Purity Amidst Madness



The office I sat in was stuffy, and aside from Olan Durai, writing down my words, only a young woman in a risque dress underneath a cloak was with us. Olan's eyes had only grown wider and wider as my tale had finally gotten to the final attack on Orbonne.

It had only been three weeks since Ajora has risen from her grave. By the same token, it had only been three weeks since Ramza put her back there.

"After that, well, we were forced to climb back up the cliff. It took him nearly a day, but Mustadio figured out how to work one of the airships, and we escaped, finding a cave coming up from the bottom of a large chasm near Goug," I concluded, reaching over and taking a sip of the tea the other woman in the room had poured me. Though long cold, I downed it anyway. "I can only assume that wherever we went, it was not actually Hell. We met up with Rafa and the rest in Dorter, and your father obviously wanted to see you before we left... Though it was my idea to leave you with an account of the truth."

Olan looked stunned, despite the fact he'd seen his father just walk into the door of his estate with a bunch of hardened heretics less than six hours before. I slowly caught his eyes, giving him an even look.

"Olan, you must keep this a secret. With my account and the work you've done with Delita, you're probably the only one who knows the full truth of the War of the Lions. I certainly don't care what Delita has done nor do I care about the involvement of the Church at this point. They will," I informed him bluntly. I shifted a bit in my seat, continuing, "Your father and every one of us are the most wanted people in Ivalice at the moment. We intend to go to Ordallia, in the east, where we can safely hide. Should any danger befall you, your father wouldn't hear of it until after your funeral."

"I'll keep that in mind," Olan promised, nodding. He rose and strode to the window, opening it. "You know... It's funny. I've got to go to Alma's funeral shortly. But you said she was going to be watching it from afar. I suppose I should still go. The grave is empty and Alma's name is on it, but this may be my only chance to mourn Ramza."

"Ramza is dead," I nodded in confirmation.

"I assume you will all be gone by the time I return," Olan mused sadly, shaking his head. He glanced towards me with a small smile. "So what will you be doing now, Meliadoul?"

"Me? I'm getting married," I informed him simply, enjoying the way he sputtered in shock at the announcement. I rose and walked to the door, pausing briefly to glance back at him. "It's not Ramza, of course. I mean, it's not like he stole some perfume from me the very first time we fought. And it would certainly be silly to think that the enchantment in the perfume was the one thing which saved his life after the bottle broke in Altima's final explosion."

"Yes, that would be silly," Olan noted as he broke into laughter, glancing back out the window as I turned to leave.

"You understand, right? Ramza was the key to this. Without him, we're not worth the effort of pursuing," I said, not turning to face Olan. His laughter died out quickly, then.

"I understand, Meliadoul," Olan promised. His voice turned a little sad. "Ramza died down there, along with all of the rest of you."

I nodded once, then left.

My gloomy mood didn't last long. Once I rejoined my companions, my good cheer returned with haste. We departed perhaps half an hour after Olan left to go to Alma's funeral. Our plan was to meet up with her shortly and then move on to Ordallia with all haste.

Of course, I didn't care what Ramza thought about waiting. We were bloody well going to have a priest to marry us if I had to ordain Cid myself.

I wanted to be married tonight.


Author's Notes (Long, Story Conclusion Thoughts Ahoy):

I was going to drag the epilogue out, originally, but felt that keeping it short and letting you fill in the little gaps would be more fulfilling. Plus, you know, not having to write 10,000 words of boring Happily-Ever-After type stuff.

This story has been interesting. I had a lot of fun with it, especially the battle scenes. With those, I wanted to convey the battle system in a way that made sense within the narrative, something that Final Fantasy Tactics itself never really addressed. The best way to do that, I felt, was to draw some inspiration from Advent Children, so that's where a lot of the high intensity battles came from.

Like I said before, I also wanted to show that Ramza is kind of scary. By the time Meliadoul first encounters him, Ramza's a bit of a tank. By that point in the game, even assuming you're not grinding for JP or getting into a lot of random battles, Ramza is very likely going to be the strongest character in your party, Cid included. I wanted to emphasize that here, which I think I did really well.

Of course, the problem with writing Ramza is that, canonically, he doesn't really fail much. He spends the course of the game kicking ass, taking names, and daring the whole of Ivalice to f*** with him, something they learn pretty damned quick not to do.

At the same time, I wanted to stick as close to the script as possible while also improving it here and there and making the whole end a lot more dramatic. Unfortunately because the game has to assume you won't have story characters within your party once they join, a lot of characters get little to no development in Chapters 3 and 4. We get great character arcs until they join and then, nothing. The devs either ran out of time or got lazy with the conditionals.

I also wanted to explore Meliadoul's character a bit, and I really extrapolated quite a bit with this story. From the get go I was basing her around the idea of an angry, arrogant sort of woman, but one who has a set idea of how the world is and doesn't even consider the idea of things being different. Then Ramza comes along, casually shatters the core of everything she believes, and generally gets to be awesome on a level several steps above what she thinks is possible.

A lot of this story, especially the last few chapters, were also influenced by Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Very great anime (and I do prefer the original episodes to the two movies), and I deliberately drew a thematic link between Simon and Ramza in my own mind while scripting him. As much as the game can require anyone but really good players to work as a team to be strong, I wanted Ramza to dominate things and be scripted as an inspiration for those around him.

Mentioning parallels between Kamina and Ramza last chapter was just f***ing with you guys and trying to fake you out into thinking I'd kill the main character off. It's not the first time I've pulled that fakeout, either.

That said... I'm glad everyone's enjoyed the ride. Go read For Want of a War for more FFT by me, and if you're not already reading ObsidianDawn's The Lion of Ivalice or SerialRavist's Slippery Slope (or anything he's done, really), you're doing yourself a profound disservice.

-Gaming Ikari