Last time on Let’s Play Revenant Wings, we crashed on a paradise island and tripped over a love triangle. Freedom regained, we head straight for the Strahl…
…conveniently moored beneath the one sky island we haven’t yet visited.
However, along the way, we discover the Skysea wasn’t vaporized but scattered like Jenga blocks. These fragments offer a wide array of optional missions for a limited time only, with Espers standing by to take our calls.
So this is another Sidequests Before Saving the world post, a whirlwind tour of the whirlwind-torn map.
Let’s tie up a couple loose ends. That floating block? Merely a fragment of Skysea:
In Final Fantasy XII, there were similar hunks of land floating above Mount Bur Omisace. A Nou Mu mystic explained, “The islands floating in the sky are said to be the remains of a great sky continent, shattered and fallen long ago. Even now, they bleed power, robbing airships of their buoyancy.”
Tomaj has his own theory.
He thinks the airship crashed for a reason. “We’re not even sure what we fixed to get it flying again. It’s like it didn’t want to fly.” Maybe it was pining for the
fjords Skysea where it was made?
The point is, the broken-up Skysea might’ve made us crash even without damage to our engines, and we could drop out of the sky again at any moment. That’s reassuring.
The other loose end is Velis. Here’s his new, improved, purple incarnation in our Ring of Pacts:
Busy boy. He’s already styling himself “Odin, tyrannical lord of the Yahri,” and we only saw him promoted (?) to that post last night.
Remember how I thought he might be Feolthanos, too? Scratch that. What threw me off was this part of the flashback:
Velis appeared immediately after this screencap. Upon further reflection, I realize she was calling on Feolthanos to revive her lover, not that she summoned Feolthanos and he incarnated as her lover.
So that’s that.
Before we disembark, I make the rounds of the crew. Most of them are having an acute attack of exposition, which I’ll save for the end of this post. Llyud’s channeling the Tin Woodsman:
Filo confides that she’s developed a crush on Llyud, which I predicted back when she first started grousing about him. Vaan offers his (un)diplomatic skills on her behalf. Filo tells him no thanks, she doesn’t need any help, and besides he wouldn’t be much help anyway. Wise girl.
We’ve had aegyl refugees aboard for several chapters now, and they’ve come to think of the airship as home:
Our sky pirate guests are taking a rest after repairing the airship for us.
His bangaa captain feels a little superstitious after crashing two airships in a row.
I need to unload our portable hole before we go sidequest-hopping. After spending an entire chapter without access to the forge, our inventory runneth over. So I dump a cartload of rat tails, wyrm carapaces, and assorted gemstones and metals on the Master Artificer.
To forge a weapon, she combines these “materials” according to recipes in books we’ve found along the way:
…and then asks nosy questions whose answers determine the stat bonuses for the resulting weapon. With a crib sheet, one can synthesize better weapons than those found in dungeons.
In a flash, Vaan is now the proud owner of a Runeblade known as the “Compensator,” Kytes gets an Earth Wand called “El Kabong,” Filo’s flying high on an electrified board known as “Photon Penguin,” and Llyud has a fire halbard called “Blazing Paddle.”
Cu Sith urges us to check Tomaj’s board, where she’s added a fetch quest for rare materials:
Look at all those optional missions!
I take a quick swing around the map. Here’s the largest remnant of the Skysea, now a handsome split-level atoll:
There’s a quest on Oghu Island on the lower remnant. Let’s investigate.
Gameplay/story segregation has a slight hiccup here. I’ve already enlisted our old friend Leviathan on our Ring of Pacts…
…but it turns out there’s an optional sidequest to explain how we acquired him.
When we arrive in this mazelike area, we see him thrashing around like a ferret with an itch. I must say his taste in colors has devolved. (Enemy Espers are often green or red palette swaps). Also, check out his chicken legs!
Levi’s minions are all water, some vulnerable to fire, some to lightning. Luckily, I’ve picked up another FF mainstay, Ramuh. He’s sporting a spiffy braided beard in this incarnation:
The battlefield for Leviathan is appropriately serpentine. The narrow passages force us to fight two or three abreast, which means those in front keep getting clobbered while those in back pick their noses. Pink gates are owned by Leviathan’s side, spewing a constant stream of annoyances at us which quickly build up to danger levels if we don’t keep picking them off:
First things first: we send our fliers off to try and convert a gate to our side so we can summon Ramuh, since he’s level III and won’t come until we call him nicely.
For the record, that was a bad idea. Filo and Llyud fly along the strips of land like idiots instead of crossing canals, so they’re attacked all the way. I try to send a rescue party, but Penelo KO’s before she reaches them. Restart battle!
Instead, we have to work our way around bit by bit. It’s a toughie, but Vaan’s Pyroclasm (kaBOOOM) finally clears the way so we can vanquish poor Levi.
Afterwards, our favorite grumpy ol’ sea serpent is hunched like a peeved cat. Penelo goes over to coax him until he sits up and fluffs out his tail.
Penelo apologizes for failing to prevent the Skysea’s destruction and says we’re trying to put an end to all this. So now we can enlist him, and he’ll turn his proper blue color.
Next up, Penelo’s left her phone back on that jungle paradise where we were stranded last chapter.
Turns out some squatters saw our campfire and moved in to clear out anything Kytes and Vaan left unpilfered.
So, it’s our solemn duty to stop the next folks from raiding what we missed!
Nothing much to note about this battle, except that they’ve got Diabolos from Final Fantasy VIII on their side. Like other people with tremendous hair I could name, he looks stunning in purple.
We toast ’em. No need for a play-by-play. What’s important is the epilogue. Afterwards, to the tune of sweet music, Vaan and Penelo make up.
Penelo tells him it’s not his fault. She tries to explain why she grew so attached to Velis: she said she felt like she’d always known him.
Vaan didn’t realize, of course.
They engage in an apology-fest. Vaan tells her she shouldn’t apologize because he apologized first…
Turns out the kiddlybeans are spying when they should be in bed:
Filo says it doesn’t matter, as long as they’re laughing together. I sense we’re cramming in a few more feel-good moments before everything goes terribly wrong again.
We never do find out just what it was that Penelo left behind, so perhaps it was something more embarrassing than a phone. I’m going with vibrator.
Speaking of vibrations, my favorite random battle spot has come down with a case of tectonic hiccups:
Kytes hates earthquakes. Filo, on her hoverboard, doesn’t know what he’s so fussed a bout.
There’s a loud rumble, and this…thing…bursts out of the ground behind a golem army. It’s got manacles, but it’s not Titan.
Oh, it’s Hashmal! Ivalice had such a richly-developed mythology in the other games, but darned if I can remember the details now. I’m just grateful for a scrap of continuity. First we have to defeat him, though.
Players of Revenant Wings learn to dread this warning: “Map does not contain summoning gates.” That means you cannot summon Level III Espers, and if any of your Espers die, you can’t replace them.
Pretty much all of the foes here worth worrying about are vulnerable to fire, so it’s back to my old flamethrower brigade.
Clan Potholder, Assemble!
Hoo boy there’s a lot of monsters. Wonder if I dare send Llyud and Filo over with their Wyverns to scavenge that one treasure off to the right.
…yes, but we lost the wyverns. Ouchie. Here’s the thieves fleeing the scene of the crime.
With all the treasures collected, we make our way towards the Big Bad and wait for Vaan’s quickening to charge. Then it’s a furious melee— too frenetic to screencap! Pyroclasm goes boom, and then we have a brief after-school special.
Filo teasese Kytes for being afraid, Llyud stands up for anxiety sufferers facing their fears, yadda yadda…
Llyud: Perhaps hope is where courage begins.
Yawn. Gimme goodies. Looks like Llyud’s acquired a Quickening:
“Fanfare rings from the heavens to fortify all ally Yahri.”
It beats a kick in the teeth, but in practice, I never remember to trigger it during the heat of battle.
More useful is Hashmal himself. His portrait looks like Disney’s Brer Rabbit on steroids:
Well, that was nice. Next! Another fetch quest to collect ingredients for Penny’s cooking.
It’s not like we have a world to save or anything, right?
The camera pans across to show a purple tree guarded by a fabulous purple turtle with a backache.
The turtle does a sort of shimmy-dance as it walks. That sword sticking through it must be uncomfortable.
Much turtle-stomping later:
Penelo tells Filo “Great job” even though Llyud was the one who nabbed it. Oops.
Filo: Do you really mean it?
Kytes: I think that was Penelo’s plan all along.
Penelo: Kytes! It was supposed to be a secret.
Vaan sidles over to Filo:
Filo: You may have a point there.
Vaan: Let me know if you need me to take this bullet for you, Filo.
REAL SUBTLE THERE GUYS. SPEAK LOUDER I DON’T THINK SHE HEARD YOU.
By this time Filo is jumping two feet in the air to punctuate her words. She’s been taking subtlety lessons from Vaan.
Penelo: Is my cooking that bad?
Vaan, Filo: !! *rub foreheads ruefully as scene fades out*
Back on the airship, everyone’s incessant complaints are taking a toll on Penelo’s self-confidence.
Vaan: C’mon, it wasn’t that bad.
Kytes: Vaan managed to finish his, at least.
Flog that dead horse some more; I think you’ve missed a spot!
Vaan: Nah, you just need some more practice. Tell you what. You keep trying to make new dishes, and Kytes and I will let you know how they are.
Spoken like a true guy. “You cook for us, and we’ll judge your efforts.”
Kytes: Hey, don’t bring me into this!
Penelo: *glares* Thanks for the vote of confidence.
Kytes: Sorry. Or at least I will be.
Vaan: Just leave Kytes to me!
Can we flog the expired equine further? No? Okay, moving on.
The largest remnant of the Skysea doesn’t have any new sidequests, but we pay our respects to the ruins of Port Marilith in passing.
However, on some nearby fragment (I think; it you click the “Tomaj” board you bypass navigation):
I hope this isn’t like the last “Help the Aegyls!” sidequest which resulted in our fighting the very people we were supposed to be assisting.
The opening pan skims down a dark tunnel past another ill-natured viera rallying some Yahri as two aegyl watch the intruders from behind a boulder.
Vaan asks them if they’re all right. They assert that they’re just fine, thank you very much. Penelo chirps at them to leave the rest to us, not getting the hint.
Check out Sharma’s snazzy Dragoon duds. (Llyud has a Jump command, btw.)
Sharma: If you care to join in our fight, that is your choice.
Vaan: Don’t mind if we do!
Well, at least this time we have grudging permission.
It’s only taken me how long to realize I can double-tap critters/people on the Battle Party Screen to see their special abilities?
That explains what Shiva did to Balthier: she also has a Stop ability.
Enemies in this dungeon are mostly Fire, so I start with Shiva, powerful enough to survive mild toasting, plus my water Espers who are vulnerable to lightning, not fire.
Above: the two aegyls outstrip us while we’re trying to summon Shiva. Filo, the only one who can keep up with them, assists by casting pit traps on the nearest foes.
This “Rally to the Cause” mission turns out to be one of the hardest to date. The aegyl keep flying ahead of us and getting slaughtered. If either aegyl dies…
ARGH. After several game overs, I switch tactics and bring in the fastest Espers I have, equipping everybody with their lightest armor and any speed accessories/gambits we can muster:
(The “Photon Penguin” is actually a lightning weapon, but I had Cu Sith customize it with a speed boost.)
SO. MUCH. RAGE. The aegyl keep splitting up and running into ambushes, while I’m trying to manage summons gates, collect treasures, and array our forces as a road block in a desperate attempt to keep our kamikaze allies from sneaking past us. Jettisoning all slower Espers, I finally wind up with Odin on his fast horsie to guard Filo while she plunders treasures, and the rest of us trot as fast as we can behind our Chocobo Army.
It’s really quite magnificent when you’ve got ten chocobos all barrelling down the corridor, even if they’re just wee sprites.
Phew. I never did collect all the available treasure, but after five or so attempts, I call it quits.
Filo still hasn’t learned about aegyl manners.
Penelo: I can’t say I blame them. Think of all they’ve been through at the hands of sky pirates.
Vaan: Besides, we didn’t help them so they’d be grateful. We did it because it was the right thing to do.
[And because the dweeb behind the computer screen is a sucker for loot and battle minigames.]
Penelo: The aegyl will thank us one day. All right, Filo?
Filo: I know, but—
How to Be A Good Ally 101 is somewhat sidetracked by Llyud’s attempts to mollify her.
Filo: No, no, no! It’s not you, Llyud! We already know how thankful you are!
She shakes her head, and everyone laughs. I don’t think that lesson really sank in.
Thanks to game dynamics, we pop out of that dungeon before we can proceed deeper into it, giving us a chance to see where we are. I think this may be the inaccessible structure we saw while paddling the Skysea two chapters ago:
Several Monster Melee (“beat up on monsters and collect loot”) random battles later, I try the Stroke of Luck mission, a quest to collect rare materials for the forge.
The entire dungeon is a blue palette-swap of the Fire Cavern.
Filo wants to know if we’re looking in the right place. “The bill on the notice board sounded suspicious to me.” It’s a bill from Tomaj, darlin’. What do you expect?
The ambient sound in this place is a low whooshing rumble like a distant waterwheel or closer gas log fire.
Translation: Dark Matter in this game, used to make the rarest weapons.
Llyud, who’s never seen it before, takes it at “a sign of the strange times we find ourselves in.” It is a sign of the strangeness of Final Fantasy that I think, “Oh, good heavens, Llyud, if you think a glowing rock is weird, what rock have you been living under?”
This is another fire dungeon, another chance to trot out my water-elementals. Look who’s joined us:
Yet another goopy icky Esper from FFXII. (I loved a lot of things about FFXII, but don’t get me started on the creature designs.)
Apparently I should’ve tried this dungeon first, as it’s easy peasy. The only challenge was Confused characters fighting one another.
Great loot, though. Most of this is new. (The “Essentials” is a new weapons synthesis manual, which we need, since we’ve completed all our other recipes so far.)
Tomaj, offscreen, says he “can’t believe it was actually there.” Nice to know he’d have us risk our lives for something he doubted existed.
Back at the forge, Cu Sith is excited about the new weapons recipe book we picked up:
Great! Let’s forge some more ludicrously-named magical weapons.
We create a Skybandit for Filo…
and a new “Charcobo” wand for Kytes, whose multi-target spells are really our best weapon.
Next sidequest: “Otherworldly Beauty,” a hunt for a new Esper.
Fools rush in where Tomaj fears to tread.
Clan Potholder arrives and stares across to the far end of the cavern. “Whoa,” Vaan says. The camera pans over just as a large gowned figure with six wings floats down from heaven to rally her fiery minions.
OH. Oh oh. Yes. Well, then.
Hold onto your underwear-over-pants, people, because that’s Ultima. Who is not actually the biggest, baddest Esper in FFXII, but the worst one, Zodiarc, gave me fits. I’m happy to see her, even if I’m not sure we’re ready for this.
Kytes: Is that… Ultima?
Gold star to the bookworm. Did I mention he’s turned into a clone of FFIII’s Arc?
Vaan: Every cactoid has its needles. Don’t be taken in by her appearance.
For this dungeon, RW breaks out the super-duper Esper Boss Battle music which was Ultima’s theme in the last game.
Objective? Defeat Ultima. Her abilities include “Restore all HP and remove all status debuffs” and Blaster, more elegantly named Eschaton in this game.
(Vocabulary trivia for the day: eschaton basically means “the final event in God’s plan.” It’s the divine curtain call after Armageddon.)
The Battle Party Screen tries to steer me in the right direction by forcing me to keep Penelo in the party. I’ve got all my water Espers that are vulnerable to Lightning, not Fire.
Clan Potholder, Assemble!
The High Seraph is a formidable commander, summoning and sending waves of Espers that attempt to flank us. They make it bally difficult to make any headway.
We try to eradicate the middle and sides before we tackle Ultima, but she comes to us. Eeeee. And we didn’t get a chance to take out one of the flanks, so they circle around to try and pin us.
We station Levi in a narrow spot, where he acts as a big scaly wall. Then we turn to face the enemies coming at us from behind. Unfortunately Kilo and Llyud are KO’d in Ultima’s blast.
Fortunately, Penelo’s quick on the uptake with Revive, and Vaan’s Pyroclasm soon charges enough to unleash a can of whupass.
…I don’t believe it. It worked. He took out Ultima, and the things on either side didn’t stand a chance!
That was a satisfying victory dance. Thank you, big sleepy sea serpent! And I’ll even thank Tomaj for pointing us down here, the coward.
(FWIW, we’re level 30 — Penelo — or 32 at this point, and Ultima is 33).
Filo whispers the inevitable “Kinda like Penelo!” in his ear.
Penelo: What was that?
Boy, those kids can run fast.
Penny does her fist-clenched shouty face.
That sounds a bit naughty, but in fact it lets Penelo use Ultima’s ability to Restore all HP of allies and remove all debuffs. NIIIICE. It takes a long time to charge her Quickening, but that should come in handy.
We promptly enlist Ultima and take her for a test drive.
*KAFOOOSH* (A bit hard to see, but she just shot a beam of pale purple light at the enemy and wiped out their leader with Eschaton)
Huzzah. Remember what I said about the White Mage glass ceiling? Penelo receives XP for any enemies that the Angel of Doomy Doom takes out.
Looks like there’s a few more sidequests left over back on our Chapter 5 deserted island. Feeling confident, we head home to clean up.
The party arrives in the Greendeep speculating about the material we’re on the hunt for, which is supposed to be good for making rings. Kytes wonders if Tomaj intends a ring as a present for someone. (Filo reminds him that “this is Tomaj we’re talking about.”)
After murdering a gazillion wolves, tainting my environmentalist soul, we find Tomaj was interested in great piles of gold. As this is a RPG, I can’t really fault him.
Most of the post-battle chitchat about Tomaj isn’t worth repeating, except that some of them are still under the misapprehension that Tomaj needs these materials to make a ring for somebody. (Whyyyy?)
Which means it’s mildly humorous when Tomaj tells Vaan, “I knew this would be perfect for you.”
Filo gets a great huge ! over her head and leaps to her feet.
NO FILO. NO YOU DID NOT.
Please, no one ever write Vaan/Tomaj fic. Please.
He lies. Balthersass and the Compensator turn out to be more powerful weapons. Thanks for nothing, Tomaj.
Back aboard the sky saloon, Tomaj’s helpers have created some slightly more substantial shops with roofs as opposed to tents, just in case our airship’s air conditioning really flakes out. Which, considering we first saw it surrounded in a boiling cloud of darkness, isn’t as unlikely as you’d think.
Tomaj also has some surprising news.
I may faint. But it turns out he’s making money hand over fist for himself by selling our loot to the sky pirates who were raiding the sky continent. I’m sure that makes Llyud feel great.
I see no new weapons listed in Tomaj’s shop, and Cu Sith doesn’t have any fresh recipes. I unload some loot from our bulging inventory, then make one more bid for a weapon.
Kytes suddenly has an existential attack of “why am I in a world where we have to fight monsters for every little thing?”
The turtle… howls? Too quickly to screencap. Penelo says “I don’t think we have much of a choice.” You’re in a RPG, kiddo. Can’t be helped.
Vaan: Why all the fuss? It’s just a turtle?
Vaan, Vaan, aren’t you forgetting those monster headless turtles in FFXII that kept flattening you?
It’s named Aspidochelon, after medieval bestiaries’ giant whale or sea turtle that sailors mistake for an island.
Drat. Another mission with no summoning gates. And when you face enough fire-breathing and mud-splattering dragons in one place, they’re TOUGH.
Total Party KO, ahoy!
We gather our 500 XP each and try again. Eventually, seeing I can’t rock-paper-scissors my elemental Espers, I bring in a non-elemental rodeo of chocobos, tonberries and diabolos to finish them off.
I dunno if I can bear to have Vaan wield a weapon with a perfectly normal name.
Vaan: A sword in the hand is worth two in the turtle!
GO TO YOUR ROOM.
Filo: I don’t get it. There was only one in the turtle.
SPARE US YOUR QUIDDITIES.
Then Kytes has to go and ruin things by asking for a rational explanation. Kytes, what planet are you on?! Llyud spouts a boring story about a mortally wounded swordmaster sticking his sword in a turtle, pretty much the most difficult monster to perforate, because reasons. Thanks, nameless swordmaster; I’m sure it’ll fetch a good price in Tomaj’s shop.
And then we go have a feast of stoneturtle eggs. Kytes and Vaan decide it’s almost edible.
Penelo: Maybe you’d be happier without any food at all?
Considering that he was having to steal food during the occupation two years ago…
Heaven forfend they should have to provide their own food.
Llyud has a rather cryptic statement about “This hunger I feel… is it, too, my anima?” Not sure if he likes Penny’s cooking or if he’s turning into a vampire, but anyway, BACK ON THE PATH OF PLOT ADVANCEMENT.
So, where were we, before we wandered off? Back at the beginning of this playthrough, I headed to the bridge and tripped over a cutscene which is a useful if dry synopsis of The Story So Far:
Filo: What made her come to Lemurés?
Penelo: She probably heard of the connection between the cache and the eternal. She must have been trying to find a way to bring Velis back.
Kytes: So, Mydia thought that if there was some way to make people’s lives last forever…there must be some way to bring someone back to life.
Llyud: But her hopes came to nothing.
Vaan: And now she wants revenge.
Kytes: Is that why she’s destroying the auraliths? Is she planning on taking over Ivalice?
Filo: Not if we have anything to say about it!
Vaan: That’s right. We have to stop her.
Penelo: Let’s go see what Balthier has to say about all this. Maybe together we can figure out what to do.
Vaan: That’s a good idea. If there’s anything who’ll know what to do, it’s Balthier.
I still think the Judge of Wings has too many different villain schemes going at once. She was having fun destroying auraliths before she tried to bring back her dead lover, and anyway she still needs to make up her mind whether she wants to conquer the world or destroy it. It’s kind of like burning and pillaging; make sure you get the order right.
So, next time, we will finally catch up with one or more of our old friends from the Strahl. We hope. Unless the Judge of Wings has been using it to get around. Stay tuned!