FFXII: Revenant Wings (14) – Ch. 6 – Boys Will Be Buttheads

Last time on Let’s Play Revenant Wings, we finally caught up with dear old Fran. Now it’s time to discover the meaning behind the bombastic chapter title, “Stealing Eternity.”

Ymir Qul Underground: Cavern that descends to the foundation of the sacred mountain, attainable only by those who first conquer its heights. Within beats the very heart of the mountain.

A volcano floating in the sky. What will they think of next? I sure hope there’s nothing but sea below us, or Chocobo Little is going to be hot wings.

The entrance looks more like the very gums of the mountain than the very heart.

Mission 6-4: Audience at the Auralith

(Location: Auralith’s cradle). Someone’s cranked up the speakers to play the old Belias battle theme.

Lloyd seems shocked at what we find in here. Was he snoozing during geography class? He knew where the other two auraliths were.

Llyud: An Auralith? Here?!

This is why you don’t use Apple Maps. It probably said “Taco Bell.”

At long last, the camera scrolls to a familiar cluster of pixels on the far side of the chasm.

Vaan: It's Balthier!

About bloody time.

Alas, reunions will have to wait, as the Judge of Wings has turned up to try and kill him again.

Judge raises pink stone

She raises her wad of bubblegum pink auracite and summons gobs of enemies on our side of the chasm.

Judge of Wings summons critters

So Balthier has to face her alone, as is right and proper for a leading man. Except that she also summons…  um…  something purple… *squints*

Mateus in Revenant Wings

Ah. It’s Mateus the Corrupt, an Esper from FFXII whose anatomy has long bewildered me. He sports a Shiva-like entity as a bib:

Mateus in Final Fantasy XII

Mateus comes from FFII, when the Emperor was a he, in much the same way that David Bowie is a he:

FFII: Emperor Mateus Boss Battle

According to FFwikia, quoting some obscure excerpt of FFXII I’ve forgotten:

“[Mateus:] Scion of darkness ruling and protecting those who live in the underworld, in opposition to Lahabrea, Abyssal Celebrant and scion of light. In the course of his rule, he submitted to avarice, and the darkness took his heart, transforming him until he was both evil and corrupt. Then in his cowardice did he bind a Goddess of the Demesne of Ice, and using her as a living shield, he challenged the gods. Defeated before their might, he fell screaming into the depths of hell, there to be imprisoned for eternity…”

The gods defeated Mateus, but didn’t bother to free the goddess he’d chained up? Hmph. Shades of Seymour and Anima, another two-bodied summons with a chained woman being exploited against her will.

Here endeth the lore lesson. Balthier has his hands full, and so do we.

Vaan: We have to help him!

Actually, we have to help the auralith, but Vaan’s understandably distracted.


Objective: Defeat the Judge of Wings! At least one ally must survive. Balthier must survive.

All the JoW’s minions are water elementals, mostly vulnerable to lightning except for one fire-weak member of the Shiva clan. So I equip Vaan with his trusty old Balthiersass fireblade, then I stack our deck with lightning elementals. Alas, this isn’t the endgame, so we can’t win.

Clan Fran Club, Assemble!

First things first: claim a summoning gate so we can call in Ultima, and send Filo with some flappy zappy dudes (Raiden) over to back up Balthier.

Claiming Summons gate

Miraculously, Balthier doesn’t head straight for trouble, contenting himself with taking pot shots at the local wildlife when Filo accidentally draws a few monsters near him (yellow marker).

Eventually our galumphing herd circles the chasm, waves at Balthier in passing and heads off to the right, luring the Judge of Wings far enough away that he just stands there looking pretty.

penelo unconscious

Unfortunately, the Judge of Wings knocks out Penelo in the chaos. Llyud and his Revive spell are sitting out this battle so Fran can rescue her partner. Without Penny, we’re in big trouble. Vaan succumbs to some horrible move on the Judge of Wings’ part, and we’re soon fighting for our lives.

Balthier shooting

Ultima overcomes Mateus, and I summon centaur reinforcements as fast as I can, but it’s too late. Fran is no match for the Judge of Wings in hand to hand combat, and nothing seems to be putting a dent in her HP, not even Kytes’ poison spell.

Kytes KO'd

Luckily, this game gives us sympathy XP and lets us try again.

Mission 6-4 failure

Well, that was a right mess. I was rusty and got overwhelmed by too many things happening at once.

I try the same basic strategy again with Llyud and his revive spell substituted for Filo. This battle proceeds as before, but as soon as we’re joined up with Balthier, Vaan lets loose with a Pyroclasm:


…toasting all the foes around him. Which quickly clears the battlefield so it’s just us, Mateus, and the Judge of Wings. With more of our own army alive, we can focus on Mateus.

Kill da bunnies

EUREKA! No wonder we can’t dent the Judge of Wings’ HP: she’s being healed by eight Giza bunnies! I send Fran and the centaurs over to slaughter the bunbuns mercilessly.

Vaan readies pyroclasm

At last, we’ve hemmed in the Judge with our own centaur army, and Balthier is safely out of the way picking off newly-summoned enemies trying to flank us.

Vaan’s second Pyroclasm doesn’t quite kill her. Now Llyud’s quickening is charged up. I usually don’t bother with it, since it simply boosts  Espers. But we need every advantage.

Llyud's Quickening


Llyud's Quickening

Llyud suddenly sprouts ginormous golden wings in a Magical Girl transformation.

Llyud's wings upgrade

There’s the inevitable scatter of large white feathers, because this is Final Fantasy.

Llyud's Quickening

That’s Llyud waaaaay up there in the middle of the white nimbus.

Net result: battle lasts a few seconds longer, then all the Espers on both sides disappear in clouds of sparklies. Victory…?

FFXII: RW - Victory

Nope. The Judge of Wings is on her knees, but she slashes at Vaan and makes her getaway behind the “Mission Complete” sign, vanishing in a ball of light. Not even a line of corny dialogue. That was a wasted villain appearance, now, wasn’t it?


A dialogue box tells us that “Defeating Mateus has enabled Filo to use the Wind Soul quickening! Wind Soul grants all allies Haste and enables all magicks and abilities to be executed with no wait.” That last bit is lovely, although this is one of those times when game mechanics is delaying drama.

The next mission screen and Balthier’s majestic theme music sound ominous. Okay, what’s the fool of a pirate doing this time?

Mission 6-5: Balthier's Betrayal. Location: Auralith's Cradle

Did the Judge of Wings take over his mind? Or is he just being his usual scheming self?

Vaan: Balthier! You weren’t easy to find.

Balthier: Had I wished to be found, I'd not have hidden the entrance, now, would I?

That’s definitely Balthier, in full control of his faculties and vanity.

Fran walks forward and gives him a Look.

Balthier: Fran, I thought I asked you to see to the Strahl?

I’m pretty sure that’s rudeness masking chivalry. Balthier surely doesn’t want to do this to her again:

[Fran collapses at 1:20]

I dunno whether I misinterpreted her body language earlier— I thought she was pretty broken up about his ordering her to stay behind— or whether she’s masking her own feelings, but this, too, seems a bit anticlimactic.

Fran: I grew tired of waiting.

Balthier *shrugs*: Not the answer I wanted to hear, so I’ll pretend I didn’t.

Balthier in a nutshell, really.

Balthier: On the bright side, there shouldn't be any further disruptions.

Optimist. Since when did Vaan’s arrival ever presage peace and quiet for Balthier?

Vaan finally notices the machinery around the auralith and runs forward.

Vaan: Balthier!

Balthier: Ah, Vaan. See to our uninvited guests for me, would you?

Still ordering Vaan around like a cabin boy.

Balthier starts tinkering. It’s not clear whether he’s trying to sabotage or activate the machinery.

Machine sparking, Vaan and Penny startled

The machine begins to arc with electricity. A whining noise like a phaser on overload emphasizes that this is a bad sign. Surely Balthier’s not trying to siphon off the energy for himself? That would be following in his father’s footsteps.

Vaan: What are you doing?

Hate to break it to you, Vaan…

Balthier: Isn't it obvious?

Balthier: I’m using this machine to destroy the Stone.

Balthier never did trust magic stones or people who exploit their power. Too much bad feeling between him and his father, the Oppenheimer of this universe. A bit rough on the aegyl, though, since their whole society depends on these stones.

Vaan: Are you crazy?

I doubt it. This may accomplish two things. (1) Keeps it out of the Judge of Wings’ grasp. (2) It occurs to me that the reason the aegyl don’t seem to have souls (anima) may be that their hearts are bound up in these stones in approved fairy tale fashion.

Vaan slashes the air. Penis waggling time: it’s apprentice vs. former mentor!

Vaan and Balthier facing off in front of auralith

Balthier tries to disarm him with words.

Balthier: Vaan, please.

Balthier: Why must everything be so difficult with you?
Vaan: What’s gotten into you? Is this how the “leading man” is supposed to act?
Balthier: You’re right.

The music stops, and there’s just the low hum of machinery, like breathing.

Balthier: High time I stepped out of the limelight.

Balthier draws his gun— at Vaan? It’s not clear— but we’re interrupted.

Alas, we are NOT interrupted by Fran and Penelo hitting both of them with rolled-up newspapers.

Vaan: Balthier! Ba'Gamnan: Balthier!

Oh fer cryin’ out loud. Those are the uninvited guests he meant, I suppose.

Ba’Gamnan runs in, twirls around and around brandishing his chainsaw tennis racket…

Ba'Gamnan: Found You At Last!

I wish he had the charisma of Gilgamesh, because I can’t take him seriously when he keeps doing this:

Ba'Gamnan spinning around

I wasn’t kidding about the twirling.

Balthier ain’t got no time for this.

Balthier: This day keeps going from bad to worse.

Gratuitous screencap of Penelo and Filo stopping to yell at Ba’Gamnan as Vaan charges the lizard.

Group heading toward Ba'Gamnan

Kytes really does not look enthused about fighting this twerp again.

Ba'gamnan: And all your little friends here with you! We'll settle all our scores at once.

Love the way Ba’Gamnan has to tuck his chainsaw away so he can hop up and down in rage.

…and wait until he gets a load of the Espers we’re going to summon. I have a feeling Mateus is going to be available on the battle party screen, and I have magicite to burn.

Balthier: too much talk and too little listening.

Balthier points his gun at the auralith. Fran calmly walks over to his side, even though she’ll be right under it when it breaks.

Vaan: Balthier, don't do it!

Vaan: I don’t want to fight you!

Balthier: then don't. Stand back, and shut up.

Now and then, I miss Alexander O’s translations. This one isn’t bad, but Balthier would’ve said something like, “For once, curtail your clamor.”

Fran and Balthier cock their weapons.

Vaan: ...

Penelo doesn’t look too thrilled with the posturing.

Penelo :Vaan?

Vaan, however, has his own script and he’s sticking to it.

Vaan: If you won’t change your mind, I’ll have to change it for you!

So now we’ve gotta fight Balthier and Fran. I should be distressed about this, but it’s fun.

And yes we can enlisst Mateus, but unfortunately the enemies in this battle are Those Damn Archers again who are lightning elementals, not vulnerable to water in this game.

Enlisting Esper Mateus: The Corrupt.

I’m not quite sure what to bring in here, since Balthier and Fran are both crack shots. Probably better to present as few flying targets as possible. I’m going to try Ranged Earth & Fire magic casters, even though ranged vs. melee tends to be at a disadvantage.

Battle party menu: Objective: Stop Balthier!


Clan Fran Club assemble! (Ironic title is ironic). Drat. That’s far more chocobos than I need; I was hoping Filo and Llyud would summon more magic-casters, since that’s really what I want this time.

Vaan: We have to take out Ba'Gamnan and stop Balthier from destroying the auralith!

Nice: the soundtrack for this battle is “rebellion,” which was originally Ashe’s rebels vs. the imperials. This time, Clan Fran Club is rebelling against its former mentors!

First things first: take down Ba’Gamnan.

Attacking Ba'Gamnan

He had Titan and some Tonberries with him, but we were ready for that since Titan is weak to fire attacks.

Ba'Gamnan: Blasted sprats!

Pecked to death by chocobos— is that anything like being nibbled to death by ducks?

Ba’Gamnan: I’ll chase you to the ends of hell before I let you get away with this!

Drat. He twirls and teleports away in a cloud of recurring villain magic.

Ba'Gamnan's teleport beam

We summon Cu Siths (Earth magic) and Lamias (Fire magic) to replace fallen chocobos.

Ouch. Things get sticky as Balthier and Fran keep summoning squadrons of ten goblins and centaur archers at a time and attacking us from both sides, taking down Vaan and Filo in the scrum. I’ve got to get Llyud over there somehow to revive them.

A messy battlefield

The rest of the party retreats around the chasm, with slow but powerful Ultima lagging behind and covering our retreat until an entire phalanx of centaurs brings her down. Her sacrifice enables us to regroup, briefly.

Lluyd makes his way over to Vaan and revives him, then gets picked off by the centaur archers’ triple shot barrages. PYROCLASM VAAN QUICK!

Vaan casts pyroclasm

Penelo casts her quickening too, which unfortunately won’t revive Lluyd (or Filo). At least it should heal everybody.

Penelo's Quickening dance

Oh, the unkindest blow! Our respite is short-lived, as Vaan’s too far to protect. When Penelo goes to heal him and revive Llyud, Fran shoots her! It’s over so fast Once again, I HATE CENTAUR ARCHERS, especially when there’s like 20 of them raining death down on us.


Okay. This time I have Llyud cast Vanishiga on a bunch of chocobos and send them running past Ba’Gamnan and his Titan and Tonberries, reappearing just in time to lure him towards Balthier. Let Ba’Gamnan soften up Balthier before we go over there! Look at all those flipping centaurs. Meanwhile we secure the summons gates and boost our Espers.

Ba'Gamnan fights Balthier

That works, although there are far, far too many centaurs over there, especially with another 10 or so waiting off to one side!

Ba'Gamnan: Blasted Sprats!

Note that I’ve got carbuncles (level II healing) instead of rabbits (level I) for this go-round. We need all the healing we can get.

Slowly we fight our way around the field, clearing everything we can before we have to engage those horrid centaurs.

eradicating golems

There’s about 10 golems over here, not easy, plus more centaurs keep galloping over and shooting at us.

Finally Balthier and Fran give chase. We retreat to where we can’t be surrounded.

Balthier, Fran, and Centaurs attack

Vaan keeps getting confused and KO’d, but Penelo keeps reviving him long enough to whip off a pyroclasm and clear out most of the centaurs.

Fighting Fran and Balthier

At last it’s Vaan vs. Balthier, as we knew it would be…

Vaan fighting Balthier

It takes absolutely forever, even with a phalanx of carbuncles to heal plus Ultima (and I have to summon her more than once, as Balthier can bring her down). My whole party is KO’d except for Penelo, surrounded by a ring of healers. She revives Vaan over and over to draw enemy fire, KO Fran and unleash Pyroclasms until at last…

Vaan: Balthier!

In the following cutscene, Balthier’s backed up to the Judge of Wings’ (remember her?) machinery, and this line could be the start of a fun shipfic if not for the context:

Balthier: Let's not do anything hasty, Vaan.

If you’d just EXPLAIN WHAT YOU’RE DOING it would have taken less time than that battle, you git.

Vaan slashes the air.

Vaan: Do you have any idea what you're doing?

Probably more than you, pup. Not that that makes it right, but…

Vaan: You’re gonna destroy this entire world!

Balthier: I'd say the situation has gotten a little beyond your ability to comprehend!


Vaan: We have to save the Aegyl!

Balthier: Oh, I couldn’t agree more.

Balthier: That's why the stone has to go.

Oh, yes. The white savior from the Empire of Archades knows what’s best for the natives, right? No need for him to ask them what they need.

Vaan: No!

At this point I really wish Llyud would poke both of them in the butt with his spear.

Balthier shoots… the machine? Still not quite sure what he’s doing here.

Balthier shoots machine

Ah. This seems to activate the same beams as before, drilling into the crystal.

Blue rays focused on Auralith

And the auralith shatters, and Llyud hasn’t gotten a word in edgewise through this whole debacle.

Auralith breaks into dead blue shards

Some sort of secondary explosion engulfs each party member…

Vaan and friends engulfed in light

And it’s not doing Llyud a whole lot of good.

Llyud: Ungh... Ahhh...

Chapter 6 Complete.

A black and white screen slowly pans across the fallen party plus Fran, each pulsing with balls of light.

Party knocked out

It pans slowly up to the remains of the auralith. Yes, we get it.

Shards of Auralith

The broken remnants emit a pulse of light and the screen whites out. Oof.

And then things get very strange.

Tune in next time for a hoary Final Fantasy tradition: cracktastic dream sequence and/or hallucination!

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