FINAL FANTASY IV – PART ONE
CUE MUSIC: FADE IN “FFIV Prelude”.
[Calvin Redburn: Introductions should be made over the prelude theme; this I like. But what if we had our own theme song? Something harpsichord chiptuney!]
[RPG Rabbit: Well, you’ve composed chiptunes music before, you played it for me. Or we could fuck around with my synth.]
RPG Rabbit: Welcome to The Spoony Bard’s Aural Theatre! I’m RPG Rabbit (and I’m Calvin Reburn), and this is a podcast in which we perform dramatic adaptations of retro video games, in much the same style as an old-timey radio play. In this, our inaugural season, we will be performing Final Fantasy IV, using the original music and sound effects to create what we hope will be a unique listening experience.
Calvin Redburn: Final Fantasy IV was developed by Square Co. and originally released in July 1991 for the Super Famicom system in Japan and localized as Final Fantasy II for the North American release on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in November of 1991. This original 1991 localization was infamously terrible, largely due to the small localization team, many of whom had never played the game. The game was later rereleased as a PlayStation port in North American in June of 2001 as part of the Final Fantasy Chronicles collection, which also included Chrono Trigger. This release included a new, more accurate translation, though retained some of the strange dialogue that made the original North American release so endearing. We’ll be voicing the lines of dialogue exactly as they appear in-game in the Chroincles translation, for better or worse.
Rabbit: Final Fantasy IV follows the tribulations of Cecil Harvey, a dark knight in the service of the Kingdom of Baron, as his obedience to his king begins to come into conflict with his ethical beliefs. His adventures begin when he questions the validity of a military action in which he took part and take him all over the world, meeting friends and allies along the way. Eventually, the fate of the world – and the moon – lies in his hands.
Burn: In this, our pilot episode, we will meet Cecil himself, as well as Kain, Cid, Rosa, and others who will come to play major roles as the story develops. Herein, Cecil will find himself a contributor to a horrible event that will spur him on his quest, a quest which will play out in many episodes to come.
Bit: Please bear with us; this is our first episode and neither of us has done a podcast before. We’re learning as we’re going.
N: Right. So, let’s start a new game.
*new game sound*
Welcome to the Final Fantasy IV Aural Theatre [Calvin Redburn: The Spoony Bard Aural Theatre Presents: Final Fantasy IV!] I’m …., I’m …. Adapted and narrated by
[RPG Rabbit: How will we credit ourselves? I don’t actually want my real name on the Internet, because I am paranoid. I’d rather tie this to my blog, so I’m happy to go by RPG Rabbit, which seems thematically appropriate for a FFIV audio drama anyway. What do you want to credit yourself as?]
[Calvin Redburn: Most podcasts I listen to are very casual about this, and I imagine this to basically be an audio book / dramatic reimagining in podcast form. We could voice our introductions here — you’d say, “I’m RPG Rabbit,” and I would say, “And I’m Calvin Redburn,” I’m fine sticking with Calvin.]
[RPG Rabbit: Your name always makes me think of Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes cosplaying as a dwarf.]
CUE MUSIC: “FFIV Prelude” FADE OUT.
FADE IN “The Red Wings” at full volume, then fade down volume for dialogue.
 NARRATOR: Five airships soar in a V-formation over land and sea. [Calvin Redburn: In my head, when I was thinking about this project, I was thinking more along the lines of that short radio skit I saw with Bruce Campbell. I don’t think this needs dramatic omniscient narration. I feel like this also encroaches on the “show, don’t tell” rule of storytelling; I think it’s important to give the characters names here and explain what they are doing, but describing things of the past, whether he’s pensive or not, or what questions he dared not ask is unnecessary and heavy.] [RPG Rabbit: Fair criticism. Cecil’s sprite has a habit of posing while looking down to look kind of sad, so that’s what I was trying to describe, but I’d rather keep it simple.] On the bridge of the flagship at the head of the fleet stands the Lord Captain Cecil, clad in dark armor and surrounded by his crew. Four soldiers man the cannons. Cecil, flanked by his first and second mates, is addressed by the helmsman.
 FIRST CREW MEMBER: Captain, we will arrive at Baron shortly. [Calvin Redburn: Since, I guess at least for our first undertaking it may just be you and I doing voice work, here is where it will be important for the narrator to interject with things like, “Said the first crew member.” Especially since, I imagine Cecil will have a very distinct voice, but perhaps all these unnamed crew members may not? I still think it will be important, even if Cecil’s voice is very recognizable, to interject with novelistic indications of who is speaking.] [RPG Rabbit: I think we should try it both ways. While I see your point, I think that it will be hard to keep our vocal cues fast and smooth enough for the narrator to keep cutting in with “said so-and-so.” I think we could make it clear enough if Cecil has a distinct voice, and one crew member is male (you) and one is female (me!), because the Narrator will ALSO have a distinct (possibly British!) voice.]
 CECIL: …Alright.
 NARRATOR: The first mate turns to the bo-sun.
 FIRST CREW MEMBER: The captain seems kinda down.
 SECOND CREW MEMBER: After what we did, who wouldn’t be? I mean, orders are orders, but killing innocent people to get the Crystals…?
 NARRATOR: Cecil casts his mind back to the atrocities recently committed by he and his men as they fought their way into the glittering hall in which the Crystal was enshrined. A few defenders made their final stand in the Crystal Room, guarding the treasure. Cecil stood by and watched as seven of his men stormed the pillared chamber. Four of Cecil’s crew slew the two black mages before they could cast a single spell. A lone white mage made a frantic charge at Cecil, heedless of the soldiers that guarded his person. Her futile attack could not pierce their defense, and she fell to their swords before she could land a single blow. Finally, only the kingdom’s Elder remained, a feeble old man who searched desperately for some means of escape but found none. The first mate battered the old man aside, allowing Cecil to approach the Crystal’s altar unopposed. He climbed the richly carpeted stairs of the dias. The Crystal floated in its shrine, borne aloft by some mysterious power. Cecil removed it from its rightful place, and returned to his men. [RPG Rabbit: So this long description is explaining a flashback with no dialogue that happens here. The whole “feeling ashamed” thing is stemming from the fact that Cecil does a sad, head down pose in the flash back and then again in the present on the ship. But I guess we don’t KNOW that he’s feeling creeping shame. He just looks sad.] [Calvin Redburn: Oh! Okay. That’s fine, then. I just think that this would be best if we merely adapted it to a different medium, rather than hmm…fan-fic it, if you know what I mean. This description seems okay, although I wonder about overly descriptive terms, like “proud deck of his kingdom’s finest engine of war.” That could just be replaced with “airship.”] [RPG Rabbit: Yeah, you’ll have to get on me. I tend to Shakespeare it up.] As he passed from the chamber, his head fell. Now he stands on the deck of the airship, his head bowed.
 SECOND CREW MEMBER: It isn’t right. The Red Wings are supposed to protect people. We should never —
 CECIL: That’s enough!
 SECOND CREW MEMBER: But, Captain!
 FIRST CREW MEMBER: Surely you don’t condone what we’ve done, Captain?
 CECIL: All of you, listen well. The raid on Mysidia was imperative. His Majesty and his council concluded that the Mysidians, who know much about the Crystals, posed a serious threat to our kingdom. For Baron to prosper, we need the Crystals. As soldiers of the Royal Air Force, we must achieve this by any means necessary.
 NARRATOR: Cecil’s rousing speech is cut short by a shout from his men.
 FIRST CREW MEMBER: Captain!
 SECOND CREW MEMBER: Monsters incoming!
 CECIL: Prepare for battle!
 NARRATOR: (SOUND EFFECT: Battle start!) The crew falls back to let their Lord Captain take the lead in combat against the three fearsome Float-Eyes bearing down upon the deck of the ship. These winged, cyclopean monsters are dangerous, but Cecil summons a controlled burst of flame (SOUND EFFECT: Flames) and scorches the foul beasts to ash.
 SECOND CREW MEMBER: Ugh!
 NARRATOR: Cecil hurries to the side of one of his fallen men. One of the creatures battered him to the deck when it landed.
 CECIL: Are you alright!?
 FIRST CREW MEMBER: More incoming!
 CECIL: Dammit!
 NARRATOR: Cecil leaps to the other side of the deck to intercept this next threat, a colossal Zuu, a terrifying raptor with cruel talons and leathery wings. [Calvin Redburn: As I’m playing, to record sound effects, the Zuu (“Raven” in the US FF2 release) gets an attack off before Cecil blasts him. I’ve reloaded a few times for the sake of recording; it’s interesting to note that the bird doesn’t ALWAYS attack first, but sometimes does. I think this little thing could be improved by mentioning it — “The zuu strikes Cecil with an ineffective strike…” or something, before Cecil toasts him.] [RPG Rabbit: Interesting! The playthrough I was using for reference does not record an attack.] Before Cecil has time to react, the bird lashes out at him with an ineffective attack. Cecil calls forth bolts of lightning, (SOUND EFFECT: Lightning) vaporizing the enormous bird.
 CECIL: Is everyone alright?
 FIRST CREW MEMBER: Yes, sir.
 SECOND CREW MEMBER: So many monsters these days…Where the heck are they coming from?
 CECIL: What is happening to this world…?
 FIRST CREW MEMBER: Captain, we are now over Baron.
 CECIL: Prepare for landing.
 NARRATOR: The crew hurries to man the helm and the rigging. In a well-rehearsed aerial ballet, The fleet touches down before the castle of the Kingdom of Baron. [Calvin Redburn: I feel like this should stay.] in perfect formation.
CUE MUSIC: “The Red Wings” FADE OUT.
CUE MUSIC: FADE IN “Kingdom of Baron”.
 NARRATOR: Leaving his men on the ship, Cecil approaches the castle alone. The guards part to let him pass, but before he can enter the castle keep, Captain Baigan [RPG Rabbit: I will reference my Legends of Localization dictionary to figure out the pronunciation of this name (because that thing is actually going to be really useful for figuring out the pronunciation of the weirder names). He’s the captain of the Baron castle guard. Should I indicate this here?] [RPG Rabbit: So according to the katakana, the name is actually originally spelled “Beigan,” which if you sound out the pronunciation would be “beh-ee-gone,” but if you slur together the “ei” diphthong, it would probably sound closer to “Bey-gone.” That’s my best guess.] hurries out to meet him on the drawbridge. (SOUND EFFECT: Door opens.)
 Baigan: Ah, the Crystal is now ours, yes?
 Cecil: The Mysidians put up no resistance. They were so helpless…
 Baigan: You pity them? Hmph. Come, Captain. His Majesty awaits.
 NARRATOR: Baigan leads Cecil across the courtyard. He unlocks the doors to the castle keep and leads Cecil into the great hall of the castle. Passing through a doorway flanked on either side by guards, each standing under shields bearing the royal crest of Baron, they enter the hall before the throne room of the king. Yet more guards stand beside the crimson banners that hang on both sides of the door to the throne room, but Cecil and Baigan pass through unimpeded. In the carpeted antechamber, Baigan halts before the door, forcing Cecil to a stop. [RPG Rabbit: In the game, he sort of forces Cecil back, but I don’t think the devs were trying to illustrate violence. I think that was just the best way to get the limited sprites to communicate “you wait here” body language?]
 Baigan: Forgive me, Captain, but I must speak to His Majesty in private. Please wait here.
 NARRATOR: Baigan enters the throne room alone (SOUND EFFECT: Door opens.) and approaches the king. The hall in which the king holds court is spacious. Pillars flank the carpeted path, red and bordered in gold, that leads to a dias bedecked with shields and banners and guarded by two soldiers. The throne of Baron gleams with the same gold of the coronet that crowns the king of Baron, a large, bearded man in a rich robe of red trimmed in gold. Baigan mounts the stairs to the dias and stands close to the throne to speak to the king.
 Baigan: Your Majesty, I’m afraid Cecil can no longer be trusted. He clearly questions your authority.
 King: I suspected as much. It matters not, so long as I get the Crystals. Send him in.
 Baigan: Yes, Your Majesty.
 NARRATOR: Baigan returns to the door of the throne room and calls out to Cecil. [RPG Rabbit: I added a Narrator line and shifted all of the numbers because there’s a little bit of action between these two Baigan lines in the game.]
 Baigan: Captain. His Majesty summons you.
 NARRATOR: Cecil enters the throne room (SOUND EFFECT: Door opens.) and stands before the king.
CUE MUSIC: “Kingdom of Baron” quick FADE OUT
 King: Baron hails your return. The Crystal, Cecil.
 NARRATOR: Baigan leaves the king’s side to take the Crystal from Cecil, (SOUND EFFECT: crystal chime.) then returns to deliver it to the king.
 King: So this is the Crystal. What splendor… Dismissed, Cecil.
 NARRATOR: Cecil turns to leave but pauses at the door to the throne room. He stands for a moment with his head bowed, then turns back to address the king.
 Cecil: Your Majesty!
 NARRATOR: Baigan and the king turn to regard Cecil with surprise. [RPG Rabbit: Added another Narrator line here. In the game, Baigan and the king are turned towards each other, presumably admiring the sparkly Crystal, but when Cecil comes back and addresses the king, they turn to look at him in a manner that seems surprised and confused, which is I think what the interrobang is supposed to indicate.]
 King: !? [Calvin Redburn: “Interrobang!” What would be the vocal output of this? The king grunting? Hmm? Huh? Grumble. Or should it just be skipped altogether? Or should the narrator suggest something like, “The King was startled…”] [RPG Rabbit: I think you’ve been practicing for this for months with your startled anime-style vocalizations.]
 Baigan: Why, Captain. What is it?
 Cecil: Your Majesty, forgive me, but what do you intend? The men are confused–some, even displeased.
 King: And you? You question my command?
 Cecil: No! I only–
 King: Silence! Dissension only leads to treason, and that, I will not tolerate. I hereby relieve you of command of the Red Wings.
 Cecil: Your Majesty!
CUE MUSIC: FADE IN “Suspicion”.
 NARRATOR: Cecil takes a step towards the king, but the royal guardsmen on either side of the throne leap into action, blocking his path and forcing him back. [RPG Rabbit: Added this Narrator line because this is an important bit of action.]
 King: Now, I charge you with another duty. Slay the phantom beast that infests the Mist Valley, and deliver this Bomb Ring to the village Mist. You leave tomorrow, at first light.
 NARRATOR: Cecil tries once again to approach the throne, but the guardsmen keep pace with him, preventing his access. The door to the throne room bursts open (SOUND EFFECT: Door opens.) and the Dragoon Kain [RPG Rabbit: So I’m not married to the idea of calling him “the Dragoon Kain” right here, but every other character so far has gotten a title so far, so it seems weird to just be like “Kain comes in.” Also, I don’t know when they SAY he’s a dragoon, but if a Final Fantasy fan sees that helmet, they KNOW he’s a dragoon.] hurries towards the king.
 Kain: Your Majesty, I beg you to reconsider.
 NARRATOR: Kain advances to stand beside Cecil.
 Kain: Cecil has done no wrong.
 NARRATOR: The guardsmen force both men back, away from the throne of their king. Enraged, [RPG Rabbit: I guess we don’t KNOW he’s enraged, but man, his little sprite looks as pissed as a sprite can look.] the king leaps up from his royal seat and approaches Kain and Cecil, Baigan trailing behind.
 King: You insolent cur! How dare you barge in here!? If you’re so concerned about him, by all means, accompany him! Now, take the ring and begone!
 NARRATOR: [RPG Rabbit: Do you ACTUALLY want me to say “Received BombRing” or like…an actual sentence?] [Calvin Redburn: “Cecil received the BombRing” or “The party received the BombRing,” I guess. I think it would fit best if this leaned slightly more toward video gamey semantics than well written prose? What do you think?] “Cecil receives the BombRing” (SOUND EFFECT: Item get.)
 Cecil: Your Majesty!
 NARRATOR: The guardsmen push Cecil and Kain from the throne room. In the antechamber, the two confer.
 Cecil: I’m sorry, Kain.
 Kain: Don’t worry. After we finish this task, you’ll be flying again in no time.
 Cecil: …
 Kain: Get some rest. Leave tomorrow’s preparations to me.
CUE MUSIC: “Suspicion” FADE OUT. [RPG Rabbit: In the game, this is NOT a fade. This is an abrupt stop when you move to the next screen, but for our purposes, a fade may sound better.] FADE IN “Kingdom of Baron”.
 NARRATOR: Kain hurries off, down a passage in the castle, but Cecil catches up to him. [RPG Rabbit: I don’t actually know where you find Kain in the castle to have this conversation, but for a continuous narrative, I think this makes sense.] He finds him seated across from two other soldiers at a table.
 Kain: What’s wrong?
 Cecil: Nothing…except that I dragged you into one hell of a mess.
 Kain: Yeah, what else is new? Kidding.
 Cecil: I mastered the dark sword at His Majesty’s orders. But it was to protect Baron, not to plunder.
 Kain: Don’t get yourself down over this. I’m sure the king had his reasons.
 Cecil: I envy you, Kain–the path you chose.
 Kain: I’m just following in my father’s footsteps. I suppose I could’ve attained higher rank had I become a dark knight, but this suits me better.
 Cecil: …
 Kain: Don’t think too much, and get some rest already. We rise early tomorrow. Hey, 500 Gil says I slay that beast tomorrow.
 Cecil: Alright you’re on.
 Kain: I’ll see you tomorrow.
 NARRATOR: Cecil is left to his own devices. Moving through the castle halls, he hears the muted conversations of the soldiers.
Baron Throne Guard: The king is most displeased. He shan’t see you until you deliver the Bomb Ring to Mist Village.
 Seditious Soldier: I’ve heard rather disturbing rumors regarding the king lately.
 Loyal Soldier: Refrain from any rebellious thoughts if you wish to survive these times.
 Seditious Soldier: Lately, I sense a strange air about His Majesty.
 Loyal Soldier: Whatever others may say, I trust the king.
[RPG Rabbit: I feel like these four lines in particular explain both the general atmosphere in Baron and foreshadow the fact that OH SURPRISE THE KING IS EVIL] [Calvin Redburn: “Lately” used twice. I really want to stress using the in-game dialogue verbatim, but…perhaps we could rearrange these somehow? Have some kind of interjection in between, a narration, maybe?]
Baron Soldier: The Mist Valley is northwest of Baron.
Baron Soldier: With you and Master Kain joining forces, nothing will be able to stop you.
Baron Soldier: Zzz…!? I’m on duty! Leave me alone!
Baron Soldier: I heard you brought back the Crystal from Mysidia.
Baron Soldier: You are free to take the items in this room. Press the switch on the wall to open the door.
Black Mage: Sleep! Heh heh. Sweet dreams. Huh? You’re not sleepy at all? Hmmm. What did I do wrong…?
Black Mage: We’re diligently working to develop more spells or actual combat.
Black Mage: Basic spells like Fire and Ice aren’t poweruful enough against many monsters. I seem to remember hearing about more potent spells, but…
 NARRATOR: Cecil continues through the castle. He passes down a flight of stairs, [RPG Rabbit: Do you think this is enough context?] heading towards the west wing. On his right are the stairs down to the black magic labs, and on his left, the stairs to the white magic labs. He pauses for a moment, then ventures into the white magic lab. Inside is a torchlit room with four desks and strewn with pots and stacks of wood. Three of the desks are occupied by white mages studying texts of magic. Cecil speaks to the mage nearest the door.
 White Mage: Rosa became a white mage for you, Cecil, to help you in any way she could. Don’t worry her too much, got it? [Calvin Redburn: This seems relevant enough to include somehow.]
White Mage: The king is brimming with vigor these days. I find it somewhat unnatural.
White Mage: I’m currently studying basic white magic: Cure1, Cure2, and Cure3, three levels of cure spells.
Baron Soldier: All is well, sir.
Baron Soldier: There’s been a foreboding mood surrounding the castle lately.
Baron Soldier: Nightfall is approaching, sir. Please remain inside the castle.
Baron Soldier: You leave early tomorrow. Please get some rest.
Engineer: Man, we have to pull another all-nighter… This sucks! Don’t tell the boss that I was complaining, alright?
Engineer: Have you seen Master Cid? He ordered us to service the airships, then disappeared somewhere.
Baron Soldier: This tower is off-limits.
Baron Soldier: Baron’s sacred treasures rest within these walls. Access to this chamber is forbidden.
 NARRATOR: Cecil departs the white magic labs and continues into the western wing of the castle. As he heads down the stairs of the West tower, a voice calls to him from the landing above.
 Rosa: Cecil!
 NARRATOR: Cecil turns back to see the white mage Rosa. She runs down the stairs to meet him.
 Rosa: Thank goodness you’re alright. I was so worried. You and your men left on such short notice.
 Cecil: We’re okay…I wish I could say the same for the Mysidians…
 NARRATOR: Cecil turns away from Rosa, but she follows close behind.
 Rosa: Cecil!
 NARRATOR: Cecil turns back to face her. [RPG Rabbit: I don’t know if this is an important detail, but the devs thought it important enough to break up Rosa’s line so that they could turn his sprite around.]
 Rosa: I’ll visit you later, okay?
 Cecil: Alright… [RPG Rabbit: Clearly Cecil’s catch-phrase.]
 NARRATOR: Rosa retraces her path up the stairs, pausing once to look back at Cecil before disappearing around the corner. Cecil continues on. He makes his way down a flight of stairs into the dungeons, where he meets a soldier of Baron. [Calvin Redburn: I am pretty sure that visiting the dungeon’s is 100% optional, and I don’t like this line of narration, but I feel like this is some important narration. Also, it shows that not only did Baron come to steal Mysidia’s treasures, it also kidnapped its people. Maybe you can make this line of narration less awkward?]
 Baron Soldier: We’ve locked up the Mysidian mages who opposed us, sir. [Calvin Redburn: Perhaps interject some narration here: “The Mysidians call out from their cells…”]
[0102.5] NARRATOR: Cecil walks around the corner to the dungeon’s three cells. Locked within are three mages of Mysidia. A white mage is imprisoned in the center cell. She is flanked on both sides by jailed black mages.
 Black Mage: You! You won’t get away with this, you hear me!?
 White Mage: I do not expect you to spare us. But, please, return the Crystal to Mysidia.
 Black Mage: You idiots don’t know anything! The Crystal is not just any old jewel!
 NARRATOR: Leaving the dungeons, Cecil crosses the western courtyard of the castle. A begoggled man with a bushy, orange beard calls down to him from a parapet.
 Cid: Well, well, well. Look who’s back. Rosa was mighty worried about you.
 NARRATOR: The engineer Cid [Calvin Redburn: Does this read strangely to you? It occurs to me that we introduce Cid as “a begoggled man…” but then he is “the engineer Cid.” Is it obvious they are one and the same?] [RPG Rabbit: I think so, but then, I am biased and know that Cid wears googles. But I think it’s obvious that we’re talking about the same dude here.] [Calvin Redburn: 8)] hurries down the stairs of the tower to confront Cecil in the courtyard. (SOUND EFFECT: door open).
 Cid: I told you before, and I’ll tell you again. If you EVER make her cry, I’m gonna– I…I’m not gonna let you ride my airships. So, how are my babies doin’? I’ll bet you and your grunts crashed them again, huh? What’s the matter with you, boy?
 Cecil: Well… [RPG Rabbit: So is Cid asking his question rhetorically, or does this ellipsis indicate an entire conversation?] [Calvin Redburn: It sounds like a recap! How strange. Perhaps a narration is necessary: “Cecil describes to Cid…”]
[0110.5] NARRATOR: Cecil describes the raid on Mysidia and recounts the circumstances of his disgrace.
 Cid: WHAT!? The king demoted you to an errand boy!? What about my Red Wings!? They’ll be a mess without you! What’s come over the king? Maybe I should think twice about workin’ on the new prototype he’s been hounding me to finish. Hell if I’m gonna let him use my beloved airships as killin’ machines! Cecil, you and me, we gotta stick together on this. Now, you go complete your mission and get back safe, you hear? Whoa, I’ve gotta get home, or my daughter’s gonna kill me.
 NARRATOR: As Cid hurries home, Cecil turns and enters the northwest tower. (SOUND EFFECT: door open) At the second-floor landing, one of the castle servants meets him coming down the stairs.
Baron Soldier: OWWW! My arm’s broken!
Baron Soldier: Captain…
Baron Soldier: We’ll just eat and laugh and try to forget about Mysidia.
Baron Soldier: So much for the Red Wings’ honor…
Baron Soldier: I still can’t believe what we did.
[Calvin Redburn: Aside from the “Captain…” I like these lines. Can we include them somehow?]
 Servant woman: I’ve changed your sheets, sir. Good night.
 NARRATOR: Cecil climbs the final flight of stairs to his bedroom at the top of the northwest tower. He settles himself into his bed to rest. [Calvin Redburn: Do you think it’s worth mentioning here that he doesn’t bother changing out of his pointy armor? No wonder the woman had to change his sheets; they’re destroyed every morning.] [RPG Rabbit: I don’t know. I mean, it IS ridiculous, but I don’t think that helps to tell the story. The devs had only so many sprites to work with, and I think the player is meant to overlook this particularly silly thing that was pretty standard in games for this time. Also, this scene is full of PATHOS, so do we really want to open it by pointing out an inherently silly thing?] [Calvin Redburn: Good point. It would detract from the pathos.]
MUSIC CUE: FADE OUT “Kingdom of Baron.” [Calvin Redburn: Here, Cecil gets into bed and the music fades away. For a little bit, the only sound is the tick-tock of the clock until Rosa comes in.] SOUND EFFECT: Tick tock, looping under Cecil’s following monologue.
 Cecil: What’s happened to the king? He covets the Crystals as though he’s possessed… and he’ll resort to any means to get them. Nevertheless, I can’t defy him. How could I cross the man who raised Kain and me like his very own? The chivalrous knight whom I’ve adored and admired since childhood? I will not betray him. I can’t.
SOUND EFFECT: Tick tock ends. Door open.
 NARRATOR: Rosa enters the room unannounced.
 Rosa: Cecil!
 NARRATOR: Cecil does not rise from his bed, but he turns to look at her. As she advances towards him, he turns his face away.
 Rosa: What’s going on? You just returned from Mysidia, and now you must leave again to battle this phantom beast.
 Cecil: Don’t worry.
 Rosa: Cecil, look at me.
MUSIC CUE: “Theme of Love”
 Cecil: In Mysidia, we killed innocent people to steal their…It was horrible. I guess it’s my fate as a dark knight. Soon, I won’t even feel any remorse for my actions.
 NARRATOR: Cecil turns towards Rosa, but still will not look at her. She stands by his bedside.
 Rosa: You and I both know that would never happen.
 NARRATOR: Cecil turns away from her once more.
 Cecil: Still, I can’t defy the king… I’m a hopeless coward.
 NARRATOR: Rosa turns and takes a few steps towards the stairs.
 Rosa: The Cecil I know would never whimper like this! The Cecil I love…
 NARRATOR: At last, Cecil looks at Rosa, but she continues to address the stairs.
[RPG Rabbit: So this is getting a little ridiculous. There are only so many ways I can explain how hard Cecil and Rosa are trying to NOT look at each other during this increasingly awkward conversation. Writing this adaptation has left me continually amazed at how much expression the developers were able to wring out of these crappy little sprites. But I think it’s really important to describe how hard they are trying to not look at each other, because it says a lot about them and about their relationship. Hopefully this isn’t too redundant.] [Calvin Redburn: I think it works beautifully.]
 Rosa: You leave for Mist early tomorrow, right?
 NARRATOR: Rosa casts her eyes to the floor. Cecil rises from his bed and goes to her.
 Cecil: Don’t worry. Kain’s coming, too.
 NARRATOR: Cecil studies his feet.
 Cecil: I’ll be fine. Trust me.
 NARRATOR: Rosa turns to him one last time.
 Rosa: Please come back safe, okay?
 NARRATOR: She hurries down the stairs without looking back. Cecil does not look up as she leaves. [RPG Rabbit: They don’t look at each other even ONCE during this scene.] Once she is gone, he gazes after her, then looks at his feet once again.
 Cecil: Thanks, Rosa…
MUSIC CUE: FADE OUT “Theme of Love.” Silence. [RPG Rabbit: In the game, Cecil’s bedroom fades to black as the music does, but we get about a six second silent, black screen before the next scene fades up. I don’t know if we want a pause of that length (and this might have been loading on the PS1), but we might want a little pause.]
 NARRATOR: The following morning, Cecil descends the stairs into the castle keep. He meets Kain in the hall.
 Kain: So, are you ready for some real combat?
 Cecil: Always.
 Kain: Lead the way.
SOUND EFFECT: Door opens.
MUSIC CUE: “Prologue”
 NARRATOR: Cecil and Kain pass through the courtyard together. Side by side, they leave Baron Castle.
SOUND EFFECT: Door opens.
 NARRATOR: They pause on the drawbridge, and then the two of them set forth to begin their journey.
The Crystals shed their light silently…
MUSIC CUE: FADE OUT “Prologue”.
MUSIC CUE: FADE IN “Main Theme.”
 NARRATOR: Kain and Cecil leave Baron Castle. The valley of Mist lies to the northwest, [Calvin Redburn: I don’t think this is entirely accurate. The route doesn’t take them through Baron; it’d be more efficient to skip the town. Would it make more narrative sense to give them a reason? Like, they stop in Baron to restock their supplies, or something like that?] but the pair takes a detour through the town of Baron to stock up on supplies before setting out on their journey.
MUSIC CUE: FADE OUT “Main Theme.” FADE IN “Welcome to Our Town!”
Baron Soldier: The king forbids you from entering the castle until you have delivered the Bomb Ring to Mist Village.
Baron Soldier: The king forbids you from entering the castle until you have delivered the Bomb Ring to Mist Village.
 NARRATOR: The town stands in the shadow of Baron Castle. Built of white stone and paved in cobbles, Baron appears to be a prosperous settlement, with a spacious inn and a few shops peddling weapons, armor, and general supplies. As Kain and Cecil come within the city walls, a young boy runs past on a circuitous route around the central square. Cecil greets him.
 Kid: That’s cool-lookin’ armor. Hey, aren’t you… DARK KNIGHT! HEEELP!
 NARRATOR: The boy runs off. [Calvin Redburn: Would “runs away” sound better?] [RPG Rabbit: Yeah, but he doesn’t run away from Cecil, he just goes back to his route in a weird circle around the city.] Nearby, an old man shakes his head.
[148.5] Old Man: The king is gravely mistaken in ordering his men to master the dark sword.
Man: You wish to go to the Mist valley? You must head to the cavern northwest of Baron.
Woman: Beware of the mist!
 NARRATOR: The party stops by the Inn.
[Calvin Redburn: I think this would be a good opportunity to splice in the Inkeeper’s dialogue. The girl makes her little statement, and then the innkeeper interjects. “Will you be staying?”
“Please come again.”
I think it’s a nice touch.]
[0150.25] Innkeeper: It’s 50 Gil per night. Will you be staying?
[0150.5] Cecil: No.
[0150.75] Innkeeper: Please come again.
 NARRATOR: Cecil and Kain continue down the hall, past the notice that advertises an opening for cute and talented dancers. [RPG Rabbit: Which is an ACTUAL THING on the wall in here.] Passing one of the housekeepers in the hall, Cecil greets her.
 Woman: Sir Cecil of the Red Wings! I-I’ve done nothing wrong! I’ve paid my taxes!
 NARRATOR: Cecil considers ordering a drink.
 Barkeeper: W-welcome, sir. Please order anything you’d like, free of charge, of course.
 NARRATOR: But there is nothing in the inn that sustains his interest. On the way out of the building, Cecil notices a pair of decorative swords on the wall. When he reaches out to touch them (SOUND EFFECT: DOOR OPENS), an unnoticed door painted to look like the wall cracks open. Beyond the secret door lies a small room containing three chests. They contain restorative potions of several kinds and a far-seeing spyglass. No one appears to be paying any attention, so Cecil pockets the items, and then the leave the inn. He and Kain next stop by Rosa’s house to visit her mother. (SOUND EFFECT: DOOR OPENS) Inside the house, a cheerful fire burns in the grate in the living room. The kitchen is clean and well-kept, wood stacked neatly beside the stove and cooking utensils hanging on the wall. Rosa’s mother, a plump woman with her hair up in a bun, greets Kain and Cecil.
 Rosa’s Mother: I hear the king and you boys are up to no good these days. Whatever it is you’re all doing, keep Rosa out of it, you hear?
 NARRATOR: Leaving Rosa’s house, the party crosses a footbridge and enters the northernmost end of the town, where a reservoir of clear water feeds the canals that snake through the city. Cecil salutes a young lady in a frothy red dress.
 Dancer: No, I didn’t say anything about the king! Really! Wait, I’ll show you something neat.
MUSIC CUE: CUT OFF “Welcome to Our Town.” PLAY “ [Calvin Redburn: It’s a 16 bit rendition of “The Gladiators’ Arrival” or whatever. I always thought of it as a crazy circus song, but it’s about gladiators.] [RPG Rabbit: Did not know this! How did you know this?] [Calvin Redburn: I don’t know. Probably one of those random factoids from Dad.] [RPG Rabbit: Thanks, dad.]16-Bit Gladiator’s Arrival” [RPG Rabbit: Thanks, sound wizard.]
 NARRATOR: The young lady whips off her dress and flings it away from her. Dressed in nothing but scant strips of white cloth, she launches into an athletic, leaping dance. After brief showcase of her talents, she spins over to her dress and slips into it in a single graceful motion. She twirls to a stop in front of Cecil. Eager to escape this awkward situation, [RPG Rabbit: I DON’T KNOW HOW ELSE TO TRANSITION OUT OF THIS.] Cecil descends the reservoir stairs and steps through a gate in the city walls into a pleasant meadow surrounded by trees. An old woman enjoying the fresh air attempts to strike up a conversation.
 Old Woman: That building over yonder…on the west side? Oh yeah…It leads to an old waterway that goes all the way to the castle. But I reckon it’s always locked. [Calvin Redburn: This may be worth including. Does this waterway come back at some point? In the narrative, I mean.] [RPG Rabbit: It does, yes. It’s a plot point later.] [Calvin Redburn: So do you suppose we should include it? I think so!]
 NARRATOR: Cecil takes note of this before heading back into the center of town. The party enters a small, square building. (SOUND EFFECT: Door opens.) Inside, a soldier stands before a closed-off room. He greets Cecil.
 Baron Soldier: The Devil’s Road leads to Mysidia, but it has remained closed since the Mysidians sealed their end. Baron once actively traded with Mysidia via this path. The stairs lead to the training room.
 NARRATOR: Cecil and Kain descend a flight of stairs into a torchlit room. Five soldiers and an old man confer around a grouping of tables while a strange man in a large yellow hat skulks in the corner. Cecil questions one of the soldiers about him.
Baron Soldier: If your inventory becomes full, go talk to Fat Chocobo in a Chocobo Forest. He will hold onto your stuff for you. Use a Gysahl when the smell of chocobo is in the air.
Baron Soldier: To escape from battle, press the R1 and L1 buttons simultaneously. You can cast some spells on multiple targets. During battle, press the left directional button to target all enemies or the right directional button to target all allies. When casting magic outside of battle, press the left button or the right button to target all allies.
 Baron Soldier: The man next to you is Namingway. Talk to him if you want to change your name. [Calvin Redburn: This and the Namingway conversation below I think would be adorable to include.]
Baron Soldier: Move characters with low vitalities to the Back Row. Press the left directional button during battle to switch between front and back rows, and press the right directional button to Parry. To use a weapon in your inventory during battle, select Item and press the up directional button until the Weapon Menu appears. You can wield different weapons and replenish arrows by choosing them in this menu.
Old Man: you must make quick decisions in battle! Slow down the battle speed if you’re still a beginner. If you select “Active” Battle Mode in the Config Menu, monsters will attack even while you are choosing items or magic.
Baron Soldier: Caverns have save points. Use them wisely.
 Namingway: Well, hello. Do you wish to change your name?
 Cecil: No.
 Namingway: Very well. If you ever change your mind, I am always at your service.
 NARRATOR: Leaving the training room and the Devil’s Road behind, Cecil and Kain visit Cid’s house in the northwest corner of Baron. (SOUND EFFECT: Door opens.) The house is spacious, with a crackling fireplace [RPG Rabbit: I diiiid mention the sleeping noises, but not the books.] and bookshelves containing tomes with titles like Birds of the World, The History of Shipbuilding, and The Principles of Buoyancy. Cid is asleep, muttering to himself of engines amidst his snores.
[0168.5] Cid: Zzz…I did it! Zzz…new…Zzz…engine…Zzz…[Calvin Redburn: I think the sleeping noises should be voiced, though. Not just mentioned in narration…it would be easy to splice it in the narration, actually…] [RPG Rabbit: Ha, okay! I want to hear you make wacky Cid sleeping noises anyway.]
[0168.75] NARRATOR: Cid’s daughter takes Cecil aside.
 Cid’s daughter: Cecil, please tell Dad to stop pulling all-nighters. He’s been so confrontational lately he doesn’t listen to me. He’s been arguing a lot with some of the townspeople, too, because they’re always badmouthing the king and the soldiers.
(bookshelf): Birds of the World
(bookshelf): The History of Shipbuilding
(bookshelf): Principles of Buoyancy
[Calvin Redburn: I think these should be included! Cid’s sleeping noises, and the books can be casually mentioned in the narration.]
Woman: If you’re journeying far, you mustn’t forget to bring Potions, Antidotes, and Tents along.
(white chocobo): White Chocobo, gotcha! (heals MP)
(yellow chocobo): Chocobo, giddyup! (ride chocobo)
“I smell chocobo in the air.”
“Enter Fat Chocobo!”
Fat Chocobo: Yeaaah…?
Fat Chocobo: Huff-Huff-Heave-Heave
(if full): Stuuuffed…
(if full): Dispooose…
 NARRATOR: Cecil and Kain leave Cid’s house and head to item shop. After purchasing a few potions, [Calvin Redburn: In my game, Kain and Cecil have no funds at all at this point and therefore can buy no potions…] [RPG Rabbit: There was money in a chest in the castle.] (SOUND EFFECT: Item Select cursor and Kaching!) [RPG Rabbit: Can you rip these from the Item Store in your game?] they leave the protective shelter of the city walls and strike out to the north.MUSIC CUE: FADE OUT “Welcome to Our Town!” FADE IN “Main Theme.” Skirting the edge of the desert, they enter a dense forest, where they are almost immediately beset by Imps (SOUND CUE: Enter battle! MUSIC CUE: STOP “Main Theme” PLAY “Fight 1”), small goblin-like creatures dressed all in green and armed with wicked daggers. [Calvin Redburn: wouldn’t want to do a play-by-play of every fight in the game, but this being the first interactive one I think it would be fun. Say,
The first imp attacks, but…
Cecil retaliates with…
Kain uses his spear thing and finishes the second.
The third imp attacks.
(A new round begins)
The third imp attacks.
You know. Whatever. I think it would be exciting to do a rapid fire baseball-announcer kind of rundown. I have all the necessary sound effects.
OH and does anyone get poisoned here? I would love to sound-effect the rooting through the inventory to get an antidote.] [Calvin Redburn: Also, how many battles do you suppose there are on the way? It’s worth mentioning. Perhaps reflect back on what…someone? said about monsters being everywhere. During a narration of… “Three more times the party is accosted by the creatures, once another troupe of imps and once by some whatever…” I can fade in and out subtle battle music and sound effects. I don’t know how well it will work, but I’d love to try!] The first imp attacks, but his small knife can do little against the armor of a dark knight or a dragoon. Cecil retaliates with a deadly blow from his blade(SOUND EFFECT: Sword hits) (SOUND EFFECT: Dead monster). Kain attacks the next imp with his spear, and it meets a similar fate (SOUND EFFECT: Sword hits) (SOUND EFFECT: Dead monster). The third imp gets in a final attack before falling to the edge of Cecil’s sword. (SOUND EFFECT: Sword hits) (SOUND EFFECT: Dead monster). (MUSIC CUE: STOP “Fight 1” PLAY “Victory Fanfare” STOP “Victory Fanfare” FADE IN “Main Theme”) Kain and Cecil find a small store of gil on the bodies of the imps. They feel a little more experienced. Once safely through the forest, the pair cross a bridge over the river into a more mountainous area. Following the course of the river, they travel along the edge of a wooded area, fighting off Float-Eyes and yet more Imps. At the mouth of the river, they cross another bridge and follow the shore of a wide lake fed by a great cascading waterfall into another short expanse of forest. Here they are beset by great golden Eagles and Sword Rats, hedgehogs of unusual size with sharp quills. Once free of the dense trees, Kain and Cecil enter a long pass through the mountains. After cutting their way through flocks of Float-Eyes, they finally reach the mouth of Mist Cave at the end of the pass. [RPG Rabbit: I was surprised at how small the encounter rate is, so not a lot of battles, I think, though I have not yet made it to Mist. I was sleepy so I went to bed.]
MUSIC CUE: FADE OUT “Main Theme” FADE IN “Into the Darkness”
Though the cave’s titular [Calvin Redburn: ( . Y . )] mist makes it difficult for Kain and Cecil to make out details, they can see that the brown stone of the interior is terraced [Calvin Redburn: Terrace verb-noun usage seems awkward.] in multiple levels. Rough-hewn stairs carved into the stone ease the traversal between each small plateau. Hidden by mist, the monsters of the cave ambush the party all the more effectively. Before the pair can climb the first set of stairs, Kain and Cecil are attacked by two enormous Sand Moths and their monstrous larvae. The purple-winged moths and their colorful young are sturdier than the enemies that the party fought in the mountain pass, but they are still no match for a dragoon and a dark knight, and Kain and Cecil make quick work of these giant insects. The Sand Moths are not the only threat within the cave. Yet more Imps assail the pair with daggers drawn, but they are no more dangerous than their forest-dwelling brethren, and they are quickly dispatched. As Kain and Cecil crest a stairway leading to a rough wooden bridge that spans a chasm filled with thick mist, a voice echoes through the cave.
 Muthafuckin Mist Monster: “GO BACK.”
 Cecil: Who’s there!? Show yourself!
 NARRATOR: Silence is the only response Cecil’s shout. He and Kain continue onward, crossing the bridge upon whose precarious slats they fight off an ambush by Imps and Swordrats. The enemies are easily overcome and the bridge crossed. Once on the other side, Cecil notices a chest resting on an earthen terrace below. He and Kain take a circuitous detour to investigate the chest’s contents, a tent, perhaps stored here for safekeeping by some traveler. Taking it, they return to the path and continue deeper into the cave. As the pair reach the top of a stairway leading to a wide plateau strewn with boulders, the voice rings forth again.
 Muthafuckin Mist Monster: “LEAVE AT ONCE.”
 Kain: Could that be the Beast of Mist Valley?
 NARRATOR: Finally, Kain and Cecil climb the last stairway towards the cave’s exit. For a third time, the voice rumbles through the mist.
MUSIC CUE: STOP “Into the Darkness”
 Muthafuckin Mist Monster: “KNIGHTS OF BARON.”
 Kain: Who are you!?
MUSIC CUE: PLAY “Suspicion”
 Muthafuckin Mist Monster: “LEAVE NOW, AND NO HARM WILL BEFALL YOU.”
 Kain: Confident bastard, aren’t you?
 Muthafuckin Mist Monster: “YOU REFUSE?”
 Cecil: We have to go to Mist Village. We’re not going back. [Calvin Redburn: Although this is said when “yes” is selected, I think it would work if we omitted the yes/no option. So, “You refuse?” ” We have to go to Mist Village…” It also helps maybe strengthen Cecil’s determination to be loyal in his station, despite whatever other misgivings he has had.]
 Muthafuckin Mist Monster:”SO BE IT.”
 Kain: The mist is gathering!
 NARRATOR: The mist swirls around Kain and Cecil in a tightening circle, coalescing before them into the ghostly form of a dragon.
MUSIC CUE: STOP “Suspicion” PLAY “Fight 2” [RPG Rabbit: So when you’re in this battle, I am noticing that if you stay in the battle long enough (for instance, if you’re, say, pausing it for long lengths of time to type descriptions), instead of continuing to loop, the song eventually just fades out and starts over.]
The dragon’s eyes glow with a dull incandescence in a tapered head that crowns a long, spined neck. Small wings cling to its translucent back, but here its clearly-defined form begins to disperse into mist. It lashes out with wispy claws to to tear at Kain. It scrabbles insubstantially at the dragoon’s armor. Cecil raises his sword, feels it pulse with energy, and flings purple arcs of light [Calvin Redburn: What?] [RPG Rabbit: Well….I was trying to describe Cecil’s Dark attack. He does a pose, the sword flashes purple for a few seconds, and then he flings flashing purple crescent moons at his enemies.] [Calvin Redburn: Oh! Then I think that sounds great.] at the mist dragon. They tear through the dragon’s vaporous body but seem to do little damage. Cecil has to catch his breath; [Calvin Redburn: I think the narration should be a direct interpretation of what is being presented in the game. I don’t mind you being descriptive, but this sounds like you’re reaching, or adding your own narration into the plot. Is this supposed to be a way of saying that Cecil cannot act until his next turn?
I’m sorry, I don’t mean to push you around and get my way. I love how you write and you do amazing things with it, but I think maybe you would benefit from thinking of yourself as a sort of “creative transcriber” rather than a narrator.] [RPG Rabbit: Well, I was trying to find a narrative way to describe the fact that using the Dark attack drains Cecil’s health.] [Calvin Redburn: I see! I didn’t realize that Cecil had a dark attack, or that it hurt him to use it.] attacking with the powers he learned as a dark knight [Calvin Redburn: I think this sounds better without “always.” That’s implied, isn’t it? I don’t think the audience will think this is the only time it happens.] leaves him drained. [Calvin Redburn: Again, this…I’m not sure what you’re talking about. Is this RPG Rabbit adding flavor to the narration, or are you talking about something specific to the game that I’m not seeing? I don’t mean to sound condescending, but I don’t know how to word it better…] [RPG Rabbit: The Dark attack, duuuude! Cecil’s ONLY power!] [Calvin Redburn: I don’t have anything called a Dark Attack in my game.] [RPG Rabbit: It’s right there in the combat menu.] [Calvin Redburn: Okay, I just looked it up. Apparently, that attack was removed in the American release, and only added back in in the Chronicles release.] [RPG Rabbit: How strange!] Kain leaps high into the air before hurling himself spear-first at his foe. This seems to cause the creature more distress than Cecil’s dark attacks. Its body flickers for a moment, then evaporates [Calvin Redburn: In light of my recent comments, I want to say I do like this. I don’t want to give you the impression that I don’t like what you’re doing, because I do. One caveat, though: does it “explode” into mist? Or does it sort of just dissipate?
I like the bit about Cecil being in mid-swing, since, when I fought him, I had already commanded Cecil to attack and couldn’t recall him before he lept at the mist like a jerk.] [RPG Rabbit: Eh, the noise sounded explodey, but I can find a different word for “dissipate” in my thesaurus.] into a cloud of formless mist. Cecil’s sword, already in mid-swing, slashes through the mist harmlessly. The white cloud seems to glow, and Cecil and Kain are enveloped in a sudden sheet of glittering blue frost, chilled to the bone by a mist so cold it hurts.
“Dragon turned into mist”
“Attacking mist is futile”
“Attacking causes Cold Mist”
“Attack when dragon appears”
“Returning to dragon form”
[RPG Rabbit: Okay, so this is gibberish. Can I reword this?]
 NARRATOR: Cecil realizes that attacking the dragon when it turns into mist is futile. Doing so causes the creature to retaliate with bitterly cold mist. He warns Kain to hold his attacks until the dragon reappears. The mist reassembles its droplets into the shape of a dragon once again. Kain and Cecil are ready for it, lashing out at once with sword and spear. After sustaining a few of their blows, the dragon once again retreats into formlessness. Kain, halfway through an attack, swings his spear through the wispy cloud, prompting another blast of cold mist.
The dragon reforms itself, and Kain and Cecil continue to batter at its vaporous body. Sooner than either expected, a final blow from Kain scatters the mist dragon into nothingness.
MUSIC CUE: STOP “Fight 2” START “Victory Fanfare” STOP “Victory Fanfare” START “Into Darkness”
 NARRATOR: Nothing more stands between the knights of Baron and Mist Valley.
MUSIC CUE: FADE OUT “Into Darkness” FADE UP “Main Theme”
Kain and Cecil emerge [Calvin Redburn: This and the next paragraph both begin with “Kain and Cecil emerge…”] from the darkness of Mist Cave into a green and sunlit valley surrounded on all sides by mountains. Ahead, protected by a narrow pass through the craggy peaks that crowd it on either side, lies the village of Mist. Kain and Cecil enter the little town.
MUSIC CUE: FADE OUT “Main Theme” FADE IN “Welcome to Our Town”
They move through a clearing in the trees into a pleasant town, with houses built of light brown bricks and roofed with blue tile. The entire village is carpeted with bright green grass. A cheerful inn perches on a bluff at the center of the town, overlooking the other houses. As the knights of Baron leave the shelter of the trees and pass the first of the buildings, Cecil cries out in alarm.
MUSIC CUE: STOP “Welcome to Our Town”
 Cecil: The ring’s glowing!
 Narrator: Four flashes of blinding white light rip through the village.
SOUND EFFECT: Bling bling bling bling! MUSIC CUE: START “Ring of Bomb”
Countless Bombs emerge from the ring in Cecil’s hand, circling the pair of knights in a whirling maelstrom of flame. These blazing creatures [Calvin Redburn: Why is this flagged as a spelling error?] grin with mouths full of sparks and glare with eyes full of fire. They spread out through the town in an ever-widening circle. The village glows red with the heat of their embers. The Bombs soar through the streets, over roofs, around the trees, and above Kain and Cecil, who can do nothing but watch the destruction.
 Kain: My god!
 Cecil: …This is it? This is why he sent us!?
 Kain: The entire village in flames…
 Narrator: Cecil runs towards the center of the village, then stops.
 Cecil: WHY!!!
 NARRATOR: A child’s voice cuts through the smoke and the flames.
 Baby Rydia: “Nooo! Mommy!”
 NARRATOR: Cecil searches for the source of the screams.
 Cecil: !?
 NARRATOR: Cecil races up an alleyway, to the north of the inn, Kain hurrying behind him. A small girl with bright green hair kneels beside the prone body of a red-haired woman. When she sees Cecil, she rushes to him.
 Baby Rydia: My mom’s dragon died, so my mom also…
 Cecil: What!?
 Kain: People with the power to summon monsters–the summoners… They really exist.
 Cecil: Then…her mother died because we killed the dragon.
 NARRATOR: The girl backs away from Kain and Cecil and stands beside the corpse of her mother.
 Baby Rydia: You killed my mom’s dragon!!?
 Cecil: We didn’t know. I’m…I’m sorry.
 NARRATOR: Cecil turns away from the girl and bows his head. Kain faces him.
 Kain: So this is the king’s wish…to annihilate every summoner in this village. …I’m afraid we have to take care of her, too.
 NARRATOR: Cecil raises his head to stare at his childhood friend.
 Cecil: WHAT!?
 Kain: I know, but it’s the king’s orders.
 Cecil: Kain! She’s just a child!
 Kain: you intend to defy the king?
 Cecil: I refuse to continue this slaughter in the king’s name!
 NARRATOR: Cecil advances towards Kain, who takes a step back.
 Kain: Damn…I was afraid you’d say that. Well, I can’t kill you, so I might as well join you.
 Cecil: Kain.
 Kain: I owe the king so much, but I can’t disgrace the dragoons. Not on my life.
 Cecil: I guess we’re both traitors hereon.
 Kain: Opposing the mightiest kingdom in the land…We’ll need allies to survive. We have to rescue Rosa somehow, too.
 Cecil: Thanks, Kain.
 Kain: Save it. I’m not doing it for you.
 NARRATOR: Kain looks away from Cecil for a moment, then turns back.
 Kain: We’d better get going. What should we do about that girl?
 Cecil: We can’t leave her.
 NARRATOR: Cecil advances towards the small girl, Kain at his side.
 Cecil: It’s alright. We’re not going to hurt you. Come with us, okay?
 Baby Rydia: No!
 NARRATOR: The girl backs away. Kain pushes Cecil out of the way and pursues her.
 Kain: Come on! We have to go now!
 Baby Rydia: No! Stay away!!
 NARRATOR: The girl retreats yet further, coming to a stop beside a pool of water that glows red with the reflection of the surrounding flames.
 Cecil: Wait!
 NARRATOR: Kain chases after the child, and Cecil follows close on his heels.
 Baby Rydia: I hate you!! You killed my mom!!
 NARRATOR: The girl attacks!
SOUND EFFECT: Battle start.
 Baby Rydia: Go awaaay!!
 NARRATOR: The green-haired girl lifts her arms and an enormous man with rippling muscles the color of earth materializes before her, a bodyguard of living stone. The earthen colossus lunges towards Kain and Cecil, and a great chasm in the earth is rent asunder beneath their very feet. An earthquake tears through the valley of Mist and batters the knights of Baron into unconsciousness.
MUSIC CUE: FADE OUT “Ring of Bomb”
When Cecil awakens, he finds himself in a circular clearing of green grass surrounded on all sides by trees. He blinks a few times, then stands. The green-hair girl lies a few feet from him on the grass, apparently unschathed. Cecil hurries to her side.
 Cecil: She’s safe. Thank goodness. (!!) [RPG Rabbit: This is in a separate dialogue box. There is certainly a lot of vocalized punctuation in this game.]
 NARRATOR: Cecil whirls and looks behind him.
 Cecil: Kain?
 NARRATOR: He spins around and searches the other side of the clearing.
 Cecil: Kain!
 NARRATOR: There is no response but silence. Cecil hangs his head.
 Cecil: I hope he’s safe… I have to get her out of here.
 NARRATOR: Cecil takes the small girl in his arms and leaves the secluded safety of the clearing.
MUSIC CUE: FADE IN “Main Theme”
When he leaves the shelter of the trees, Cecil discovers that the earthquake has reformed the land around them. Jagged peaks of rock preclude his return in the direction from which he came. The only way is forward, deeper into the mountain pass. He heads north. Soon, the mountains give way to a vast desert. At the sand’s edge, he is attacked by Sand Men, reptilian hominoids with brown, scaly skin. They fall easily before his dark blade. Cecil enters the desert. The pale sand stretches vastly before him. In its wastes, more Sand Men lurk, accompanied by Sandpedes, dark brown centipedes of enormous size. Neither enemy can pierce his armor. At the center of the desert, Cecil comes upon a wide oasis. On its banks squats a small city. Cecil enters its sheltering walls.
Old Man: What the hell are you doing here!? This cavern is swarming with monsters! Return to Kaipo!
MUSIC CUE: FADE OUT “Main Theme” FADE IN “Welcome to Our Town”
The city walls are built of stone the color of the sand surrounding it, but the cobbled streets within the walls are welcoming. Small, domed buildings of white stone overlook the cool oasis waters that flow in canals between the cobbles.
 Cecil: I have to find her a place to rest.
 NARRATOR: Cecil looks around, then spots a spacious Inn at the center of the town. He hurries over a bridge that crosses the canal and enters the inn.
SOUND EFFECT: Door open
The Innkeeper greets him.
 Innkeeper: Welcome. Oh, is she hurt!? Take her inside! No charge, just go ahead!
 Cecil: Thank you.
 NARRATOR: Cecil hustles past the Innkeeper into the main room of the inn, a large chamber containing six neatly-made beds. He carries the small girl to the cot farthest from the door and tucks her between the sheets. Her eyes blink open. When she sees Cecil, she turns her face away from him.
MUSIC CUE: FADE OUT “Welcome to Our Town”
 Cecil: Hey. Are you okay?
 NARRATOR: The girl does not respond.
 Cecil: My name is Cecil. What’s yours?
 NARRATOR: The girl says nothing.
 Cecil: …I’m sorry about your mom. I understand if you can’t forgive me. Will you at least let me protect you?
 NARRATOR: The girl does not speak. Cecil climbs into the bed that is next to hers and closes his eyes. Once he is asleep, the girl turns over in her bed and regards him for a moment. Then she sleeps.
In the dead of the night, the door to the inn bursts open.
SOUND EFFECT: Door open. MUSIC CUE: “Castle of Baron”
Three soldiers of Baron led by a general enter the Inn unannounced. Cecil leaps out of his bed and plants himself between the soldiers and the girl. The soldiers come to a halt and stand at attention. The general approaches Cecil.
 General: Cecil! Finally I’ve found you.
 NARRATOR: The green-haired girl cowers in her bed.
 Baby Rydia: !
 Cecil: Wait! The king–
 General: I am here on the king’s orders. All summoners of Mist must be annihilated. Now hand over the girl.
 Baby Rydia: !!
 Cecil: No.
 General: Kill him.
MUSIC CUE: STOP “Kingdom of Baron” START “Fight 2”
 General: Attack!
 NARRATOR: At the general’s order, all three soldiers fiercely attack Cecil, one after another in quick succession. After their onslaught, Cecil retaliates. The soldiers are no match for Cecil, and they are easily dispatched. The general is made of sterner stuff, but once his men have fallen, he makes a hasty retreat.
MUSIC CUE: START “Victory Fanfare” STOP
Once Cecil is certain that no more threats lurk in the shadows, he returns to the girl’s bedside. She cowers still under the sheets, her eyes shut tight.
 Baby Rydia: Are you okay?
 Cecil: Yeah. Don’t worry. I won’t let anyone hurt you.
 Baby Rydia: You promise?
 Cecil: I promise.
 NARRATOR: The green-haired girl opens her eyes and looks at Cecil.
MUSIC CUE: START “Rydia”
 Baby Rydia: …I’m Rydia.
 Cecil: Rydia…
 NARRATOR: “Summoner Rydia joined the party” Cecil kept watch as she slept for the rest of the night. [Calvin Redburn: This could possibly be a good stopping point.]