That said, I'm sort of really tired of giving up on things. I don't want to feel like I can't get things done, like I can't actually succeed at anything I'm trying to do. I've been giving up on a lot of things I genuinely want to do, just because I'm depressed, and I'm kind of done with it. I am GIVING UP ON GIVING UP. Failing repeatedly has been really easy, but I'm ready to try a NEW plan now, one centered around SUCCESS and GOOD THINGS and not letting depression control everything I do.
(Plus you guys keep telling me I'm further along than y'all have gotten, and I know a couple people who are counting on me to finish out this story. I don't wanna let anyone down!)
When we last left the Final Fantasy 12 brigade, weird bipedal round chickens were involved in some kind of spherical mating conspiracy and I don't actually want to think about the phrase "spherical mating conspiracy" any more than I have to. So let's get moving to the Lost Holy Land of Giruvegan. To get there we have to go through the "Feywood".
I am kind of let down, because the Feywood is neither Fey nor particularly much of a wood. It would be better called the "swampy land of nasty monsters that live in a stupid maze of sucky fog", but... I have no idea how you'd shorten that into a name. "Swampnasty Fogsuck". "Fogmonstersuckenswamp". "The Holy Poopy Ultra Mega Monster Butt Mazeland". "Sweegy Woods". I dunno, I'll work on that.
Anyway, the party wanders around for a while, before Ashe sees a vision of Rasler which leads her down the correct path. This takes us deeper and deeper into Suckmonsterville, and there's a boss fight that -- actually is over while I'm trying to type up a description of it, so let's just skim past that.
Next up is a somewhat clever puzzle, in a nasty snowy area. There are shrines dotted around the landscape, and some of them have glowing sigils in the middle of them, with a little verse about illusion leading the way and all. These shrines have arched doorways leading off in all directions, and if you pan the camera around, one of the doorways will have a misty illusion of an oasis hovering there. It's easy to miss if you're not looking for it, and at first I wasn't, but soon I follow the trail of illusions all the way out of the area. This leads me to a door that demands "The Gigas" open it, so Balthier summons up Belias and he takes care of that.
That was a clever Wizardry-style dungeon-crawly puzzle, kinda, and I salute that.
This gets us into the Ancient City of Giruvegan, which Fran has some brief PROBLEMS with. The city is soaked in Mist, but it's a "cool" Mist unlike the "hot" Mist back on the airship that caused her to go berserker. Vaan and Penelo still visibly edge away from her though. Balthier decides it's better to wait outside the city for Cid. After all, years back Cid went into the city and came back... twisted, with Venat at his heels.
Ashe, however, is already on her way into the city, following that ghost of Rasler again. Naturally the group is compelled to follow. Can't split up the party, y'know. Not done. There are of course many teleporters here, because this is some High Quality Ancient Ruin. Of course you also get big guardian statues, and these guys are JERKS. Multi-hit-combo jerks, too, which are the worst kind of jerk.
There is a Jerk Scale. I don't know what's on it. But I bet Combo Jerks are high up, y'know?
The actual inside of the city is somehow even worse, as Behemoths and Gargoyle Barons show up to go "oh hai I herd u lik DARK DEMON SOULS so we put somma that in ur Fynal Fantasee. I KIK U!" ... I apologize for that and will never abuse spelling that way again. That said, the way spelling got abused THERE is the way the group is getting abused in-game. Ow ow ow.
Down the party goes, down giant tiered stairwells and across floating magical platforms of pure light. Vaan thinks all this is AWESOME. "I don't know what we'll find." he notes. "This is really exciting!" Basch and Balthier seem amused by how much he sounds like a Sky Pirate, but Penelo can't shake the feeling they're intruding somewhere they're really not supposed to be.
The fact that the group is headed towards a giant meteorite-looking rock, suspended with no visible support in the center of a long-dead ancient city, may have something to do with that one. Penelo is -not- wrong, just... none of the group seem to care. They don't even seem to mind that when they get close to said rock, a dragon attacks! This dragon is the "Tyrant", and the big spell he has is "Piercing Gravaga", which goes through magical reflect and reduces everyone's health to critical. Luckily, I don't have reflect up, I'm fast with healing, and the group is overpowered anyway. Soon enough the dragon tumbles off the edge of a cliff, falls several hundred feet, and explodes violently. (?!?!? BOSS FIGHT BY MICHAEL BAY, AGE SIX.)
The party enters the giant rock, and...
...oh my god how do I explain THIS.
Okay. The area is called "The Great Crystal". It's ... kind of a maze, full of hovering platforms that only appear when you try to step on them, and it's themed around the Zodiac, with various sections of it blocked off until you pull switches, and it's all inside this huge glowing rock, and it's incredibly dizzying and amazingly easy to get lost in. Everything is floating and poorly defined. There is no map. There are MANY enemies.
Did I mention there's no map?
I get SO LOST here. The Great Crystal feels MISLEADING for this dungeon, it's more liiiike... "Killtheplayer Mountain". Yeah.
I spent about three hours wandering around before somehow stumbling on the next cutscene, as the party approaches the heart of the Great Crystal. Penelo worries about Fran due to the Mist concentration, but Fran insists she's all right. Ashe, meanwhile, is fascinated by the sheer concentration of Nethicite. "With this much nethicite..."
"You could destroy all Ivalice. If you wished it." Fran finishes. Ashe looks as if she is seriously considering the merits of this idea.
After this comes our next Esper fight, against Shemhazai the Whisperer, a strange horselike (by which I mean, four-legged) woman who casts magic like it's going out of style. This Esper goes straight to Ashe, because I've had plans for her since the beginning. Now Ashe can equip guns, which makes her even MORE ridiculously awesome.
Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks so, because as we activate the teleporter to the next area, Ashe gets plucked out of the group and dragged to a solo meeting with the "Occuria", faceless spiritual beings of amazing power. They have seen she wants power, and they will give it to her. They have Chosen her, to go to the "Sun-Cryst", the source of all Nethicite, and cut off a hunk from it. This is what Raithwell did with the sword they gave him, and she's carrying that around as they speak. That treaty is old, so they forge a new one with her, materializing a fancy new Treaty Blade out of thin air and passing it to her.
"Destroy Venat!" they urge her.
"But... Venat is an Occurian, like you..." Ashe replies, confused.
"VENAT IS A HERETIC!" they snarl, and get so pissed off they actually manifest in person to yell at her some more about how SPECIAL she is to be allowed to have nethicite. "ADMINISTER JUDGEMENT. DESTROY THEM ALL."
"Who, the Empire?" Ashe asks, a bit more... carefully this time. The Occuria reply with a little speech about how humans are always fuckin' up history with their bullshit. I am paraphrasing. Either way, the Occuria need to step in now and then to put humans back in LINE and get them walking the right path. To make sure history works right, y'know. The way they say it ought to. And now she's the Chosen One, the Savior. She gets to be the hand that slaps history back onto the correct path.
Isn't that lovely? Hmm? Mmm? Meanwhile Ghost Rasler is there, standing there grinning at her the whole time while the Occuria give her their little speech about how doofy-assed and in need of parenting humans are.
Ashe takes the sword. The party is freed again, and they bomb her with questions. "What gives the Occuria the right to tell YOU what to do?" Vaan asks. Fran wants to know if she'll really take the revenge against the Empire they urge her to. Basch is firmly against the idea of killing the entire Empire, even if the Gods (and yeah, the Occuria are pretty much that) ask it.
Penelo's question is a little more simple. "Whatever happened to Doctor Cid? Didn't he say he'd be here?"
"He's not coming." realizes Balthier. It was all just to get them here. Cid would LOVE for Ashe to cut a brand-new piece of Nethicite straight from the gods, and Venat probably knew the Occuria would send Ashe to do just that. Doctor Cid would just LOVE to study what happens when two foes, both armed with nethicite, crash into each other. Balthier is starting to realize his father was never INSANE. He just... had an invisible heretic god to talk to.
No wonder the dude was so screwed up.
Ashe takes up her treaty blade and heads off to the Sun-Cryst. She hasn't really expounded on her thoughts at all, but somehow she doesn't seem AGAINST hacking off a slice of Magic-Nuke-Crystal of her very own. Hey, more power, right?
Elsewhere, we see a scene of Larsa arguing with his brother. Larsa wants to avoid a war with Ashe and Dalmasca, and begs Vayne to reconsider. Vayne considers it a "necessary" war. He does send out Judge Gabranth to "check" and see what she feels. As Larsa leaves, Cid muses that Larsa is remarkably sweet for Vayne's brother. "He is as he should be." Vayne replies.
Even Venat is impressed that Cid's done so much in just six years, and offers Vanye hope that he will soon "have all the reward he deserves", which is basically code for "I am going to kill you and laugh about it later". I've seen TOO MANY ACTION MOVIES to think otherwise.
Back with the party, they are realizing they kind of have no idea where the Sun-Cryst is. Vaan wants to ask Phil LaMarr, but Balthier would rather stay out of his debt.
"If you can't trust your own kind, who can you trust?" Vaan cheerfully asks.
"Oh, NOW you're an expert on sky pirating, are you?" Balthier snarks back.
Sigh. Now we pick our way back through the Great Crystal, out of Giruvegan, through Suckswamp Squarepants, up through the jungle, to Bunnyladytown, where the nice bunny ladies let us use their magical teleporting crystal thinger to get the hell out of there.
NEXT TIME: We pester Phil LaMarr about the gods.
...whew. That felt good. Back on track!
This entry was originally posted at http://xyzzysqrl.dreamwidth.org/318450.h