Porom did not recognize Ceodore at first, and he did not recognize her at all, but an exchange of names soon had them on fair terms. Apparently Porom had not been to see Ceodore since he was a baby, which is reasonable (if sad, given that I think most of the cast would want to keep in contact) given how they live on opposite sides of the world. Oh, by the way, did I mention that before this write-up alone is over, the game’s poor sense of time keeping and distance will have us outrunning airships cross-continent on foot? Just a random observation, no reason!
Porom wanted to help the party, but with the Elder in poor shape, she did not feel comfortable leaving the Tower of “Wishes” unattended (goodness sakes’, Square, if you’re going to uncensor the original game’s “Tower of Prayers” in the Complete Collection, uncensor the sequel too!). This was an odd motive, since there are other mages at the Tower, but the line was probably meant to show just how important our former White Mage had become in Mysidian politics. Instead, she assigned an anonymous White and Black mage to join our party, asking the White Mage to open the Devil’s Path to Baron. This was the path Cecil was able to just skip through because he was a Paladin. We would not have things go so easily, as apparently no one has swept the place out in 17 years to help resume trade with Baron.
By the way, Porom almost recognized Not-Kain on our way out, but this was cleverly played off as a gag about her just then noticing Ceodore’s silent companion for the first time, and Kyle and I did not realize it was a hint until we had worked the whole thing out!
Let’s talk about those two anonymous mages, who were actually playable characters like the generic Monks in the Interlude. Kyle pointed out to me that despite being very low level and incapable of gaining more levels for some reason, these two mages both had more MP than Tellah ever had (~150 each). We know Tellah’s low MP represented poor his aging body and mind, but it was just rubbing salt on the wounds of our late Sage. Poor guy. We bought our guests some staves to save them MP (a Fire and a Healing staff) and headed into the teleporter, finding the Devil’s Path to be composed of two mazes: one a teleporter maze and the next a maze with one-way passages. There was no boss, so the dungeon was really of no particular note. We shrugged it off and pressed through to Baron.
For some reason, the mages interpreted their orders to “bring us safely to Baron” as orders to transport us to the castle, not the city, and so graciously stuck around a little longer. Lucky! Things were going a little weird in town: though the people in town talked about the attack we had been weathered with Cecil in the introduction, it would appear that everything had been resolved peaceably. However, investigation showed that the guards at the castle gate were practically automatons. This was “just like before,” according to Definitely-Not-Kain, and he instructed us to hit the underground passage to the castle like we had in the main game. To do so, we returned to town.
Before we press on, I should mention that, during our interviews, we heard a rumour that was related to Kain. Well… this is when I remember it, at least. One said that Kain was still holed up at Mount Ordeals. Hm. Dragoon-armoured Kain would later appear in one of TAY’s irritating cutaways to other locations, well after we had concluded the he was the Hooded Man. That scene also showed “Kain” still on Mount Ordeals, backing up the rumour. Despite, we stuck to our theory that the Hooded Man was Kain, as it only grows stronger with time despite these odd, left-field counterattacks from the game. Weirder things have happened!
Back to our actual search, after talking to Ceodore’s maternal grandmother and later, Cid’s daughter, the latter gave us the key to the underground passage. In a nice touch, Cid’s daughter had been married and had a son in that time. The son was even named “Mid” after Cid’s grandson from FFV!
This dungeon was pretty quick, though the monsters were more annoying than our original play-through as we weren’t able to overload on Thunder weapons. Once we got through, Not-Kain was shocked to learn that Ceodore was actually Cecil and Rosa’s son. making us wonder how he could possibly not have known this after all their time together. He’s known his name all this time, by the way, he just didn’t realize that this Ceodore was the crown prince of Baron? The Hooded Man’s potential identity as Kain is not even a factor in my mocking this. It’s just too odd that Not-Kain really wouldn’t know Ceodore’s name when Cecil and Baron are both world famous. True, I couldn’t tell you Barack Obama’s kids’ names at the time of writing,despite the importance of the United States on real-world politics, but Baron is more important to the Blue Planet than any country is to Earth (remember, there are only five countries on the surface of the Blue Planet, and two of them are recovering from being wiped off the face of the map). Furthermore, Obama may be a big celebrity, but he never went to the moon to fight an alien hate-monster, and on top of even that, Obama’s kids aren’t guaranteed to rule the place one day, while Ceodore will almost certainly grow up to be king! Also: his name is Ceodore. How many Ceodores do you actually bump into in a year? Later evidence from Not-Kain makes his confusion even more baffling!
…Shit, what were we talking about? Right. Baron Castle. Inside, the party split: the mages left, and Ceodore actually left us as well, leaving us in control of Not-Kain. Not-Kain overheard some voices, and found the real Baron guards locked up in the prison. He went to find Cecil, but with no luck: the castle seemed empty, at least until he tried to leave the Throne Room and Cecil found him. What little Cecil said made it clear enough that he was either under mind control or had been replaced, probably the former as he almost recognized Not-Kain before our hooded friend split. Cecil let him go at first, and Not-Kain met up with Ceodore (we were delighted to find that Ceodore’s equipment had not been wiped out in this brief separation) and they headed out. Only then did Cecil set his guards on their tail.
Our pair headed to Mist, since it was the last place Cecil would look for a pair of fugitives escaping on foot on a continent with no other destinations (don’t worry, this time things will make sense in a cutscene or three). We then behaved even more like fugitives by lollygagging around doing nothing as the moon went through its phases, in hopes of finding a special extra-hard monster in Mist Cave in hopes of a reward (someone in town had mentioned the secret, this wasn’t something we had to come up with on our own like in an arcane 80 or 90’s secret, thank goodness). We found the monster, but there was no reward, unless you count a near TPK, and please, don’t. I’m not sure what the point was of this horrible monster. If the monster was attached to some sort of random drop, I can only say that it absolutely failed in its purpose, as its lack of reward discouraged Kyle and I from tracking down any other such monster for the rest of the game!I can presume that the game was trying to keep us from going to the cave under certain phases by scaring us with the monster, but it’s not as though the phase would have helped u! It was no real loss, and even if it had been, Kyle and I were well on our way to getting used to fighting under any lunar conditions, and that was certainly helpful.
After the initial disatser, Kyle and I headed in during another lunar cycle, but only got so far through the Cave when a strange earthquake knocked Ceodore off a bridge. Not-Kain then showed some of his Definitely-Not-Dragoon jumping skills by jumping in after Ceodore and sticking the landing. Though, come to think of it, the jumping might have not been a hint about Not-Kain’s identity. After all, Ceodore also made it out of his fall without injury… if somewhat without pride.
Now lost in some forgotten, subterranean section of Mist Cave, we started to climb, only to find that the game wanted us to go even deeper at first. Pain in our ass. Luckily, we found a shop-keeper to resupply our bags. After a while, we found the boss monster that was causing the shaking. I’m afraid to say that I didn’t mean to approach him when I did, having figured I was on the side-path, not the main. As a result, I missed a chance to save and heal, but the boss – a tunnelling worm – was not that hard, thanks in large part to its reliance on Earthquake just after Ceodore got Float.
With the thing dead, we were able to return to the original Mist Cave from the main game. We were nearly surrounded by Baron zombie-soldiers. but were saved by the mist of the cave. Not-Kain was clearly shocked at the irony of the Mist Dragon’s spirit helping him, but he and Ceodore headed out, intending to climb over the mountains Titan had created at the start of the original game. Not-Kain insisted that this was something no one would expect. I doubt they would! Probably because it doesn’t seem possible! On their way out, Ceodore asked Not-Kain what it was he was really working toward, and Not-Kain told him he was hunting a “Dragoon. Ex-Baron.” Ceodore said wait, and asked if the Dragoon’s name might have been…
One thing I should mention at the end of this tale is the Challenge Dungeons, introduced by a character from FFIV, “Namingway,” now calling himself “Challengingway” as a continuation of an FFIV DS joke. These bonus features were available at the end of every chapter in hopes of adding extra selling features during the days when this product was still episodic (cell phone and WiiWare). They were removed from the 3D versions, one of the first major losses to that particular platform. Oddly enough, Ceodore’s dungeon was also lost on many cell phone and WiiWare fans, since it got “erased” by the purchase of a later chapter that merges with this one. The Complete Collection keeps them safely apart to keep that from happening. Not that it mattered to Kyle and I, since we didn’t touch the dungeons to begin with!
These in-game chapter breaks are wreaking havoc on my word counts. Sorry for the early break today!