    this attack because the rebels "have already surrendered."  If the resistance 
    is really surrendering, why do they have all those airships ready for an 
    attack?  Vayne says "lets use my huge tornado ship as the peace offering."  
    He looks over his shoulder and says "What say you Venat?"  Venat just 
    silently floats which makes Vayne look like he is just crazy and talking to 
    himself.  I know Vayne is inherently evil and a tyrant, and I am aware that 
    Larsa is sympathetic to the concerns of the people of Dalmasca.  But, why do 
    I feel like I would say yes if Vayne invited me to a party, and why do I want 
    to see Larsa pushed into the mud.
    
    NOTE: This would be a good time to turn up your speakers. 
    
    The Bahamut fires its primary weapon over to the resistance's "surrendering" 
    ships.  The energy ball destroys one of them instantly and the explosion 
    looks like the one that killed the Dreadnaught Leviathan.  Larsa doubts 
    Vayne's totalitarian attack plan and tells him that the people will just rise 
    up against him if it succeeds.  Vayne responds in the way only an older 
    sibling would "you think I am wrong?  Then just try to kick my ass."  Vayne 
    makes a speech to his crew and mentions "history" once again.  Check out that 
    purple stock crawler behind Vayne - Magicite futures are up.  
    
    Now really turn up the speakers for this part.  Fighter crafts launch from 
    the Rebel carriers and fighters launch from the Archadian carriers.  God I 
    love these aerial fights scenes - I could watch them with bamboo under my 
    fingernails.  Hey!  The rebels shot down an Archadian ship - good for them.  
    The Marquis fires his main canons at the Archadian ship that looks like a 
    giant bat.  The rebel guns are kinda lame.  The Bahamut responds by charging 
    its primary weapon again.  Marquis says "by the gods" and the energy beam 
    strafes their ship destroying the one behind them.  Compare how Marquis calls 
    out for the gods while Vayne denies their existence with his "history" 
    speech.  
    
    Blathier's ship arrives in the way he likes it - from behind.  
    
    Ashe talks into an electric razor to tell the rebel forces that she is going 
    into the Bahamut.  The Marquis is like "ahhh no you don't."  Larsa then comes 
    on the radio saying that he supports the princess' plans.  Marquis is like 
    "ahhh ok."  You know the resistance forces are doomed when their general 
    (Marquis) concedes to two people who are both under the age of 19.  That, and 
    it turns out the Marquis was duped by Vaan using Balthier's magic microphone 
    to impersonate Larsa.  They may as well form a circular shooting squad at 
    this point.
    
    More aerial attacks on the Bahamut.  Balthier starts his approach and it 
    looks like he has gained some weight.  He makes some jokes about his flying 
    being like a dance - I hate when movie pilots use metaphor to describe their 
    superior skills.  The Strahl docs to the Bahamut and Vaan stands in the gate 
    directing his clan to "come on."  See how much his character has grown, he is 
    now giving orders and directing the clan.  Balthier surmises that Vayne is in 
    the control tower.  By going after Vayne the clan can decapitate the command 
    structure and stop the war quickly.  Ya, that worked real well in Iraq.
    
    When you regain control, proceed through the following to get to the first of 
    three boss fights.  I suggest holding R2 and fleeing through all of this.  
    There is no reason to waste your resources when you have the final boss 
    fights ahead.
    - Venture through the south door.
    - In the next room, continue down the stairs and follow around the bend.
    - Make a right and up the stairs that lead northwest.   
    
    Cut scene: the party descends the stairs and the battleship rumbles.  A trio 
    of rebel crafts attack with the sun behind them and are able to make 
    something explode on the Bahamut.  It looks like the rebels are doing ok.  
    
    Back in the Bahamut, the clan discusses what will happen when Ashe becomes 
    queen.  All of them start kissing up to her because they know if she does 
    claim the crown she will nominate them for some pretty cushy cabinet 
    positions.  Notice how no one is mentioning free elections though.  And 
    shouldn't the talk about a new government be done in a more public forum than 
    a battle cruiser's cargo hold?  My advice to Ashe, ditch these guys they are 
    either dumb (Basch), criminals (Balthier), totally inexperienced (Vaan, 
    Penelo), or just weird (Fran).
    
    When you regain control, circle around the perimeter of the inner ring.
    - Turn down the first spoke you see to get to the hub.  
    - From the hub, circle around and exit using the hallway that leads due west.  
    - The next zone is an elevator.
    - Heal your party, charge your MP, and cast all the protects, shells, hastes 
    needed to start the boss fights. 
    - When ready, engage the lift by running up to one of the consoles along the 
    western wall.
    
    Cut scene: Judge Gabranth enters and is ready for another fight with Basch 
    and the party.  This battle is quite sad if you think of it in context of the 
    rest of the story.  At this point Gabranth no long fights for the Empire.  He 
    doesn't even care if Vayne conquers the world or the Occurians.  This fight 
    is all about him and Basch.  Gabranth thought that he was doing the right 
    thing by assimilating with the Empire when they invaded.  However, Basch was 
    the truly honorable brother because he was loyal to his homeland and did not 
    sell out to the Empire.  Gabranth realizes that at this point everything he 
    has done was wrong.  He is mad at Basch for his own failures.
    
    
         ----- BOSS: Gabranth (x48a) -----
    
    GAMBITS:
    Casters:
      [Ally: Any > Arise]
      [Ally: MP < 40% > Curaga]
      [Foe: Any > Dispel]
      [Ally: Any > Hastega, Protectga]
      [Foe: Any > Flare]
    Tank:
      [Self > Decoy]
      [Self > Berserk]
      [Foe: Any > Attack] 
    
    Part I: 
    - Attack with 2 healers 1 tank
    - He is immune to oil but flare works well.
    
    Part II: Gabranth at half MP
    - He will regen.  
    - He says "Your life ends at my blade" Then hits the butts of his swords 
    together the way Monica and Ross Geller hit their hands to signal a bad word.
    - You will need to ware him down again, but this is a one time regen.
    
    PART III: Gabranth at last 5% MP
    - He goes crazy with the slashes
    - Swap out arise with phoenix downs and Curaga with x-potions. 
    - Switch to 2 tanks 1 healer.
    - If he is knocking each member of your party out before you have a chance to 
    raise the next one, swap out your entire first party and send in your second 
    party and cast a quickening on him. 
     
         ----- End Gabranth -----
    
    Cut Scene:  Gabranth falls and still considers Basch and himself a disgrace.  
    Basch says you can reclaim your honor if you just fight with us.  Basch uses 
    Gabranth's given name - Noah - in order to remind him of his past before he 
    defected to the Empire.
    
    Heal your party, raise everyone, get full protects, shields, hastes then use 
    ethers to get MP to the max for everyone.  When ready, go back to the lift 
    controls and "Engage it".
    
    Cut Scene: The clan runs up to Larsa and Vayne who are talking.  Vayne 
    welcomes us to the Bahamut and asks if we come in "Vengance" or in 
    "Salvation."  Note the use of Vengance again.  But he still holds out that 
    the clan may be surrendering - the "Salvation part."  Ashe response that she 
    comes as herself.  Which is a good answer because I don't fully understand 
    Vayne's question.  Gabranth comes struggling up the stairs and sounds awful.  
    Dude, take off the mask.
    
         ----- Boss: Vayne (x48b) -----
    
    GAMBITS:
    Casters:
    [Ally: any > Arise] 
    [Foe: Any > Dispelga, Slowga] 
    [Ally: HP < 40% > Cura]
    [Ally: any > Esuna]
    [Ally: any > Protectga, Hastega]
    [Self: MP < 30% > charge or ether] //use ethers if you have a lot left 
    [Foe: any > flare, attack] // attack comes if he puts up magic shiedl
    
    Tank:
    [Self > Berserk]
    [Foe: Any > Attack]
    
    - Dispel then slow vayne
    - Fight with 2 Casters, 1 Tank
    - Healers do protaga and hastaga.
    - flare him too.
    
         -----End Vayne-----
    
    Cut Scene:  Vayne falls.  Larsa runs over to him and gets shocked and falls 
    almost comically.  Mist comes creeping out of the two of them.  Vayne starts 
    standing and yells.  Manufactured nethicite seems to be an Ivalice equivalent 
    of the cream and the clear because Vayne becomes McGuire huge.  Zoom in on 
    his face.  Ick. Nethicite makes his lips all chapped and kind of stretched 
    out like they are filled with botox.  Gabranth arrives and he decides to 
    fight against Vayne because he must honor his commitment to protect Larsa.  
    Do we really want him, he is looking pretty crappy. 
    
         ----- BOSS: Vayne Novus (x48c) -----
    
    GAMBITS:
    Casters:  
    [Ally: any > Arise]
    [Foe: Shell > Dispel]
    [Ally: HP < 40% > Cura]
    [Foe: any > Slowaga] // this will slow the swords too
    
    [Ally: Any > ensuna] // this will remove Immobilize
    [Ally: any > Protectga, Hastega, Shellga]
    [Self: MP < 30% > charge or ether] // If you are getting low on ethers switch 
    to charge to save them for the final boss.  And don't use elixirs yet.
    
    Tanks: 
    [Self > Berserk]
    [Foe: Any > Attack]
    
    Part I:
    - Let your berserked tank and Gabranth do what they want.  They will usually 
    go after the flying swords - which is fine.  
    - Meanwhile have the 2 casters occasionally can cast flare on Vayne Novus
    - The battle will progress slowly at first because the tank and Gabranth are 
    attacking the swords.  But once the swords are gone, everyone will focus on 
    Vayne.
    - Sometimes Vayen Novus will cast a protective shield where he is immune to 
    magic.  If that happens, switch to healing and physical attacks to conserve 
    MP.  You will know this is happening because the word IMMUNE will appear 
    every time you cast a magic attack on him.
    
         ----- End Vayne Novus -----
    
    Cut Scene: When his health is done, vayne falls panting.  Gabranth comes 
    running at him and cuts a hole right through him.  Gabranth says "Even a 
    stray has pride" - more dog references.  Vayne shoots all his swords at 
    Larsa.  Larsa holds up some nethicite and they are absorbed into it.  Is 
    there anything nethicite cant do?!  Vaan runs at Vayne, sword in hand.  Why 
    do they always yell when they run at them?  Venat appears to confront Vaan 
    who is running after Vayne.
    
    Gabranth asks if he is a good master - I think referring to Larsa.  "Aye" 
    says Bash.  Gabranth dies and making him the third (out of four) party guest 
    to die after joining us - I don't even think Donner Party had that bad of a 
    track record.
    
    That last battle was a bit ridiculous - even by Final Fantasy Standards.  It 
    was like I was in a boss fight with a cast member from Thunder Down Under 
    
    Vayne starts slowly struggling down the outer portion of the battle station.  
    He yells out a Stanly-Kowalski-style "Steeeelaaaa" except instead of Stella 
    it is "Veeeeenaaaat."  He limps like he totally ripped out a super set of 
    front squats then backed off on the weight to do a giant set of power cleans.  
    Vayne says I am no dynast king.  Venat corrects him and says that his 
    requests "are filled beyond your knowing."  That sun-cryst was the one thing 
    made this the Age of Stones.  Vayne says "history begins anew" and starts 
    walking better.  The Age of Stones Venat talks about started when the 
    Occurians gave King Raithwall the three stones it ended when Reddas destroyed 
    the Sun-Cryst and nullified all nethicite.  
    
    Venat says "You shall not tread this path alone" and joins with Vayne.  At 
    this point Vayne is like a mystical cocktail first infused with Nethicite, 
    then mixed with Venat.  As Venat enters his being Vayne starts catching on 
    fire and shooting lasers at all the passing ships, destroying them instantly.  
    He explodes in a ball flames.  All bunch of random scrap metal sears to his 
    flesh.  I think I see an old license plate in there.  He gets a sword, wing 
    attachments (of course), and oh look, a Samus arm cannon! 
    
         ----- BOSS: The Undying (x48d) -----
    
    GAMBITS:
    Casters: 
    [Ally: any > Arise]
    [Foe: Bravery > Dispel]
    [Ally: HP < 40% > X-Potion]
    [Self: MP < 30% > charge or ether] // Use charge if you are low on ethers.  
    Save all your Elixers for Part II of his attack.
    
    Tanks: 
    [Foe: Any > Attack]
    [Foe: Any > Flare]
    //Do not use Berserk, you need more control over your party and may have to 
    switch that tank to use magick
    
    Part I:
    - Send 2 casters, 1 tank
    - The Undying is Immune to slow
    - Watch the top left corner of the screen to see what spell he is preparing. 
    - If he starts to casts holy, go to the party menu and equip all of your 
    fighters with White Masks.  They will be immune to his attack.
    - If he starts to cast Thundega, equips all your fighters with Rubber Suits
    - The Undying has no health bar but when he gets to 50% he will put up either 
    a magic shield or a physical shield. 
    - Save your quickenings for later in this fight
    
    Part II: 50% Health Left
    - If he puts up his physical shield, have everyone cast Flare or Holy
    - If he puts up his magic shield, cast berserk on the tank, and turn off all 
    magic attacks by your casters - keep everyone healthy,
    - Make sure that your [Foe: Bravery > Dispel] gambit active
    - Make sure that your status buffing gambits are in order, he will cast 
    dispel to remove them
    - Continue to save your quickenings for later in this fight
    
    Part III: 25% Health Left
    - At the end he will start castings Gigaflare Sword and Ascension almost 
    sequentially
    - To stop his endless attacks start your quickenings.
    - As soon as you are done with the quickening, give everyone an elixir and 
    cast another round.
    - Continue this endless quickening until he is dead
    
        _____________________________________________
       |  Denouement       (x49)                     | 
    
    
    The Undying Vayne/Venat combo starts falling apart. He growls like the Yeti 
    in Disneyland's Matterhorn and then explodes. The clouds part and the clan is 
    standing on the top of the Bahamut.  Fran and Basch do an NBA style fist bump 
    - LAME!  Larsa is sitting alone.  Then, everyone looks up at the clear blue 
    sky.  Something goes flying by and the music get ominous to make you think 
    there is another boss fight...... but there is not.
    
    The air battle continues as the clan gets back into the Strah.  The Bahamut 
    starts shutting down. Vaan is trusted with flying as Balthier and Fran go to 
    fix the engines.
    
    Gabranth is still alive - damn I think he has almost died three times in this 
    game.  He tells Basch to look after Larsa to prevent a civil war.  Van flies 
    the Strahl away from the Bahamut. The Marquis sees them escape.  Larsa 
    Solidor and Ashe call for a cease fire.  Ashe then confirms this and then 
    says "A new day has dawned.  We are free."  She seems pleased that they are 
    free from the Occurians.
    
    The Bahumut starts falling into Rabanastre.  The remaining Judge Zargabaath 
    devises a plan to divert the Bahamut by ramming into it.  However, Balthier 
    is still on the Bahamut frantically trying to bring it back online.  He leans 
    on the fourth wall a third time describing himself as the leading man and how 
    he will not die.  As he brings the Bahamut online some general ship machinery 
    falls on Fran.  As he caries her away, sh says that he is more of a 
    supporting role.  As he walks away, Balthier gives Vaan full command of the 
    ship.  The Bahamut starts crashing outside of Rabanastre.
    
    Cut Scene: Blue Sky.  Cue the J-sentimental-music.  If there is anyone else 
    in the room or in the room next-door, turn down the sound.  This music will 
    emasculate you faster than just about anything else in this game.  You know 
    what?  I think the song Heartbeats by Jose Gonzales would fit better.  Go 
    download it from iTunes now and play it over the ending with the sound muted.  
    If you want to watch it again go to 
    
    www.gameintestine.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=175  
    
    Now here is the nerd challenge for you out there:  Use your video editing 
    skills to do a mashup like "Mad World/Gears of War" but with 
    "Heartbeats/FFXII ending." Now get to work, post it to You Tube and email me 
    when you get it done.  I promise I will post it on GameIntestine and give you 
    credit...
    
    So it is hammer time for Penelo as she goes out shopping for crystals and 
    curly baguettes.  She looks a lot more mature and so a lot more like a 
    Gelfling.  She starts narrating the Denouement and I will give you the quick 
    bulletpoints:
    
    - It is a year later and things in Rabanastre are coming back together.  
    
    - The Bahamut is still on cinder blocks in Dalmasca but it looks like it is 
    being converted into a sweet water park.
    
    - Ashe is queen and like in high school she becomes too cool for her old 
    friends.  I guess those "friends" wont be getting any of those cushy 
    promotions. 
    
    - Basche is the new judge protecting Larsa. He has finally decided to shower 
    and cut his hair.  He should consult a dermatologist about that scar though.  
    He fulfilled his promise to his brother and is the new Judge.  Notice that he 
    took his helmet design too.
    
    - Larsa is Emperor and spends his day sitting next to elaborate water 
    features and reading fan letters.  Note: Penelo's narration is the letter 
    that Larsa is reading.
    
    - Penelo enters the set of Ico.  Vaan and Penelo were tending to the Strahl 
    when it was stolen.  According to piecemealcranky's Game Script FAQ, the 
    letter is from Balthier and reads  "Something more valuable: the Cache of 
    Glabados. I await in Bervenia."  Look for this letter to be the springboard 
    into the Nintendo DS sequel.
    
    - That ring that was in the letter was the one Balthier took from Ashe as 
    payment for taking her to see the Garif People.  Balthier is returning it 
    just as he said "when I find something better."
    
    - Vaan gets his own airship - it looks like a phallus with wings.  Penelo 
    will join him on his plundering. 
     
    That was the ending.  I thought it was a bit weak because it just let 
    everything fall in the way you were already expeting.  I want an ending where 
    Vaan gets up the courage to ask out Fran and then she totally goes for it 
    just to further piss off her Vierra Sisterhood.  Ashe comes in and starts a 
    jpop team with Balthier.  The two of them tour around like Ivalice's version 
    of Captain and Tennille only to have Balthier get hooked on pain killers and 
    he is caught at airport security with a roll of Gil strapped to his inner 
    thigh. 
    
         -------CREDITS---------
    
    Concept art during the credits - I like that.
    
    Notice that Al-Cid was going to have 4 girls in his harem.  It was pared down 
    to just one in the final game.
    
    Venat was voiced by a woman - Anita Carey.  I looked her up on IMDB and she 
    stars in a bunch of British TV shows. Wow.
    
    Is that a picture of Balthier with a baby?  Wait, the baby does'nt have 
    Fran's bunny ears.  Oh wait, maybe that is Cid with a baby Balthier.  Now 
    that is concept art that is going way back. 
    
    Three Vierra look thorugh a window.  It has an Alice in Wonderland feel but 
    ironically, instead of chasing the white rabbit, Alice is the white rabbit.
    
    Ah translation and localization - here are all the Aglo names now.  Neal 
    Black - Legal.  Can't get a much more European than that. 
    
    THX sound, Dolby - makes it feel cinematic.  
    
               ----- FIN -----
    
    
    ----- Bibliography -------
    - Bradygames Signature Series Guide for Final Fantasy XII
    - The GameFaqs Boards: too many posts and helpful people to list
    - Wikipedia
    - A History of Western Art by Laurie Schneider Adams
    
    
    ----- Lessons Learned ----
    - Partial nudity to ERSB means cleavage - not an exposed breast. 
    - If something floats it is magical.
    - If you live in a Final Fantasy world, have long hair, and are in a position 
    of authority you are more than likely evil.
    - Voussoirs are the individual bricks that make up an arch.
    
    ----- Legal --------------
    
    Copyright 2007 Zukowski
    
    This may be not be reproduced under any circumstances except for 
    personal, private use. It may not be placed on any web site or 
    otherwise distributed publicly without advance written permission. 
    Use of this guide on any other web site or as a part of any public 
    display is strictly prohibited, and a violation of copyright.