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Balmaint Walkthrough by killerb255

Version: 1.3 | Updated: 02/25/2021

SaGa Scarlet Grace: Ambitions
(PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC/Steam/Microsoft Windows, iOS, Android)

Balmaint's Story Walkthrough

Version 1.3
Written by killerb255/hardmanbow/themanbow (depending on where you find me)

================
Revision History
================

1.3:
- Fixed the final boss section to reflect new information on its variants and
what Common Quest combinations result in which variants getting fought.
- Clean up on Intermission mechanics--particularly on the "No Breaks Allowed"/
cool-off period between the first and the second one.
- Filled in "[Scarlet Shards] Int.2.5 Marchiam Megdasse". Yep, tested this one
out using an old save file while trying to get the final boss variations for
when a [Scarlet Shards] Intermission is completed. Speaking of [Scarlet
Shards]...
- ...found out exactly what triggers Sasha asking you if you want to give up on
finding the Shards. All you have to do is visit every accessible Region that
has a Shard event. Once you leave the last of those Regions, Sasha will ask you
the oh-so-out-of-character question.
- Also re: [Scarlet Shards]: found out that you actually have to blow up every
Shard that you have access to PERIOD; there's no max of 4 like originally
thought (so it's not like Taria's Chapter 2--it's more like Urpina's Chapter 2,
except you have the option to bail out through out-of-character Sasha).
- Fixed some more copypasta fails that reference Urpina.
- Corrected conditions for Endings 1, 4, 5, and 6--Arthur-specific Endings
trump Urpina Rescue route endings.
- Added info on second succubus monster encounter in the Southeast Boundary
thanks to /u/LanceHeart from subreddit /r/SaGa
- Added some notes about recruiting Tsubaki and the Arch Witch in the right/
wrong order in the respective sections, per u/LanceHeart

1.2:
- Added a spell check plugin to Notepad++. Used it and faced lots of
embarrassment. I can't believe how many typos I had left uncorrected! I'm
getting old...
- Added flowcharts to the Part 5 and Intermission 2 [Scarlet Shards] Marchiam
Bicyniro sections! It should be MUCH easier to figure out what to do in
Bicyniro now! I may consider this for Gradion and some of the other sections
with five bazillion branching paths in the future!
- Some Part 6A corrections, particularly regarding access to Mare Ilfee from
Thracini and the ability to recruit Lewis Darling, Angle, and Socrates during
second Intermission [Phoenix] (You can't. [Earth Serpent] [URPINA KIDNAPPING
EVENTS] only).

1.1:
- Lots of copypasta fails from sections of the Urpina Walkthrough transferred
to this one that are fixed now.
- Corrected the ending part of second Intermission [Phoenix]: you can only end
in Azhuacan if Bicyniro is not accessible. Otherwise the Azhuacan events are
different (it becomes just another Objective and not the Final Objective)
- Endgame details about what happens when you fight that three-part marathon
boss battle in the Central Palace.
- Filled in details for all but Endings 1 and 2. As a result, there is a
SPOILER warning in that section!
- A SIXTH ending--third Arthur-specific ending at that! I got this by trying
for both Arthur-specific endings using my Ultimate Branch Save! I figured
getting Arthur to 15th place among my top 15 most used Party Members would
switch from one ending to another. Well...it did, but not the ending I
expected. See the Endings section for more info (again, if you don't mind being
spoiled).

1.0: First Release

=======
Preface
=======
Out of the 23+ years I've been on GameFAQs, I have never written or submitted a
FAQ, so please bear with me! I've been a big fan of the SaGa series even since
I've played SaGa Frontier in 1998.

Here I am in 2020 playing another SaGa game, and am finding it strange that
there are no FAQs for this game! I can sort of understand why! Out of all the
SaGa games, this one has SO many conditional paths that writing a clear and con-
cise FAQ to cover it all seems daunting! There are Japanese Wikis out there for
this game, and they're pretty good for the most part:

https://www.spoiler.jp/game/saga_sg/hiiro/
https://kamikouryaku.com/saga_sg

Credit goes to the authors of both of these for having so much information out
there!  

Even then, having the information in English on GameFAQs is more convenient for
casual players in English-speaking countries.

========
Contents
========

I. Introduction
II. Terminology
III. Walkthrough
        1. Part 1: Sigfrei in Maurehua
        2. Part 2: Sigfrei in Termina
           About Intermissions
        3. Part 3: Sigfrei in Numadica
        4. Part 4: Sigfrei in Hibernia
           Forced Intermission (if not completed already)
        5. Part 5: Sigfrei in Rhonicum?
           To Bicyniro or Cerenaif? Why not both?
        6. Part 6: Sigfrei in the Northeast Boundary
           Forced Intermission (if not completed already)
        7. Part 7: Sigfrei in Azhuacan (Endgame)
           Endgame Combinations
        8. Endings
IV. Credits
        
===============
I. Introduction
===============

Balmaint's Story is quite unusual for a SaGa game. His quest is extremely 
linear--perhaps SaGa Frontier II levels of linear. He is only allowed to travel
to areas relevant to the overall hunt for Sigfrei with a few detours here and
there to interrupt the Main Quest and start a Common Quest. You won't find much
free roaming here until the Endgame, and even then, it'll only happen if you
use a specific character in your Active Party during certain boss fights.

Because of how Intermissions work, you might find yourself bouncing back and
forth between sections in this FAQ. 

To (hopefully) make things easier to follow, Balmaint's Story is divided into
seven Parts (and two "sub-Parts") and these will be referred to very
frequently.

This FAQ will not cover the basics on how to play the game. The in-game 
tutorials do an excellent job of doing just that (a welcome change for a SaGa
game). 

===============
II. Terminology
===============

Protagonist:
------------
The Main Character of the Story. SaGa Scarlet Grace has a choice of four
Protagonists: Urpina, Leonard, Taria, and Balmaint.

At the beginning of the game, when the player answers a series of ten
questions, they are given one of the four Protagonists. Alternatively, you can
choose one for yourself, but without the bonuses given as a result of "leaving
your choice to the comet." In a New Game+, you have the option to bypass the
comet, but again without the bonuses.

On a first Playthrough, you're very likely going to end up with Urpina or
Leonard as a result, so if you want Balmaint, you're likely going to have to
select him yourself.

Story (or Playthrough):
-----------------------
The series of (semi-)unique events for each Protagonist. This is sometimes 
referred to as a Quest or a Scenario among SaGa players. As using "Quest" this
way can cause confusion with other uses of the term (see below), this FAQ will
use "Story" or "Playthrough" instead.

Common Quest:
-------------
One of the four overarching quests in SaGa Scarlet Grace that our Protagonists
get dragged into. Each Protagonist is forced to complete one of these as part
of the plot (referred to as their Main Quest) and are required to select two of
the remaining three to complete as well. The four Common Quests are:

- Sigfrei: Find out what the former governor of Provincia Kei is up to (and for
Balmaint, cut off his head).

- Phoenix: Chase after the sacred bird of legend.

- Scarlet Shards: Find and destroy the fragments of the Wicked One.

- Earth Serpent: Stop the Earth Serpent's rampage.

Main Quest:
-----------
The Common Quest that the Protagonist is required to complete. Balmaint's Main
Quest is Sigfrei.

Side Quests:
------------
Any of the numerous quests that are not required for completion of the game.

Part (for Balmaint's Story):
----------------------------
One of seven sections of Balmaint's Story, which is fitting, considering how
many times he has to execute Sigfrei. :)

After each Part, you will automatically be taken back to Castle Kohan in
Provincia Kei. 

The Parts are as follows:

- Part 1: Maurehua
- Part 2: Termina
- Part 3: Numadica
- Part 4: Hibernia
    - Part 4A: Forced First Intermission
- Part 5: Rhonicum Crossroad
- Part 6: Northeast Boundary
    - Part 6A: Forced Second Intermission
- Part 7: Azhuacan Endgame

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: I considered using "Chapter" for these sections, but there is already *
* enough confusion even among the Japanese Wikis for what is and is not       *
* considered a "Chapter" for Balmaint. Some say Balmaint has three Chapters   *
* like Urpina and Taria, and the Chapters are separated by when each Common   *
* Quest, or Intermission, is complete. I don't find this to be helpful        *
* because the first Intermission can be taken as early as after Part 1 or as  *
* late as after Part 4, while the second one can be taken as early as after   *
* Part 3 or as late as after Part 6!!                                         *
*******************************************************************************

Main Objective Region:
----------------------
A Region that, if entered, will start the Main Objective for that particular
Part.

Intermission (for Balmaint's Story):
------------------------------------
For Balmaint, these are breaks in the Main Story. Certain detours open up, and
entering these regions will pause the Main Story and start a Common Quest. This
can be done twice--referred to as Intermission 1 and Intermission 2
respectively (or sometimes First Intermission and Second Intermission).

These will be explained further in the Walkthrough.

Trigger Region:
---------------
A Region that, if entered, will trigger an Intermission.

Elective Common Quest (or Elective Quest):
------------------------------------------
A Common Quest that you can choose/is not forced upon the Player--not the Main
Quest.

- Balmaint's Elective Quests: Phoenix, Scarlet Shards, and Earth Serpent. Can
    choose two of these--one to start the first Intermission and one to start
    the second.

Retinue:
--------
The five active Party members that are participating in battles.

Party:
------
Your collection of Characters that have been recruited, not necessarily in your
Retinue. There is no limit to the number of characters you can recruit in a
single Playthrough.

Endgame:
--------
The final events of the Protagonist's Story/Playthrough

================
III. Walkthrough
================

                        *******************************
                        * Part 1: Sigfrei in Maurehua *
                        *******************************
                                                
"Sigfrei. 

As lord of Castle Kohan, he beheaded numerous citizens for crimes both great
and small. 

But today, he finds his own head on the executioner's block."

...hmmm...that's a lot of axes there. 

Per Law Clerk Arthur Darlton, Sigfrei has been convicted of executing countless
citizens on false charges, abdicating his command on the battlefield, and
forcing his men to commit atrocities in aid of treason. 

...this Sigfrei seems like a swell guy, huh?

Anyway, our Protagonist Balmaint tells Sigfrei to make his last words before he
claims another head for his trophy case.

Sigfrei says he's sorry for all the trouble he's put Balmaint through, and
gives him a token of his appreciation: a pendant. He says he will be reborn
seven times over in order to spread justice throughout the world.

"Oh yes--we will meet again."

...whut? 

What kind of troll is this guy?

Balmaint wastes no time and lops off his head. 

"Thus was Sigfrei's reign of terror ended, and peace returned to Castle Kohan."

...or has it?

A panicking Arthur tells Balmaint that Sigfrei has come back to life! Balmaint
tells the guy to calm down, and that he can't believe he's believing silly
rumors. Arthur doubted the rumors at first, but he says a man named Sigfrei has
appeared in Maurehua! The main is preaching the justice of the Celestials and
is calling for all the people to join him in building a tower of prayer. So we
need to go to Maurehua to find out the truth for ourselves.

On the way out, Arthur has his "escorts" surrounding him. You know? Escorts?
Is that what Arthur spends his paychecks on? Or am I thinking of a different
kind of...uh...never mind...

So let's meet the crew, shall we?

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Arthur
|    Darlton|  8| 11| 11|  9| 13| 11| 5|Ae|Staff/Inc|
-----------------------------------------------------

Your partner here is a mage! He comes with a decent set of spells: Poison Mist,
Hypergravity, and Siren. He's also a bit of a toolbag. Whiny, arrogant, some-
times funny, and a bit shady. He's the only mage you're going to have for a
while, so get used to him...

*******************************************************************************
* A PRIMER ON MAGES:                                                          *
*                                                                             *
* Training mages can be a bit of a pain early on. At the end of each battle,  *
* your mage(s) will have the opportunity to absorb what's called "flux." In a *
* nutshell, matching flux makes things easier, but you can absorb non-        *
* matching flux in a pinch.                                                   *
*                                                                             *
* Absorbing flux helps you level up the spell that you absorbed it into and,  *
* under certain conditions, learn new spells.                                 *
*                                                                             *
* The staff you have equipped and your Natura, Ignis, Terra, Aes, or Unda     *
* level (whichever corresponds to the spell you're absorbing flux into)       *
* determines what spell you can learn and if/when you can learn it.           *
*                                                                             *
* Basic staves let you learn the next "tier" of spell higher than the one you *
* absorbed flux into. For example, Thorny Fetters is a Tier 1 Natura spell,   *
* so if you absorb flux into that spell (and your Natura Level is at Level 1  *
* or higher), you'll have a chance to learn Restoration (Natura Tier 2        *
* spell).                                                                     *
*                                                                             *
* Elemental staves will ONLY allow you to learn spells of the element in the  *
* staff's description. For example, the Quarterstaff's description says "A    *
* staff for learning new Natura incantations." This means no matter what      *
* spell you absorb flux into, you're either going to have a chance to learn   *
* a Natura spell or jack squat depending on a number of factors.              *
*                                                                             *
* Special staves can do weird things like learning spells in reverse order or *
* learning only Tier 1 spells.                                                *
*                                                                             *
* NessEggman's website has a much more in-depth explanation of how magic      *
* works: http://thaao.net/sagasca/battle/?p=flux                              *
*******************************************************************************

If you press the Menu button and then select "Retinue," you'll find that you
have more allies than just Arthur, which include said "escorts":

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty| 
-----------------------------------------------------
| Clover    |  9| 13|  9|  8|  8| 10| 5|Na|L. Sword | 
| Isaac     |  9|  9|  7|  9| 10| 13| 4|Te|Bow      | 
| Marion    | 10| 12| 12| 11|  5|  7| 4|Na|Axe      | 
| Patricia  |  7| 10| 13|  6| 12|  9| 4|Te|S. Sword | 
| Robert    | 12| 10|  9| 12|  8|  9| 5|Un|M. Arts  | 
-----------------------------------------------------

These five tend to follow a theme: one high stat, the rest not so hot. Clover
may be in your Retinue until at least your first Intermission, as Long Sword
users are at a premium during the Main Quest. She also likes to be on top...
make of that what you will. Marion is redundant with Balmaint himself unless you
really like Axes. Between the ears...that's a different story. Bench Isaac...
you'll get a superior Archer soon enough. Patricia's not bad and Robert's
serviceable.

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: If this is a New Game+ and you've had Marion in your party before     *
* with another Protagonist, you're probably wondering why she doesn't have    *
* any of the techs she had previously. It turns out that Balmaint's version   *
* of Marion, "Arthur's Bodyguard," is technically a different character than  *
* the one the other Protagonists can recruit: "Arthur's Girl." Functionally,  *
* they're both the same, but "Arthur's Bodyguard" and "Arthur's Girl" prog-   *
* ress as two separate character recruits.                                    *
*******************************************************************************

On the world map, you have a few options:

*****************************
* 1.1 Provincia Kei [Intro] *
*****************************

*MAP*

We'll start from home base:

Castle Kohan:
Not much to do here. Right now, you'll only have the "Smithy" option: use it
and abuse it when you can! Make that blacksmith earn his keep!

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: I highly recommend upgrading weapons and armor frequently. This will  *
* raise your Blacksmith rank, which raises the caps on how high specific      *
* weapons/armor can go.                                                       *
*                                                                             *
* In addition, at Blacksmith Rank V (5) a new option will appear in each town *
* which will allow you to trade in/barter unused equipment and items.         *
*******************************************************************************

Let's explore starting from the northwest and move counterclockwise:

Bullio Gate:
Arthur: "Marchiam Megdasse is this way. Sigfrei showed up in Maurehua."
Balmaint: "Oh yeah. Right."

(get used to seeing similar dialog)

Flowers x3:
Nothing to see here. Later on, you can pick these (make sure you pick the
right one...)

Rugged Mountain:
Nothing to see here yet either.

Rowsui Tower:
Arthur: "Marchiam Yaxart is this way. Sigfrei showed up in Maurehua."
Balmaint: "Oh yeah. right."

(see what I mean?)

Old Well:
Old well is old. Next!

Unremarkable Tree:
Unremarkable tree is unremarkable. Next!

Nangoon:
Ah! Something more than "nothing"! 

Azhuacan Ferry:
Arthur: "This ship will cross to Urbs Azhuacan. Sigfrei showed up in Provincia
Maurehua."
Balmaint: "Oh yeah. right."

Taiffa:
Arthur: "Provincia Cindrea is this way, Bal. Sigfrei showed up in Maurehua."
Balmaint: "Oh yeah. right."

...oh...you can enter town? Eh, not much to do there except Smithy. Moving on.

Sigfrei's Well:
Sigfrei's well is...OK, it's not Sigfrei. Then again, given his schpiel about
resurrecting, crazier things can happen...

Great Arch:
Giant arch is giant. Next!

Mountain Hut:
Nobody home.

Pot Falls:
Pot falls is...sorry folks, it's not pot. Moving on.

Notice a theme here?

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: The theme here is "railroad." No, this isn't Final Fantasy XIII, but  *
* if you are a SaGa veteran, being railroaded is not exactly something that   *
* happens often. Think the first 2/3 of Red's Story from SaGa Frontier or the *
* entirety of SaGa Frontier II. New players probably won't mind.              *
*                                                                             *
* In other words, you are ONLY allowed to go to the Region that Sigfrei shows *
* up in and any Regions that are directly on the way there. Once you go to    *
* those Regions, they are considered "unlocked" and you can freely go back to *
* them at any time.                                                           *
*                                                                             *
* If you want more free-roaming, Balmaint's Story ain't it (at least not      *
* until MUCH MUCH later, and even then only if you put a certain character in *
* your Retinue during the last boss fight of Part 6 or 6A, whichever one      *
* comes last). Play Leonard's Story instead--he's the king of free-roaming!   *
*                                                                             *
* There are exceptions to the "Go directly to Sigfrei. Don't pass Go. Don't   *
* collect 200 Aes Crystals." rule, and I'll mention those in Section 2.       *
*******************************************************************************

Now that we know the theme of Balmaint's Story, let's go check out this "silly
rumor"!

Owtie Arbor:
Since there's nothing to do in town except "Smithy" right now, go ahead and
select "Let's go to Maurehua."

*******************************************
* 1.2 Provincia Maurehua [Main Objective] *
*******************************************

So where is this Prayer Tower that Sigfrei is building. Arthur calls on
Patricia to give us the scoop--she's good at that sort of thing.

Patricia: "Sigfrei, real name: Paul Hejjin. He makes his living as a churros
vendor."

So...the former governor of Castle Kohan sells churros? That's a helluva
demotion! Imagine if your former political leader lost his/her job and ended
up working at Disneyworld selling funnel cakes...never mind...that would be
hilarious!!!

We also learn that Shaams is Provincia Kei's patron deity. Shaams granted law
unto humanity. Shaams is Sylvester Stallone. Got it.

Anyway, it seems that Paul Hejjin was suddenly struck with divine inspiration.
He began speaking to the people, claiming that they should build a high tower
from which to pray to the gods. Since then he's been calling himself Sigfrei.
He intends to build the tower right where his food cart is parked.

So let's talk to the man, shall we?

Demoted Former Governor's Food Cart of Shame:
I don't think that fiend is hungry for churros. To battle! And listen to that
theme! It's ****ing awesome!

After the battle...wait...this guy doesn't look like Sigfrei! In any case,
his gives us his gratitude for repelling those "demons." Balmaint asks if he's
Paul Hejjin. Churroman says that Paul Hejjin is dead. From the day he received
a divine revelation from the Celestials, he was reborn as Sigfrei. So why did
he choose that name? Again, it's the name the Celestials bestowed upon him. He
doesn't doubt the wisdom of their actions, even though it's the same name as
a man that carried out a bunch of brutal executions in Kei. 

Well...it seems like this guy is nothing like OG Siggy, but what's with the
fiends? Might as well do some investigating.

The tower is built in four phases. Each phase is triggered by where you go in
Maurehua: Kilik, the Spooky Forest, Shaams Temple/North Mine, and Owtie Arbor/
rocks in front of the North Mine. 

During each phase, you either choose an action that results in supporting the
tower's construction or one that does not support it. From there, you go back
to the tower and a monster appears in front of it. 

Unlike other Protagonists' version of this Quest, the tower is going to be
built no matter what actions you take. However, if you want to recruit
Strumiknen and a couple of optional boss fights (one that can net you an
Ettin's Blade), listen carefully!

Phase 1: Kilik:
---------------
Go here, and the woman in armor tells you what she thinks of the tower project:
Shaams Temple has too much power, so anything to weaken that is a good thing. 
It's also a good time for House Erakleos in Cindrea to take advantage of the
situation. They're setting up at the bridge to the south. So let's finish up
Town Stuff at Kilik, leave, and check out the bridge commotion!

Gap Bridge:
Stand near the bridge and press the Confirm button. You'll see some drama
between a big Norse-looking dude (Strumiknen) and a green-haired lady
(Colleen).  

The lady says the bridge is supposed to be under joint control of House
Yanyouji and House Erakleos, and that the big dude shouldn't just give
permission to anyone he sees fit! Strumiknen gives no ****s, and says to try
and stop him! 

Arthur butts in to try and settle the dispute. The green-haired lady asks
him if Mr. Thicc House Erakleos man is trying to win favors with Sigfrei by
backing the tower's construction. She's disgusted by just saying Sigfrei's
name. Arthur says he totally understands how she feels and that they'll do
something about this. By "we," he means Balmaint of course.

Of course this guy gives no ****s and asks Bal to bring it. Bal takes the
peaceful route and says that the tower's construction would revive the local
economy, which is a good thing for Kei. Thiccboi still wants to fight. He hopes
that axe isn't just for show. So let's give him a taste of it.

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: If you choose "This is for executions," you can go back to the bridge *
* and the sequence will replay again, giving you another chance to give 'em a *
* taste of the axe. Be careful about this, though! If you wait until the last *
* phase of the tower creation, you WON'T get another chance to fight, much    *
* less recruit Strumiknen! So fight now!                                      *
*******************************************************************************

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Strumiknen

"Show me this...justice of yours!"

He's slow, but he hits HARD! He has most of the Axe techniques at his disposal
include the Interrupt Hell's Fury (interrupts Blunt attacks and does a stupid
amount of damage; you will probably die). 

One possible tactic is to focus all your attacks on Strumiknen while the two
Mercenaries are hogging all of their side's BP. 

If the mercs start casting big spells like Churning Earth, you may have to get
rid of them early. 

You may want to put Patricia and Robert in the Retinue and try to glimmer
Mesmerize and Tumble respectively so they can save you from getting Churned.
=======================

After the battle, Strumiknen wants to join your party!

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Strumiknen| 15|  7|  6| 14|  7|  6|12|Ig|Axe      |
-----------------------------------------------------

Look at that Strength! Look at that Endurance! Look at those LP! Look at that
beef! He's the most min-maxed of all min-maxed characters! When he hits, he
hits like a dump truck!

His biggest issue is that DEX of 7: he's going to miss a lot! If he's missing
too much for your taste (or you think having three axe users is a bit much),
give him a Great Sword instead. 

Go back to the tower and inspect it. The churro cart is gone and we now have
the first story of an actual tower! Of course fiends come to attack it. Since
nothing can stop the tower from being built, you might as well fight the fiend.

After the battle, "Sigfrei" shows his gratitude for repelling the demons again.

Phase 2: Spooky Forest:
-----------------------
Just east of the tower site you'll see lumberjacks chopping down trees in the
Spooky Forest. Inspect that location and you'll find that they are being chased
by ghosts. You can choose to fight (Supporting Action) or ignore (Non-
Supporting) the ghosts. Again, since the tower's getting built no matter 
what...I guess we're the Ghostbusters now. 

(please don't make any crappy movies with these characters, Hollywood...)

After the battle with three Evil Spirits, go back to the tower site. It has
another layer...and another attacker to get rid of.

Churrofrei thanks you again. Next phase:

Phase 3: Shaams Temple and the North Mine:
------------------------------------------
In Shaams Temple, the priest is not exactly thrilled with Churroman's work.
Churroman says that insufficient prayer accounts for why some don't receive
Celestial aid, which belittles those that come to the temple. 

Arthur says there's more to this, and has Patricia brief us again. She says
the profits generated by the North Mine have been an essential resource for
Shaams Temple, but now they're being diverted toward the Prayer Tower
construction. Yep, all about that money...

Before we check out the North Mine, you feel up to a tough boss fight? If so,
save first, and then let's go back into:

Back in Shaams Temple:
Choose to pray and undertake the trial. You'll end up in a boss fight:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Shaams's Holimont

This can be a tough battle: the Sand Worms can use Paralyzing Fangs to make
life hard for you, and when the Holimont gets enough BP, it will do a lot of
bad stuff to you:

- Interrupting Pierce: Interrupts a Piercing attack with a Piercing attack that
hits your entire Retinue. Yeah...don't try to quell the ????.

- Feast: When it's down to about 2/3 of its health, it will eat one of the
other enemies and restore 2/3 of its health. If only the spider is left, it'll
"miss," essentially wasting its turn.

- Slash: No-frills moderate Slash damage to one Retinue member. 

- Heartpiercer: Heavy Piercing damage to one Retinue member. If anyone is low
on HP, have someone else use a Protect move (Rampart, Block, Deflect, etc.) to
keep him/her alive.

- Wild Pierce: Basically Interrupting Pierce without the Interrupt part. Not
fun. This particular Spider is immune to Paralyze and Sleep, so try to Stun it,
or if you can't do that, use Protect moves to keep your team alive. 

A good Retinue would be:
- Patricia with Mesmerize and Apid Venom
- Robert with Tumble
- Arthur with Poisonous Mist
- Clover with Rampart to keep people alive, otherwise attack
- Balmaint, Marion, or Strumiknen putting axe to heads
=======================

Fortunately you don't have to do this battle. In fact, if you go to the North
Mine first and fight the Holimont, the priest won't let you take the trial
anymore!

This battle's also repeatable in case you want to grind here for some reason.

When you've had enough, go to:

North Mine:
The Shaams priest has sealed off the North Mine, claiming it to be Shaams's
will. You can choose whether or not to fight the holimont. 

Again, if you fight and defeat it, you can no longer fight the Shaams Temple
trial boss (you'll get one chance to change your mind).

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Shaams's Holimont

Same fight as above, same tactics.
=======================

Whatever decision you made, go back to the tower site and fight off the
monster.

After defeating it, let's head to Owtie Arbor for the last phase.

Phase 4: Owtie Arbor and the West Mine Boulders:
------------------------------------------------
In Owtie Arbor, the green-haired Karen wants to speak to the manager...I mean
she says she's going to do what they can to interfere with the construction of
Sigfrei's tower. Balmaint points out that Kei can't afford to send reinforce-
ments. Our Karen says that all they can do is interfere with shipment of
materials from the West Mine. 

Leave Owtie Arbor and go to the West Mine. You'll find giant boulders in front
of it. You can choose to break them down (Supporting) or to leave them alone
(Non-Supporting).  

If you want to get a chance at an Ettin's Blade early, break em down!!!

...on the other hand, a fiend does the job for you. It starts heading for
Owtie Arbor! 

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Frosty Djinn

Mmmmmm...frosty! It doesn't mean he's not a challenge, though. Here's what
Frosty's about to do to you:

- Thrust: No frills attack to one character.

- Charging Slash: slash damage to entire retinue

- Aerial Slash: Interrupts Piercing and damage to one character. Can't quell it
since just about every Ranged attack in this game is Piercing...

- Harvest Vitality: Frosty's worst attack: HP damage, Instant Death, and/or LP 
damage.
        
Same tactics that worked against Shaams's Holimont should work here.
=======================

If Frosty doesn't drop the popsicle stick, you could reload your save and try
again. Then again, there's a much better place for getting Ettin's Blades in
Part 4, so I wouldn't waste too much time here.

After the battle, green-haired Karen says the demon was an Infernal. It was
summoned by Sigfrei and it tried to attack Owtie Arbor.

...so Churroman could be our Sigfrei? Let's find out!

Completed Prayer Tower:
Gotta fight one more battle. After that, Churroman thanks us one more time.
He says the tower has come together thanks to the blessings of the Celestials.
Even Balmaint's arrival on the scene was by their agency, he claims.

Green-haired Karen charges Sigfrei...er...Paul Hejjin with the crime of forging
a pact with an Infernal and then summoning one. Looks like Balmaint's gonna get
another head to add to his collection.

Does Siggy have any last words before Bal gets his head?

"A great number of people desired the prayer tower's construction. This is
justice. Even should I die, justice will live on. We will meet again,
Balmaint."

....

:CHOP!:

...and with another head in Balmaint's collection, we have one more matter of
business before ending Part 1: what to do about the Prayer Tower?

You can either defend it or let the fiends destroy it.

If you're playing this on a platform other than the Nintendo Switch, you get
a trophy for letting the tower fall!

                              *****************
                              * End of Part 1 *
                              *****************
===============================================================================

                        ******************************
                        * Part 2: Sigfrei in Termina *
                        ******************************

"Some time after the execution of Sigfrei in Provincia Maurehua..."

*******************************
* 2.1.1 Provincia Kei [Intro] *
*******************************

Arthur has terrible news: Sigfrei has shown up again! Balmaint says that the
mess in Maurehua can't be proven to be Sigfrei's resurrection. Although Bal
thought it was him at first, he took some time to think it over, deciding that
it was impossible. Paul Hejjin may have known a lot of Sigfrei, but it's
possible that he just let all the stories about Siggy go to his head. Balmaint
has executed countless copycats like that in the past. 

However, the rumors from Termina are different, as there's a group called
Sigfrei's Acolytes that's become active as of late. Time to find out what this
is all about!

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: It's best to get in the habit of saving at the beginning of each      *
* Part, perhaps in a separate save slot. Provincia Kei is your "home base"--  *
* in addition to having all your LP restored at the beginning of each Part,   *
* you also have multiple places to train your characters in case the previous *
* Part's battles were giving you fits: Pot Falls, the Great Arch (nothing     *
* like the one in Romancing SaGa 3, unfortunately), and the three mountains   *
* to the west (they have multiple battles that get progressively harder with  *
* the option to either stop or continue after each one)                       *
*                                                                             *
* Finally, remember those three flowers to the northwest of Castle Kohan? You *
* can pick those now! Two of those are Mandragoras: all Party members will    *
* lose 1 LP if you pick one of these! One of them is a tasty strawberry: this *
* will HEAL 1 LP for every Party member! You could save-scum and take ad-     *
* vantage of this through trial and error, but there is an easier way: the    *
* strawberry has the top leaf pointing to the right!                          *
*******************************************************************************

Arthur says we'll enter Cindrea through the town of Taiffa, and then go north
from there. Alternatively, you can go to Maurehua and then reach Cindrea
through Kilik. Once a Region is unlocked, you are free to go back there at any
time.

In fact, let's head to Owtie Arbor, as we have a character to recruit!

Owtie Arbor:
Go ahead and go to Maurehua.

************************************************
* 2.1.2 Tying up loose ends - Maurehua and Kei *
************************************************

************
* Maurehua *
************

While we're at it, we can start the Imperial Library Collection Side Quest. Go
to the Collector Nest:

Collector Nest:
An Imperial Librarian is there. She wants us to collect stuff, and Arthur wants
to collect something else (ever the perv he is). Exit and re-enter the Nest and
she tells you that she wants Ionium. Given Balmaint's movement restrictions,
it's pretty easy to find. 

Now let's backtrack:

Owtie Arbor.
Select "Provincial Boundary." Oh look, it's Karen! She's offering us some tea!
We have a better idea: join us!

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Colleen   |  7| 11| 11| 10| 11| 12| 4|Na|Bow      |
-----------------------------------------------------

So that's our Karen's name, huh? Anyway, she's a direct upgrade from Isaac!
Keep her on Bows and put her on your A team!

(To be fair, she's not as much of a "Karen" in Balmaint's Story. I guess she's
Urpina's Karen during her Sigfrei Common Quest...)

Now let's head back to Kei.

*******
* Kei *
*******

Look at the glowing sparkles next to Pot Falls. That's the Ionium. You can go
back to the Collector Nest in Maurehua and drop it off if you want. Right now,
there's nothing else needed at the Collector Nest, as we only have access to
two Regions right now.

As always, the rule of Balmaint's Story is to only go to the Region where
Sigfrei is trolling. Any Regions on the way there are unlocked as well. 

There is one exception to this rule...read on:

*****************************
* 2.1.3 About Intermissions *
*****************************

So far, you've noticed that Balmaint's Story pretty much follows this
structure:

1) Start from Provincia Kei
2) Go to Region where Sigfrei is reported to be trolling
3) Claim his head
4) Go back home

Rinse and repeat seven times.

So where does that leave time for Balmaint to do any Elective Common Quests?
Unlike Urpina and Taria's fairly straightforward Chapter structure in which
their Main Quest is the first Chapter and the other two Chapters are used for
two Common Quests, ol Bal has no such luxury. 

Instead, he can interrupt or pause the Main Quest and take on an Elective
Common Quest. This can be done twice--the first time being Intermission 1 and
the second being Intermission 2.

Balmaint's Elective Common Quests are:

- [Phoenix]: Chase after the sacred bird of legend.

- [Scarlet Shards]: Find and destroy the fragments of the Wicked One.

- [Earth Serpent]: Stop the sublime spiritual of Terra's rampage.

You can start an Intermission by one of two methods:

Method A: Take a detour:
------------------------
During any Part's [Intro] section (Usually "p.1.1 Provincia Kei [Intro]" where
p is the Part number), instead of choosing to go after Sigfrei in whatever
Region he's reported to be in, you wander off the Main Path into a Common Quest
Trigger Region. For example, if you want to start the [Earth Serpent] Common
Quest, just go northwest from Kei to Marchiam Megdasse and the break from the
Main Quest, or "Intermission" will officially start.

From this point on in the FAQ, after the [Intro] section of each Part, there
will be an Intermission Table that will indicate what Common Quests can be
started and which Trigger Region(s) can start them.

Method B: Wait until Arthur gets bored:
---------------------------------------
This is by far the less troublesome method. To do this, just follow the Main
Path and resist any "oooh, squirrel!" temptations. If Sigfrei is in Termina,
get your ass over to Termina. Do not pass Go. Do not collect 200 Aes Crystals.
After Parts 4 and 6 are complete, if you did not do Method A, then, Sigfrei
will go into hiding. Instead of advancing to Part 5 or 7 respectively, you'll
be taken to a "subpart," which this FAQ will call them "Part 4A" and "Part 6A"
respectively. During these "A" subparts, Arthur will get bored and you can
actually goof off a bit! Your movement will still be restricted to any Regions 
that you have been to already as well as any adjacent Trigger Regions, but this
time, you MUST start an Intermission--the Main Quest will not continue until you
complete an Elective Common Quest!

My recommendation is to do Method B unless you want your first Intermission to
be [Phoenix], in which you only have one opportunity to do so and that's...NOW.

Yes, if you want to chase down the big fire chicken first and not second, you
it's either now or never! Parts 3, 4, and 4A don't have [Phoenix] Trigger
Regions!

|          P A R T  2:  I N T E R M I S S I O N    O P T I O N S              |
| Elective Quest        | Trigger Regions (travel from Kei to...)             |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Phoenix               | Yaxart (travel southwest)                           |
| Scarlet Shards        | not available yet                                   |
| Earth Serpent         | Megdasse (travel northwest)                         |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

*******************************************************************************
* Once you enter one of the above Trigger Regions, you CANNOT change your     *
* Common Quest selection, and you CANNOT get back to the Main Quest until you *
* finish the Intermission!                                                    *
*                                                                             *
* Also, once you reach a Part's Main Objective Region, you can't start an     *
* Intermission during that Part anymore.                                      *
*                                                                             *
* So save your game in a separate slot before leaving Kei!                    *
*******************************************************************************

So why would you want to do [Phoenix] first...and this early for that matter?

1) Perhaps you don't want to do [Scarlet Shards] at all, as it would change the
Ending to one you don't want, and you would rather do [Earth Serpent] late so
you can go down either the Urpina Rescue or Armored Maiden Routes.

2) Perhaps you want to create the Ultimate Branch Save after Part 6 is
complete. To do this:
- Keep Arthur out of your Retinue as much as possible (at least make sure he's
    not one of your Top 15 most used party members)
- Make [Phoenix] your first Intermission.
- Save your game in a separate slot after Part 6 is complete and the second
    Intermission NOT selected yet (the beginning of "Part 6A").

From there you can select whatever remaining Common Quest you want and adjust
how much or little you use Arthur accordingly, complete the Endgame events, and
see your desired Ending.

With Arthur being your only mage for a while, you'd have to go without magic
for a bit to keep his usage low (at least until you can recruit Kreisa after
Part 2).

Anyway, if NEITHER of those two things apply (aka: you just want to get on with
the Main Quest), then SKIP TO Section "2.2: Provincia Cindrea [En Route]" (press
CTRL+F on your keyboard and search for that or if you're on mobile, copy and
then use the appropriate search function on iOS or Android). 

If for some reason you'd rather be a contrarian (or you just want Maximus in
your Party early) and you want to complete [Earth Serpent] early, then skip to
"[Earth Serpent] Int.1.1 Marchiam Megdasse (Trigger Region)". 

Otherwise go southwest to Rowsui Tower, travel to Yaxart, and read on. While
the other Common Quests will be covered after Part 4/during Part "4A" (again
when Arthur gets bored and you're forced to take an Intermission), you won't
have another opportunity to do the [Phoenix] Common Quest until Part 5 (second
Intermission), which again, is why this is covered NOW and not later!

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: The reason Intermission 1 [Phoenix] has such a tight window is        *
* because its Trigger Region gets "hijacked" by the Main Quest during Part 3. *
* Since Yaxart is en route to Numadica, the Trigger had to be removed, and    *
* given the few Regions Balmaint has access to at the time, there is no other *
* place to put a [Phoenix] Trigger Region during Part 3 and 4's Intros.       *
*******************************************************************************

                          **********************
                          *      Part 2        *
                          * TO BE CONTINUED... *
                          **********************
                          :cue Roundabout song:

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

******************************************************************
* [Phoenix] Int.1.1 Marchiam Yaxart (Trigger Region) (Objective) *
******************************************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- During Part 2 ONLY

*MAP*

When you enter Yaxart, a giant flaming bird flies by and lands around the
southeast portion of the Region. When you approach it, you'll have to fight:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Phoenix

For a legendary immortal bird, it seems pretty wimpy. It's not THAT wimpy,
though! While its only attack is Fireball (and it sounds like a 1980's 
cartoon blaster) it can take off about 50-60% of that character's health!
So kill it fast and Protect if/when needed!
=======================

Drinks are on Arthur, everyone! Hmmm...maybe Arthur's not such a bad guy after
all?

Anyway, there's a reason why the Phoenix is not so "immortal" here: it lays an
egg somewhere before it passes away, and its life carries on through its
offspring. So it's still "immortal" in a sense...

Although the ultimate goal is to end up in Urbs Azhuacan, the following regions
have Phoenix-related events:

- Marchiam Yaxart (Trigger Region) (Objective)
- Provincia Kei (Objective)
- Provincia Maurehua (Objective)
- Provincia Cindrea (Objective)

Yep, the list is that short. Common Quests for Balmaint are restricted to the
Regions that he has unlocked during the Main Quest with a few exceptions (like
Azhuacan being the ultimate goal here). So once you get through that short
list, you'll be at the home stretch!

In fact, your job is even easier than that since defeating the bird in Yaxart
counts as OBJECTIVE COMPLETE!

You know that Phoenix Feather you have in your inventory? Use this in other
Regions to see the Phoenix's last memories and its flight path so you can find
its offspring. If you use it here, nothing happens. You can ask around in the
various towns, but they all know nothing about the Phoenix.

While you're here, you can complete most of the Pilgrimage Side Quest, but you
can't complete the Imhokiel Gate or the Rowsui Tower until after Part 3 of the
Main Quest. If you want to recruit Leonard, DO NOT complete all four of the
"True" Shrines before going to Rowsui and Conversing (True Marigan, True
Diemazu, True Uzume, and True Macha)--otherwise he won't appear in Rowsui. You
can complete up to three of the four and still recruit Leonard--just not all
four.

(In fact, you may not want to try for the True Macha Shrine right now...unless
you want said Celestial herself to wipe her ass with your roasted carcasses...)

That being said, you can recruit Giselle by doing the following:

1) Go to Twai and Converse
2) Exit and re-enter Twai to complete the Uzume Shrine pilgrimage there.
3) Go south of the little mini bonfire with the never-ending flame to see a
    dirty Shrine.
4) Examine the dirty Shrine to clean it and complete the True Uzume Shrine
    pilgrimage. No, Uzume is not going to jump down, roast you, and wipe her
    ass with your carcasses like Macha, so you should be fine.
5) Go back to Twai and converse. Choose to recruit Giselle.

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Giselle   |  7| 11| 12|  9|  8| 11| 6|Ig|S. Sword |
-----------------------------------------------------

Her stats are similar to Patricia's, so we can't really consider her an
upgrade. If you have any extra Staves (probably not if this is your first
Playthrough), you could give Patricia a Staff and train her with Magic from
scratch--her INT of 12 is decent for this. However, training a new mage with
limited Staff options can be a bit frustrating. If you're going to create the
Ultimate Branch Save, then this may be an option for having a mage in place of
Arthur while still having a Short Sword user when you need one. 

Anyway, when you're ready, head back to Kei through Rowsui Tower.

***********************************************
* [Phoenix] Int.1.2 Provincia Kei (Objective) *
***********************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- During Part 2 ONLY

Back home, the Phoenix Feather shines. Use it and start hallucinating. You'll
see the giant flaming chicken circle around the Great Arch, land, and then fly
away slightly south, southwest and disappear. 

Not sure if some of that underground Nangoon stuff will give you the same kind
of hallucinations as a sacred bird feather, but anyway, head over to the Great
Arch.

Great Arch:
We get a single encounter with Ignis Spirits. Their unique spells are annoying,
but otherwise not too difficult.
After the battle, Arthur asks the same question that was on my mind: "Fiends
follow this Phoenix wherever it goes. Maybe it's laying them instead of eggs?"
Well we know it likes to drop its crap on things like other birds do...

In the end we found nothing at the Arch, but look just south of it:

Dead Body:
Arthur says this guy is DEAD dead. Maybe he picked a Mandragora? Bal thinks he
must be a stranger if he's not familiar with Kei's mandragoras. 

(Side note: You know those three plants northwest of Castle Kohan? Now you can
pick them. Two of them are mandragoras, which will subtract 1 LP from everyone
in your Party! The third one is a strawberry, which will HEAL 1 LP for everyone
in your Party! Which one is the strawberry? Hint: look for the top leaf point-
ing to the RIGHT.)

In any case, there's something in the DEAD dead man's hand. Apparently this guy
beat us to that something, so, as Arthur says, his ignorance is our gain. Our
honorable executioner wants to give him a proper burial.

Supposedly there is another fragment of the item the man was carrying. Bal
thinks this is a trap. Unless Arthur doesn't know his Balmaint...we're going
even if it is a trap.

Anyway, where is our possible trap? Let's start with the next closest place:

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: If you want to recruit Julia, you must complete the following events  *
* (along with events during second Intermission [Earth Serpent]).             *
*******************************************************************************

Unremarkable Tree:
Examine this, and...yep...it's a trap. Thank the Celestials you still have
your knees. You can continue your adventure. 

The arrow, however, has a letter attached to it:

"Make the fragment whole at the mountain hut." How convenient. Let's head
north.

Mountain Hut:
Nobody's home, but there is a door leading to a cellar. Let's enter! We get a
single encounter.

After the encounter, a bald guy asks us if we are Arthur's envoys. Well...our
cowardly Law Clerk has no idea what's going on here. Baldy tells Arthur that
he's the one who approached them with a deal in the first place. Arthur still
claims to have no clue. Baldy says they're the ones in charge of Nangoon. Bal
says there's no time for this, as they're surrounded by thugs! Arthur wonders
if they're trying to take over Castle Kohan and Nangoon? Oh well, time to
fight off some thugs!

...except the "thugs" are a Queen Moth, a War Hog, and a Sigfrei's Acolyte. Who
hired these guys?

The bald guy has martial arts while the other two attack with Clubs.

After the battle, we get the second half of the fragment. Balmaint has no idea
how we got away, but we did. Arthur is not happy about being set up, though.

Bald guy comes back asking for Arthur's help or else Nangoon will fall. They'll
even become his subordinates if that's what he wants! 

Bal starts to wonder what Arthur's endgame is here. I told you he's a bit
shady...

Arthur says it wouldn't be a secret if he told him, so he's keeping it to
himself. Yep, he's a bit shady.

Bal says he won't ask again, and to be honest, he doesn't care what kind of a
person Arthur is. Perhaps it's better that way...

Anyway, since we got the other fragment. OBJECTIVE COMPLETE! Arthur says the
Phoenix flew north to Maurehua. Not sure how he caught that given the Phoenix's
flight path...

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: If you recruited Giselle earlier, then along with tea party Karen     *
* Colleen and thicc boi Strumiknen, you should have 10 Party members. This    *
* will allow you to send characters on Missions in Owtie Arbor, Nangoon, and  *
* certain other towns!                                                        *
*******************************************************************************

****************************************************
* [Phoenix] Int.1.3 Provincia Maurehua (Objective) *
****************************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- During Part 2 ONLY

When you enter Maurehua, the Phoenix Feather shines once again. Use it, and
the Phoenix will come in from the south, fly around the perimeter of the
Region, and then drop its load on top of the Prayer Tower (or the rubble if you
chose to let it fall in Part 1).

Approach the Tower or its remains. 

If it's rubble, then you'll have a single encounter with some Ignis Spirits and
an easy OBJECTIVE COMPLETE!

If it's a fully intact tower, then you have a bit more work to do: a QUADRUPLE
encounter! Start climbing!

Parts 1 and 3 have blue worms. Part 2 has giant red slime. Part 4 has two
flamethrowing Ogres, which always suck. You might want to break out Robert
(Tumble), Patricia (Mesmerize), and Colleen (Shadow Weave) for this one.

After that...no egg! We did all that work for nothing? Balmaint tells Arthur he
can jump if he wants...Bal's heading down! OBJECTIVE COMPLETE!

After the climb down, Arthur seems lucid enough to tell us that the Phoenix
flew in from Cindrea. Well that's not what the Phoenix Feather says, but oh
well. Let's head east.

***************************************************
* [Phoenix] Int.1.4 Provincia Cindrea (Objective) *
***************************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- During Part 2 ONLY

*MAP*

Use the Phoenix Feather: giant turkey flies in from the northwest (around
Maurehua-ish), lands on the Imhokiel Dam, and then flies south.

Balmaint doesn't think the Phoenix landing on Imhokiel Dam will cause too much
trouble, since the thing was made by the Celestial Imhokiel himself. Arthur
says that if it were to break, Cindrea would be annihilated. Can it break?
Let's find out.

Erakleos Soldiers:
Examine the formation of soldiers and you're told to stay back or face the 
consequences! 

Head north just a tad and now we have a conflict between Erakleos and another
group! Both seem to be pursuing the sacred-bird relic (I guess that's whatever
the Phoenix dropped on the dam? Usually when birds drop things on land--usually
mid-flight--it tends to be worthless and...rather gross...).

Since there's a little more ruckus there than just flaming bird poo, let's at
least warn the locals about what's happening:

Saqqara:
Converse here. The lady doesn't think the dam will fall because Imhokiel built
that thing with his own hands. Oh well, we tried.

Hadasht:
Irene of House Erakleos is readying the troops, as protecting the dam is their
number one priority. Arthur introduces himself and asks if he and Bal could do
something to help. Irene says that House Yanyouji's meddling would prove
useless here!

Balmaint says that Irene is larger than life. Massive in fact. Come out and say
it, Bal: T H I C C.

Fisherman (north-northwest of the dam):
Examine the fisherman, and he tells you that there is a mythical treasure at
the bottom of the lake. He hasn't had any luck finding treasure or catching
fish. He says that the legendary beast at the bottom of the lake may be eating
everything up.

Some bubbles appear in the lake! The fisherman thinks it's the legendary beast
and runs away! Well, time to slay some legendary beast!

Foam:
Examine the foam for a double encounter, the first being three Rubybugs (not so
legendary yet). The second is two Goblin Warriors and two Loup-Garous (not so
legendary either, but Loup-Garous = flamethrowing Ogres, and we know how
dangerous those are, so get your Shadow Weaves, Tumbles, and the like ready)!

Welp...that "legendary beast" was less than impressive. Perhaps the legend has
yet to show itself?

Imhokiel Dam:
Arthur thinks that fiends are always going to be in places where the Phoenix
lands. I guess they're like flies or maggots? Balmaint doesn't know if the dam
can withstand an all-out assault, despite being built by Imhokiel. Time for a
double encounter.

...well the dam didn't fall. OBJECTIVE COMPLETE! If this were the second Inter-
mission very late in the Playthrough (Part 6A to be exact), it would be a
different story. 

If you go back to Saqqara, it's "praise by Imhokiel," and Bal comments on the
dam's sturdiness. Arthur doesn't just want to brush this off: he wants credit,
dammit! If you go back to Hadasht, then Irene reports that nothing was found...
and then "I KNOW YOU TOOK THE RELIC!" Bal says the people of House Erakleos
have active imaginations, and that he knows nothing about this. Irene says
she should strip him down to his marrow and see if the truth lies there. I'm
not sure if that's a bad thing or not? ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Anyway, Arthur informs the duchess that Balmaint is a legal executioner, and
legal executioners must be sure that their persons are protected at all times.
Irene says Arthur is an aggravating little man (tell us something we don't
already know...), and that they should leave Cindrea at once while they can
still walk.

Since the Phoenix came from Maurehua...oh wait! WE came from there! Yeah, the
"movement-restricted" version of this Common Quest could use a little bit of
improvement. 

Balmaint did mention after the Imhokiel Dam battles that the Phoenix flew into
Azhuacan and that we need to take a boat from Kei...so let's head west through
Taiffa back home.

***********************************
* [Phoenix] Int.1.5.1 Back to Kei *
***********************************

...and then directly south to the Azhuacan Ferry and choose to go there!

*******************************************************
* [Phoenix] Int.1.5.2 Urbs Azhuacan (Final Objective) *
*******************************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- During Part 2 ONLY

*MAP*

The Phoenix Feather shines one more time. Let's see what kind of trip our Legal
Executioner and Law Clerk end up having?

Use the feather and the Phoenix flies in from the south, circles the Region
counterclockwise, and drops its load on...Shaams Temple? It then flies away
down the center of the Region and then northwest back towards Kei.

Before we chase down this last hallucination, notice that three out of the four
quadrants of Azhuacan are open! Don't bother with the Arena--you're nowhere
near strong enough right now (350 HP minimum). Head directly south (southwest
quadrant) to...

Black Market:
This place is really only going to be a benefit after multiple New Game Pluses
with weapons carried over. Stop at the Deserted Street, and you'll find a man
that is OBSESSED with weapons! It's as if he would eat, sleep, drink, and smoke
them if they were edible, comfortable, potable, and combustible...

For the record, if you were to have the following three weapons, he would join
you: (True) Katana, Twister, and Estoc. 

...nope, not gonna happen right now. You'll get another chance to come back to
Azhuacan during the second Intermission if you choose [Earth Serpent]. After
that, it's during the Endgame. So don't sweat it now.

You can send someone on the "Order of Assassins" mission if you want (have to
have 10 characters for this to appear--the seven you started with including
Balmaint plus Strumiknen, Colleen, and Giselle). 

The Smithy here deals with all five standard types of crystals, so if for some
reason you have a weapon or piece of armor that you couldn't upgrade earlier,
you should be able to do it here. The only crystals this Smithy won't deal with
is Prisma (the rainbow-colored crystals). 

There's another town in the southeast quadrant:

South Market:
Smithy is not as good here. It has an Infirmary, but 1) I don't remember what
it takes to unlock that as an option, and 2) The cost to restore a character's
LP is NOWHERE NEAR worth it (1/2 of your current Crystals of that character's
personal element). Just leave and re-enter Kei, picking strawberries each time.

Now that we're done exploring, let's head over to where the Phoenix landed:

Shaams Temple:
Arthur prays to the gods. Bal is wondering if it's the end of the world, as
this is not something Arthur would do. Arthur says that he's asking the gods
for something BECAUSE the world is ending.

...that's news to me!

Anyway, we have an encounter with an Ignis Spirit and Shaams's Holimont
(again?!!) to deal with. I'm hoping that's not what you asked for, Arthur...

...after that, we find the egg! Maybe Shaams guided us to it? That thing's
enough to feed all of Castle Kohan...if we knew how to cook it...

...except Bal notices that it's starting to hatch. Arthur thinks he's
kidding...

...from what little time we've spent with our Protagonist so far, does he seem
to be the type of person to kid around? The next encounter should answer that
question:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Phoenix

If you've fought this bird with another Protagonist, you'll know how this
works.

For those not familiar, you can't hurt the Phoenix directly.

You have to cause ENEMY United Attacks! Instead of the United Attack actually
happening, the Phoenix absorbs the embers from the Ignis Spirits involved in
the Unite. 

Each time that happens, the Phoenix will torch your whole Retinue for a bit of
damage. It can add up over time if your HP is low. 

On the next Round the Ignis Spirits regenerate.

You're going to have to manipulate your characters' turn order to get these
United Attacks to occur. The good news is it doesn't matter how many enemies
are involved in the unite. You can involve the Phoenix itself and one Spirit:
the effect's the same. 

You may not want to dawdle around too long since you can only withstand being
barbecued so many times, and you're not going to have the Rain of Life spell to
save you here (unless this is a New Game+, and if it were, you probably don't
need this FAQ's help with this fight).

After about 4-5 unites, the Phoenix will retreat.
=======================

...and there it goes. Apparently Arthur was expecting some kind of eternal life
from all of this. Is there anything wrong with a little eternal springtime?
Dreams are fleeting by nature, says ol Bal.  

                    ***************************************
                    * [Phoenix] End of First Intermission *
                    ***************************************
/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

                             ********************
                             * Part 2 Continued *
                             ********************

If you have completed Intermission 1 [Phoenix] (or Intermission 1 [Earth
Serpent] for that matter), Arthur will remind Balmaint that Sigfrei showed up
in Termina. 

In any case, time for Bal to see what this mess is about...

************************************
* 2.2 Provincia Cindrea [En Route] *
************************************

*MAP*

Eh...we could have gone through Maurehua, but that's just needless padding,
right? :)

You can stop in Hadasht and/or Saqqara if you want and upgrade your weapons. If
you did 1st Intermission [Phoenix], you had to deal with Irene...fortunately
you don't have to do so now.

All the caves in this Region are just grind spots.

The fisherman with the spear is important if you make [Phoenix] or [Earth
Serpent] your second Intermission during Part 6A. If you haven't talked to him
already (like during first Intermission [Phoenix]), you can go ahead and do so
now, or you can wait until second Intermission.

Fisherman (north-northwest of the dam):
If you talk to him now, he'll tell you that there is a mythical treasure at the
bottom of the lake. He hasn't had any luck finding treasure or catching fish.
He says that the legendary beast at the bottom of the lake may be eating
everything up.

Some bubbles appear in the lake! The fisherman thinks it's the legendary beast
and runs away! Well, time to slay some legendary beast!

Foam:
Examine the foam for a double encounter, the first being three Rubybugs (not so
legendary yet). The second is two Goblin Warriors and two Loup-Garous (not so
legendary either, but Loup-Garous = flamethrowing Ogres, and we know how
dangerous those are, so get your Shadow Weaves, Tumbles, and the like ready)!

Welp...that "legendary beast" was less than impressive. Perhaps the legend has
yet to show itself?

When you're done goofing around in Cindrea, head north and then east to...

Castle Knym:
Just a glorified interchange in Balmaint's Story. Onward!

******************************************
* 2.3 Provincia Termina [Main Objective] *
******************************************

NOTE: Again, once you reach a Part's Main Objective Region, you can no longer
take a detour and start an Intermission until the next Part.

Welcome to the land of pyros! OH WAIT! There's some now!

*MAP*

I'm not sure how you can "torch a field" by burning a crest into a mountain,
but hey...no one said this game was perfect. :D

According to Patricia, it's a tradition to burn stuff and summon Spirituals.
The Empire judged this to be a form of paganism because sometimes burning stuff
can summon Infernals instead. Oops. Don't try this at home, folks. Especially
not in certain Columbian fields.

...and lighting mountains usually won't work either.

So let's see what these pyros are up to!

Burning Crest:
"All hail Lord Sigfrei!" Yep, I can see where this is going.

Fight off the Sigfrei's Acolyte, two Netherworld Roots, and Man Eater, and the
stoner pyro says that Sigfrei is somewhere within Termina. Though he has yet to
bless them with his true name or face, apparently he's shown that they must
serve above all else. So he's Jim Jones. Got it.

After that mess, go to any of the following locations:

- Taria's Workshop
- Castle Knym
- Moorhead
- Josgad Stable
- North Gate
- South Gate
- Schut

You can visit these places in any order. For this walkthrough, we'll start
with...

Taria's Workshop:
Hey! It's our favorite potter! No, she won't join you. She gives no ****s. Let
the stoners do as they like. If they summon an Infernal, then they'll pay the
price by losing someone or something dear to them. Balmaint says that he shares
one thing in common with her: people must take responsibility for their own
lives, and Bal's job is to assist with that. So that's explains the collection
of severed heads...got it.

Another day, another group of crazy arsonists...this one's in the north-
northwest part of the Region...

Burning Crest:
"All hail Lord Sigfrei!" I start to wonder if the Mare Termina is filled with
kool-aid...

One lime-green haired cuckoolander, one Ogre, and another Man Eater later...

Let's go to the next location:

Castle Knym:
Old dude never heard of a Sigfrei in Provincia Termina. He's only heard of the
man that once lived in Provincia Kei. Balmaint tells the old guy about the
crazy Acolytes. Old guy says that the most infamous villains are those who
accomplish what few people can, and that this can sometimes lead to them being
seen as heroes. Perhaps this Sigfrei is such?

(Oh Roh Sung...all that time spend in my Urpina Party didn't teach you anything
about this damn troll?)

After that exchange, Arthur says that he used to deal with Sigfrei every day,
and he still doesn't know how he ended up the way he did. He says Sigfrei used
to be a truly great man. Even...kind. 

That's...very interesting to say the least! When did he change? Was it sudden?
Recent tragedies? Too much time on some medieval version of the Interwebs
delivering as Anonymous? Inquiring minds want to know!

Bal, once again, stresses having to take responsibility for one's own actions,
as Siggy's kindness meant little to the people he executed without cause.

Well...let's try another place...

Moorhead:
The man here says you don't hear none of that talk 'round these parts. Normi
folks ain't interested in that sorta thing. We have one really thicc Normi boi
with us that seems pretty interested in smashing heads...I guess he's not from
Moorhead...

Leave town and hunt down the next set of crazy bastards. Since they appear
clockwise, they should be right next to Moorhead! How convenient. Time to chop
off some more...heads...

Burning Crest:
"All hail Lord Sigfrei!"

All hail my axe to your heads! It's tempting to use Balmaint, Marion, AND
Strumiknen just to drive the point home. Whether you think that can get you
through the stoner, two Undead Knights, and a Devilish Child (one-eyed demonic
frog whose Stun is annoying), that's up to you. 

After the battle, the Acolyte says that Sigfrei has only whispered a single
word to them: "Awaken"! That's...kind of creepy. In modern times, people that
do that often have white vans labeled "free candy." Most people stay far, far
away. Not this guy. He loves his free "candy" and will set things on fire to
get it.

Onward to find more asylum escapees...let's try another town. They're just
slightly more interesting than the North and South Gates.

Josgad Stable:
The guard says it's their duty to keep watch for unsavory types. That's the
whole purpose of their post. Regardless they haven't found Sigfrei. They're
guessing he's somewhere within Termina. It's almost just as likely that he's a
mad thought conjured up by his acolytes. Could he be a mass delusion? Stranger
things have happened in various societies.

...and like clockwork, more pyromania. You know the drill.

Yet Another Burning Crest:
"All hail Lord--"

NAW *****ES! ALL HAIL TEAM LUMBERJACK!

Acolyte, Ogre, Devilish Child. OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!

All hail Team Lumberjack!

Well...we didn't get their heads. Otherwise the crazy lady wouldn't be telling
us how she doesn't care who answers their prayers--be they Celestial or
Infernal--as long as they don't ignore their pleas! Gee lady, you don't have to
go that far! 

...yeah, I think there Kool-Aid in the Mare Termina...and not the kind you mix
with sugar...

Let's try the last town...see if they know if suddenly the Kool-Aid man's gonna
burst out of the lake or something...

Schut:
Here we're not being told anything we don't already know. The acolytes follow
Sigfrei and they don't know where--or even who--he is.

...3...2...1...

Yet Another Burning Crest...OK, this is getting old:
Oh, wait...no hailing of Lord Sigfrei this time? Nah, this chump wants to
avenge the others. Good luck with that, son. 

Beat up the Acolyte, Netherworld Root, Undead Knight, and Man Eater. Meh. At
least we have Balmaint's awesome battle theme--that never gets old!

..."You shall be punished!"

......

..."LONG LIVE LORD SIGFREEEIIIIII!!!"

...

...next time, he should stay away from the matches. And torches. And drugs.
Especially the drugs.

A-HA! There's Sigfrei! He even looks like Sigfrei! So he has resurrected after
all! 

Except he disappeared.

Artur says he could be one of the people we've run into...or just as likely in
some place we haven't gone to yet. Time to visit one of the gates...eeney meeny
miney moe...

North Gate:
...and the gate guard is Sigfrei. He would have got away with it if it wasn't
for us meddling kids. 

(The second-to-last place you visit will always have Sigfrei in disguise.)

He's even asking for us to remove his head!!!?

Well...do your thing, Bal.

Arthur does his thing by sentencing Sigfrei to die. Straight to the point, eh?

"Now make your last words!" says Bal.

"Is it not justice when it is done by the many and not the few? The people
themselves set the fires and called forth Infernals, Balmaint. Still, know that
I shall live again and serve my own justice."

....

:CHOP!:

For a moment, I was thinking that Sigfrei is less of a troll in Balmaint's
Story and more of a typical villain--HOLY CRAP ALL THE PYROS ARE BACK!!! AND
SOMETHING -WAS- IN THE MARE TERMINA! THAT'S NOT THE KOOL-AID MAN!

...never mind. He's still a troll. He's the trolliest kind of troll, trolling
you after you freaking -kill- him! Our modern day Internet trolls have NOTHING
on this guy! NOT. A. DAMN. THING.

This bastard used his own life to summon the Infernal in the Mare Termina! He
trolled Balmaint all right. Ol Bal thought he was holding him accountable for
his crimes, but nope. He's a sacrifice. A martyr. 

Part 2's not over yet, folks! We have a choice here: 

A) Head straight for Not-Kool-Aid Man
B) Beat up some or all five of the arsonists one more time, then fight Not-
    Kool-Aid Man, or
C) Leave the Region

If you Choose C) by exiting through Castle Knym (you have to select the option
twice). This will end Part 2 immediately.

As for the other two choices...well...the five arsonists are the exact same
ones you fought before. The thing in the Mare Termina?

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Dark Ifrit

If you head straight for the boss, the Dark Ifrit will be accompanied by two
Devilish Children and two Man Eaters. For every Acolyte you defeat after the
first one, one of Dark Ifrit's lackeys will be subtracted from the battle. So
if you defeat all five, you only have to deal with the big guy himself.

Dark Ifrit is just a fire version of Frosty Djinn, so use the same tactics
here. In addition, you have Colleen, you probably have Shadow Weave, and Dark
Ifrit is NOT immune to Paralysis! ;)
=======================

Once the boss is defeated (or you decided to be a punk and leave Termina to
fend for itself), Part 2 comes to a close.

                              *****************
                              * End of Part 2 *
                              *****************
===============================================================================

                        *******************************
                        * Part 3: Sigfrei in Numadica *
                        *******************************
                                                
"Some time after the execution of Sigfrei in Provincia Termina..."

*******************************
* 3.1.1 Provincia Kei [Intro] *
*******************************

Arthur has terrible news again: yep, it's Siggy. He's back! Balmaint wonders
why Arthur is acting so surprised--he said he would be resurrected seven times.
How nonchalant there, Bal. Arthur is worried about what his former boss may be
planning this time. So where is he? Marchiam Numadica. To get there, we'll have
to go southwest through Rowsui Tower into Yaxart and then through Imhokiel
Gate. What the hell is he doing out there? We'll have to find out!

Before we do that, let's tie up some more loose ends!

*****************************************************
* 3.1.2: Tying up loose ends - Maurehua and Cindrea *
*****************************************************

Go back to Maurehua and to the Survey Hut. Now the Imperial Librarian will ask
for a Cindrean Firefly. 

Now go to Cindrea and inspect the river down the middle of the Region for some
sparkles. That's what's you're looking for.

Finally, go back to Maurehua and to the Survey Hut to drop that off.

***************************************
* 3.1.3 Tying up loose ends - Termina *
***************************************

Now let's go back to Termina (go east to Cindrea, then northeast through Castle
Knym).

(Just don't go east to Thracini unless you really want to start an [Earth
Serpent] first Intermission there. I wouldn't.)

There are two Side Quests we can do here:

1) Recruit either Kreisa or Erreich
===================================

Need another mage NOW? If you don't want to recruit Chichi later on (a mediocre
Long Sword user), then Kreisa is the woman for you! 

If you would rather have another Long Sword user NOW to complement Clover, then
you'll want Erreich (and Chichi later on if you want).

First thing's first: inspect the Bird Flock that's southwest of Josgad Stable:

Bird Flock:
You get a single encounter with three Blackwings. 

After that, inspect the crouching woman.

Crouching Woman:
Oh hey! Is that Elsa from Frozen? Nah. Just a woman that says she's minding her
own business when a flock of birds attacked. As a token of thanks, she would
like us to visit her at her home in the southwest.

Before we visit her, we now have a fisherman nearby:

Mare Termina Fisherman:
The fisherman gives us some friendly advice: a witch lives around here (so she
does) and she likes to deceive and murder travelers. Stay away from that place
if you value your life.

Hmmm. It couldn't hurt to visit once, could it? 

(famous last words)

Raven Manor:
Our Elsa expy is simply delighted that we came! It's so cold, and we should
come inside to warm up!

Bal says we should get going, but NotElsa insists that we stay the night, as a
fearsome witch is around. 

Over night, the Manor changes into...a dump surrounded by rabid dogs? Bal's
wondering where the ruins came from...

Morning comes and Balmaint didn't sleep very well. In any case, the woman tells
us to come back soon. 

Mare Termina Fisherman:
He's chewing us out for visiting the "ruins" anyway. He tells us not to go
again or she'll take our lives for sure! 

Well, since we're nosy travelers...

Raven Manor:
The woman is glad to see Bal again! She thought that after the rumors got out
that she's a witch, she would never see him again. She asks him if he thinks
she's a witch. He couldn't say--that's a little outside his expertise.

She tells us a tale about three urns enshrined within the woods. One day, a
single urn vanished, leaving two behind. These "Fortune Urns" are protected by
a power that prevents them from breaking, but if one does manage to break an
urn, great things will happen. She knows how to destroy the urns: if you take
a fragment of rock from the Liuhuang Vent and drop it in the urn, the urn will
shatter. The fiends prevent the woman from doing this herself. So...guess she
wants us to do it, eh? 

That fisherman did mention that we are nosy travelers. I guess we're a bit
dense as well.

Mare Termina Fisherman:
As predicted, he chews us out for going back. :D

He says that everyone knows how to break the urns, but they DON'T! Why? They're
not "Fortune Urns." They're seals that keep her in the woods! She tries to
trick every traveler into breaking them so she can be set free.

Well...we want to see this through, don't we? Let's shatter some urns!

Liuhuang Vent:
Oh great...two flamethrowing Ogres! I hate these things! 

On turn 3, one of them is going to set everyone's asses on fire! They'll do
that almost every Round, so you may want to use Mesmerize, Tumble, or Shadow
Weave to stop them from doing this. Failing that, Cover/Protect low HP Retinue
members!

If Benisons are occurring for you now, Kada's Comfort or Tejedura's Embrace 
would help immensely (a small chance of healing everyone after getting hit by
an attack that targets the whole Retinue, but they're so random that I wouldn't
rely too much on them).

Anyway, now that you have a chipped duskstone, let's drop it in one of the
urns!

(West) Enshrined Urn:
Drop it in...and it shatters! Nothing seems to have happened...?

Black Dogs:
...except these? 

The north one is a single encounter with two Man Eaters and a Barghest (the
doge in question). 

The south one is the doge and two Devilish Children.

Watch out for Fang Salvo in both encounters (hits entire team, chance of Stun).

So what's the meaning of this? Let's find out.

Raven Manor:
The lady find it incredible that Balmaint broke one of the urns! She says that
he may not have noticed the good fortune yet, and that if he breaks the final
urn, she's sure the great effects will become perfectly clear.

...

...yeah, sure they will...but we'll humor her anyway.

(East) Enshrined Urn:
Drop er in! The urn shattered as expected.

Could the fisherman have been right all along? 

Mare Termina Fisherman:
Oh now he's pissed! Now there's nothing stopping her from leaving the woods!
She's probably gained her full power thanks to us being YOLOL morons!

There's one more mangy pooch that you can fight:

Black Dog:
This one's accompanied by two Netherworld Roots. Not too difficult. Again,
watch out for Fang Salvo.

Now that the doggies are out of the way, what does our Elsa expy have to say
for herself?

Raven Manor:
Not so fancy anymore, is it? NotElsa says those urns were supposed to bring
FORTUNE, she says! FORTUNE! "Balmaint, you must listen to me! I know how this
seems, but I am NOT a witch!"

You can choose to believe her or not. 

Don't believe:
--------------
If you choose NOT to believe her TWICE, then you'll be in a boss fight with
crackhead Elsa:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Kreisa

"Would you prefer a quick death or a very...very...painful one?"

...yeah, I don't like those options. I'll pick G) none of the above.

Our Frozen reject comes with two Undead Knights, a Netherworld Root, and an 
Evil Spirit. 

The Evil Spirit is probably the biggest threat here until Kreisa starts casting
spells. Get rid of the Evil Spirit unless you want Corpse Moss spam early in
the battle. 

Kreisa will either Defend or use Focusing Strike early in the battle. You
wouldn't think Focusing Strike would hurt much, but the damage can add up!

Once she starts casting, get your jammers ready! She's immune to Paralysis, but
not Sleep or Stun!
=======================

...and after the battle, go back to the Mare Termina Fisherman:

Mare Termina Fisherman:
I love the description before pressing the Confirm button:

"By ignoring his advice, the woman revealed her true identity and attacked you.
That'll teach you." :D

However...the fisherman is actually kind of a coward. His sister got lost in a
cave. A month later, she came out, went to the mansion, and killed everyone. It
turns out that person he thought was his sister was a witch in disguise. He
lacked the courage to kill her himself. All he could do was stand by as she
kept doing evil stuff. 

You will get a dialog box asking him to join us!

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Erreich   | 11| 12| 10| 11|  8|  9| 7|Na|L. Sword |
-----------------------------------------------------

His stats are more balanced than Clover's, but not by much. As you get more
characters, you can form an "A" and a "B" team to swap out characters when
one's LP is low, but in Balmaint's Story, having easy access to infinite LP
recovery makes this less necessary. 

Honestly, what team Bal needs is not an extra Long Sword user (there are better
options for this later on), but an extra mage (especially if you're purposely
trying to limit your use of Arthur to get a specific ending or set up an
Ultimate Branch Save). Personally, I think Kreisa's the better option here, so
read on for what happens if you choose to believe her:

Believe:
--------
The first time you select "I do believe you," she tells you that you're a fool
for believing her, and that she will show gratitude for what you've done. 
Perhaps some final words? Or do you still trust her? 

Select "I do still trust you." Otherwise you'll have to fight her as mentioned
above (and you can recruit Erreich down that path if you want).

After telling her that you still trust her, the drama gets toned down and she
joins the Party!

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Kreisa    |  6|  8| 10|  9| 13| 13| 5|Ig|Staff/Inc|
-----------------------------------------------------

Yep, this is what you are looking for! If you need a mage to replace (or be the
1A to Arthur's 1B), Kreisa can do the job! Her voice acting is awesome and who
doesn't want to play as an Elsa expy? :D

She comes with the Call Lightning and Wildfire! She also has a Staff of Glory
that can be used to learn Ignis spells! 

Anyway, whether or not you chose to trust Kreisa or recruit Erreich, there
should now be a suspicious person standing where Erreich was:

Suspicious Person:
Camelia the Witch Hunter asks about the man that was here previously. Bal's
response: "Can't say as I do." She asks about the rumors about the witch that
inhabits this region. Once again, "Can't say as I do." She wonders if that
"dastard" betrayed La Chasse. What the hell is "La Chasse"?

Anyway, that conversation is one of the prerequisites for recruiting Tsubaki!
Getting this out of the way now makes life much easier!

2) Get a very powerful Spear early!
===================================

The first thing we need to do is enter Schut. 

Schut:
The governor Roh Kwai will allow us to use the boat on the Mare Termina. We'll
need this!

Next, we need to go to the southeast cave:

Beast Den:
"Behold! It is I, the god of the mountain! Grant an offering. Give unto me the
blessing of the sea."

Huh?

"Jellyfish. Offer unto me a jellyfish."

Choose "Fine, I'll get you a jellyfish." If you choose "Get your own jelly-
fish!" then you'll have to re-enter the Den and start the conversation over.

"I await thee anon."

Now sail into the Mare Termina and inspect the Suspicious Fin for an encounter
with a Sea Drake and a Blue Slime.

After that battle, sail south and you'll find a Jellyfish Outbreak. Inspect it
for a battle with four Blue Worms and a Blue Slime. 

Now that you have your Jellyfish, head back to the Beast Den.

You can choose to give the "god of the mountain" the Jellyfish or refuse. 

If you give it, you can choose a reward from one of three colored boxes.

Two of the options will give you materials while the third will produce an
encounter with at least one flamethrowing Ogre.

You can rinse and repeat this process as much as you want (he'll ask for a
shark fin every even attempt and a jellyfish every odd one), but the REAL
reward is when you REFUSE to give this "god of the mountain" what he asked for:

"Thou wouldst turn on the gods!? Fool!"

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Queen Moth and two flamethrowing Ogres

...yeah, I can see why this fight is rated "Brutal." You may want Patricia,
Robert, AND Colleen here to try and stop the Flamethrower spam. Kreisa's Call
Lightning can be very powerful, so she's a good candidate for having here. 

The Queen Moth's constant Conditionals (????) can be annoying, as you don't
know whether she's going to Interrupt a Piercing or Slashing attack, or if
she's going to Counter. Have one of your lumberjacks (Bal, Marion, or Strum)
deal with it via blunt attacks if you have them--the Queen Moth has no answer
to those aside from the Counter, which is rare.

Kada's Comfort and/or Tejedura's Embrace may be a huge lifesaver here!
=======================

You will receive the Twinspikes Spear as a reward for defeating this boss!

After the battle...our "god" says "All I wanted was to eat...jellyfish
salad..." (or something dealing with a shark fin). We find that our wannabe
deity is a bear! Or...was a bear. So you give him the jellyfish or shark fin.
A little late for that, though...

Go back to Schut and select "Harborview Park" to hear the resulting Minstrel
tale...gee thanks...way to rub it in...

Anyway, the Twinspikes has an Attack Power of 42! That's pretty high for this
early in the Playthrough! Unfortunately you don't have any Spear specialists
right now. It's might almost be worth switching one of your characters to
Spears, but those techniques tend to require three or four good stats, which
pretty much rules out Balmaint's entire starting five characters! 

Depending on the stat bonuses you got from the comet at the beginning of the
Story, you could try switching Bal himself to Spears. 

Colleen might not be a bad choice, as many of the roles learned from having Bow
and Spear techs complement each other.

If you recruited Erreich instead of Kreisa, you could try switching him to
Spears. 

If this is a New Game+ with either Urpina or Taria's Stories complete, you
could try completing the Side Quests for recruiting either Kahn or Mondo, but
given the limited number of Regions available right now, that might not be
possible yet. 

...but if you just want to wait until you get a dedicated Spear user, you'll
have to wait until Part 5 to recruit Chiago and/or Lamar.

When finished, head back to Kei.

***********************************************
* 3.1.4 Back in Kei after tying up loose ends *
***********************************************

Now that you have ten Characters (or eleven if you recruited Giselle during
Intermission 1 [Phoenix]), you can now send anyone you're not using on Missions
in Owtie Arbor and Nangoon. For Nangoon, you get the best rewards for sending
someone with low LP (I think 4 or fewer?). For Owtie Arbor, if you're not using
Kreisa right now, send her. She'll gain Natura levels when she returns!

You can send someone to Halsa in Maurehua--need high Strength for best reward,
and you usually get Axe levels out of it.

Also try both Yumen (south part of Cindrea) and Josgad Stable (eastern town in
Termina...just don't cross into Thracini accidentally!)--both call for high
Endurance for best rewards.

If you want to continue on with the Main Quest now, head southwest through
Rowsui Tower and skip to 3.2. If you're thinking about taking an Intermission
now, read on.

****************************
* 3.1.2 No Breaks Allowed? *
****************************

Yep, another Intermission Primer.

After you take your first Intermission, there is a "cool off" or "No Breaks
Allowed" period of two completed Main Quest Objectives before you can take
your second one. 

For example, if you completed [Phoenix] during Part 2, then you will have to
finish both Part 2 AND Part 3's Main Objectives in order to be eligible for a
second Intermission. 

Again, if you followed my recommendation to not bother detouring unless you
want the first Intermission to be [Phoenix], then this "cool off" period
shouldn't affect you.

...but if you haven't taken your first Intermission yet and you want to now
for some reason, then here are your options (or should I say "option"):

|          P A R T  3:  I N T E R M I S S I O N    O P T I O N S              |
| Elective Quest        | Trigger Regions (travel from Kei to...)             |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Phoenix               | no longer available until Part 5                    |
| Scarlet Shards        | not available yet                                   |
| Earth Serpent         | Megdasse (travel northwest) OR Thracini (travel
|                          east from Termina)                                 |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

*******************************************************************************
* Again, once you enter one of the above Trigger Regions, you CANNOT change   *
* your Common Quest selection, and you CANNOT get back to the Main Quest      *
* until you finish the Intermission!                                          *
*                                                                             *
* Also, once you reach a Part's Main Objective Region, you can't start an     *
* Intermission during that Part anymore.                                      *
*                                                                             *
* So save your game in a separate slot before leaving Kei!                    *
*******************************************************************************

So...it's either [Earth Serpent] (skip to "[Earth Serpent] Int.1.1 Marchiam
Megdasse (Trigger Region)") or continue on with the Main Quest (read on).

**********************************
* 3.2 Marchiam Yaxart [En Route] *
**********************************

It should be a little more clear as to why this is no longer a [Phoenix]
Trigger Region. There would be no way to get to Numadica without triggering the
Common Quest.

Anyway, if you didn't taken an early first Intermission to go here, then
welcome to pilgrim land! 

*MAP*

(Don't go north through the Secret Passage unless you want to end up in
Megdasse and start first Intermission [Earth Serpent])

While we're here, let's go on a pilgrimage!

Macha Shrine:
Inspect this Shrine: Arthur says that Macha is the Celestial of sorcery, and
they proceed to pray...

...but wait! It's Camelia! She asks if you know anything of the True Macha
Shrine? Is this shrine a fake? An imitation? A manner of blasphemy? 

It is indeed, but if we know nothing about it, then she has no use for us. 

Go a bit south toward Twai, and...whoa! A Priest of Marigan is getting beat up
by a monster! Time to save him!

After doing so, he gives us what he was going to offer to the Astel Shrine! Now
that that's settled...

Twai:
Seems like an ordinary town, but it's actually a shrine to Uzume! Do the usual
town stuff, leave, re-enter, and Converse. The lady in town mentions something
about the True Uzume Shrine. Wait...so Twai is another fake Shrine? 

Leave and re-enter again. There's some lettering on the Twai stage. After Mondo
reads it, the True Uzume Shrine will appear a bit south of the Forbidden Point.
It also counts as a prayer. That's two!

Skip the Idle Fisherman for now--we'll come back to him.

Head west of the Idle Fisherman and we'll end up at the Bartlett Shrine:

Bartlett Shrine:
Arthur says Bartlett is the Celestial of commerce and travel, but...we can't
just pray here...we need to offer gold dust. We can't use gold coin...it's
gotta be dust. Apparently it was the first item offered at the Shrine. Bartlett
is a very picky god. He likes dust and apparently legs as well. He'd fit in
very well in Las Vegas.

Let's go a bit southeast:

Astel Shrine:
Astel is the Celestial of agriculture. Might as well offer what we got from
the Marigan priest we saved! Let's pray! That's three!

Just a bit southeast of Astel's Shrine:

Gold Miner:
:breathes in heavily:........GOOOOOOLLLLLDDUUUSSSTTTT!!!

...but he doesn't have any to spare...unless we find a mistshroom for him. It's
the only cure for what ails his wife. OK, we need dust, he needs a shroom. 
Everyone needs 20 Bear Asses because that's how most RPG fetch quests work.

A bit south of the dust guy:

Shaams Shrine:
Shaams is the law. LAW! He's the best, by the way! Shrine #4 Complete!

Ignore the South Shaft: it's a grinding spot. Let's go east of there into...

Gloomy Forest:
This is where the so called "mistshroom" grows. Of course we get jumped while
trying to leave with one. 

After a single encounter, we score one mistshroom. Let's head back to dust guy.

Gold Miner:
We got the shroom, so he gives us the dust. Let's head back northwest to the
Bartlett Shrine...

Bartlett Shrine:
Give Bartlett his dust so he can go to Vegas. Shrine #5 done.

Let's go east of the Astel Shrine...

Filthy Shrine-Like Object:
If you haven't done so direct first Intermission [Phoenix], inspect this and
you'll clean it up...it's the True Uzume Shrine! It counts as part of the
pilgrimage, but the "True" Shrines are counted separately from the "standard"
Shrines (you'll see why later on). Anyway, let's go back to Twai and see what
happens!

Twai:
If you haven't done this already during first Intermission [Phoenix], converse
here: Have Giselle join us!

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Giselle   |  7| 11| 12|  9|  8| 11| 6|Ig|S. Sword |
-----------------------------------------------------

Her stats are similar to Patricia's, so we can't really consider her an
upgrade. You get a lot of redundant characters in Balmaint's Story...go figure.

If you picked Giselle up during [Phoenix], swapped Patricia to Staff/
Incantations, aren't having much luck with mage Patricia, and picked up Kreisa
recently, I wouldn't blame you for switching Patricia back to Short Swords
since you now have a non-Arthur mage. On the other hand, you do have that
Twinspikes spear you got from a certain bear with a god complex...maybe give
Patricia or Giselle a shot with that?

Let's head back to where the True Uzume Shrine is and then east of that:

Stahl:
Yep, another town with a Shrine. This time it's for Adamas, the Celestial of
blacksmithing. You definitely have at least 10 characters now--you can send one
of your reserve party members on a mission (high Strength is best--might as
well send Robert if you're not using him).

Notice something about the Smithy? Look at one of the crystal symbols: ooohhh
rainbow! That's a Prisma Crystal! That means this smithy can upgrade stuff that
most other smithies can't! If you're having problems learning new magic, let's
try creating the Transitory Staff! 

Upgrade a Staff to a Great Staff (6 Ignis Crystals) or a Grand Great Staff (6
Natura Crystals) and then upgrade that bad boy to the almighty TRANSITORY STAFF
(6 of every crystal, Smithy Rank IV). Once you get this thing, you can learn
the Tier 1 spell of every element from it, one at a time. The only catch is
that the element's level needs to be at 3. 

That's right, baby! All elements! No quills! No pillows! Now throw that thing
on Arthur or Kreisa and proceed to learn more magic with less frustration!

(No, it does not look like two balls and a piece of drug paraphernalia...)

Leave and re-enter Stahl. Let's pray...but prayer is not enough! We need ore
this time! Go east to the Abandoned Mine...how convenient...

Abandoned Mine:
Go on in and defeat the fiends! We get our ore, so let's head back to Stahl...

Stahl:
Pray. Shrine #6 done! 

Let's go straight up north to the Diemazu Shrine:

Diemazu Shrine:
She is the Celestial of the seas. Inspect again and pray. No other fetch quest
for this one. That's #7!

Before we head back south to get the rest of the shrines, let's head northeast
to where we entered the Region:

Rowsui Tower:
Yep, this is a Shrine too. It's for Marigan, the Celestial of battle. That's
#8! 

A light appears on the opposite side of the Region. Let's see what it is!

Mysterious Light:
Investigate and...the stench of blood? Another Shrine appears with lots of
weapons!

Suspicious Shrine:
Lots of weapons reflecting sunlight and smelling like blood. "Have at you!"
Huh?

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
King of the Lions

There's also two Rana Warriors (frogs that love poison) and two Netherworld
Roots (shrooms that love poison). The King himself has Miasmic Overflow (poison
and/or Frenzy to the entire Retinue).

Did I mention there is poison in this battle? You may have to rely on Rain of
Life, Earth Heal, or a few Benisons from Kada or Tejedura to get you through
this.
=======================

After the battle, a large sword falls from the sky next to the Shrine!

Marigan's Sword:
Inspect it: it's an Astral Blade! That should come in handy!

True Marigan Shrine:
Pray: although that's another Shrine, the "True" Shrines are counted separately
from the "standard" ones. You'll see why in a bit.

Let's head southeast back to where Stahl is and then go just a bit east-
northeast (ignore the East Dungeon--that's a grind spot):

Tukuz Shrine:
Tukuz is the Celestial of livestock. Inspect again and pr...whaOMG yaks! Where
the hell did they come from?!!! We better get them back!

Two of the yaks have gathered near the True Uzume Shrine for some reason. 
Inspect them and they'll return to the Tukuz Shrine. There's a third one
southwest near an unlit lantern. The fourth one is near the True Marigan Shrine
(are these yaks trying to tell us something?). Let's head back to the Tukuz
Shrine.

Tukuz Shrine:
Tukuz gets his yaks back. Pray. That's #9!

Just south of that is Kada's Shrine:

Kada Shrine:
The Celestial of Medicine. No shenanigans here. Just pray. That's #10! Two
more to go!

Go west-southwest to the Tejedura Shrine:

Tejedura Shrine:
The goddess of handicrafts. No shenanigans here either. Just pray. That's #11!
One more!

So where is this last Shrine? Remember I said "True" Shrines don't count. It's
all the way southwest at the gate between Yaxart and Numadica:

Imhokiel Gate:
Yeah, the gate itself is a Shrine. Unfortunately you can't pray here yet.
Pursuing Sigfrei comes first. Sigh...that troll. 

...well...alright...

******************************************
* 3.3 Marchiam Numadica [Main Objective] *
******************************************

Balmaint: "Where's Sigfrei now, Patricia?"
Arthur: "Bad form, Bal! Don't steal my line."

Oh Arthur...

Patricia: "There are a lot of old ruins and myths that yet remain in Marchiam
    Numadica. Chief among those is the ruins of Urbs Aurea, the city of gold."

Apparently everyone's crazy about this city of gold. Perhaps Sigfrei is as
well? 

*MAP*

This place can be annoying. In almost every SaGa game that has a desert, your
party has to fight with only half of their HP, and this one's no different.

Excavation Site (just south of Imhokiel Gate):
They want gold, but they get bones instead. They give them to you. Thanks, I
guess. Bone Shards are useful for higher end weapons.

Local:
This guy is digging for :deep breath: GOOOOOOLLLLLDDUUUSSSTTTT. Next!

Belike:
Another town. You can send someone on a mission to "Excavation Camp" and they
can gain Aes magic levels out of it! In fact, you may want to do this now. No,
really. Do it. Send Kreisa there. Or Patricia if you're using her as a mage. 
Unfortunately you can't send Arthur there. 

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: Guess now is a good time to mention that you can't send Protagonists, *
* Deuteragonists (the Protagonists' partners--Arthur being one), or any       *
* character that can leave your Party at some point in EVEN ONE PROTAGONIST'S *
* Story. It doesn't matter if that character won't ever leave Balmaint...if   *
* that character can leave, say, Urpina for example, then you can't send that *
* character on a mission!                                                     *
*******************************************************************************

Hive(s):
The more you fight here in Numadica, the bigger these things get. A one-layer
Mini Hive is a single encounter, a two-layer Hive is a double encounter, while
a three-layer Giga Hive is a triple encounter with a giant spider boss fight
at the end. 

These things don't cause any major problems if they're left alone. If you want
to destroy one, you can, but grinding in Numadica is hard enough with 1/2 HP...

Chyokun:
Just a town...but wait!

"Ho there, you gentle-featured man! Come here and let me play with you a bit!"

Man, where are these creepers with unicorn horns coming from?!!

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Constantine

This guy will randomly pop up in various towns. For some Protagonists, nothing
of relevance will come out of it, but for Balmaint...yeah for some reason
Constantine likes to play with Law Clerks. Must be a new fetish or something.

Fortunately your HP is not halved here like in other Numadica fights. 

All of your Retinue members will start off in Frenzy Status toward Constantine
himself. Even worse, the two Mercenaries like to cast Churning Earth! So how do
we deal with this mess?!!! Either:

A) Have a mage with the Restoration spell cast it on Round 1. You probably
    don't have this spell yet, do you? 

B) Have a mage with Earth Heal cast it on Round 1 and target either Colleen, 
    Patricia, Robert, or Giselle, and then on Round 3 have them use Mesmerize,
    Shadow Weave, or Tumble on anyone about to use Churning Earth. You probably
    don't have that spell yet either...

C) If and ONLY IF the mercs aren't starting up the Churn on Round 1, have a
    mage with Rain of Life cast it on Round 1. On Round 4, everyone will be out
    of the Frenzy status. If someone started the Churn on Round 2, jam them
    with Tumble/Mesmerize/Shadow Weave before it goes off. Otherwise let
    Unicorn Man have it. If you don't have that spell yet...

D) If you have an Axe that has Dimension Break on its glimmer list and either
    Balmaint, Marion, or Strumiknen has Maim, put them in the battle, spam the
    everfreaking hell out of Maim, and hope you glimmer Dimension Break. If you
    do, the fight is over! When you glimmer a technique, that technique's
    status effect (in this case, Instant Death) has a 100% chance of taking
    effect! Of course you can't cheese every battle like this--some enemies are
    Immune to Instant Death.

E) If none of the above options are viable, then reset the game, re-enter
    Chyokun, and hope the mercs don't start Churning on Round 1. Smack around
    Constantine until Frenzy wears off, and hope it wears off sooner rather
    than later. If you can somehow kill Constantine fast, even better, as that
    will remove Frenzy from everyone automatically!

F) If you're still having trouble, then don't enter Chyokun right now--wait
    until later in the Story to satisfy Constantine's Jurus Doctor fetish.
    (Does Arthur really have a J.D.? Who knows? I'm not comfortable calling him
    Arthur Darlton, Esquire.)
=======================

If you can somehow beat Constantine at this point, re-enter Chyokun, listen to
the Minstrel's Tale at "Arid Pasture," and then select "Arid Pasture" again.
The "Sprite" is looking for worthy warriors, but can't find any...yet. 

Now Converse again...OH MY ****ING SWEET JEBUS ANOTHER HORN MAN! Don't worry,
this one's just telling you that there's a rumor about one of the five element-
al weapons being somewhere here in Numadica. No flirting with Arthur this time.
No Frenzy or Churning Earth either. This guy has a different kind of fetish:
WEAPONS!

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: If you completed first Intermission [Phoenix] you probably saw one of *
* these horned guys in the Dark Alley of the Black Market, Sabit. This guy is *
* that same Sabit. You can't recruit him here, unfortunately.                 *
*******************************************************************************

Shaams Cave:
There's a triple encounter here. It has nothing to do with Sigfrei, but it is
part of the Terra Elemental Weapon Side Quest...which we might as well do now
while we're at it. :)

After finishing the triple encounter, go all the way southwest to...

Salt Cave:
Double-encounter here. Like the Shaams Cave this is also part of the Terra
Elemental Weapon Side Quest. The second encounter has a giant squid, "Hastur"
so make sure you jam it before it does something nasty like Maelstrom...

After the battle, there's a mosaic in the cave with various words missing.
To fill these in, let's head back to...

Shaams Cave:
You'll now have an option to pray. Do that, and five stone tablets will appear
around the water. 

(Northwest) Stone Monument:
Examine this, and you'll find that there are two languages on it--one is in
Ashinan: "Be merciful as the sun upon the people." The Ashinan word for "sun"
is "arre."

(Southeast of Shaams Cave) Stone Monument:
Again, two languages on it. "The strong must not oppress the weak." The Ashinan
word for "weak" is "eleh."

(West of the Excavation Sites) Stone Monument:
Again, two languages. "Those who commit evil and injustice do not belong." The
Ashinan word for "evil" is "beh."

(Southeast of the Salt Cave) Stone Monument:
Same thing here. "Justice shines in Numadica." The Ashinan word for "justice"
is "jes."

(Southwest of the Salt Cave) Stone Monument:
...and finally: "Grant justice to orphans and widows." The Ashinan word for
"grant" is "gio."

Take all this information and head back to...

Salt Cave:
Now fill in the blanks with what you learned. Once you solve the puzzle, a
large sword symbol appears west-northwest of Belike. Inspect it and you'll
receive one of the five Elemental Weapons! (this one being Terra)

The weapon you get typically depends on the highest weapon level among all the
characters in your party. The weapon can be of any type except for Staff.

Given the number of Lumberjacks in Bal's Party, if you've been using all three
a lot, it's probably going to be an Axe.

There are very few places that can actually upgrade an Elemental Weapon.
Typically you can do so at a Smithy that handles Prisma Crystals (like Stahl
back in Yaxart!). These are some of the best weapons in the game (there are
weapons that surpass these and allow you to learn a unique technique, but they
require items that are hard to get until late in a Playthrough or a New Game+).

Anyway, now that we have another kickass weapon for this part of the Story:

Coastal Keep:
A fortress with a giant ballista and a single encounter. There doesn't seem to
be anything to shoot at out here. Darn.

Now let's head all the way southeast to...

Ashina:
Another town. Usual town stuff.

Excavation Sites west of Ashina:
At each location, you can choose to help excavate. When you do so, fiends
attack:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Atlach-Nacha

Giant Spider. Feast. Wild Pierce. 

Treat it like the eighty billion Shaams's Holimonts you've dealt with in the
past. 

Just remember you start off at 1/2 HP, so don't mess around too much!
=======================

You'll have to fight this boss five times (once per excavation site).

Was any of this Urbs Aurea? No, but the following have been unearthed:

- Observation Tower
- Signal Fire Tower
- Holimont Sculpture
- Sandsea Lighthouse
- Tekhenu

The Signal Fire Tower gets lit all of a sudden.

Signal Fire Tower:
Sigfrei lit the beacon and sacrificed the workers. Sounds like our Sigfrei.
He went in some ruin, but the camera points to:

Observation Tower:
Turn the dish and it reflects toward the Holimont Statue.

Holimont Sculpture:
We've seen this trope before. Of course we won't get anywhere without pressing
the right button, so let's press the glowing eye...

The Sandsea Lighthouse is lit up and a shadow is cast from Tekhenu.

...and...we did what Sigfrei wanted. He now knows where Urbs Aurea is. Does
he want that gold? Texas Tea? The first thing we know old Sig's a millionaire,
we shoot him with arrows and he reflects him all back haer. 

...OK, I'll stop. 

Where the Shadow Leads:
Enter the tip of the Tekhenu shadow...and we found Urbs Aurea! And a triple
encounter.

After the fight, one of the excavators caught Sigfrei. He says that Sigfrei
killed the others, offering them up as a sacrifice! Yep, that's our Sigfrei...

Once again, Arthur does his thing by sentencing Sigfrei to death by beheading.

"Now make your last words!" seems to be Bal's trademark.

"It is said that the foolish behavior of the people of Urbs Aurea led to its
destruction by the Celestials. I seek to recreate that event. To that end, I
must act foolishly in this land."

"Sigfrei..." muses Bal.

"Kill him already!" yells the excavator. Guess he's yearning for blood, eh?

....

:CHOP!:

One more head for Bal's collection. Some of these are starting to look similar.

...

...well crap. Siggy used himself as a sacrifice once again. The Mare Mortuum
has turned red. A wild Red Slime has appeared! Red Slime uses Sandstorm! It's
Super Effective!

...was that supposed to happen? 

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: If your Protagonist didn't have long black hair and a head fetish,    *
* then there would be a way to prevent what just happened. For Balmaint,      *
* there isn't. This is why I told you to send someone into Belike...there is  *
* no more Belike anymore, so that mission, town smithy, and shop are all gone *
* now. Don't worry...you'll still get the character you sent there back after *
* the appropriate number of battles.                                          *
*******************************************************************************

                              *****************
                              * End of Part 3 *
                              *****************
===============================================================================

                        *******************************
                        * Part 4: Sigfrei in Hibernia *
                        *******************************

"Some time after the execution of Sigfrei in Marchiam Numadica..."
                                                
*******************************
* 4.1.1 Provincia Kei [Intro] *
*******************************

Arthur's not panicking with terrible news this time. Here he's actually showing
concern for Bal, as he seems upset about what happened in Numadica. 

Bal's response? Well...

"I've come to make an announcement. Sigfrei, the former governor of Castle
Kohan is a *****-*** mother****er! He ****ed on Marchiam Numadica. He took out
his red slimy **** out of the Mare Mortuum and he ****ing ****ed on ****ing
Numadica! Before I cut off his upper head, he said his lower head was T H I S 
B I G, and then I said 'that's disgusting.' So I'm making a callout prayer to
Shaams: 'Sigfrei, you got a small ****, it's the size of Arthur's except way
smaller. And guess what, here's what my **** looks like:"

:Castle Kohan shakes:

...

...yeah yeah, I know. That would be WAAAAAYYYY out of character for Balmaint.
Maybe if he were voiced by some guy named Alfred Coleman. Make it so, Snapcube.

However, Balmaint is wondering if Arthur is working with Sigfrei, as he keeps
being used by him. 

Arthur tells Balmaint that if he wasn't his friend, he would slap him in the
face for saying that! He gets how Bal feels, but that's just going way too far.

Yeah, I think Bal should have gone with the above announcement instead.

...but Sigfrei has shown up again. This time, he's doing magical stuff in
Hibernia.

Before we go there, we have more loose ends to tie up, so let's head southwest
back into Yaxart.

***************************************
* 4.1.2: Tying up loose ends - Yaxart *
***************************************

Although I would tell you to take a stop at Stahl and upgrade your Terra
Elemental Weapon, I doubt you have your Smithy Rank at X (10) yet.

Anyway, the real reason we're here is to complete the Pilgrimage to all the 
Celestial non-"True" shrines, and the one we have left is Imhokiel's Gate:

Imhokiel Gate:
Pray here to complete the standard Pilgrimage. When asked to go to Numadica,
select "We should wait."

Now go back northwest to the town we haven't interacted with much (or perhaps
not at all): Rowsui:

Rowsui (the town, not the tower):
Now Converse here. Hey! It's Leonard! The Master of Cram It! Tell him that
we're on a pilgrimage. Take this boi along! NAO!

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Leonard   | 13|  7|  9| 13|  5| 12|10|Te|G. Sword |
-----------------------------------------------------

The master of Cram It himself! If you haven't switched one of the lumberjacks
to Great Swords, you can use this guy instead! His unique role, Cannonball,
pretty much makes up for his lowish Mobility! He's probably the best Tank in
the game alongside Sabit, but for him to fully utilize his tankiness, he would
need to switch to Long Swords or Clubs. He's still very good with Great Swords
though!

Now is a good time to go back to that Idle Fisherman we skipped:

Idle Fisherman:
The fisherman says there's a wicked fog in the lake and as a result, nobody can
fish right now. Some sea critter may be responsible for this...but that ain't
no fish...it's a honkin' monstah! Get ready for a two-part battle!

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Dark Kraken

This game's lacking bestiary makes my job easier! Giant squid does giant squid
stuff. 
=======================

After the battle, we get another True Shrine: the True Diemazu Shrine! Stand on
either the west or east side of the lake and pray! That's True Shrine #3!

There is one more True Shrine, but we're not going to mess with it right now.
Why?

1) You're likely going to get bodied in the appropriately rated "Brutal" boss
battle.

2) Even if the boss doesn't wipe its ass with your carcasses, it escapes after
so many Rounds. There is a Trophy for defeating it before the escape.

3) If you DO defeat this boss now, you won't be able to recruit Kumi during
second Intermission [Phoenix]. 

So for now, we're done here. Let's head back to Kei.

***********************************************
* 4.1.3 Back in Kei after tying up loose ends *
***********************************************

Go ahead and send some characters on Missions now if you want. You can send
them to Halsa (Maurehua), Owtie Arbor (Kei), Nangoon (Kei), Stahl (Yaxart),
Yumen (Cindrea), and Josgad Stable (Termina). Again, Belike (Numadica) is no
longer available because Sigfrei pwned Numadica with a sandstorm.

If you want to continue on with the Main Quest now, head east through Taiffa
and skip to 4.2. If you're thinking about taking an Intermission now, read on.

**************************************
* 4.1.4 Second Intermission Already? *
**************************************

If you took your first Intermission during Part 2's Intro then...yes, yes you
can! You'd probably get in trouble at work in real life if you took your breaks
this early and this close together, but not here...

...oh, who am I kidding? Unless you're doing a speedrun, you'll miss out on
a lot with early Intermissions! For example, the Urpina Rescue Route requires
[Earth Serpent] started as the second Intermission AND Part 6A! If you want to
recruit Irene and Raphael, you have to do the same with [Phoenix]! If you want
to recruit Aslana Melek, you have to do the Sigfrei-related events during Part
5's Main Quest, and then AFTER Part 5 (during Part 6 or 6A basically), start
[Scarlet Shards]!

Whether you want to take your first or second Intermission now, here are your
options:

|          P A R T  4:  I N T E R M I S S I O N    O P T I O N S              |
| Elective Quest        | Trigger Regions (travel from Kei to...)             |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Phoenix               | no longer available until Part 5                    |
| Scarlet Shards        | Normi (north of Termina or Maurehua)                |
| Earth Serpent         | Megdasse (northwest of Kei) OR Thracini (east of
|                          Termina) OR Rhonicum (south-southeast of Gradion)  |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

*******************************************************************************
* I know I'm sounding like a broken record here, but...                       *
*                                                                             *
* Once you enter one of the above Trigger Regions, you CANNOT change your     *
* Common Quest selection, and you CANNOT get back to the Main Quest until you *
* finish the Intermission!                                                    *
*                                                                             *
* Likewise, if you reach a Main Objective Region, you're stuck having to      *
* finish the Main Objective for that Part.                                    *
*                                                                             *
* So save your game in a separate slot before leaving Kei!                    *
*******************************************************************************

At this point, if you haven't taken Intermission 1 yet, you might as well hold
off, since you'll be forced to do so after Part 4 is finished.

If for some reason you want to take Intermission 1 (or 2) now, skip to the
appropriate Section of this FAQ:

|            F O R  T H O S E  T H A T  A R E  I M P A T I E N T              |
| Intermission and Quest  | Skip to Section                                   |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 1st Int Phoenix         | Nope. Can only do during Part 2                   |
| 2nd Int Phoenix         | Nope. Must wait until Part 5, 6, or 6A            |
| 1st Int Scarlet Shards  | [Scarlet Shards] Int.1.1 Marchiam Normi (Trigger  
|                            Region)                                          |
| 2nd Int Scarlet Shards  | [Scarlet Shards] Int.2.1 Marchiam Normi (Trigger
|                            Region)                                          |
| 1st Int Earth Serpent   | [Earth Serpent] Int.1.1 Marchiam Megdasse (Trigger
|                            Region)                                          |
| 2nd Int Earth Serpent   | [Earth Serpent] Int.2.1 Marchiam Megdasse (Trigger
|                            Region)                                          |
| Never mind, let's get on
|  with the Main Quest    | Read on.                                          |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

************************************
* 4.2 Provincia Cindrea [En Route] *
************************************

Arthur says we need to head south through Sanhigh in order to reach Hibernia.
You can get there through Yumen as well, but even then, there's one more Region
to go through...

************************************
* 4.3 Provincia Gradion [En Route] *
************************************

You're almost to Hibernia! Here's what we have before we get there:

*MAP*

Forest Hut:
Defeat the enemies around it and...well...you can't go in it right now. Next!

Fort Kathrin:
If you go here, you'll have the option to go to Rhonicum, which will start an
[Earth Serpent] Intermission (unless you're in the "No Breaks Allowed"/"Cool
Off" phase from taking an Intermission during Part 3, in which then Arthur will
flat out prevent you from going to Rhonicum). 

In any case, don't go to Rhonicum unless you really want to start a first (or
possibly second) Intermission [Earth Serpent] right now.  Remember: you can't
cancel Intermissions once they're started!

Tula, Jardina, and Bollinger Mines:
Fight here and you can ask for a percentage of the spoils. Ask for too much and
you'll have to fight the miner. Win and the mine will disappear from the map 
until later. Not worth the trouble right now.

Pixkimarigan:
Can't do anything here right now.

Adamas Tower:
Can't do anything here right now.

Bicornia:
Can't do anything in either part of Bicornia right now.

Sanhigh:
Town stuff. You can buy shields here if you want. Upgrade weapons as usual.

Yumen:
Town stuff. You can send someone on the Wall Conservancy Mission if you want
(END >= 12 for best reward). 

Testika:
Again, town stuff. 

Baby:
Don't pick it up yet. Yeah, I know...

Welp, time to go southwest through the Hibernian Border.

*******************************************
* 4.4 Provincia Hibernia [Main Objective] *
*******************************************

Welcome to the land of hoity toity magicians!

*MAP*

So what could Sigfrei #4 possibly want here? Patricia?

She says that Hibernia is controlled by one of the four great houses: the
magical House Gwynese. However, they lost power in the last years of the
Empire, and ruling duties were split between three branch houses.

Those three branch houses aren't exactly the best of friends, and Sigfrei wants
to exploit that.

Before we do...remember the Frosty Djinn from way back in Part 1? If he didn't
drop his Ettin's Blade popsicle for you, you can get one from...

Teach na Macha:
A four-part encounter with a very difficult battle at the end, but if you want
that popsicle, you gotta work for it! Most of the battles involve Elementals
that do little more than cast spells (which some of them can be very deadly
like Call Lightning, Hypergravity, and Siren), so either Stun, Paralyze, or
kill them before their spell goes off! The fourth part is the problem:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Macha's Toy and Elementals

We know Kreisa can't help but to touch the slimy creature...

Being a Giant Slime type enemy, Macha's Toy is beefy, has a lot of HP, likes to
Cover/Protect, has an attack that hits your entire Retinue, and casts spells
like Wildfire (After a 1 turn delay, Ignis damage to entire Retinue and chance
of Stun). It's immune to Paralyze, but not immune to Stun or Poison. You might
want Robert to use Tumble here. If Clover has Heaven and Earth, use that on the
Toy. If you have Maximus from an early first Intermission [Earth Serpent] you
can have him dunk the slime in the face...er...what could be a face...with
Heaven and Earth. Hell, with Maximus, you can just use Dual Whirlwind and go
Julanius on their asses! If the Slime's attack is ???, it's Covering/Protecting
someone, so use a Ranged attack to quell it. 

Win the battle and you'll get your popsicle! It may not be your best Greatsword
option right now, but if you upgrade it, it can eventually become the mighty
Frigid Ice Sword (the REAL popsicle!), which has a built-in tech called
Hailstorm (Unda damage to all enemies). You won't find an Ettin's Blade in
stores--they're all enemy drops and one character in the entire game comes with
one.
=======================

Now that you have the Ettin's Blade, let's continue this wild goose chase:

Rainbow Bridge:
Nope...not there. Arthur says it's a nice place to go on a date. I don't think
this is the same Rainbow Bridge that your pets go after they pass away. :(

Makulilkali:
According to the guard, Sigfrei has come by here suggesting that they launch a
surprise attack on Ceobhran and Fomoire, the other two branch houses. Seems
like a pretty good plan, actually. They told him they would consider it, and
sent him away for the time being. It's possible that he's saying the same thing
to Ceobhran and Fomoire, so they can't afford to be lax in gathering info. 

Smart guy, eh?

Let's hit up the other branch houses:

Ceobhran:
Yep, he's been by here. He suggested that Ceobhran join forces with Makulilkali
and destroy Fomoire. However, the moment Fomoire falls, they would be in a one-
on-one battle with Makulilkali. So not a good plan for them...

Fomoire:
Siggy told Fomoire to try and invade the Grove of Silence and try to bring
House Gwynese under their control. If they do that, they'd get pincer'd by
Ceobhran and Makulilkali. While his words may be, as Lord Fomoire puts it:
"sweet as honey", he's a man to be feared for certain. Naturally, Lord Fomoire
declined the offer. 

(I still don't like Lord Fomoire...what a tool.)

Grove of Silence:
Lord Gwynese says that Sigfrei hasn't been by, and to take our search else-
where. Oh really?

After leaving, we're being told by his daughter Elysed Gwynese that he's
lying. Sigfrei has been by. Also word of what's happened in House Yanyouji of
Provincia Kei has reached her, as well as Sigfrei and his many executions. She
has had a conversation with her father about the Spiritual Throne, and her
father has been behaving oddly ever since. The Throne sits in the Grove of
Silence, and has once drove House Gwynese to the brink of destruction. Elysed
says it must never be touched. 

...yeah, we know about this RPG trope. I think Sigfrei does, too.

Given that hanging around Siggy means misfortune, that worries Elysed. Balmaint
tells her not to worry--fortune and misfortune are all the same to him! I guess
it is, as long as he can add to the ol' head collection.

Elysed wants to tag along with us. Oh. Hell. Yeah!

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Elysed    |  6|  9| 11|  6| 13| 14| 6|Na|Staff/Inc|
-----------------------------------------------------

Now THIS is a Mage! She comes with Thorny Fetters (1 turn delay, Natura damage
to single target + Speed down), Call Lightning (2 turn delay, Natura damage to
four random targets + small chance of Paralysis, best damn spell in the game),
and Hypergravity (3 turn delay, Terra damage to all enemies + reduces the enemy
BP pool by 2, second best spell in the game). 

She also comes with a Quarterstaff, which allows learning of Natura Magic. That
Quarterstaff is one upgrade away from becoming a Mystic's Wand (allows learning
of Unda Magic)!

Of course she'll be competing with Kreisa (and maybe Arthur) for being your A
team mage. Considering that both Kreisa AND Elysed come with Call Lightning,
you might consider using BOTH of them, cast Call Lightning, watch enemies get
rekt, and laugh maniacally.

That's up to you, though. 

Otherwise, your decision for #1A and #1B mage should be pretty easy.

If you recruited Erreich instead of Kreisa, then having Elysed makes up for
that choice now.

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: If your Smithy rank is V (5) or higher, go back to Ceobhran and       *
* select "Incantation Institute." Now buy some extra staves. Once you're done *
* with Part 4, you can go back to Stahl in Yaxart and make more Transitory    *
* Staves and any other staves you would need for getting more spells for your *
* mages.                                                                      *
*******************************************************************************

So where can Sigfrei be now? Where haven't we searched? Let's try the mines!

Water Aes Mine:
Right away, we find that the miner was attacked by someone (hmmm...now who
could have done a thing like that?). Time for a double encounter.

Apparently Arthur noticed that those looked like Makulilkali soldiers. Let's
tell Ceobhran about this...

Ceobhran:
...and...that didn't work out. They're ready to attack Makulilkali! Crap.

I guess we can't do anything to stop them. Time for another mine.

Fire Aes Mine:
This miner was attacked too. Time for another double encounter.

...and these guys look like Ceobhran soldiers. Time to tell Fomoire.

Fomoire:
...except he ain't having it. He's ready to attack Ceobhran. Yep. Troll's gonna
troll. sigfreitrollface.jpg

Guess we've gotta place this game with the last mine and Makulilkali...

Earth Aes Mine:
Yeah we know...you were jumped. Double encounter coming.

...and they look like Fomoire Soldiers. Surprise surprise. Go to Makuwhatever
for more trolololols.

Makulilkali:
...and, as predicted, he wants to hand Fomoire his ass. As much as I would love
to see that, I would love to get another Sigfrei head for Bal's collection even
more.

Let's head back to the Grove of Silence to see if Lord Gwynese is still in
denial...

Grove of Silence:
Well...he's not exactly in denial, but he says he's powerless to stop the
branch houses from fighting each other. Elysed ain't having any of that ****.
She tells him that he must think of the people of Hibernia; their happiness
would be nothing more than a bitter dream if this conflict escalates.

...and now the denial starts. Lord Gwynese wonders what these people of Kei
filled her head with, and that she would place faith in them over her own
father? 

Bal, on the other hand, thinks her father's head is filled with the matter of
the Spiritual Throne. 

Said father tells us to begone or else we'll be clapped in irons! 

...great...

Sigfrei has completely poisoned the man's mind. Bal tells Elysed not to let
those words trouble her, as those aren't his words--they're Sigfrei's.

...but...if Siggy's so interested in the Spiritual Throne, why hasn't he inter-
fered with it directly? With the three branches at each other's throats, this
would be his chance to do so...

Elysed says that summoning the Sublime Spiritual at the Throne would be
difficult without enough Spiritual energy. 

There must be something that'll lure that damn troll out of hiding, right?
Elysed think that the Macha artifacts at Teach na Macha should do the trick.
Guess we need to make a return trip there--a popsicle's not going to do it.
Using the grounds this way is heresy...Bal gives no ****s. He wants head. Er...
I mean acts of heresy are their specialty.

Teach na Macha:
Welp...looks like we found him. And a double encounter.

After that mess, we find the man himself. He says it's a bit early for his next
meeting, as he has committed no crime yet after all. 

...except he has. The supposedly infighting forces captured him.

Once again, Arthur does his thing by charging Sigfrei with criminal conspiracy
against House Gwynese, attempted use of forbidden sorcery, and the murder of
numerous House Gwynese vassals.

...wait for it...

...

"...also inflicting bodily injury, fraud, robbery, larceny, defiling sacred
property, and twenty-seven other related crimes for which you have been
sentenced to death."

...whoa! Wasn't expecting that! That's a lot of charges! 0_0

"Now make your last words!"

Ah, that's better.

"As always, things have gone precisely as I intended. Justice will be delivered
presently."

"As it was in Numadica?" asks Bal.

"Do your duty, executioner!" yells Lord Gwynese. Guess he's yearning for blood
too!

....

"You're just like that axe you carry, Balmaint: never permitted to judge the
rightness of your executions," says Sigfrei. "However, all that occurs from now
on shall be justice--including your own deeds."

GET ON WITH IT ALREADY!

"I look forward to our next meeting, Sigfrei."

...

:CHOP!:

...and yet again the bastard used his own death as a sacrifice. This time he's
awakened a Sublime Spiritual at the Throne. Time to fight:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Sublime Spiritual of Natura

It's a giant pineapple thingy. It shouldn't be too difficult to defeat. It's 
immune to Paralysis like all Plant type enemies are, but you can still Stun it.
Poison also works.
=======================

Lord Gwynese wonders whether the fall of House Gwynese was his form of
judgment. Balmaint, however, doesn't know a thing about justice. Whatever
Sigfrei thought was justice, he's not sure it's anything he'd believe in.

Oh wait...did we just get a Natura Elemental Weapon? This normally doesn't
happen--other Protagonists have to choose between Elysed and the Natura Weapon.
I guess the game's letting Bal have his cake and eat it too as a way to make up
for the railroaded structure of his Story?

Anyway, the weapon you get typically depends on the highest weapon level among
all the characters in your party. The weapon can be of any type except for
Staff. However, it's NOT going to be the same weapon type as the one you got
for Terra (or any other previous Elemental Weapon Quest in the same Play-
through), so if, for example, you got an Axe from the Terra Elemental Quest,
and the highest weapon level is still Axe, then it reverts to the second
highest weapon level among all the characters in your party. Any ties are
broken at random. 

There are very few places that can actually upgrade an Elemental Weapon.
Typically you can do so at a Smithy that handles Prisma Crystals (like Stahl
back in Yaxart!). These are some of the best weapons in the game (there are
weapons that surpass these and allow you to learn a unique technique, but they
require items that are hard to get until late in a Playthrough or a New Game+).

Welp, time to return home. Elysed says she wants to tag along. You know Arthur
looooovves that idea...

(too bad she's engaged...not sure Arthur knows that...)

                              *****************
                              * End of Part 4 *
                              *****************

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: If you completed the [Phoenix], [Scarlet Shards], or [Earth Serpent]  *
* Common Quests as your first Intermission during Part 2, 3, or 4, then skip  *
* to Part 5 of this guide. If you have not, then read on.                     *
*******************************************************************************

===============================================================================

              ***************************************************
              * Part 4A: Arthur is Bored: Forced Intermission 1 *
              ***************************************************

"Some time after the execution of Sigfrei in Marchiam Numadica..."

******************************
* 4A.1 Provincia Kei [Intro] *
******************************  

At this point, Arthur asks if Balmaint is getting tired. 

Nope. 

Regardless, Arthur suggests visiting a place that ISN'T related to him for
once, and wants Balmaint to think about it. 

Guess he's a reasonable guy after all. :D

When this happens, the Main Quest is automatically paused and will not resume
until you complete an Elective Common Quest. 

Even in your Record of Deeds (Menu button -> Record of Deeds), it says:

"You've continued your search for Sigfrei, but Arthur suggested you turn your
attention to other matters. As you're at a dead end right now, head to new
lands for new encounters."

THIS is the recommended time to take your first Intermission! (unless you
already did [Phoenix], then you should have skipped to Part 5 :D )

|        F O R C E D   I N T E R M I S S I O N   1   O P T I O N S            |
| Elective Quest        | Trigger Regions (travel from Kei to...)             |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Phoenix               | no longer available until Part 5                    |
| Scarlet Shards        | Normi (north of Termina or Maurehua) OR Jusitania
                           (south of Hibernia)                                |
| Earth Serpent         | Megdasse (northwest of Kei) OR Thracini (east of
|                          Termina) OR Rhonicum (south-southeast of Gradion)  |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

*******************************************************************************
* Once you enter one of the above Trigger Regions, you CANNOT change your     *
* Common Quest selection!                                                     *
*                                                                             *
* So save your game in a separate slot before leaving Kei!                    *
*******************************************************************************

The developers could have made Jusitania a [Phoenix] Trigger Region instead of
[Scarlet Shards] since it's going to be a [Phoenix] Trigger Region from Part
5 onward anyway. Then again, this is the only way to actually collect a Shard
from Jusitania...

*********************************************
* 4A.2 So...which Common Quest should I do? *
*********************************************

It depends on a number of things:

- Which characters do you want to recruit?
- Which Common Quest are you going to select for your second Intermission?
- Which ending do you want?
- How many times do you plan on playing Balmaint's Story?
- How many times do you plan on playing other Protagonists' Stories?
- How many times do you plan on playing this game?

If you're trying to create the Ultimate Branch Save, then you've already
completed [Phoenix] as your first Intermission during Part 2, and you should
have skipped to Part 5 already! :D

If you're trying to get the Trophy for recruiting all characters, you'll have
to play Urpina's Story's twice and everyone else's Stories--including
Balmaint's--once.

Characters that can be recruited directly during [Phoenix]:

- Kumi (second Intermission only, must have Bicyniro Region unlocked)
- Irene (Part 6A only)
- Raphael (Part 6A only, can be recruited during [Earth Serpent] as well under
    the same restrictions)
- Ogniana (second Intermission only, must trigger Common Quest from Jusitania;
    can be recruited during first Intermission [Scarlet Shards] during Part 4A
    as well)

(in other words, nobody during first Intermission [Phoenix])
        
Characters that can be recruited directly during [Scarlet Shards]:

- Francis (must have access to Gradion before starting the Intermission)
- Hongswan
- Luna (Part 6A only)
- Aslana Melek (must complete the initial events during Part 5 in Bicyniro
    first before starting the Intermission)
- Ogniana (Part 4A only, must trigger Common Quest from Jusitania; can be
    recruited during second Intermission [Phoenix] as well)
        
(in other words, only Francis, Hongswan, and Ogniana during first Intermission
[Scarlet Shards])

Characters that can be recruited directly during [Earth Serpent]:

- Maximus (if second Intermission, it must be during Part 6A, otherwise first
    Intermission started at any eligible time)
- Antonius (Part 6A only, Urpina Kidnapping Route)
- Armored Maiden (Part 6A only, Armored Maiden Route)
- Lord Stabiae (Part 6A only, either Urpina Rescue/Rebuild Saw or Armored
    Maiden Route)
- Raphael (Part 6A only, can be recruited during [Phoenix] as well under the
    same restrictions)
- Lewis Darling (Part 6A only, Urpina Kidnapping Route)
- Angle (Part 6A only, Urpina Kidnapping Route)
- Socrates (Part 6A only, Urpina Kidnapping Route)
        
(in other words, just Maximus during first Intermission [Earth Serpent])

Characters that have two Common Quest requirements:

- Julia (requires [Earth Serpent] and [Phoenix], order doesn't matter; both
    Intermissions can be started during any eligible Part)
- Nolan (requires first Intermission [Earth Serpent] started specifically from
    Megdasse and second Intermission [Scarlet Shards]; both can be started at
    any eligible Part, as long as they're done in order)
- Hagar (requires first Intermission [Earth Serpent] started specifically from
    Megdasse and second Intermission [Scarlet Shards]; both can be started at
    any eligible Part, as long as they're done in order)

If this is your first Playthrough, I would recommend selecting [Earth Serpent]
for Intermission 1 and [Phoenix] for Intermission 2 for the following reasons:

- If you followed (or will follow) the recommendations from the Urpina Walk-
    through, you'll need somebody to recruit Irene, and Balmaint's the only
        other Protagonist that can do so.
- Recruiting Maximus during Intermission 1 [Earth Serpent] can get you a dual-
    wielding Julanius in your Party, and you can do so sooner than Part 4A if
    you want. 
- If you're worried about all of the [Earth Serpent] exclusive characters like
    Antonius, Armored Maiden, and Lord Stabiae, you can recruit them in Taria's
    Story. 
        
To get all Characters in a total of five Playthroughs (two Urpina, one of every
other Protagonist), your Common Quest selections should look like this:

Urpina 1: Chapter 1 [RESCUE] Route, Chapter 2 [Sigfrei], Chapter 3 [Scarlet
    Shards]

Balmaint: Intermission 1 [Earth Serpent] at any eligible time, Intermission 2
    [Phoenix] during Part 6A

Taria: Chapter 2 [Scarlet Shards], Chapter 3 [Earth Serpent] [ARMORED MAIDEN]
    Route

Leonard: Grab every character possible

Urpina 2: Chapter 1 [BLACK-ROBE] Route, Chapter 2 and 3 whatever you want (if
    you missed any characters from past Playthroughs, adjust accordingly),
    recruit Black-Robed Figure during Chapter 3, Achievement Unlocked!

As mentioned before, Balmaint has six Endings. You can create the Ultimate
Branch Save for viewing all six Endings by picking [Phoenix] first and save at
the start of Part 6A, but that might mess up any character Trophy goals you
might have. One way to make up for this would be to make Intermission 2 [Earth
Serpent] during Part 6A and recruit Maximus. On your second Urpina Playthrough,
pick Chapter 3 [Phoenix], recruit Irene, and you'll still end up with the
Trophy!

***************************************************************************
* 4A.3 I know what Quest I want to do. So where should I trigger it from? *
***************************************************************************

[Earth Serpent]:
For many reasons, you want to trigger from Megdasse:
1) If you want to recruit Nolan and Hagar with Balmaint, it's the only way to
    do so (along with picking [Scarlet Shards] for second Intermission).
    Triggering from anywhere else won't allow Megdasse to be accessible during
    second Intermission [Scarlet Shards].
2) Rhonicum will be accessible in Part 5. 
3) Thracini will be accessible in Part 6.

[Scarlet Shards]:
It depends on what you want more:
1) Triggering from Normi will allow you early access to Kenji and the Unda Ele-
    mental Weapon. If you trigger from Jusitania, you won't be able to get to
    Normi until Endgame.
2) Triggering from Jusitania will allow you early access to Ogniana and Mirane.
    If you trigger from Normi, you can get to Jusitania through second Inter-
    mission [Phoenix]. If you don't spend your second Intermission on [Phoenix]
    you'll have to wait until Endgame.

****************************************************************************
* If you chose [Earth Serpent], skip to Section "[Earth Serpent] Int.1.1." *
* If you chose [Scarlet Shards], read on.                                  *
****************************************************************************

************************************************************
* [Scarlet Shards] Int.1.1 Marchiam Normi (Trigger Region) *
************************************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- From Part 4 on
- Must be triggered here to be accessible during the Intermission
- If done during 4A, cannot access Jusitania until either second Intermission
    [Phoenix] or Part 7

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: If this is Part 4 (not 4A), I recommend unlocking Gradion first be-   *
* fore going to Normi. Otherwise you will have a VERY short [Scarlet Shards]  *
* Quest consisting of Normi and Numadica! If you unlock Gradion, then you'll  *
* have its Shard added to the Quest as well as an opportunity to recruit      *
* Francis.                                                                    *
*******************************************************************************

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: If this is Part 4A, then you have a choice of triggering the [Scarlet *
* Shards] Quest here or in Jusitania.                                         *
*                                                                             *
* If you trigger here, you can also do the Unda Elemental Weapon Side Quest   *
* and recruit Kenji, but you won't be able to go to Jusitania and recruit     *
* Ogniana (unless you make your second Intermission [Phoenix] and trigger in  *
* Jusitania at that time).                                                    *
*******************************************************************************

When you enter Normi, a woman by the name of Sasha asks you to help her find
and destroy the Scarlet Shards. Unlike other Protagonists, you don't get the
option to refuse: once you enter Normi, the Intermission starts. Sasha will
put an incantation on your Pendant so it can be used to locate the Shards in
each Region.

The goal is to find all Scarlet Shards in the Regions Balmaint has access to,
which at this point in the Story, is only two or all three of the following
Regions:

- Marchiam Normi (Trigger Region from Part 4 onward, mutually exclusive with
    Jusitania)
- Provincia Gradion (Available during Part 4 only if Gradion is visited before
    starting the Intermission in Normi, otherwise from Part 4A onward)
- Marchiam Numadica (Available from Part 4 onward)

NOTE: Provincia Hibernia has no Scarlet Shard in Balmaint's Story.

Anyway, finding the Shard here is pretty easy. Use the Pendant and you'll find
that it has landed on the far west end of the Region. 

Before you go get the Shard, investigate the building in the middle of the map:

Tidemarch:
Hmmm...pretty cool! How do you get there? Hmmm...

Heading west, you'll see...

Monument:
A stone monument to honor the Warriors Three, who fought valiantly to protect
these lands. It's not relevant to the Shard, but IS part of the Unda Elemental
Weapon Side Quest.

You can stop in Westdorf if you want. Town stuff.  

When you're ready, head to where the shooting star landed:

Castle Kubera:
Win the double encounter here...derp, Shard's not here. 

Westdorf:
The lady here says that the Shard was stolen by a common thief. Leave Westdorf
and you'll see the fate of our common thief...

Frozen Person:
Save here first. There will be a long series of encounters here while you're
trying to wrestle the Shard from the frozen person's grasp.

Now that we have the Shard, let's blow it up! 

...

...but Balmaint says we need permission from the townspeople. 

Fine.

Westdorf:
They don't mind if we "hold onto it." That was easy.

Do your thing, Sasha...except...we get a visit from a lady that looks like the
Imperial Librarian from the Maurehua Collector Hut. She tells us that we should
visit the Tidemarch if we want to know the Shard's power. 

Sasha just wants to destroy the damn thing already. 

If you have her destroy it, OBJECTIVE COMPLETE. So how does she destroy it...

...

...um...what is this i don't even. Anyway...

If you DO go to the Tidemarch:

Tidemarch:
The Shard glows and a passageway directly to the building is unveiled. Oh,
and we have a double encounter on the way there.

After that, we climb some stairs! As expected, Arthur's not exactly thrilled
with that idea...

During that time, we fight another double encounter, piss off Sasha (as if
that's not her usual mood), and then a boss fight:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Divinity, Mossbug, and two Harpiyas
Metal chicken, roly poly, and two succubi. You should know what to do here.
=======================

After the battle, a bright light shoots out of the tower and into the sky,
making an aurora! At this time of year, at this time of day, in this part of
the Region, originating entirely from this tower? Yep. Can we see it? Marion,
Clover, and Patricia say yes.

NOW we can have Sasha destroy the Shard! OBJECTIVE..COMPLETE...via...
bizarre...transformation...

...OK...let's pick up the debris (sparkles) that fell from the aurora--should
be some nice crafting materials!

If you want to do the Unda Elemental Side Quest while you're here, you can:

You see those two monsters at the south-southeast part of the Region: fight
them. A lot. Each time you do, an ice floe appears in the northwest part of the
Region. Between battles, walk the perimeter of the coast--a bottle will appear.
Inspect the bottle and you'll find...honey. 

Once you have enough ice floes, go to the northwest and walk the resulting ice
floe path. If you run into a polar bear, give it the honey to get it out of the
way. You'll also encounter a Frozen Person. Inspect the Frozen Person and win
the resulting battle. After that, a Ghost Ship will appear. Inspect the Ghost
Ship and fight that battle. After winning, a bottle should wash up shore. Open
the bottle and three caves will appear. 

You can repeat the whole process again twice (fight south-southeast enemies,

get more honey, get more ice floes to appear, find another Frozen Person, get
another Ghost Ship to appear, get another map in bottle) to get two more caves
to appear, which simply lead to optional battles that have nothing to do with
the Unda Weapon. 

Fight the battles in the three blue caves: one of those being a boss fight:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Five Astral Guardians

Their spells are annoying. You would think The Tower with its four Round chant
time wouldn't be much of a threat, but the other mask thingies like to use
something called Elemental Salvo, which reduces the chant time of its target by
1! All of a sudden, when you think you can relax, you'll find some Tower coming
down one or two Rounds early and your Retinue gets wiped!

If you have Kreisa and Elysed, bring both of them along and start up Call
Lightning to give them a taste of their own medicine! You might also want to
bring Robert along and have him use Tumble in case the enemy spell countdowns
get too close for comfort.

If you have the Short Sword technique Golden Note on Patricia and/or Giselle,
bring them along! If you can't jam them, at least you can try Distracting them
by increasing their spell countdown by 1! 

In fact, a team of Robert, Patricia, Giselle, Kreisa, and Elysed should work
wonders here!
=======================

After winning the battles in all four blue caves, approach the tombstone--
you'll now see three snowmen! Talk to each one of them, and the telltale large
sword symbol appears where the tombstone once was. Inspect it and you'll
receive one of the five Elemental Weapons! (this one being Unda)

Just like the Terra weapon from Numadica and the Natura one from Hibernia, the
weapon you get here typically depends on the highest weapon level among all the
characters in your party. The weapon can be of any type except for Staff.
However, it's NOT going to be the same weapon type as the one you got for Terra
or Natura (or any other previous Elemental Weapon Quest in the same Play-
through), so if, for example, you got an Axe from the Terra Elemental Quest and
a Short Sword from the Natura Elemental Quest, and the highest weapon level is
still either Axe or Short Sword, it will revert to the third highest weapon
level among all the characters in your party. Any ties are broken at random. 

There are very few places that can actually upgrade an Elemental Weapon.
Typically you can do so at a Smithy that handles Prisma Crystals (like Stahl
back in Yaxart!). These are some of the best weapons in the game (there are
weapons that surpass these and allow you to learn a unique technique, but they
require items that are hard to get until late in a Playthrough or a New Game+).

Now there's one more thing you can do here. Go to Ostdorf:

Ostdorf:
Converse here and you can recruit Kenji!

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Kenji     |  9| 13|  5| 11| 10| 10|10|Ae|S. Sword |
-----------------------------------------------------

Another thicc Normi man. He's the DEX to Strumiknen's STR! He would be a direct
upgrade from Patricia or Giselle if it weren't for his horrible MOB! He's just
as slow as Strumiknen, so he's probably not going to land stuff like Mesmerize
or Golden Note when you need it most. Fortunately Interrupts like Lightspeed
and Matador don't care about your turn order, and Eulogy almost always goes
last anyway. 

It's also fun to play a character that sounds like Goofy and could be the base
model for a future SaGa Scarlet Grace: Big Chungus Edition mod.

*****************************************************************
* [Scarlet Shards] Int.1.2 Provincia Jusitania (Trigger Region) *
*****************************************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- Part 4A only. Yeah, you read that right. 
- Must be triggered here to be accessible during the Intermission
- Cannot access Normi until Part 7 if triggered here

*MAP*

When you enter Jusitania, a woman by the name of Sasha asks you to help her
find and destroy the Scarlet Shards. Unlike other Protagonists, you don't get
the option to refuse: once you enter Jusitania, the Intermission starts. Sasha
will put an incantation on your Pendant so it can be used to locate the Shards
in each Region.

The goal is to find all Scarlet Shards in the Regions Balmaint has access to,
which at this point in the Story, are these three Regions:

- Provincia Jusitania (Trigger Region during Part 4A only--after that it
    becomes a [Phoenix] Trigger Region; mutually exclusive with Normi)
- Provincia Gradion (Available during Part 4 only if Gradion is visited before
    starting the Intermission in Normi, otherwise from Part 4A onward)
- Marchiam Numadica (Available from Part 4 onward)

NOTE: Provincia Hibernia has no Scarlet Shard in Balmaint's Story.

So let's use the Pendant and see what it does (Menu -> Belongings -> Pendant):

WTF? Shooting star? It lands on Donseilla Mine. Let's go check it out!

...but we're either going to have to go through Carl Falls first or find
another way around. Since this is the ONLY time you can do any kind of [Scarlet
Shards] event in Jusitania with Balmaint, let's be nosy and check out the other
places starting with the northwestern side of the Region:

Nanim:
"Oh please forgive us lowly people!" 

Hmmm...what are they afraid of? They don't know anything about the Scarlet
Shard either. Moving on. 

Grumon Queendom:
"Who are you people?"

"Just simple travelers," says Balmaint. 

Although she's a little suspicious of us, she says she's busy right now
(although she'll still operate the Town Stuff for us).

Lupagal Cave:
Just a grind spot at this point.

West Jungle:
"Welcome to the jungle. This place is wild." 

Yes, Bal really says that. :D

Win the encounter here and bees will start flying from here. This will make
traveling in this region easier (you'll see why in a bit).

Seaside Shop:
Can't do anything here yet.

Misery:
Hop in here...well this is surprising. 99.9999999% of the time this town gets
invaded by something, be it pirates, ghosts, and other things!

Not this time!

Bal asks the guy if he knows anything about the Scarlet Shard. Nope, not a
thing, says the mope. 

Buy stuff, upgrade weapons, listen to the Minstrel, send someone on a Mission,
and finish your business here.

Enigmatic Skeleton:
If you listened to the Minstrel's Tale, he said something about a serpent. 
Could this be its remains? Hard to say, but you get a single encounter with
some Goldwings for your trouble.

Spira Tower:
"Hmmm...the Order of Spira doesn't seem interested in the Scarlet Shards." 

...or so it seems. Moving on for now.

Deserted Village:
Inspect here and Arthur talks about the history of aristocrats building resorts
in Jusitania. He thinks there might be treasure here. Bal tells him to get
digging, then. :D

Suddenly a doggo appears there. Inspect again and doggo likes Arthur. Arthur
doesn't like doggo. Reminds me of some meme about knowing who's a good person
by whether or not they're a dog person. Apparently that meme is truth.

Arthur bought some pastries to give to a cute girl, but he loathes having to
give them to a "mangy cur." Yeah, we know Arthur. Woe is you. Maybe we need to
stop in Elhuacan when we get to Thracini so we can get the smallest violin they
have.

Collector Nest:
Functions exactly the same as the one in Maurehua. If you gave the librarian in
Maurehua the Ionium and the Cindrean Firefly, this one will ask for Starsand. 
Fortunately, it's very easy to find on a beach somewhere. ;)

Grab the sparklies next to Misery an bring them back to the Collector's Nest. 
You just finished the first part of the Collectors Nest Side Quest and you get
a Samurai Sword for your troubles!

Go back into the Nest, and she'll ask for Erakleos Moss and Ethereal Water--
both located in Regions that you have unlocked already. We'll get those later.
Right now, we have a Shard to acquire!  

Astel Convent:
Greetings. The Astel Convent welcomes you! She knows some of the history of
the Scarlet Shards, but not much else for now. 

Tveak Tower:
Can't do anything here, as it violates Rule #1 of the Executioner Railroad:
"Go to your objective. Go directly to your objective. Do not pass Go. Do not
collect 200 Aes Crystals."

Carl Falls:
OK, Carl. Here we come. Are the falls hot or warm? Fortunately there is no such
thing as Urban Dictionary in this world AFAIK. 

Defeat the single encounter to get to the other side.

On the other side of Carl Falls, we have...

Man Swinging Pickaxe:
Inspect and...just some guy digging for treasure. What else does it look like?

Inspect again, and you get to fight a single encounter while pickaxe guy picks.

East Jungle:
Win the battle and the bees will fly back and forth between here and the West
Jungle. Later on you can get some honey from either jungle to help with a Side
Quest.

To Marchiam Bicyniro:
Nope, violates Rule #1 of the Executioner Railroad again...

After we've goofed off as much as we can, let's go to our real destination...

Donseilla Mine:
Inspect, and we're told that we're intrudin' on Grumon Queendom territory! She
looks familiar...

Bal tells her to step aside, as we have bidness in the mine.

She asks us if we want to combine forces and take them on. If you say yes, we
get Yet Another Lumberjack in the Party!

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Ogniana   |  9| 12| 12|  8|  5| 13| 4|Te|Axe      |
-----------------------------------------------------

This lumberjack's more Dex-heavy than your others, and that's a good thing! One
of the most annoying things about Axes is that, while they hit pretty hard,
they have a tendency to miss, and having high Dexterity decreases the chances
of missing! 

Honestly, that high DEX and high ACU lends better to other weapons like Bows, 
Short Swords, and Spears. So if you don't want Yet Another Lumberjack, switch
her to one of those! The only problem is her abysmal INT of 5 which makes her
statistically as dumb as Marion, and that can be a problem with some Bow and
Spear techs.

You could even make her a Martial Artist and have her Tumble, but the Strength
is a bit low for other Martial Arts techniques.

One more thing: you may want to turn off Ogniana's Unique Role for now
(Oppressor: Physical-attack damage up (L)/Chance to be blocked/evaded up (M))
so you don't end up whiffing more than necessary. 

Anyway, boss fight time:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Gaia Drake

This guy likes to put people to sleep with Sweet Breath and knock around the
whole Retinue with Shockwave. Shut him up by using the usual jamming tactics
(Stun, Paralyze, Sleep) and throw some Poison on him for his troubles. 
=======================

...and then two more fights in this three-part battle: Fomoire Guards for Part
2 and...another boss fight:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Nun of Astel

The Nun has a Short Sword and the Overgrowth is nothing to fear. 
=======================

However, if you refused Ogniana's offer, you'll get another set of choices:
- Take out the bandits.
- Let's wait this one out.

Choosing to wait it out is basically the "Undo" button here. Inspect Donseilla
Mine again, and Ogniana will offer to join forces once again. Choose yes, she
joins you, and you fight the Gaia Drake. Pass and you'll get the second set of
choices again.  

Choose to take out the bandits, and you get a different boss fight:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Ogniana

Fighting her is like fighting a MUCH faster Strumiknen. Expect the same Axe
techniques here. You could stuff some of it back in her face if you have Leo
in your Retinue and the Shadow Reversal Great Sword technique (Interrupts
Slashing techs, stuffs back in face with a chance to Stun). 

The other danger in this fight are the giant hammer-wielding Grumon Soldiers.
Their Conditionals (????) are annoying as you don't know what they're about to
Interrupt! They could interrupt Blunt (Seismic Strike), Piercing (Gale Strike),
or Slashing (Maniac Blossom)! They could just as well be Covering someone with
Block.

You could just bring Kreisa AND Elysed in this battle and show them what you
think of their Conditionals with Call Lightning. :D
=======================

...and THEN you get the aforementioned Gaia Drake as first part of a three-part
battle, the Fomoire Guards for Part 2, and the Nun of Astel/Overgrowth for Part
3.

In either case, you get the Scarlet Shard! So then, how's Sasha going to
destroy the thing? 

...

...um...OBJECTIVE...COMPLETE...yeah...

If you decided not to join forces with Ogniana, you can go back to the Grumon
Queendom and she'll want to fight you one more time, but she won't join you
afterwards. 

If you go back to Astel's Covenant, have the nun talk to you about grapes and
stuff, re-enter the Covenant, and answer "Sure," you can show your love for
Astel by beating the crap out of her Holimont (seems to be a pattern with some
of these Celestials):

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Astel Holimont and friends

The Holimont won't do much during the first Round or two. Once it has enough BP
it will use an attack called Harvest Vitality, which can do any or all of the
following:

- HP damage
- instant death
- direct LP damage!!!

Overall it's not a super difficult battle. It is immune to Paralyze, but it's
not immune to Stun. Take out the other enemies and if they happen to be sand-
wiched between two of your characters, this will trigger a United Attack
(everyone on either end of the "sandwich" attacks one enemy at the same time
and on the next Round gets a BP discount for techniques and incantations).
=======================

After the battle, you will have the option to recruit Mirane. Re-enter the
Astel Covenant and accept the offer.

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Mirane    |  8| 11|  7|  9| 12| 12| 4|Te|Staff/Inc|
-----------------------------------------------------

Mirane starts with Earth Heal and Rain of Life, so she won't be contributing
any real offense to your team for now. Given that you have Kreisa AND Elysed in
your Party, you may not want to spend much time training Mirane...

**********************************************
* [Scarlet Shards] Int.1.3 Provincia Gradion *
**********************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- During Part 4 if you unlock Gradion before going to Normi
- Otherwise from Part 4A on

So how do we get the Shard in Gradion? Time to use that Pendant again. You'll
see a shooting star land just a bit south of Testika. 

Investigate where the shooting star landed and you'll find...a baby? A BABY!
Who the hell would abandon a baby like this?!!! Sasha gives no ****s: she says
it might have a Scarlet Shard. Looks like we're going to search for its
parents.

While you're carrying the baby, your travel speed is reduced quite a bit!
When fighting in certain battles, you'll be forced into the "For the Child"
formation (3-8 BP, Retinue lined up in a "V" shape). If you leave Gradion, 
you'll no longer have the baby, but when you return, you'll have it again (I
wonder what happens to the baby during this time?!!!). 

Anyway, before we try to find this kid's parents, let's go back to the spot you
picked it up from:

Suspicious Person:
Oh wait, it's freaking Camelia AGAIN! Despite telling her that she is breaking
the law (even going so far as to give her the penalty for doing so...the usual
death...no surprise there), she gives no ****s either. Apathy seems to be a
theme with many of the female characters in this game...

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Camelia and La Chasse lackeys

If you've spent time using Patricia and Giselle and/or fought the Fomoire and
Astel mooks to get the Shard in Jusitania, you'll know what Camelia can do to
you. Of course Camelia has some of the more advanced Short Sword techs like
Golden Note (heavy damage + Distract--increases spell casting time by 1) and
Eulogy (heavy damage + chance of Instant Death). 

One of the lackeys has a Long Sword and the other a Great Sword. 

Just use the tried and true boss tactics of neutering your foes with statuses
and you should be OK. The "For the Child" formation may limit what you can do
early on, though. 
=======================

Now that those nutjobs are out of our way, let's continue our hunt for the
kid's parents. 

Testika:
You'll have two choices: 

- Tell me about the baby.
- Tell me about the Scarlet Shards.

About the baby: Testika runs an orphanage. You can choose to leave the baby
    here or continuing searching elsewhere. 
    Leave baby here: The baby gets left at the orphanage. If you do this, you
        will have to go down the Baby-less Route for getting the Shard and, if
        you want, recruiting Francis. 
    Search elsewhere: You leave Testika. Search continues. 

About the Scarlet Shards: The priest says that they don't exist, and to even
    hold an interest in them is a betrayal of the Celestials. Yeah, keep
    telling yourself that...
        
    You leave Testika. Search continues. Arthur suggests Sanhigh or Yumen.

Sanhigh:
Again, you'll have two choices: 

- Tell me about the baby.
- Tell me about the Scarlet Shards.

About the baby: The lady will ask if you can leave the baby with her. 
    Leave baby here: You leave the baby with her. Unlike leaving her at the
        Testika orphanage, you wonder if leaving her here is a good idea. 
        Leave Sanhigh and...
                
        Baby: ...nope, it wasn't. Some people shouldn't be parents. Pick up the
            baby, head back to Sanhigh, and tell the lady she's a crappy mom.
                
        (NOTE: If you don't see the Baby in the spot where she was originally
            found, leave and re-enter Gradion)
        
        Search elsewhere: You leave Sanhigh. Search continues.
        
About the Scarlet Shards: She doesn't know, but she wants to know about the
    baby! Bal says it's not his, and the lady goes NUTS! Remember kids, stay
    away from bath salts. Especially if they're red.
        
    Beat up the Sanhigh woman and her Thugs, and you'll leave town. Go back
    in, and Converse with the lady again. It will default to "About the baby"
    (apparently she forgot about the ass whoopin she just endured...must be
    those bath salts...)

Overall, if you leave the baby in Testika, you have to go down the Baby-less
Route, which is covered below. If you leave the baby in any other location, the
baby will be abandoned, and you'll have to pick it up again, chew out the
wannabe parent/guardian/mentor/etc., and...pretty much get nowhere. 

While you DON'T have the baby, you can go to the Forest Hut (defeat the enemies
around it first):

Forest Hut:
A man dressed in white wearing sunglasses takes great interest in your quest to
blow up the Wicked One's family jewels. Might as well add him to the fold!

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: If Francis won't join you, then you need to use the Pendant first.    *
* Otherwise he may not even be in the hut!                                    *
*******************************************************************************

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Francis   |  8| 12|  8|  9| 14| 10| 5|Ae|Staff/Inc|
-----------------------------------------------------

Hey, another mage! He starts with the very last Aes spell you can learn: The
Tower! Too bad that spell is impractical in almost every situation with its 4
turn Cast Time! Intelligence 14 is pretty good! 

The problem is that we now have a logjam of mages, and mages take long enough
to train. If you have any two of Elysed, Kreisa, Arthur, and Mirane trained
with a variety of spells, it might not be worth spending time with Francis.

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: If you go to the Forest Hut while you have the baby, Francis will say *
* "OOOOHHH a baby!" followed by "I know nothing." or "The time is not right." *
* If you go to the Forest Hut outside of the [Scarlet Shard] Quest, Francis   *
* won't be there. If you get the Shard in Gradion before going to the Hut,    *
* then that's a Failure Condition for recruiting Francis. So make sure you    *
* visit the Hut while the baby is in one of the town's custody.               *
*******************************************************************************

Anyway, get the baby back by leaving Gradion and coming back (If you dropped
the baby off in Sanhigh, go there, select the option to go to Cindrea, go back
to Sanhigh, and then back to Gradion. The baby will be in the same spot where
you found her). While holding the baby, let's head to:

Yumen:
Usual two choices: 

- Tell me about the baby.
- Tell me about the Scarlet Shards.

About the baby: The man will ask if you can leave the baby with him. 
    Leave baby here: You leave the baby with him. You wonder if it's a good
        idea (as always, it's not). Get the baby back from the original spot
        (or leave and re-enter Gradion before checking the spot), chew out the
        crappy wannabe dad). 
                
    Search elsewhere: You leave Yumen. Search continues.
        
About the Scarlet Shards: First he asks about the baby. Then the Bath Salts
    take effect. Time to beat up the Yumen Citizen and some Thugs. Leave town.
    Re-enter, and the man forgets about his beating, defaulting to "About the
    baby" dialog. 

West Bicornia:
You know where this is going, right? Well, I thought I did...

- Tell me about the baby.
- Tell me about the Scarlet Shards.

About the baby: The bandit will ask if you can leave the baby with him. 
    Leave baby here: You leave the baby with a freaking bandit. You do wonder
        if it's a good idea (who's on the bath salts now?!!). Get the baby back
        from the original spot (or leave and re-enter Gradion before checking
        the spot), chew out the bandit while he lampshades how stupid it is to
        leave a baby with a bandit.
                
    Search elsewhere: You leave West Bicornia. Search continues.
        
About the Scarlet Shards: :UNDER CONSTRUCTION. Not sure if you have to fight
    this guy with Balmaint or not. I know you don't with Urpina...:.

East Bicornia:
Ok, the bandit was more sane than the Sanhigh and Yumen citizens. Maybe that's
a good sign for the East Bicornian knight?

- Tell me about the baby.
- Tell me about the Scarlet Shards.

About the baby: The bandit will ask if you can leave the baby with him. 
    Leave baby here: You leave the baby with the knight. You do wonder if it's
        a good idea. Maybe that knight honor means something here?
        
        Nope.

        Get the baby back through the usual steps. What's this guy's excuse? 
        It's a "change in the Order's policies." Yeah, suuuuure it is...
                
    Search elsewhere: You leave East Bicornia. Search continues.
        
About the Scarlet Shards: The knight asks about the baby. As usual, Balmaint is
    not the father. You don't need Maury Povich to tell you that. Then...yep,
    the bath salts made their way through the Order of Bicornia. "Then you
    choose death!" Sigh...
        
    After beating up three Bicornian Soldiers, we exit town. Re-enter, and the
    knight forgets about the beating as usual. Default to "About the baby."

Pixkimarigan:
...I have no faith in this turning out any better...

- Tell me about the baby.
- Tell me about the Scarlet Shards.

About the baby: The priest will ask if you can leave the baby with them so she
    can serve Marigan. 
    Leave baby here: You leave the baby with the priest. You do wonder if it's
        a good idea. It hasn't been the last few times, and it's not now.

        Get the baby back through the usual steps. So what's the priest's
        excuse? Marigan says no. Yeah, sure...
                
    Search elsewhere: You leave Pixkimarigan. Search continues.
        
About the Scarlet Shards: The priest says that the Shards must be gathered
    under Marigan, who stands at the head of the Celestials. How this turns out
    with Balmaint is :UNDER CONSTRUCTION: but I think there's still a fight
    from the priest being under the influence of Scarlet Bath Salts like usual.
        
    Beat up the Pixkimarigan Knights and exit this dump. Re-enter and the
    priest forgot about the punishment we administered. Default to "About the
    baby."
        
Fort Kathrin: 
Can't proceed to Rhonicum as that breaks the #1 Rule of the Executioner
Railroad.

Adamas Tower:

...sigh...

- Tell me about the baby.
- Tell me about the Scarlet Shards.

About the baby: The priest will ask if you can offer the child to Adamas. Sigh.
    Leave baby here: You leave the baby with the priest. You do wonder if it's
        a good idea. It hasn't been the last few times, and it's not now.

        This time the baby appears in its usual spot without leaving the
        Region! That baby must have really pissed off Adamas! Let's find out
        what the Excuse of the Day is!
                
        Adamas says no. Thought so. 
                
        Unfortunately, you won't be able to proceed any further without
        dropping the baby off at the Testika orphanage, leaving and re-entering
        Gradion, asking about the baby in Testika (the first part of the
        Baby-less Route) and then going to Adamas Tower and proceeding with the
        rest of the Baby-less Route from there (see below).
                
    Search elsewhere: You leave Adamas Tower. Search continues, except you
        can't go any further without either:
                
        A) Going back into Adamas Tower and selecting "About the Scarlet
            Shards"
        or
        B) Dropping off the baby in Testika, leaving and re-entering Gradion,
            going back to Testika to ask about the baby (the first part of the
            Baby-less Route), and then going to Adamas Tower and proceeding
            with the rest of the Baby-less Route from there (see below). 
        
About the Scarlet Shards: The priest says that the power of the Shards would be
    instrumental in locating a new vein of ore. Then he asks about the baby. No
    Shard Insanity this time...unless you count him telling you to find the
    Shard by taking the baby with you to any one of the three mines. 

    Time to go mining. With the baby. 

    It doesn't matter which mine you pick: Bollinger, Jardina, or Tula. Either
    way, you'll be in the "For the Child" formation.

    Bollinger has a Sword Servant (zombie) and two Netherworld Roots (undead
    plants that loves to poison with Corpse Moss among other things).

    Jardina has two Raptor Claws. Much easier than what it would have had if
    you went down the Baby-less Route. 
        
    Tula has a Hellhound and two Sacculinas. The Hellhound needs to be neutered
    (Stun, Paralyze, Sleep, etc.) or else Fang Salvo will give you fits.

    When finished at one of the mines, the baby will somehow have the Scarlet
    Shard in its possession! Huh?!! Er...OBJECTIVE COMPLETE! Good baby!      

Baby-less Route:
================
(you used the Pendant first, right?)

So you dropped off the baby at the Testika orphanage. How is she doing? Let's
check on her:

Testika:
Bal asks if the orphanage noticed anything particular about her. Many people
came by asking questions regarding a Scarlet Shard! Bal asks if the child
was holding a Scarlet Shard, and the priest adamantly denies that she was while
telling him to abandon him "foolish fantasies" and serve the Celestials with
all his heart. Okay...

Before we finish searching, get rid of the enemies around the Forest Hut. Once
you do, enter it:

Forest Hut:
A man dressed in white wearing sunglasses takes great interest in your quest to
blow up the Wicked One's family jewels. Might as well add him to the fold!

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: If Francis won't join you, then you need to use the Pendant first.    *
* Otherwise he may not even be in the hut!                                    *
*******************************************************************************

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Francis   |  8| 12|  8|  9| 14| 10| 5|Ae|Staff/Inc|
-----------------------------------------------------

Hey, another mage! He starts with the very last Aes spell you can learn: The
Tower! Too bad that spell is impractical in almost every situation with its 4
turn Cast Time! Intelligence 14 is pretty good! 

The problem is that we now have a bit of a mage logjam, and mages take long
enough to train. If you have any two of Elysed, Kreisa, Arthur, and Mirane
trained with a variety of spells, it might not be worth spending time with
Francis.

Let's continue our search for the Shard!

West Bicornia:
Looks like the bandits once had possession of the Shard, but someone made off
with it. 

East Bicornia:
"Excuse me, do you know of a Scarlet Shard?"

"SO YOU HAVE CHOSEN DEATH!"

....

...if you insist. Whoop up on the three Bicornian Soldiers and move on.

Sanhigh:
"Pardon me, but have you seen anything resembling a red stone?"

"Yeah, come with me...GRRRRRRHHHHH I'LL SHOW U RED HAAHAAHAHAHA!!!"

...see where this is going? Gotta beat up the Sanhigh lady and two thugs.

Yumen:
I think we know what's coming here. Balmaint asks about shard, response is that
he chose death. Beat up more citizens and move on.

Pixkimarigan:
...even the priests are going insane over red rocks? Sigh, let's beat up some
Pixkimarigan knights.

Adamas Tower:
...oh wait, no fight this time? So he knows where the Shard is? "Er...no...I
know nothing." Yeah, sure pal. 

Time to go mining.

It doesn't matter which mine you pick: Bollinger, Jardina, or Tula. 

Bollinger has three Sword Servants (zombies) and a Netherworld Root (undead
plant that loves to poison with Corpse Moss among other things).

Jardina has two flamethrowing Ogres. If you don't Stun, Paralyze, or put them
to sleep, you're going to be in a world of hurt!

Tula has a boss fight:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Deepfish

Yep, another giant squid that does giant squid stuff. You know what to do by
now. 

This time, he's accompanied by a Hellhound. It likes to Howl (speed up)
followed by Fang Salvo (damage to entire Retinue + chance of Stun). 

Sacculina is a roly-poly. It's the least of your concerns.

Try to Paralyze either the Deepfish or the Hellhound and focus fire on the one
that's not Paralyzed. If you can paralyze them both, awesome! 
=======================

When finished with either one of the mines, you score a Shard! OBJECTIVE
COMPLETE!

**********************************************
* [Scarlet Shards] Int.1.4 Marchiam Numadica *
**********************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- From Part 4 on

Well...we're back. We can't run away from bad memories forever. 

Sasha's not all chomping at the bit to blow up a Shard here for some reason. 

...and wait a sec...Belike is back?!!! That usually doesn't happen for other
Protagonists!

In any case, use the Pendant. There's no shooting star, but we do see sparkles
coming out of Ashina. 

Ashina:
Balmaint asks the person there if they know anything of a red stone. He mumbles
to himself something about "Remus" changing because of a red stone. When asked
to tell us more, he gets angry for picking at his old wounds. Arthur shows no
pity--he wants him to spill what he knows! The man tells them to leave him
alone. 

So...how are we going to get any info from him? The Region is still in crappy
shape, so there may not even BE anyone to help us out here. Let's see:

Belike:
Nope. The town is back, but not the people.

Chyokun:
Nope. Nothing here either. 

Shaams Cave:
Nothing here.

Salt Cave:
Definitely nothing here. 

So what can we do? We leave the Region, that's what! 

Leave and re-enter Numadica. 

Upon re-entering, Sasha will ask us if we want to give up on finding the
Scarlet Shard! 

Wait...what?

Give up?

Sasha...give...up?

LADY? WHAT IN THE ****ING **** IS WRONG WITH YOU?!!! YOU OBSESSIVELY DRAG
URPINA AND TARIA INTO FINDING THESE THINGS, YOU ENTRUST LEONARD ON A MISSION TO
DROWN THESE THINGS IN A FANTASY LAND, AND YOU TELL BALMAINT THAT IT'S OK TO
GIVE UP FINDING THE SHARD?!!! 

...maybe she's attracted to executioners? Maybe the hair? 

...you know what? I thought I had this woman figured out. I. Have. No. Clue.

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: There's actually a meta reason for this.                              *
*                                                                             *
* Other Protagonists have a way to bail out of the Quest if a Shard somehow   *
* becomes inaccessible:                                                       *
*                                                                             *
* Urpina can end the Quest by going to Azhuacan after finding five Shards out *
* of a possible nine in Chapter 2, and she can go straight to Azhuacan at any *
* time in Chapter 3.                                                          *
*                                                                             *
* Taria can end the Quest after finding four Shards out of a possible nine in *
* Chapter 2, and she can go straight to Azhuacan in Chapter 3.                *
*                                                                             *
* Although Leonard's whole Story revolves around the Scarlet Shards, seeking  *
* them out is 100% optional!                                                  *
*                                                                             *
* Balmaint has no natural way to bail out if a Shard becomes inaccessible.    *
* This isn't a problem during Intermission 1, since neither of the four       *
* possible Shards can be rendered inaccessible (late Intermission 2 is a      *
* different story...a...ahem...ahemBicyniro...ahem)                           *
*******************************************************************************

If you choose to give up on finding the Shard, then it's actually considered an
OBJECTIVE COMPLETE. Also Failure Condition for recruiting Hongswan. So no,
don't punk out.

If you say no, then go back to Ashina. 

Ashina:
You ask the man about the Scarlet Shard. He says that they need it to rebuild
the village as well as the rest of Numadica. So he won't let us have it. Either
you can honor his request or you can take it by force.

If you do your executioner thing, he'll plea for you not to take it. If you
insist, then...

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Selhaan

He's an archer, so you should be familiar with what he's about to attack you
with. 
=======================

Win the fight and you get the Shard. Sasha blows it up. Ashina is no more. Way
to go! OBJECTIVE COMPLETE! No more civilization in Numadica. You jerk.

If you choose to stand down, then re-entering Ashina will get reconstruction
going. Leave and re-enter Numadica (telling an obviously under the influence of
some mind-altering substance Sasha that you are NOT giving up) and keep check-
ing on Ashina a bunch of times. Eventually the man will be finished with the
Shard, give it to you, and offer to join you:

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Hongswan  |  8| 14| 11|  7|  9| 13| 3|Un|Bow      |
-----------------------------------------------------

(Selhaan is his Nyu Tribe name and Hongswan is his Ashina Tribe name)

This is arguably the best Archer in the game with those high DEX and ACU
scores! Low END and 3 LP make him quite the glass cannon. He would be a full-
blown upgrade from Colleen if it weren't for the LP. If you have an A and a B
team going, you can have Hongswan be the 1B to Colleen's 1A (or vice versa,
depending on whether you want an emo or a Karen on your A team). 

His unique role drops his speed, so you may want to turn it off for now.

Shard Sasha'd. OBJECTIVE COMPLETE'D.

***************************************************************
* [Scarlet Shards] Int.1.5 After Blowing Up The Last Shard... *
***************************************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
Either:
A) Immediately after you destroy the final Shard that you have access to
OR
B) After visiting the last Shard Region, leaving, and re-entering, you tell
    Sasha that you give up on finding the Shards.

After blowing up the Shard in the last Region you have access to (or giving up
on finding them altogether), Sasha will mention that there is one more Shard...
the Pendant. 

If you think Sasha was on some serious drugs telling you to give up on the
Numadica Shard...wait until you hear the crap that comes out of Balmaint's
mouth!

He flat out refuses to blow the damn thing up! Why? Some Lawful Stupid code of
honor: he says he has no right to do what he wants with what an executed person
trusted him with! Arthur reminds Bal that Sigfrei is not even dead yet as he
resurrected himself! What does Balmaint call this? Sophistry! If Sasha wants to
destroy the Pendant, she's gonna have to kill him first! Arthur can join her if 
he wants! 

Ladies and gentlemen, if you ever wondered what Lawful Stupid is, this is
Exhibit A. 

Then again, it may be an excuse to have one Protagonist flat out refuse to have
Sasha destroy their heirloom (Urpina would have been a much better choice for
this than Balmaint, but what do I know?).

Anyway, Sasha understands, but she says the Spirituals don't answer to humans, 
and she won't back down. So...boss fight!

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Blackworm
    
So...what is in this ugly ass thing's repertoire?
    
- Call: Reorders the Sacculinas (swaps where they are in the turn order and/or
    changes their actions--usually to a conditional ????). A wasted action for
    the most part.
- Noxious Explosion: Damage to one Retinue member plus a long Delay (pretty 
    much to the end of the timeline)
- Scissor Strike: Slash damage to one character.
- War Stomp: Rolls over your Retinue like a bowling ball for heavy damage. You
    should only see this if the fight drags on long enough for the enemy side
    to have enough BP to use this.
    
If you kill any of the Sacculinas, new ones will fall from the sky on the
next turn to replace them, so just concentrate on the Blackworm.
=======================

So who will top Balmaint in completely asinine behavior? We won't know during
this Intermission because it's over now!

                **********************************************
                * [Scarlet Shards] End of First Intermission *
                **********************************************
*******************************************************************************
* If you started this Intermission by detour during an earlier Part, then     *
* scroll back up to where you were, and refer to your regularly scheduled     *
* Sigfrei headhunting already in progress. If you were forced to do this      *
* because of a certain law clerk's boredom, then please skip to the Part 5    *
* section of this guide.                                                      *
*******************************************************************************
                           
**************************************************************
* [Earth Serpent] Int.1.1 Marchiam Megdasse (Trigger Region) *
**************************************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- From Part 2 on
- Must be triggered here to be accessible during the Intermission

When you enter Megdasse, you'll notice a giant hole open near the Kaikow
Quarters. Go to the Quarters itself and Converse. 

Kaikow Quarters:
The townsperson tells you that the glyph is a picture of the Beast King, guard-
ian of the Kaikow people themselves. Once the king awakens, Kaikow will rule
the world. The Empire feared this prediction and ordered the Kaikow people to
watch over the image. 

Now leave the Quarters and go to its observation tower:

Kaikow Observation Tower:
Let's get a better view--OMGWTFSNEK!!! It's blocking our view!

Yep, a giant snek and his black armored buddies. 

Before we deal with them, let's do the usual Common Quest Primer:

The [Earth Serpent] Quest has more in common with [Phoenix] than it does
[Sigfrei] or [Scarlet Shards]. The goal is to defeat the Serpent with the
Emperor's Saw in the same Trigger Region used to start the Quest. Other Regions
do have [Earth Serpent] Objectives, but they're not all that important unless
you're trying to recruit certain characters. For the record, the following
Regions have snek Objectives:

- Marchiam Megdasse (Trigger Region from Part 2 onward)
- Provincia Thracini (Trigger Region during Parts 3-5, disabled during Part 6)
- Provincia Rhonicum (Trigger Region during Part 4 and 4A only)
- Provincia Kei (Available from the start)
- Marchiam Yaxart (Available from Part 3 onward, as long as it is unlocked
    before the Intermission starts, otherwise Part 4 onward)
- Urbs Azhuacan (Accessible during the course of the Intermission regardless
    of when it's started)
- Provincia Cindrea (Available from Part 2 onward, as long as it is unlocked
    before the Intermission starts, otherwise Part 3 onward)

Before we fight the snek, we have to deal with the Golems first. Once you deal
with them:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Earth Serpent

The snek will start off using Call to the Earth to summon miniature versions of
itself. The minisneks will use mostly biting attacks that can inflict Poison. 
They're not a huge threat, but can be annoying. 

Other attacks from the big boy include:

Charging Slash: Moderate damage to the entire Retinue
Fatal Stab: Heavy piercing damage to one character
Poison Breath: Exactly what it says on the tin to a single character
Earth Wave: Heavy damage to your entire Retinue. This sucks. A lot.

Put our green-haired Karen in the Retinue and have her Shadow Weave longboi.
Add some Poison to the mix by having either Patricia use Apid Venom or Arthur
use Poison Mist. Have everyone else use their best techniques and spells and he
should go down within a few rounds or so.
=======================

...and by go down I mean pop back up like nothing happened. Have you ever
experienced deja vu? I think I am...

So we need the Emperor's Power Tool to cut the snek to bits, so we need to make
a trip to Azhuacan to get it. Of course it won't be that easy, would it?

In any case, taking out the Serpent was the blood sacrifice needed to light up
the Kaikow Glyph. To light up the Walomir Glyph, you would have to make your
second Intermission [Scarlet Shards]. 

Anyway, we have a Saw to acquire!

***************************************************************
* [Earth Serpent] Int.1.2 Provincia Thracini (Trigger Region) *
***************************************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- General Availability: From Part 3 onward
-- Must be triggered here to be accessible during the Intermission if earlier
    than Part 6
- As a Trigger Region: Parts 3, 4, 4A, and 5 only
-- Cannot be used as a Trigger Region during Part 6 or 6A, but is available if
    unlocked during Part 6 before the Intermission is started in Megdasse.
- If triggered here, cannot access Megdasse until two Main Quest Objectives
    after the second Intermission are complete or Part 7, whichever one comes
    first.

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: I don't recommend triggering here. There are far more benefits to     *
* triggering from Megdasse than Thracini (finishing the Glyph Quest with help *
* from second Intermission [Scarlet Shards] is the big one)                   *
*******************************************************************************

When you enter Thracini, you see that the Serpent popped up already and the
Golems are attacking Elhuacan! First thing you need to do is get rid of those!

After doing so, enter Elhuacan:

Elhuacan:
The Grand Empress Dowager (aka: Cool Ass Granny) is grateful that you defeated
the Golems. She mentions that the Emperor's Saw is the only weapon that can 
defeat the Serpent. 

Well...let's test that theory by brute-forcing it:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Earth Serpent

The snek will start off using Call to the Earth to summon miniature versions of
itself. The minisneks will use mostly biting attacks that can inflict Poison. 
They're not a huge threat, but can be annoying. 

Other attacks from the big boy include:

Charging Slash: Moderate damage to the entire Retinue
Fatal Stab: Heavy piercing damage to one character
Poison Breath: Exactly what it says on the tin to a single character
Earth Wave: Heavy damage to your entire Retinue. This sucks. A lot.

Put our green-haired Karen in the Retinue and have her Shadow Weave longboi.
Add some Poison to the mix by having either Patricia use Apid Venom or Arthur
use Poison Mist. Have everyone else use their best techniques and spells and he
should go down within a few rounds or so.
=======================

...and by go down I mean pop back up like nothing happened. Have you ever
experienced deja vu? I think I am...

So we need the Emperor's Power Tool to cut the snek to bits, so we need to make
a trip to Azhuacan to get it. Of course it won't be that easy, would it?

***************************************************************
* [Earth Serpent] Int.1.3 Provincia Rhonicum (Trigger Region) *
***************************************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- Trigger Region only during Part 4 and 4A, and must be triggered here to be
    accessible during Quest at those times.
- As part of Quest from Part 6 onward, but no longer a Trigger Region
- If triggered here, cannot access Megdasse until Part 7

When you enter Rhonicum, you'll notice a giant hole open just a bit southeast
of Fort Kathrin. Inspect it and OMGWTFSNEK!

Earth Serpent:
Inspect again and...

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Earth Serpent

The snek will start off using Call to the Earth to summon miniature versions of
itself. The minisneks will use mostly biting attacks that can inflict Poison. 
They're not a huge threat, but can be annoying. 

Other attacks from the big boy include:

Charging Slash: Moderate damage to the entire Retinue
Fatal Stab: Heavy piercing damage to one character
Poison Breath: Exactly what it says on the tin to a single character
Earth Wave: Heavy damage to your entire Retinue. This sucks. A lot.

Put our green-haired Karen in the Retinue and have her Shadow Weave longboi.
Add some Poison to the mix by having either Patricia use Apid Venom or Arthur
use Poison Mist. Have everyone else use their best techniques and spells and he
should go down within a few rounds or so.
=======================

...and by go down I mean pop back up like nothing happened. Have you ever
experienced deja vu? I think I am...

So we need the Emperor's Power Tool to cut the snek to bits, so we need to make
a trip to Azhuacan to get it. Of course it won't be that easy, would it?

*****************************************
* [Earth Serpent] Int.1.4 Provincia Kei *
*****************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- From the start

In order to get to Azhuacan, we have to pass through Kei. Unfortunately longboi
had the same idea.

Arthur and Bal are wondering if Castle Kohan is OK after the resulting earth-
quake. Well yes but actually no. There's a lot of Earth Golems around Kei and 
we have to get through those to get to the Serpent.

Earth Golems (take your pick, doesn't matter):
...but they never end! After defeating at least one encounter of these chumps,
examine the Unremarkable Tree.

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: If you want to recruit Julia, you must complete the following events  *
* (along with events during second Intermission [Phoenix]).                   *
*******************************************************************************

Unremarkable Tree:
Well you almost avoided taking an arrow to the knee...or worse. Said arrow has
a letter on it: 

"The well runs dry. Please do something about it."

It doesn't have anything to do with the Earth Serpent, but since it's a
domestic affair, that responsibility falls on Arthur's shoulders. So we have to
look into it. 

Fine.

Southwest of the tree is our well in question:

Old Well:
Hop on in! Immediately we're greeted by a robed figure who's appalled by us
profaning Lord Savnok's subterranean temple. Get use to it, buddy. We're coming
for you, your armored mooks, that long bastard above ground, your children,
your mother, and your clothes! Savnok's not gonna save you from us!

...and after the battle, we get none of those things. Then again, we CAN get
two of those things now: the armored mooks will die and we'll be able to get to
longboi.

Earth Golems (pick one):
Doesn't matter which one you pick--it's a two-part encounter either way.

After that, all the Golems are gone! Now for the Serpent.

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Earth Serpent

Fight's exactly the same as the one in Megdasse, Thracini, or Rhonicum
(whichever Region you started this Intermission from).
=======================

Now that that's settled, OBJECTIVE COMPLETE! We can go to Azhuacan. Before we
do, if you started this Intermission sometime after Part 2, then why not take a
stop in Yaxart to deal with the snek here? That way we don't have to backtrack.

*******************************************
* [Earth Serpent] Int.1.5 Marchiam Yaxart *
*******************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- From Part 3 on as long as you unlocked Yaxart before starting the Inter-
    mission
- From Part 4 on otherwise

We're back! Look who joined the party! Yep. Them golem bastards and their giant
friend...

...er...wait. No...giant...friend?

Nope. Just six encounters with Golems surrounding the place. Take em out! Some
of the encounters will have a mix of other things like metal chickens and the
like.

After clearing all six of them out, the Serpent finally comes out of hiding!
Take him out as well!

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Earth Serpent

Same drill. Same snek. Same minisneks.
=======================

OBJECTIVE COMPLETE! On to Azhuacan!

*****************************************
* [Earth Serpent] Int.1.6 Urbs Azhuacan *
*****************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- After fighting the Earth Serpent at least once in the Trigger Region that was
    used to start the Intermission.

Before we go rent us a power tool, notice that three out of the four quadrants
of Azhuacan are open! You might be strong enough to do some fighting in the
Arena. 

Arena:
If you have around 350 HP or so, you'll be allowed to battle. Win three battles
and you'll be the champions! The first time you win three battles you'll 
get the Vermilion Rose. Each time afterward you'll get Dragon Scales (and many
of the best weapons and armor require these to upgrade!).

After you're bored with the Arena, head directly south (southwest quadrant)
to...

Black Market:
This place is really only going to be a benefit after multiple New Game Pluses
with weapons carried over. Stop at the Deserted Street, and you'll find a man
that is OBSESSED with weapons! It's as if he would eat, sleep, drink, and smoke
them if they were edible, comfortable, potable, and combustible...

For the record, if you were to have the following three weapons, he would join
you: (True) Katana, Twister, and Estoc. 

...nope, not gonna happen right now. You'll get another chance to come back to
Azhuacan during the second Intermission if you choose [Phoenix]. After that,
it's during the Endgame. So don't sweat it now.

You can send someone on the "Order of Assassins" mission if you want (high MOB
gets the best rewards). 

The Smithy here deals with all five standard types of crystals, so if for some
reason you have a weapon or piece of armor that you couldn't upgrade earlier,
you should be able to do it here. The only crystals this Smithy won't deal with
is Prisma (the rainbow-colored crystals). 

There's another town in the southeast quadrant, but on your way there: yep.
It followed you here. Keep going to the town and we'll come back to it.

South Market:
Smithy is not as good here. It has an Infirmary, but 1) I don't remember what
it takes to unlock that as an option, and 2) The cost to restore a character's
LP is NOWHERE NEAR worth it (1/2 of your current Crystals of that character's
personal element). Just leave and re-enter Kei, picking strawberries each time.

Now let's go to the soldiers next to the Serpent:

Holy Republic Soldiers:
Hey look! The Saw! Dude, let us borrow it! We need to cut something big and
tall down! 

At the moment, HE is going after the Serpent, so he can't let us have it. 
After telling him that the snek appeared in Megdasse/Thracini/Rhonicum, he
wants to accompany us! He finds the fact that the Serpent can appear in
multiple places at the same time fascinating!

Now the Holy Republic Soldier doesn't like that idea. Maximus Julanius' mission
is to serve the Holy Republic...for some reason. No time to argue: battle time!

The first encounter is with a Greater Devil, even though there's no boss music
here. Treat him like the Frosty Djinn, Dark Ifrit, and other similar monsters.

The second one is the snek:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Earth Serpent

This time he starts with the minisneks already out to play. Otherwise it's the
same antics.
=======================

After the battle, Maximus joins us! 

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Maximus   | 12| 11|  6| 12| 12|  9| 5|Ae|L. Sword |
-----------------------------------------------------

You know what Julanius means? It means Duelanius. It means not ONE Long Sword,
but TWO! Needless to say, this man has a permanent spot in your Retinue. He
starts with Dual Cross Cut (damage bonus to Undead) and within a Round or two
of using that, should glimmer Dual Whirlwind! That technique when ranked up is
one of the best in the game! There are a few that are better, but this one is
probably the best for its BP cost!

With the Saw acquired, OBJECTIVE COMPLETE!

You can go back to Megdasse, go Splatterhouse on the Serpent, and end the
Intermission, or you can go through one more [Earth Serpent] event for S&Gs.

For Splatterhouse: Skip to Section "[Earth Serpent] Int.1.8 Back To Where The
    Snek First Appeared"
For S&Gs: Read on.

*********************************************
* [Earth Serpent] Int.1.7 Provincia Cindrea *
*********************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- During Part 2 if Cindrea is unlocked before starting the Intermission
- From Part 3 on otherwise

For S&Gs, the Serpent has appeared in Cindrea. House Erakleos isn't giggling
but some of the soldiers posted at the dam might be doing the other thing.
Then again, I didn't see "diapers" in Saqqara's Product Development list...

Speaking of Saqqara...

Saqqara:
Converse here. The lady doesn't think the dam will fall because Imhokiel built
that thing with his own hands. Oh well, we tried.

Erakleos Soldiers:
The soldiers here say they value defense above all else. Long-term sieges are a
basic tactic of war. 

Hadasht:
Irene of House Erakleos is readying the troops, as protecting the dam is their
number one priority. She muses that House Julanius should be dealing with the
Earth Serpent, and not her! 

Fisherman (north-northwest of the dam):
If you haven't done this earlier, examine the fisherman, and he tells you that
there is a mythical treasure at the bottom of the lake. He hasn't had any luck
finding treasure or catching fish. He says that the legendary beast at the
bottom of the lake may be eating everything up.

Some bubbles appear in the lake! The fisherman thinks it's the legendary beast
and runs away! Well, time to slay some legendary beast!

Foam:
Examine the foam for a double encounter, the first being three Rubybugs (not so
legendary yet). The second is two Goblin Warriors and two Loup-Garous (not so
legendary either, but Loup-Garous = flamethrowing Ogres, and we know how
dangerous those are, so get your Shadow Weaves, Tumbles, and the like ready)!

Welp...that "legendary beast" was less than impressive. Perhaps the legend has
yet to show itself?

Earth Golems (around the dam):
Might as well fight these guys first.

(in fact, if this were Intermission 2 during Part 6A, you MUST fight these guys
first in order to recruit Raphael. Since it's not, it doesn't really matter,
but since we're here for S&Gs we might as well get our S&Gs out of this)

Of course they regenerate...of course. 

Time for the big one again.

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Earth Serpent

Back to old tactics. Has to use Call to the Earth to get the minisneks out
(they're actually called "Soil Worms").
=======================

...well the dam didn't fall. OBJECTIVE COMPLETE! If this were the second Inter-
mission very late in the Playthrough (Part 6A to be exact), it would be a
different story. 

...except...the Golems are still around? Yeah, we have to finish them off.

If you go back to Saqqara, it's "praise by Imhokiel." Um...WE'RE the ones that
did all the work. "Bah, people like that are everywhere," says Bal. 

If you go back to Hadasht, Irene says she received a report of a strange group
battling the Earth Serpent and its golems. Bal tells her that we are the group
in question. She says she'll let such "insolence" pass this time, but if we do
that again, the punishment will be swift and severe. Arthur says that, despite
being a simple law clerk, he doesn't see how she can punish outsiders for dis-
obeying her orders. Irene replies that House Erakleos serves as the emperor's
proxy in the battle against the Infernals, which means subjects and outsiders
alike are obligated to obey their will. Is that clear enough, "clerk"? Arthur
reiterates that she's terrifying, and Bal says that it's understood, and that
we'll toe the line from here on out.

Anyway, S&Gs are over (Irene takes the Gs away and often adds the Ses). Time
to prime the pump on our magical power tool.

*****************************************************************
* [Earth Serpent] Int.1.8 Back To Where The Snek First Appeared *
*****************************************************************

OK, back to where we started (likely Megdasse, but could also be Thracini or
Rhonicum).

Now that you have the Saw and someone of Julanius blood to use it, let's cut
some snek to bits, shall we?

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Earth Serpent

This time he starts with the minisneks already out to play. Maybe the Soil
Worms are what comes out of him out of fear of the Saw? Um...OK, that's dis-
gusting. 

Anyway, nothing new here, except this time we're putting this big slimy bastard
away for good! In fact, having Maximus around with Dual Whirlwind should make
this even easier!
=======================

Ah...don't you like covering an entire Region with giant snake guts?

So why did we have to fight this thing? Bal reminds Arthur that it's his job to
enforce the law. Well, giant sneks are outside the law, so Arthur thinks of all
this like a holiday instead of actual work. Well, that's what an Intermission
is IRL after all. Old movie theaters had them between double features so you
can take a bathroom break and get more popcorn. Various hockey leagues have
them between game periods as breaks. In this game, instead of chasing an omni-
cidal troll around, you do things like killing omnicidal giant snakes, blowing
up the family jewels of an omnicidal god, and chasing down flaming birds that
excrete omnicidal monsters and balls of fire on important things. 

...oh, and you get another Intermission later on. Enjoy the artwork!

                **********************************************
                * [Earth Serpent] End of First Intermission  *
                **********************************************
*******************************************************************************
* If you started this Intermission by detour during an earlier Part, then     *
* scroll back up to where you were, and refer to your regularly scheduled     *
* Sigfrei headhunting already in progress. If you were forced to do this      *
* because of a certain law clerk's boredom, then read on.                     *
*******************************************************************************

===============================================================================

                       ********************************
                       * Part 5: Sigfrei in Rhonicum? *
                       ********************************

"Some time after the execution of Sigfrei in Provincia Hibernia..."

(you'll see this quote regardless of whether you completed Part 4 or Part 4A/
forced first Intermission)

*******************************
* 5.1.1 Provincia Kei [Intro] *
*******************************

This is unusual. Balmaint summons Arthur this time! Bal asks Arthur if he's
going about this all wrong. If he were to STOP executing Sigfrei, he couldn't
be resurrected...right?

Well that just blew Arthur's mind! It could explain why Sigfrei is focused on
Balmaint...and Arthur as well, perhaps...?

...but why? Any drunk idiot with an axe could take him out if he wants.

Arthur says that some people say there's a power that sleeps in executioners.
Personally, he thinks it's just another job with terrible benefits, but if any-
one has that kind of power inside of them, it's Bal.

Bal says what's on my mind, but in a more censored way: "Aw bullplop." 

Sure, executioners are stronger than normal men, have medical knowledge, and
use nontraditional tools in their craft, but they're not mystical or anything.

Arthur continues to kiss Bal's rear end: "You are THE executioner, Balmaint!
The sharpest axe in the barracks, as it were." 

It still doesn't explain why Sigfrei's so focused on Bal. 

Hmmm...if we think of Siggy as the troll he is, and we think of what motivates
Internet trolls targeting certain people, it's almost always just for the lulz.
Yeah, we should just go with that explanation.

Anyway, where is he trolololing now? Supposedly someone in Rhonicum heard a
rumor about him. Time to get on with Part 5 of this farce!

If you want to continue on with the Main Quest now, head east through Taiffa
to Cindrea and skip to 5.2. If you're thinking about taking an Intermission
now, read on.

***************************************
* 5.1.2 Starting an Intermission now? *
***************************************

If you completed Intermission 1 during Part 4 or 4A, then the answer is no
because you're in the "cool off" period mentioned during Section 2.1.2. To
recap, after completing Intermission 1, you have to complete two Main Quest
Objectives before starting Intermission 2.

However, if you took your first Intermission earlier than Part 4/4A and you
haven't taken an early second one, then it is possible to start it now. If this
applies to you, then here are your options:

|          P A R T  5:  I N T E R M I S S I O N    O P T I O N S              |
| Elective Quest        | Trigger Regions (travel from Kei to...)             |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Phoenix               | Jusitania (south of Hibernia)                       |
| Scarlet Shards        | Normi (north of Termina or Maurehua) OR Jusitania
|                          (south of Hibernia ONLY IF Intermission 1 Phoenix
|                          complete)                                          |
| Earth Serpent         | Megdasse (northwest of Kei) OR Thracini (east of
|                          Termina)                                           |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

*******************************************************************************
* More broken record warning stuff here:                                      *
*                                                                             *
* Once you enter one of the above Trigger Regions, you CANNOT change your     *
* Common Quest selection, and you CANNOT get back to the Main Quest until you *
* finish the Intermission!                                                    *
*                                                                             *
* Likewise if you reach Rhonicum, you'll have to complete the Main Objective  *
* and you'll have to wait until next Part to do an Intermission.              *
*                                                                             *
* So save your game in a separate slot before leaving Kei!                    *
*******************************************************************************

My recommendation: wait until you're forced to do the second Intermission.
You'll miss out on way too much starting either of the two remaining Common
Quests now.

************************************
* 5.2 Provincia Cindrea [En Route] *
************************************

Just passing by here...again. Go south through Sanhigh or Yumen and head to
Gradion.

************************************
* 5.3 Provincia Gradion [En Route] *
************************************

...and...just passing by here. Head south-southeast through Fort Kathrin into
Rhonicum.

********************************************
* 5.4 Provincia Rhonicum [Main Objective?] *
********************************************

Welcome to the land of House Julanius, home of nobles, wacky mayors, and swords
akimbo!

*MAP*

Arthur says they didn't have any time for preliminary investigations since
Patricia's been ill. 

(she must be good at toughing it out since she's in my Retinue now!)

Bal wonders if we can gather information without her. Arthur says to leave that
to him. O_O

Ummm...how about leaving that to the player then, mmkay? Let's start from where
we are close to:

Dark Forest:
Triple encounter. Might as well take them out--otherwise they'll keep attacking
the nearby town of Lug.

...and for the coup de grace:

Tveak Tower:
Another triple encounter. Again, if you don't take them out, they'll keep re-
spawning in the Dark Forest and eventually invade Lug.

Now that Lug is no longer under threat, let's visit there!

Lug:
Basically town stuff here. 

*******************************************************************************
* A PRIMER ON SCARLET AMBITIONS WEAPONS:                                      *
*                                                                             *
* There are actually two versions of this game: one with the "Ambitions"      *
* name in the title, and one without. The one without was released first, but *
* only in Japan.                                                              *
*                                                                             *
* "Ambitions" added a bunch of extra stuff, one of those being an extra       *
* weapon to each weapon type that can allow you to glimmer a unique technique *
* that no other weapon can!                                                   *
*                                                                             *
* For these weapons to appear in Trading Posts, you must have the proper      *
* materials.                                                                  *
*                                                                             *
* Lug's Trading Post has an Axe called the Hawkblade that can teach the tech- *
* nique Unbridled Frenzy. This is basically the Axe version of Dual Whirl-    *
* wind, except you're flinging logs at your enemy instead of air, it can hit  *
* up to six times, and it tends to miss about as much as Axe techniques tend  *
* to.                                                                         *
*                                                                             *
* To get the Hawkblade to appear, you must have the following:                *
* - 1 Fine Ring                                                               *
* - 1 Commemorative Medal                                                     *
* - 35 Fibrous Matter                                                         *
*                                                                             *
* Going through the Imperial Librarian Survey Hut Side Quest will grant you   *
* the Fine Ring and Commemorative Medal as rewards. You can also trade for    *
* these in other towns' Trading Posts.                                        *
*                                                                             *
* If this is your first Playthrough, you probably don't have these items. If  *
* this is a New Game+, you might have carried over some of these materials!   *
*                                                                             *
* Once you have these, buy the Hawkblade and give it to one of your Lumber-   *
* jacks! You can glimmer Unbridled Frenzy only off of the basic "Treecleaver" *
* attack, so it may take a while, unless you mix in some high BP techs like   *
* Reverse Delta or something to fill up the character's invisible BP counter  *
* (this "counter" makes it easier to glimmer techniques and resets every time *
* you glimmer one)                                                            *
*                                                                             *
* Other Scarlet Ambitions Weapons include:                                    *
*                                                                             *
* - Joyeuse (Hadasht, Cindrea Trading Post; can learn Short Sword technique   *
*     Eulogy; upgrades to Solar Joyeuse)                                      *
* - Supra Harpoon (Josgad Stable, Termina Trading Post; can learn Spear tech- *
*     nique Divine Lancer; looks like an umbrella; upgrades to Lucis Harpoon) *
* - Bovine Slayer (Stahl, Yaxart Trading Post; can learn Great Sword tech-    *
*     nique Headwind Rush; upgrades to Kirin Slayer...guess it's better to    *
*     slay something mythical than ordinary cattle)                           *
* - Frying Pan (Castle Kohan, Kei Trading Post; Elisabeth also comes with     *
*     this; can learn Club technique Rock Splitter; upgrades to Blunt         *
*     Instrument; can cook bacon on it)                                       *
* - Crescent Bow (Walomir Quarters, Megdasse; can learn Bow technique Plasma  *
*     Shot; upgrades to Custom Crescent Bow)                                  *
* - Flameblade (North Market, Azhuacan; can learn Long Sword technique        *
*     Rosario Impale; looks kind of like the Firebrand from SaGa Frontier 2;  *
*     upgrades to Valeria Heart; +3 Strength (try wielding two of them! Of    *
*     course you can only get one per Playthrough, but there's always New     *
*     Game+ carryovers!)                                                      *
* - Eternity Staff (Ceobhran, Hibernia; can learn Staff techniques Shattered  *
*     Dreams and Cruncher; another weapon from SaGa Frontier II; cannot be    *
*     upgraded)                                                               *
*******************************************************************************

Ibex Forest: 
Nothing here right now.

Marigan Temple:
Just a priest and praying to Marigan. Nothing else.

Silmium:
More town stuff. No Scarlet Ambition weapon or anything like that this time.

Iyajg Bog:
You get a single encounter here with five zombies. Don't dawdle too long--these
guys can potentially one-hit KO you with Pulverize! Of course Gaze can be
annoying as always.

After the battle, a large boulder called the "Drear Rock" appears. DO NOT, I
repeat, DO NOT fight the battles there now unless you are 100% sure you can
win! You won't get another chance if you lose one of the battles!

Boathouse:
Wanna a ride? Bal doesn't think he can fit in that little bitty boat! Oh well,
this will be important during the Doppelganger Side Quest.

Before we go any further, SAVE. YOUR. GAME. 

NOW.

Preferably save in a separate slot. 

Before we go to Castle Parm or Nekwa, we need to talk about how to actually
find Sigfrei here. 

Unlike the other Parts, you get a choice where to find him! Do you want to go
south to Bicyniro through Nekwa or do you want to go northeast to Cerenaif
through Castle Parm?

Keep in mind that if you unlock one Region, you normally won't have access to
the other, and will miss out on stuff. I repeat: you normally can only unlock 
Marchiam Bicyniro OR Provincia Cerenaif! 

Fortunately, there's a way around this by going to Bicyniro first. DO NOT GO
TO CASTLE PARM YET!

Did you save? I hope you did.

...

...are you sure? You saved? Don't say I didn't warn you!

So let's start off by going south through Nekwa. You did save, right?

Nekwa:
Just town stuff with the mayor in a beret. Select "Provincial Boundary" and
Arthur will ask him if he knows anyone by the name of Sigfrei. The mayor says
he does! There's a man by that name in Marchiam Bicyniro. Folks say he just
showed up one day and started summoning fiends.

...yep...that's our Sigfrei all right. 

***************************************************
* 5.5 Marchiam Bicyniro [Possible Main Objective] *
***************************************************

Welcome to the land of strange rumors!

*MAP*

Each town: Caprese, Anchiano, and Pescara have a chain of rumors that you can
choose by Conversing, following the marked spot on the map, and choosing
whether or not to believe. If you choose not to believe the rumor, usually
nothing happens, but if you do, the next event occurs. 

There's also a character that you can recruit if you follow the correct set of
Rumors now and then revisit here during second Intermission [Scarlet Shards].

*******************************************************************************
* The Cliff Notes version of how to do Part 5 The Right Way:                  *
*                                                                             *
* 1) Go to Caprese and Converse to start Caprese Rumor 1.                     *
* 2) Believe all the related rumors about people being turned into stone and  *
*     meet Aslana Melek.                                                      *
* 3) Go to Caprese again and Converse to start Caprese Rumor 2.               *
* 4) Go to Pescara and choose to believe the rumor that fiends are being      *
*     summoned.                                                               *
* 5) After the lady tells everyone to run and you're back on the world map,   *
*     inspect the X on Pescara again. Choose NOT to believe the rumor. The X  *
*     disappears, Balmaint says Sigfrei isn't in Bicyniro, and you'll be      *
*     taken back to Rhonicum. Skip to Section "5.6 Back to Provincia          *
*     Rhonicum."                                                              *
*******************************************************************************

The above steps will allow you to recruit Aslana Melek if you make your second
Intermission [Scarlet Shards] while still having two sets of Rumors (Pescara
and Anchiano) to get a Shard there...AND no towns get destroyed in the process!

*******************************************************************************
* Another alternative for how to do Part 5 The Right Way if you want the      *
* Tatzelwurm trophy:                                                          *
*                                                                             *
* 1) Go to Caprese and Converse to start Caprese Rumor 1.                     *
* 2) Believe all the related rumors about people being turned into stone and  *
*     meet Aslana Melek.                                                      *
* 3) Go to Anchiano and Converse to start Anchiano Rumor 1.                   *
* 4) Go to Noono Forest and Believe the rumor.                                *
* 5) Chase the Tatzelwurm and choose to Capture it.                           *
* 6) Go to Anchiano and Converse to start Anchiano Rumor 2.                   *
* 7) Go to Pescara and choose to Believe. You'll see Sigfrei and then the     *
*     lady in the town will tell people to run away from the fiends.          *
* 8) Go back to Pescara and choose NOT TO BELIEVE! THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!    *
*     Balmaint will say that Sigfrei is not in Bicyniro and you'll be taken   *
*     back to Rhonicum. Skip to Section "5.6 Back to Provincia Rhonicum."     *
*******************************************************************************

The above steps will meet the first part of the Aslana requirement (still need
second Intermission [Scarlet Shards], allows you to get the Tatzelwurm trophy
if you don't have it already (and you're not playing the Nintendo Switch
version), AND you'll have one set of Rumors to work with during second Inter-
mission [Scarlet Shards] (Pescara's Rumors, Method C) to actually get a Shard.
No Towns are harmed in this whole process!

The following are all the possible outcomes with the Sigfrei-specific Rumor
chains. The [Scarlet Shards] Rumor chains will be covered in Section "[Scarlet
Shards] Int.2.x Marchiam Bicyniro" and the standard Rumor chains (e.g.: 
Bigfoot, lady in well, "final boss cave") will be covered in a future Side
Quest section or FAQ.

Method A: Caprese Rumors
------------------------

(this is the recommended way, as you can start the process for recruiting
Aslana Melek)

Follow the flowcharts below to trigger both Aslana Event 1 and to get to one of
the three ending results for CAPRESE RUMOR 2 (in ALL CAPS)." 

Caprese Rumor Flowcharts - Part 5
---------------------------------

Start by going to Caprese and select "Converse".

+---------+
| START   |   +----------------+     +-------------+      +---------+
| CAPRESE >---> Believe X to   |  +--> Investigate |  +---> Go      |
| RUMOR 1 |   | the northeast? |  |  | statue?     |  |   | inside? |
+---------+   N----------------Y--+  N-------------Y--+   N---------Y
              |                      |                    |         |
          +---v----------+     +-----v------+     +-------v----+  +-v-------+
          | X disappears |     | Statue     |     | Hut        |  | Aslana  |
          +--------v-----+     | disappears |     | disappears |  | Event 1 |
                   |           +-----v------+     +-------v----+  +-v-------+
                   |                 |                    |         |          
                   v                 v                    |       +-v-------+
                   |                 |                    +->-->--> END     |
                   |                 +->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->--> CAPRESE |
                   +->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->--> RUMOR 1 |
                                                                  +---------+


When you reach "END CAPRESE RUMOR 1," go back to Caprese and select "Converse"
to start Rumor 2.

+---------+
| START   |   +--------------+     +-----------------------+   +--------------+
| CAPRESE >---> Believe X at |  +--> Sigfrei Silhouette,   >---> Believe X at |
| RUMOR 2 |   | Pescara?     |  |  | Fiends Approach Town! |   | Pescara?     |
+---------+   N--------------Y--+  +-----------------------+   N--------------Y
              |                                                |              |
              v                                   +-<--<--<--<-+      +<-<--<-+
              |                                   |                   |  
        +--------------+                   +------v-------+    +------v-------+
        | X disappears |                   | SIGFREI NOT  |    | BOSS FIGHT:  |
        +-----v--------+                   | IN BICYNIRO, |    | Aspidochelone| 
              |                            | RETURN TO    |    | Prime        |
              |                            | RHONICUM.    |    +------v-------+
        +-----v-------+                    +--------------+           |    
        | END CAPRESE |                                        +------v-------+
        | RUMOR CHAIN |                                        | Pescara      |
        +-------------+                                        | Destroyed!   |
                                                               +------v-------+
                                                                      |
              +-<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--+
              |               
         +----v----+     +---------+     +----------+     +--------+
         | Inspect >-->--> Sigfrei >-->--> Bal gets >-->--> END OF |
         | Giant X |     | Found!  |     | head     |     | PART 5 |
         +---------+     +---------+     +----------+     +--------+

Notice there are three possible ending results (text in ALL CAPS): 

- SIGFREI NOT IN BICYNIRO, RETURN TO RHONICUM: You will automatically be taken
    back to Rhonicum, and you won't be able to go back to Bicyniro until after
    Part 5 is finished. To unlock both Bicyniro and Cerenaif for later on, THIS
    IS WHAT YOU WANT TO DO! This will prevent Pescara from being destroyed and
    will leave the Anchiano and Pescara rumor chains intact for second Inter-
    mission [Scarlet Shards] if you choose to do that (and recruit Aslana later
    on)!

- END OF PART 5: Exactly what it says on the tin. Balmaint scores another
    Sigfrei head for his collection. Skip to Part 6 of this guide.

- END CAPRESE RUMOR CHAIN: No more Sigfrei-specific rumors from Caprese. The
    next Caprese rumor will be the Bigfoot rumor from the standard chain. That
    chain may eventually lead to getting booted out of Bicyniro back into
    Rhonicum at some point. You can start up the Anchiano or Pescara Sigfrei-
    specific rumor chains if you want, but if you are going to select [Scarlet
    Shards] for the second Intermission, then I wouldn't if I were you.  

Caprese Rumor Descriptions - Part 5
-----------------------------------

Caprese Rumor 1:

Balmaint: "We've heard a man named Sigfrei is summoning fiends. Is this true?"
Townsperson: "There's a rumor that someone saw a petrified human deep inside
    the forest. Might have something to do with that Sigfrei guy?"

Leave Caprese and investigate the X northeast of it. 

Don't believe rumor: The X disappears. Skip to Caprese Rumor 2. FAILURE
    CONDITION for recruiting Aslana Melek. Don't do this.

Believe rumor: The X turns into a statue.
    "Let's forget all this": Statue disappears. Skip to Caprese Rumor 2.
        FAILURE CONDITION for recruiting Aslana Melek. Don't do this.
    "Let's take a look around": Statue disappears, Hut appears, go to hut:
        "Let's forget all this": Hut disappears. Skip to Caprese Rumor 2.
            FAILURE CONDITION for recruiting Aslana Melek. Don't do this.
        "We should go inside": Ze madness with ze sculptor. You're halfway to
            recruiting her. You'll need to revisit her Studio during second
            Intermission [Scarlet Shards]. 
                        
        "Awooooooga! Hubba-hubba!" says Arthur. No surprise there.
                
        Heading back to Caprese...
        
Caprese Rumor 2:
"Oh ho! I've heard tales of a man summoning fiends near Pescara."

Leave Caprese and investigate the X where Pescara is located.

Don't believe rumor: The X disappears, and you'll enter Pescara like normal.
    End of Sigfrei-specific Caprese Rumor Chain.

Believe rumor: Sigfrei silhouette appears before entering town. Once you enter,
    woman in Pescara tells everyone that fiends are approaching and to run! 
        
    Now enter Pescara one more time:
        
    Believe: Boss battle time!
        
        =======================
        BOSS FIGHT:
        Aspidochelone Prime
        
        Aspidowhatthe****? Translation: Giant Squid with skull face.
        
        I'm sure you know what to do by now. Poison, Paralysis, Sleep, and Stun
        should all be in your inner friends circle. 

        The four frogs can be annoying with their Stun attacks, though. Oh, and
        Poisonous Mist...
        =======================

        After the battle, Pescara gets destroyed! (forget about getting the 
        Scarlet Fiend to appear this Playthrough) There's also a giant X east
        of the river. 
                
        Inspect the giant X and the Pescara woman is here...but it's Sigfrei in
        disguise! Bal wants to know what Siggy was trying to achieve by
        destroying the town. Sigfrei says that he didn't destroy it. It was the
        people's fear and unease that manifested as fiends. Of course he staged
        this mess and summoned infernals. Time to claim another Sigfrei head.

        Arthur charges him with conspiring with and summoning infernals and the
        usual punishment is Balmaint collecting head.
                
        "Now make your last words."

        "So many strange happenings across the land... Do you not think they
        could be related, Balmaint? Ah, well. I eagerly await my next revival."

        :CHOP:
        
                    **************************************
                    * (Bicyniro) (Caprese) End of Part 5 *
                    **************************************
        ...yep. Already. Skip to Part 6 of this guide. :D
        
    Don't believe: "Sigfrei isn't here. Let's go back to Rhonicum and collect
        more information." You're automatically taken back to Rhonicum and (for
        now) can't go back to Bicyniro. Skip to Section "5.6 Back to Provincia
        Rhonicum."
        
Method B: Anchiano Rumors
-------------------------

Follow the flowcharts below to get to one of the three ending results for
ANCHIANO RUMOR 2 (in ALL CAPS)." As you can see, there's more than one way to
get there.

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: If you want to recruit Aslana Melek and you haven't triggered Aslana  *
* Event 1, then you shouldn't be messing with these Rumors. Use Method A      *
* instead.                                                                    *
*                                                                             *
* If you've already triggered Aslana Event 1 and you want the Tatzelwurm      *
* trophy, then go ahead and Capture the Tatzelwurm, inspect the new X, and    *
* select "Here it is!"                                                        *
*******************************************************************************

Anchiano Rumor Flowcharts - Part 5
----------------------------------

Start by going to Anchiano and select "Converse".

+----------+                        +-------------+     +--------+  
| START    |  +---------------+     | TATZELWURM! |     | Is it  |  
| ANCHIANO >--> Believe X at  |  +--> A) Capture  A-->--> there? |
| RUMOR 1  |  | Noono Forest? |  |  | B) Kill     |     N--------Y
+----------+  N---------------Y--+  | C) Leave be |     |        |
              |                     C-------------B     v     +--v----------+  
        +--<--+                     |             |     |     | Achievement |
        |                +--<--<--<-+    +--<--<--+     |     | Unlocked!   |
        |                |               |              v     | (except for |
+-------v------+  +------v-----+  +------v------+       |     | Nintendo    |
| X disappears |  | Tatzelwurm |  | BOSS FIGHT: |       |     | Switch)     |
+-------v------+  | Disappears |  | Tatzelwurm  |       v     +-----------v-+
        |         +------v-----+  | (for shame) |       |                 |
        |                |        +------v------+    +--v-----+           |
        v                v               |           | Go in  |           v
        |                |           +-<-+           | ruins? |           |
        |                |           |               N--------Y           |
        v                v           |               |        |           v
        |                |           v      +--------v--+  +------------+ |
        |                |           |      | Ruins     |  | Double     | |
        v                v           |      | disappear |  | encounter  | v
        |                |           v      +-----v-----+  | with BOSS  | |
        |                |           |            |        | FIGHT (can | |
        v                v           v            |        | repeat 1x) | v
        |                |           |            v        +-----v------+ |
        |                |     +-----v----+       |              |        |
        v                v     | END      <--<--<-+              v        v
        |                +-->--> ANCHIANO <--<--<--<--<--<--<--<-+        |
        +-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-> RUMOR 1  <--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<-<--+
                               +----------+

As you can see, there are six different ways to reach "END ANCHIANO RUMOR 1"!
Once you do, go back to Anchiano and select "Converse" to start Rumor 2.

+----------+
| START    |   +--------------+     +-----------------------+  +--------------+
| ANCHIANO >---> Believe X at |  +--> Sigfrei Silhouette,   >--> Believe X at |
| RUMOR 2  |   | Caprese?     |  |  | Fiends Approach Town! |  | Caprese?     |
+----------+   N--------------Y--+  +-----------------------+  N--------------Y
              |                                                |              |
              v                                   +-<--<--<--<-+      +<-<--<-+
              |                                   |                   |  
        +--------------+                   +------v-------+    +------v-------+
        | X disappears |                   | SIGFREI NOT  |    | BOSS FIGHT:  |
        +-----v--------+                   | IN BICYNIRO, |    | Aspidochelone| 
              |                            | RETURN TO    |    | Prime        |
              |                            | RHONICUM.    |    +------v-------+
        +-----v--------+                   +--------------+           |    
        | END ANCHIANO |                                       +------v-------+
        | RUMOR CHAIN  |                                       | Caprese      |
        +--------------+                                       | Destroyed!   |
                                                               +------v-------+
                                                                      |
              +-<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--+
              |               
         +----v----+     +---------+     +----------+     +--------+
         | Inspect >-->--> Sigfrei >-->--> Bal gets >-->--> END OF |
         | Giant X |     | Found!  |     | head     |     | PART 5 |
         +---------+     +---------+     +----------+     +--------+
         
Notice there are three possible ending results (text in ALL CAPS): 

- SIGFREI NOT IN BICYNIRO, RETURN TO RHONICUM: You will automatically be taken
    back to Rhonicum, and you won't be able to go back to Bicyniro until after
    Part 5 is finished. If you unlocked Aslana Event 1 during the Caprese chain
    and snagged the Tatzelwurm trophy with the Anchiano chain, then aim for
    this result so you can leave the Pescara chain intact for second Inter-
    mission [Scarlet Shards].

- END OF PART 5: Exactly what it says on the tin. Balmaint scores another
    Sigfrei head for his collection. Skip to Part 6 of this guide.

- END ANCHIANO RUMOR CHAIN: No more Sigfrei-specific rumors from Caprese. The
    next Anchiano rumor will be the well maiden rumor from the standard chain.
    That chain may eventually lead to getting booted out of Bicyniro back into
    Rhonicum at some point. You can start up the Caprese or Pescara Sigfrei-
    specific rumor chains if you want (or haven't already), but if you are
    going to select [Scarlet Shards] for the second Intermission, then I
    wouldn't if I were you.  

Anchiano Rumor Descriptions - Part 5
------------------------------------

Anchiano Rumor 1:
Balmaint: "We've heard a man named Sigfrei is summoning fiends. Is this true?"
Townsperson: "Yeah, I hear you can find fiends in Noono Forest. Might have
    something to do with this Sigfrei fellow."

Leave Anchiano and investigate the X in Noono Forest (northwest of Anchiano, 
southeast of Nekwa).

Don't believe rumor: The X disappears. Skip to Anchiano Rumor 2.

Believe rumor: The X disappears and an "Unidentified Creature" appears in its
    place! It's the tatzelwurm!
    "We should capture it.": CHASE THE TATZELWURM!!!
        "That is a rare and valuable creature found only in Bicyniro. We have
            to capture it!": Inspect the X again and you get one more set of 
            choices:
            "Here it is!": Congratulations! You got an achievement through
                whatever platform you're playing this game on! (except for
                Nintendo Switch)
            "It's not here.": The X disappears, and an Unknown Ruin appears!
                Next question: shall we go in?
                "We may as well go in.": Double encounter, second battle is
                    boss:
                        
                    =======================
                    BOSS FIGHT:
                    Living Armor
                                
                    Giant Spider. Feast. Wild Pierce. Stuff like that.
                    =======================
                        
                    After the battle, the Tatzelwurm escapes. Balmaint's musing
                    about it a bit. "I think it's cute." :D The ruins stay
                    around, though, and you can fight another double encounter
                    if you want. The ruins will disappear afterward.
                        
            "This is only an illusion.": Ruins disappear.
        
    "We should kill it.": Typical Executioner choice. 
        
        =======================
        BOSS FIGHT:
        Tatzelwurm
                
        ...
                
        ...you should be ashamed of yourself.
                
        =======================
                
        "Oops, we killed it," says Arthur. "I bet it had a deadly venom," says
        Bal. 
        
    "Leave it be.": It disappears. 
        
    Heading back to Anchiano...

Anchiano Rumor 2:
"Hey there. I hear there's a man summoning fiends nearby Caprese."

Leave Anchiano and investigate the X where Caprese is located.

Don't believe rumor: The X disappears, and you'll enter Caprese like normal.
    End of Sigfrei-specific Anchiano Rumor Chain.

Believe rumor: Sigfrei silhouette, man in Caprese tells everyone that fiends are
    approaching and to run!
        
    Now enter Caprese one more time:
        
    Believe: Boss battle time!
        
        =======================
        BOSS FIGHT:
        Aspidochelone Prime
        
        Aspidowhatthe****? Translation: Giant Squid with skull face.
        
        I'm sure you know what to do by now. Poison, Paralysis, Sleep, and Stun
        should all be in your inner friends circle. 

        The four frogs can be annoying with their Stun attacks, though. Oh, and
        Poisonous Mist...
        =======================

        After the battle, Caprese gets destroyed! There's also a giant X east
        of the river. 
                
        Inspect the giant X and the Caprese man is here...but it's Sigfrei in
        disguise! Bal wants to know what Siggy was trying to achieve by
        destroying the town. Sigfrei says that he didn't destroy it. It was the
        people's fear and unease that manifested as fiends. Of course he staged
        this mess and summoned infernals. Time to claim another Sigfrei head.

        Arthur charges him with conspiring with and summoning infernals and the
        usual punishment is Balmaint collecting head.
                
        "Now make your last words."

        "So many strange happenings across the land... Do you not think they
        could be related, Balmaint? Ah, well. I eagerly await my next revival."

        :CHOP:
        
                    ***************************************
                    * (Bicyniro) (Anchiano) End of Part 5 *
                    ***************************************
        ...yep. Already. Skip to Part 6 of this guide. :D

    Don't believe: "Sigfrei isn't here. Let's go back to Rhonicum and collect
        more information." You're automatically taken back to Rhonicum and (for
        now) can't go back to Bicyniro. Skip to Section "5.6 Back to Provincia
        Rhonicum."

Method C: Pescara Rumors
------------------------

Follow the flowcharts below to get to one of the three ending results for
PESCARA RUMOR 3 (in ALL CAPS)." As you can see, there's more than one way to
get there.

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: If you are going to select [Scarlet Shards] for the second Inter-     *
* mission, then you shouldn't be using this method. Either complete Method A  *
* (including Aslana Event 1) or part of Method A to trigger Aslana Event 1    *
* all of Method B to get the Tatzelwurm trophy, and then reach one of the     *
* above "SIGFREI NOT IN BICYNIRO, RETURN TO RHONICUM" results to bail out.    *
*******************************************************************************

Pescara Rumor Flowcharts - Part 5
---------------------------------

Start by going to Pescara and select "Converse".

+---------+   +--------------+                     
| START   |   | Believe X on |     +------------+
| PESCARA >---> opposite end |  +--> Worshipper >------+
| RUMOR 1 |   | of river?    |  |  | Found*     |      |
+---------+   N--------------Y--+  +------------+      v
              |                                        |
              |                                    +---v-----+
          +---v----------+                         | END     |        
          | X disappears >-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-> PESCARA | 
          +--------------+                         | RUMOR 1 | 
                                                   +---------+    
If you reach "END PESCARA RUMOR 1" by NOT believing the X, then go back to
Pescara and select "Converse" to start Rumor 2.

*: If you found the Worshipper, then Pescara Rumor 2 automatically begins
without having to go back to Pescara to Converse. Go straight to "Believe X at
Tuktuk Coast?" below.

+---------+
| START   |   +---------------+     +-------------+   
| PESCARA >---> Believe X at  |  +--> BOSS FIGHT: >->->-+ 
| RUMOR 2 |   | Tuktuk Coast? |  |  | Kraken      |     |
+---------+   N---------------Y--+  +-------------+     v
              |                                         |
       +------v-------+                            +----v----+
       | SIGFREI NOT  |                            | END     |
       | IN BICYNIRO, |                            | PESCARA |
       | RETURN TO    |                            | RUMOR 2 |
       | RHONICUM.    |                            +---------+
       +--------------+
                                                   
If you reach "SIGFREI NOT IN BICYNIRO, RETURN TO RHONICUM," then you will
automatically be taken back to Rhonicum, and you won't be able to go back to
Bicyniro until after Part 5 is finished.                                        
                      
                                                    
If you reach "END PESCARA RUMOR 2," go back to Pescara and select "Converse" to
start Rumor 3.

+---------+
| START   |   +--------------+     +-----------------------+   +--------------+
| PESCARA >---> Believe X at |  +--> Sigfrei Silhouette,   >---> Believe X at |
| RUMOR 3 |   | Anchiano?    |  |  | Fiends Approach Town! |   | Anchiano?    |
+---------+   N--------------Y--+  +-----------------------+   N--------------Y
              |                                                |              |
              v                                   +-<--<--<--<-+      +<-<--<-+
              |                                   |                   |  
        +--------------+                   +------v-------+    +------v-------+
        | X disappears |                   | SIGFREI NOT  |    | Goblin       |
        +-----v--------+                   | IN BICYNIRO, |    | Encounter    | 
              |                            | RETURN TO    |    +------v-------+
              |                            | RHONICUM.    |           |
        +-----v-------+                    +--------------+           |   
        | END PESCARA |                                        +------v-------+
        | RUMOR CHAIN |                                        | Anchiano     |
        +-------------+                                        | Destroyed!   |
                                                               +------v-------+
                                                                      |
              +-<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--+
              |               
         +----v----+     +---------+     +----------+     +--------+
         | Inspect >-->--> Sigfrei >-->--> Bal gets >-->--> END OF |
         | Giant X |     | Found!  |     | head     |     | PART 5 |
         +---------+     +---------+     +----------+     +--------+

Notice there are three possible ending results (text in ALL CAPS): 

- SIGFREI NOT IN BICYNIRO, RETURN TO RHONICUM: You will automatically be taken
    back to Rhonicum, and you won't be able to go back to Bicyniro until after
    Part 5 is finished. 

- END OF PART 5: Exactly what it says on the tin. Balmaint scores another
    Sigfrei head for his collection. Skip to Part 6 of this guide.

- END PESCARA RUMOR CHAIN: No more Sigfrei-specific rumors from Caprese. The
    next Pescara rumor will be from the standard rumor chain: objects falling
    from the sky. If you choose not to believe the resulting X, then that chain
    may eventually lead to getting booted out of Bicyniro back into Rhonicum at
    some point. You can start up the Caprese or Anchiano Sigfrei- specific
    rumor chains if you want (or haven't already), but if you are going to
    select [Scarlet Shards] for the second Intermission, then I wouldn't if I
    were you (in fact, I wouldn't even be going through the Pescara rumors at
    all at this point!). 

Pescara Rumor Descriptions - Part 5
-----------------------------------

Pescara Rumor 1:
Balmaint: "We've heard a man named Sigfrei has been summoning fiends lately.
    Is this true?"
Townsperson: "Well! I can't swear as to the name, but I DID hear there's a
    strange man on the other side of the river who's been praying to some-
    thing."

Leave Pescara and investigate the X on the opposite side of the river just east
of where you're at.

Don't believe rumor: The X disappears AND it ends the Sigfrei-specific Pescara
    Rumor Chain! Gonna have to go with Anchiano or Caprese here...

Believe rumor: The X disappears and a Worshipper appears in its place. 
    Inspect the Worshipper: Bal: "Are you Sigfrei?"
        Worshipper: "Don't interrupt me!"
        Bal: "Have you seen a man named Sigfrei?"
        Worshipper: "I heard fiends appeared on the Tuktuk Coast."
        (handy way to skip the Conversing part of Pescara Rumor 2--go to the
        "X" part of that Rumor)

Pescara Rumor 2:
"Here's a tasty bit of news for you, darling: I hear fiends appeared on the
Tuktuk Coast."

Leave Pescara and investigate the X just west of where you're at (it'll be
labeled "Tuktuk Coast").

Don't believe rumor: The X disappears. Skip to Pescara Rumor 3.

Believe rumor: The X disappears and OMGWTFBBQISTHAT?!!! Yep, there's a fiend.
    She didn't say it was bigger than Godzilla! Oh well, inspect it...
        
    =======================
    BOSS FIGHT:
    Kraken
        
    Giant Squid 2: Electric Boogaloo.
        
    I'm sure you know what to do by now. Poison, Paralysis, Sleep, and Stun
    should all be in your inner friends circle. 
    =======================
        
    Hmmm...perhaps that man praying earlier might have been Sigfrei? Anyway,
    after that mess, go back to Pescara for Rumor #3.

Pescara Rumor 3:
Balmaint: "We've heard a man named Sigfrei is summoning fiends. Is this true?"
Townsperson: "I heard tell there was a man summoning fiends near Anchiano."

Leave Pescara and investigate the X where Anchiano is located.

Don't believe rumor: The X disappears, and you'll enter Anchiano like normal.
    End of Sigfrei-specific Pescara Rumor Chain.

Believe rumor: Sigfrei appears, man in Anchiano tells everyone that fiends are
    approaching and to run! 

    Now enter Anchiano one more time:
        
    Believe: This time, no boss fight. Just four goblins.

        After the battle, Anchiano gets destroyed! There's also a giant X east
        of the river. 
                
        Inspect the giant X and the Anchiano man is here...but it's Sigfrei in
        disguise! Bal wants to know what Siggy was trying to achieve by
        destroying the town. Sigfrei says that he didn't destroy it. It was the
        people's fear and unease that manifested as fiends. Of course he staged
        this mess and summoned infernals. Time to claim another Sigfrei head.

        Arthur charges him with conspiring with and summoning infernals and the
        usual punishment is Balmaint collecting head.
                
        "Now make your last words."

        "So many strange happenings across the land... Do you not think they
        could be related, Balmaint? Ah, well. I eagerly await my next revival."

        :CHOP:
        
                    **************************************
                    * (Bicyniro) (Pescara) End of Part 5 *
                    **************************************
        ...yep. Already. Skip to Part 6 of this guide. :D

        Don't believe: "Sigfrei isn't here. Let's go back to Rhonicum and
        collect more information." You're automatically taken back to Rhonicum
        and (for now) can't go back to Bicyniro. Skip to Section "5.6 Back to
        Provincia Rhonicum."

Method D: "All of the above"
----------------------------

This method involves ending each Rumor Chain early. For Pescara, you can choose
not to believe that a man is praying east of there. For all three towns, you
can choose not to believe that a man is summoning fiends. When this happens,
Balmaint will automatically say "Sigfrei isn't here. Let's go back to Rhonicum
and collect more information." You will be taken back to Rhonicum and you won't
be able to go back to Bicyniro for now. Skip to Section "5.6 Back to Provincia
Rhonicum.". 

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: FOR THE LOVE OF THE CELESTIALS do not pick Method D! If you do and    *
* then select [Scarlet Shards] for Intermission 2, the Shard events in        *
* Bicyniro will not occur (you've run out of rumors) and you can't recruit    *
* Aslana Melek!!!                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

**********************************
* 5.6 Back to Provincia Rhonicum *
**********************************

Ok, we've unlocked Bicyniro, and we can't go back there right now, but not to
worry! Once we're finished with Part 5, we'll have access to Bicyniro AND
Cerenaif! 

So let's work on the latter part, shall we?

Castle Parm:
So Arthur introduces himself to the Marquis of Parm, but he's not one for small
talk. Balmaint tells him that we're looking for a man named Sigfrei. The 
marquis takes an instant liking to Bal...that burliness, that hair, that...
smell of blood...? Yeah, the marquis is just as much of a fan of head as Bal.
So how many heads has Balmaint lopped off in his storied career?

For hundred and seventy-six.

...476...?

Imagine a warehouse with four hundred and seventy ****ing six severed heads!
This is Balmaint's world...he probably owns a mausoleum somewhere in Kei...

...ok, Bal. You're the Al Snow of SaGa Scarlet Grace. When Bal wants head,
stay out of the ****ing way!

The Marquis really likes Bal very much! Still it's not often that one meets an
executioner gallivanting about the country. Bal explains the story of our crazy
resurrecting troll, and now the Marquis wants to tag along? Maybe he wants to
see Balmaint's Severed Head Collection, especially with the multiple Sigfrei
heads. Hell, why not?

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Chiago 
|     Lisboa|  9| 14|  9|  7| 11| 12| 5|Ig|Spear    |
-----------------------------------------------------

Wait a minute...SPEAR?!!! We finally get a SPEAR specialist?!!! Welcome aboard
you psychopathic person you! Here! Have a Twinspikes spear! Make things hurt...
A LOT!

...and that DEX! That DEX!

His unique role, Stalwart, makes him a little bit frail, so turn it off when
you need him to live, and turn it on when you don't need the enemy to live.

Chiago has some...interesting...battle quotes. His first one is "Welcome to MY
world!" Is he DIO now? Nope, there's no time stopping magic in this SaGa game.
Earlier ones had time stopping spells. They were just as broken as you would
think they are.

Anyway, according to Chicago...er...Chiago...apparently there's an evil spirit
named Sigfrei over in Cerenaif. So Siggy is...an evil spirit now? That's an
unusual way to be resurrected. He's not even freaking alive now!

:sigh: Let's go. Let's just...go.

****************************************************
* 5.7 Provincia Cerenaif [Possible Main Objective] *
****************************************************

(more like [what should be your Main Objective after doing your thing in
Bicyniro first because you want to do this The Right Way(tm)])

Welcome to the land of evil spirits and haunted stuff everywhere!

*MAP*

...and yes, that's an evil spirit chasing after a woman. It's name is Sigfrei.
No, really.

Phantom:
Rub your eyes a few times. It's still there. She's still there. Yes, you have
to help her. 

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Ghost

A ghost named Sigfrei...

Get rid of the Ghost. Worry about the lackeys afterward. 

The Ghost has lots of Poison attacks including Corpse Moss (damage to all +
chance of Poison and/or Frenzy). Use any attacks that hit Undead hard like Dual
Cross Cut if you have Maximus.

Remember you now have Mr. Lisboa, his Twinspikes, and his XL unique role to
go stabby stabby on things.
=======================

After the battle, the person that was being attacked got away, but the ghost
stuck around us. Why? He's Sigfrei. Why ask why?

Now we have to make a vow:

- "I will not steal." Looting treasure from any of the places here in Cerenaif
    will break this vow.
        
- "I will not kill." Well...you're an executioner. You love head. There's no
    "Headaholics Anonymous" in this world. You're going to break this vow.
    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

- "I will not change." There are a couple of ways to break this vow: 
    a) Helping one side of the Parm vs Zegna Side Quest and then helping the
        other
    or
    b) Going to the fisherman in the Water Mill, choosing one choice regarding
        whether you want a fish, and then choosing the opposite choice
        afterward.

If you break the vow, Balmaint will "permanently" lose 1 LP!!! Fortunately this
isn't Gozarus' shop in SaGa Frontier or the god Death in Romancing SaGa:
Minstrel Song, hence the quotes.

"Nice to see you on board, Balmaint," says the evil spirit Sigfrei.

Isn't Sigfrei supposed to carry out justice? Can't really do that by haunting
people as a spirit, can he? 

"That is your job," says Spiritfrei. "Obey your vows and achieve justice--only
then can you purify me."

Balmaint feels at ease that there's no need to execute him. I guess he's tired
of having multiple Sigfrei heads on his trophy stand?

In any case, we have a floating Ghost-As-Sigfrei staying on us like flies on
poo. How do we fix this situation? We can do this the easy way or the hard way.

The hard way: Mushrooms
-----------------------

Mushrooms and I don't get along in this game, so you're not making me do that!

Go northwest and you'll see giant shrooms growing near the town of Cingular
(damn Gilligan Cut). Get your goddamn tongue off the screen. Hopefully nobody
else has to use that TV, computer monitor, or phone because we're in the middle
of a pandemic here.

Cingular:
Mushrooms from the sea! Mushrooms from the sea!

No ****.

Outside near the shrooms, you have three choices: 

- Do nothing
- Cut em down
- Investigate 

Do nothing: Dark cloud appears, floats to the Westend Graveyard, and summons a
    monster to attack Cingular. You'll get another set of choices:
        
    - This isn't our fight.
    - We can't just let this go.
        
    "This isn't our fight.": Cingular gets wiped off the map! I hope you're
        proud of yourself.

    "We can't just let this go.": Enjoy your double encounter.

    After that, the shrooms disappear. Depending on your choice, Cingular may
    or may not have as well.

Cut em down: More like "burn em down." Dark cloud appears, floats to the
    Westend Graveyard, and summons a monster to attack Cingular. This time no
    choices. You'll take your double encounter and you'll like it.

Investigate: You'll find a corpse caught on the shrooms. Did this person stick
    their tongue on them? That'll learn em. Either the corpse's spiritual power
    made the mushrooms grow like that or its grudge summoned them. 

    Back in Cingular:
    The townsperson tells us that the man went underwater and never came back.
    Before then, he was playing dice with the fishermen and kept winning, so
    they took him out to sea. Rumors abound that he was a cheat. 

    The fellow's name was Sigfrei, so it was. Nice man, quite fashionable as
    well. Surprised me that he'd be named a swindler.
        
    Next stop is the Water Mill, as for some reason, the casino business loves
    using them as venues.

    Water Mill:
    The Cingular Fisherman is on a roll! Apparently he took those dice from
    Sigfrei. He's pissed off that he can't fish because of the shrooms. We need
    those dice--we might be able to get the shrooms to go away with them. Oh,
    and we won't tell his other fishing buddies that he was using fake dice.
    Everyone wins, right?

    Fixed Dice-hating Shrooms:
    Give them the fixed dice and they go away. Sorry, no more tripping for you.

Regardless of which choice you made and the results, we have more shrooms near
Nipelo. You know saliva + electronics = bad, right? 

Nipelo:
Cor blimey! Shrooms be here! 

Are they growing from Sigfrei's corpse again? Ewwwww...

Same choices:

- Ignore
- Chop em down
- Investigate

Ignore: Same results: giant cloud summons monster that attacks town. Fight and
    you save Nipelo. Ignore again and Nipelo gets wiped from the map.

Burninate: Giant cloud summons monsters that go directly after you. Enjoy your
    double encounter.

Investigate: OMG is that a freaking ship?!!! If you have Chiago in your Party,
    he'll explain what it is. If not, you'll have to go to Castle Parm to get
    the explanation. 

    In any case, Lipstick Marquis says that it's his ship, the Black Cobra. The
    other day, she ran aground offshore and sunk. Alas, her draft was too deep
    to enter port at Nipelo. What was it carrying? Digitalis. What was he
    planning to do with it? He ain't saying what's he's gonna do with an
    incredibly poisonous herb. Of course he's not. 

    If we retrieve the poisonous digitalis herb from the wreckage, that may
    quell the mushrooms. 
        
    Now you REALLY need to get your tongue off the screen. 

    ...and no, Chiago, you ain't getting them back. Poisoning people is highly
    forbidden under Imperial Law. Unless you want Head #477 to be enshrined:
    "Lipstick Marquis of Parm"?

    "But digitalis can also be used as a medicine! Why do you hate science,
    executioner?" asks Chiago.

    I don't think he hates physics, lord Parm. Especially not the physics of
    putting two inclined planes together to make a wedge and putting said wedge
    in motion towards your neck.

    ...but we'll let the shrooms decide.

    Ship with poison-hating Shrooms:
    Nope. They don't like digitalis. Sorry, Lisboa.

    Apparently digitalis is also a heart stabilizer. Executioners use it to
    keep criminals alive and conscious when they face execution. 
        
    ...whoa.

    Looks like he likes biology as well.
        
Now we have more shrooms between Nipelo and the Central Cemetery.

Sigfrei Corpse Shrooms #3:
This time Arthur takes a whiff of whatever Sigfrei's dead body was cooking down
dere.

Spores. 

Good job, Arthur. 

He might end up with the shrooms in his lungs. 

Do you really want to keep your tongue on the screen now?

There is a way to cure Arthur's mushroom sickness. Patricia?

Patricia says there's a cave with a spring in the western outskirts.  

Arthur has to take a big ol' swig of hot spring water. Let's head northwest.

Spring Cave:
Double encounter. Is Arthur worth all this? 

...

...Now DRINK, Arthur! Drink all you can! 

"*sniff* Ugh. This smells like an old boot filled with rotten eggs sitting on
top of a pile of bigger, older boots."

Chug! Chug! Chug!

...unless he wants those spores to grow into full mushrooms and come bursting
out of his eyes? 

"This is DELICIOUS! Why, it would simply fly off the shelves if we brought it
to Nangoon or Castle Kohan!"

How very like him to find a way to profit from a grave situation. Does he take
Bison Dollars?

I ask again: is Arthur worth all this?

...but we're not done with the shrooms yet. This time they appeared east of the
Central Cemetery.

Sigfrei's Foot Fungus Growth #4:
...you go this time, Balmaint. 

For once I can't blame Arthur.

A Zegna Guard comes up to us thinking we're controlling these damn shrooms! He
thinks we're under the employ of the Marquis of Parm and that he plots to back
Zegna into a corner. 

I don't know about the latter part, but the former part's not correct.

Either way, he shows us how a Zegna man handles business. 

Yeah, he burns them. Dumbass.

Cloud appears from the Eastend Graveyard and a monster attacks Zegna. 

Did I mention he's a dumbass?

Zegna:
Let's fight back. Hopefully we'll earn some gratitude!

A single encounter later, and...nope. No gratitude.

...

...you know what I'm about to say right? Opposite of "smart" and another name
for a donkey.

Now the shrooms are butt up against Zegna. 

Zegna:
The town is in a panic, and Zegna Guard says he'll accept no aid from the
Marquis of Parm. Chiago tells us to feel free to boot him from the group if we
like. No thanks, we need a spear user. That and he being with us has no effect
on what Sigfrei's carcass's ringworm infection does.

Anyway, the Zegna council decides to burn them down again. This time, EVERY
FREAKING GRAVEYARD spawns a monster!

Time to roam some graveyards and bust some heads! Apparently it's supposed to
drain some of Balmaint's life, but that doesn't happen. 

Eastend Graveyard:
Single encounter with two Zombie Mushrooms and two Man-Mushrooms. 

Central Cemetery:
Same. Single encounter with two Zombie Mushrooms and two Man-Mushrooms. 

Westend Graveyard:
More of the same.

After the battle, a visibly weakened Balmaint is asking Sigfrei if this
satisfies him. He says that he's still not done exorcising him yet.

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Fervent Evil

Pretty much the same fight, different name. 
=======================

After the battle, Spiritfrei disappears. Of course that was nothing but ground-
work for his next reincarnation. 

                  *******************************************
                  * (Cerenaif) (The hard way) End of Part 5 *
                  *******************************************

The easy way: Sinning
---------------------

All you have to do is break your vow until Balmaint's LP=1. If you picked "I
will not change," this becomes super-easy. Just keep going to the Water Mill
and alternate between choices when asked if you want a fish. 

Once you hit 1 LP, you get to fight Spiritfrei:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Fervent Evil

Same fight, different name, but Balmaint is at 1/1 LP. Before the battle starts,
sub him out for another character. 
=======================

After the battle, Spiritfrei disappears. Of course that was nothing but ground-
work for his next reincarnation. 

Good thing his LP gets recovered at the beginning of each Part...

                  *******************************************
                  * (Cerenaif) (The easy way) End of Part 5 *
                  *******************************************
                                                          
===============================================================================

                 *********************************************
                 * Part 6: Sigfrei in the Northeast Boundary *
                 *********************************************

If you ended Part 5 in Cerenaif:

"Some time after the defeat of the evil spirit Sigfrei in Provincia Cerenaif..."

If you ended Part 5 in Bicyniro:

""Some time after the execution of Sigfrei in Marchiam Bicyniro..."             
        
                                 
*******************************
* 6.1.1 Provincia Kei [Intro] *
*******************************

This time, it's not Arthur that greets you, but...um...who is this again?

"Marion. And don't you ever forget it!"

She has a message from Arthur. He wants Balmaint to pack a warm coat and some
fuzzy pants because the two of them are going on a very long--and very COLD--
journey!

Bal says that Marion should consider taking the same advice.

"Aw! It's super-duper unusual for you to be worrying about little ol' me, Bal.
And not altogether unwelcome, if I do say so myself!"

Ooooohh! She wants some of dat executioner, eh? How does said executioner
react?

"Say, Marion? If you knew you were going to die, tomorrow, what would you do
today?"

Smooth, man. Real smooth. Maybe I'll try that pick-up line after bars reopen
post-pandemic...

"Cut it out with that kind of talk! I don't think about death or getting old or
that kind of stuff. I was just a kid not long ago, and then before I knew it, I
was already grown up. So before I know it, I'll be old, then I'll be older, and
then I'll be worm's food. So if I were dying tomorrow, I bet I wouldn't notice
until the very end."

"That sounds like a happy way to live," muses Bal.

"I KNOW, right!? You could seriously do with a little more chill in your own
life, Bal."

Anyway, where's Siggy showing up next? The Northeast Boundary, the very edge of
the world!

Balmaint compliments Arthur's information network. Arthur of course gloats
about it.

That reminds him: Marion was totally over the moon this morning. He wonders if
Bal showed her some love or something. :D

Bal, instead, complements Marion being "quite the philosopher," despite
appearances. 

...Intelligence of freaking 5. Quite the philosopher. Alrighty then.

I agree, Arthur. No idea what he's talking about. It's not as bad as his whole
Lawful Stupid rant at the end of a [Scarlet Shards] Intermission, but still.

Maybe Balmaint should stick with biology and physics.

****************************************
* 6.1.2 Tying up loose ends - Rhonicum *
****************************************

Go east through Taiffa to Cindrea, then south through Sanhigh or Yumen to
Gradion, and finally, south-southeast through Fort Kathrin to Rhonicum.

Once you're in Rhonicum you'll see another Balmaint walk into Fort Kathrin.
Um...whaaa?

Fort Kathrin:
The other Balmaint runs out before you enter. The guard says that it was as
"you" said: a new tunnel opened up southwest of the fort. They suspected there
may be brigands inside, so he says to keep our distance.

Seems like the fake is trying to lure the real Balmaint inside the tunnel.
Let's take the bait like the schmucks we are!

Mysterious (Kathrin) Cave:
Go on in and...yep, it's a trap. Enjoy your double encounter.

After that, Balmaint hulks up and breaks out of the cave. A strongman and a
scientist. He's Bruce ****ing Banner now?!!! 

Go back to Fort Kathrin and you'll be awarded a set of Steel Armor for your
troubles.

Now...wait a minute. There's still monsters in the Dark Forest?!!

Dark Forest and Tveak Tower:
Okay...I was wrong. For some reason, defeating the monsters during Part 5
didn't completely stop them. It worked for Urpina, Leonard, and Taria, so why
not Balmaint? It might be some weird Flag Spaghetti or something. 

Anyway, defeat the Environs, the triple encounter in the Forest, and the triple
encounter at the Tower. If this doesn't do it, I don't know what will...

After that, leave Rhonicum and re-enter the Region (preferably through Gradion
to avoid accidentally starting an Intermission). The monsters should be gone
and we should see what the fake Balmaint will do next. After all, it's pissing
the real one off!

Back in Rhonicum, travel near Lug. Yep, there's the fake!

Lug:
The lady in Lug tells Balmaint that he's back early, and that they've prepared
everything he's asked for. Although Bal doesn't know what she's talking about,
he needs to take the warm container into the Ibex Forest.

Ibex Forest:
...and have this happen to him. Yeah, Ibex drool for days.

Back to Lug:
The lady says Bal looks tired and annoyed. No ****. Aren't Ibex just the worst?
They chow down on anything that even looks like food. They're thrilled Bal took
the job because nobody in Lug wants to do it anymore. Geee, I wonder why?

Let's leave and re-enter Rhonicum again and see what's the next prank on this
fake's list?

Back in Rhonicum, go all the way south towards Nekwa. Yep, there's the fake!
Let's get em!

Nekwa:
As the fake leaves, the mayor is yelling THIEEEEEFFF!

...except he's talking about Balmaint. Great. I wonder what the fake did now?

Balmaint's telling him that he just got here and that he never met him before.

(Did you forget about trying to find Sigfrei in Bicyniro? Don't lie, Bal!)

Arthur says that if he wants to accuse us, he'll show him what's in their
luggage. Does the mayor know what will happen if he's wrong, mmmm?

...but why is a copy of Balmaint doing all this stuff? Is it a Celestial trial?
A Spiritual trick? Or perhaps an Infernal trap? 

Go up north a bit, and the Doppelganger goes into the Boathouse. Let's see what
kind of trouble Balmaint is in now...

Boathouse:
"I'm countin' on you. You're the only one who can save my kid!" Well that's not
troublesome...? Everyone in Nekwa has nightmares, and "Balmaint" came in saying
he can save the day. 

After that, Arthur mentions something about Marigan Temple, which is one
option. Another one is just a little northwest of us...a burning scarecrow?

Scorched Dolls:
Smoke everywhere...and the lady from Lug? She says she will MARRY Balmaint?!!!
Whoa! 

...and I thought Arthur attracted the crazy ones!

While Arthur's giving Bal crap about this, you're presented with two choices:
- Run away! Run awaaay!
- We should take her in.

If you take her in, she's ecstatic about the prospect of marriage! If you run
away and then go back to the Scorched Dolls, she is absolutely heartbroken, as
Balmaint "whispered sweet nothings in her ears" and told her that she was to be
her maiden true. "YOU LIED TO ME, YOU STUPID JERKFACE!" Then she thinks this
could be a cruel joke. Now you get another set of choices:
- Someone else did all that.
- Well, I suppose we could get married...

If you pick the first choice, she calls you a liar and says "goodbye...
Bal-cakes." "Um...Bal-cakes?" ROFLMAO!

Pick the second one and she cheers up almost instantly! 

:sigh: 

OK, the Scorched Dolls were a bad choice. Let's try Marigan's Temple now.

Marigan Temple:
Apparently the phony Bal is generous! We're rewarded a Marigan Charm.

Boathouse:
When asked if we learned anything, we'll be given a choice:
- I don't know.
- A lack of prayers to Marigan caused them.
- The curse of burned dolls caused them.

The game is missing a fourth choice:
- Balmaint's real name is Bruce ****ing Banner.

The first one just takes us out of the dialog box, and if you go to the Boat-
house again, you're asked the same question with the same three choices.

The second and third choices determine the last encounter we'll end up fighting
at the end of this Side Quest.

Remember when Arthur and Balmaint were wondering if this is a Celestial trial,
a Spiritual trick, or an Infernal trap? The second choice makes this a
Celestial trial and the third one a Spiritual trick. 

The second choice also causes you to hand over the Marigan Charm to the boat-
swain.

With your choice made, go back to Nekwa:

Nekwa:
Well the Mayor seems more cheerful now as most of the nightmares are gone. Some
are still having nightmares, though.

Leave Nekwa and go back toward the Boathouse. There he is! He's getting away!

Boathouse:
Of course the Boathouse Owner is confused, but hitch a ride in that "itty
bitty" boat that Bal said he couldn't fit in earlier.

You can fight the two sets of monsters first if you want (one double encounter,
one single encounter).

After that, let's go in the cave!

Doppelganger Dwelling:
Now we have em! Show us your true form!

If you told the Boathouse Owner that it was a lack of prayers causing the
nightmares, the Doppelganger will reveal itself to be a Servant of Marigan
(little bird creatures with axes). You'll have to fight four of them, and
you'll receive Angelic Armor after the battle.

If you told the Boathouse Owner that it was the cursed dolls from Crazy Lug
Lady, then the Doppelganger reveals itself to be a Spiritual. You'll have to
fight five Water Elementals, and you'll get a bunch of Natura Crystals after
the battle.

In any case, hitch a ride back on the Boat.

Now let's revisit the Boathouse:

Boathouse:
He thanks you for getting rid of the nightmares. 

Now let's to go Nekwa:

Nekwa:
...and the mayor thanks you as well.

Now exit and re-enter Nekwa, and then Converse. The Mayor wants to join you!

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Muiredach |  8|  8| 11| 13|  9|  9| 3|Te|Club     |
-----------------------------------------------------

Your first Club specialist! As you can see, other than Endurance, his stats
aren't that great, but then again, Club specialists are better off as tanks
anyway. His low LP doesn't seem to be very "tanky," though...however...if he is
reduced to 0 LP, he recovers after ONE BATTLE! What is this guy, a vampire?!!!

So if you really, really want a Club user, I suppose you can add him to the
mix, but given that we're like 5/7 of the way through Balmaint's Story, it may
be hard to fit him (or any Club user) into your battle strategies.

Now let's visit the Boathouse one more time: now the Boathouse Owner wants to 
join you!

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Ignatius  | 12|  7| 10| 11| 11|  9| 5|Na|Club     |
-----------------------------------------------------

...and your second Club specialist! Many of the same things I've said about
Muiredach apply to Ignatius. He has higher Strength and lower Endurance, so
he's not as much of a tank as his wacky mayoral counterpart. He has more LP,
but he doesn't have Muiredach's vampiral tendencies...Ignatius recovers in
EIGHT battles.

So what about that lovestruck lady that looks like a palette-swapped Clover?
Well...it's the fact that she is a palette-swapped Clover that's the problem.
Balmaint can't recruit her like other Protagonists can. Don't worry, she's over
him.

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: If you leave Rhonicum and come back before defeating whatever the     *
* Doppelganger's true form ends up being, the lady from Lug will change her   *
* mind about Balmaint anyway, so she's definitely over him.                   *
*******************************************************************************

There's one more thing you can do here in Rhonicum if you're strong enough. 
Remember the Specters of Iyajg Bog and the Drear Rock? If you're strong enough
you can fight the triple counter at the Drear Rock. Save your game first be-
cause you will NOT get another chance if you're defeated!

Drear Rock:
All three encounters might be rated "Normal" by now, but that's BS. 

The first one should be "Easy" because of the poor damage output. Just a single
Drear Rock Protector (metal chicken with a human head on its back). Seriously,
this thing will be lucky to do more than 80 HP of damage to one of your
characters!

The second one might be more "Normal" but a bit on the easier side (another 
Drear Rock Protector, but it hits harder).

The third one is a boss battle:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Four Chiyous

This should probably be "Hard" or "Brutal". Why? Three words:

Double.
Machine.
Gun.

What this is: A crapton of damage on your whole Retinue and a high chance of
Stun!

These things also have multiple Interrupts and Counters, so you don't know
what's safe to use! 

If you have the Ettin's Blade upgraded into some kind of Ice Sword, you could 
try spamming Hailstorm, as they can't Interrupt that. 

You could also have both Kreisa AND Elysed start up Call Lightning and have two
characters Protect them in case the machine guns start firing. 

If you have Maximus, you can try Dual Whirlwind, but keep in mind that one of
those Interrupts can target Slashing attacks.

If you have a Martial Artist with the Rising Sun technique, use that! Why? It's
type-less! It can't be interrupted! It also ignores armor and other defenses!
=======================

If you got defeated, you won't get another chance to fight it without reloading
a previous save.

Your reward for all that? Well...it drops an Angel Brooch. Other than that,
Jack Squat except for maybe the appearance of a Scarlet Fiend (don't even THINK
ABOUT trying to fight one of those things unless this is a New Game+ and you've
carried over multiple roles on the characters you want to use to fight!).

Anyway, the Specters are free from the malice and all that stuff. 

****************************************
* 6.1.3 Tying up loose ends - Cerenaif * 
****************************************

...you DID unlock Cerenaif during Part 5, right?

Anyway, remember that dumbass from Zegna that was lighting the mushrooms on
fire? We can actually recruit him by going through the Parm vs Zegna Side
Quest!

First thing you need to do is talk to the crowd of troops west of Zegna:

Zegna Defense Forces:
Hey look, it's that big dummy again! Except he's...more calm. I guess he took
his meds this time. 

Anyway, he says they're training in case of a Parm invasion, but lack the
weapons to truly fight back. He wants us to procure some from Castello Guscio,
a ruined estate that was a Parm fortress long ago.

(apparently having Chiago in the Party doesn't affect this...)

Let's head northwest across the bridge.

Castello Guscio:
Finish the single encounter here and you'll find a bunch of worn out equipment.
Bal and Arthur decide to grab the good stuff and leave the rest. 

Zegna Defense Forces:
Give them what you found and you get 10 piles of ash.

Down in the lower left hand corner, you'll see what looks like an archer pass
by. He ends up northwest of Castle Parm. Talk to him.

Castle Parm Scout:
The scout says those Zegna rats are stealing stuff from THEIR ruined fortress!
The scout asks us to head over to Castello Guscio and smash up whatever's
there. Smash it up good!

....

Back to Castello Guscio:
Finish this single encounter and we throw the rest of the equipment in the
moat.

Castle Parm Scout:
Return here and we get a Battle Bow.

Out of the Water Mill comes a doggo. It ends up just east of Imhokiel Temple.

Doggo:
It doesn't do much right now when you pet it.

Zegna Defense Forces:
They ended up going to Castello Guscio later, but there was nothing there. He
can only imagine that Parm realized they were sneaking supplies out. Can they
get supplies anywhere else? With the main industries being fishing and milling,
they would need a mine to give them anything useful.

NOW the doggo moves.

Doge:
Dog is telling us to dig where it's standing. Eureka! A mine!

Zegna Defense Forces:
Return here and let them know the good news! We get 30 Prisma Crystals for our
troubles!

Of course the Castle Parm Scout won't be happy about this...

Castle Parm Scout:
He says those Zegna rats are stealing again! They went and found themselves an
ore vein, but those mountains belong to Parm! The scout wants us to gather some
explosive powder. We'll need sulfur from the Spring Cave and saltpeter in the
basement of any building of significant age. Once we get both items, take them
to the Water Mill.

Let's get some sulfur:

Spring Cave:
I'm sure Arthur has fond memories of this place. :D 

Win the encounter and we'll score some sulfur.

To get saltpeter, we'll need to go to the Haunted Estate.

Haunted Estate:
A double encounter later and we get our saltpeter.

On our way to the Water Mill, we see the doggo!

Doggo:
It has something in its mouth--a bait bag for fishing. It heads into Castello
Guscio. Hmmm...

Water Mill:
Nobody in...wonder where he went?

Castello Guscio:
Guess we'll follow the dog. Inside we find the fisherman under attack! A single
encounter later, we save the fisherman! Now he can make the explosive powder
for us.

Water Mill:
Give him the materials and he'll make the powder.

Castle Parm Scout:
Return here with the powder, and he'll use it on the ore vein. Figures. We get
a Plate Suit out of it. 

...pays to play both sides, eh?

Zegna Defense Forces:
Someone set fire to the mine shaft. Gee, I wonder who it was? 

...and after all that trouble we went through to find the ore vein for them,
this is going to put them into some very deep water financially. In any case,
they will prepare as if Parm is going to attack.

There's a little more to this quest left:

Central Cemetery:
The Nipelo Man and another person were in a race to find the labyrinth
treasure first. Unfortunately, the other person was the one who left the world
first...

He can't work himself up to explore without him, to be honest. He doesn't even
feel like going into the labyrinth today.

The other guy told him "Don't follow the black dog." What was that all about?

Treasure, eh. Let's see what that's about...

Black Dog:
I guess this is the dog we shouldn't follow? Press the Confirm button, have him
go into the Labyrinth!

Labyrinth:
The key here is NOT to follow the black dog! If it goes Left, you go Right and
vice versa.

After three or four battles, assuming you did not follow the black dog at all,
you'll get the Labyrinth's treasure! Bring it to the Zegna Defense Forces.

Zegna Defense Forces:
The big dummy says they can't take this. They've done naught but accept your
charity since we've arrived. We get a Chrysoberyl Hairpin out of this. 

...but there's one more thing to get out of this: the big dummy himself!

Zegna:
Go here and Converse. Have him join us!

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Lamar     | 11|  9|  7| 11|  7| 13| 6|Na|Spear    |
-----------------------------------------------------

Well well well! Another Spear specialist! He looks like Solid Snake and his
name is close enough to Lamont Sanford's that I'm calling him a big dummy
instead of just "dumbass." I mean when he's calm, he seems OK. When he starts
going insane with burning mushrooms is when I have a problem with him. Maybe
he's under the influence of said mushrooms when he's like that?

...and with that 7 Mobility, you'll never confuse him for a certain NFL
quarterback.

Anyway, Chiago has much better DEX and slightly lower ACU. If you need another
Spear specialist, you could give him a try. Otherwise, we're getting another
one during the meat of Part 6 anyway.

***********************************
* 6.1.4 Tying up loose ends - Ria * 
***********************************

Wait...what? We didn't unlock Marchiam Ria! 

There are two Regions that are considered exceptions to the rule about Regions
not being accessible unless they are part of the Main Path or an Common Quest
Trigger Region adjacent to a part of the Main Path:

- Marchiam Ria
- Southeast Boundary

Ria is available when you have access to Cerenaif and not in the middle of a
Main Quest Objective or an Intermission (unless you've accessed the Region at
least once before the Objective or Intermission).

The Southeast Boundary is available when you have access to Bicyniro and not in
the middle of a Main Quest Objective or an Intermission (unless you've accessed
the Region at least once before the Objective or Intermission).

We can't go to the Southeast Boundary right now without accidentally starting
second Intermission [Scarlet Shards], so let's go to Nipelo in Cerenaif and set
sail to Ria!

First thing you'll notice is that there are A LOT of towns here!
                            ____  
                           (    )       
                           /   /     _______________                 
                          /   /     |              |                 
                         (____)     |--------------|             ^              
   
                         Giant      |              |            |O|
                         Cocoon     Formal Stage               Faerie
                                                               Stone


                _           _                   _                          O
               |_|         |_|                 |_|                      Faerie
            Pontevedra    Arousa             Abandoned                   Trap
                                       _      Village
          _                           |_|
         |_|                         Muros
         Vigo
   O                                                  _
 Faerie                                              |_|      
  Trap                                              Coruna

                                                          _
                                                         |_|              O
                                                        Betanzos        Water
                                                        (you are        Mirror
                                                          here)
                                                                _
                                                               |_|
                                                              Ferrol  

                                                                 >-oo
                                                                 Seal


Seal:
First thing you want to do is shoo that seal away. You don't want to know what
happens if you don't...

If you did NOT recruit Kreisa, then you can go to Muros and recruit Chichi.

Muros:
Converse here and you can recruit this obsessed fae fangirl.

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Chichi    |  8| 12| 12|  7| 11| 12| 3|Ig|L. Sword |
-----------------------------------------------------

She's...OK. DEX and ACU are decent enough for her to be on status inflicting
duty. She won't inflict a whole lot of damage with Longswords with a STR of 8.
With low END and low LP she has no business being a dedicated Protect unit. If
you recruited Kreisa, then from a viability standpoint, you made the right de-
cision. If you're going for the Character Trophy, then you're going to have to
recruit Chichi at some point--just remember that you can't have Kreisa in your
Party when you do.

So what else is to do here? 

1) Send someone on a mission in Vigo (Farm and Forest).

2) Check every town's Trading Post: if you have the right materials, there's
    some good stuff to score:

    Arousa (Pioneer's Retreat):
    Score an Ancient Tome if you have the following:
    One (1) Ghoststeel Rapier
    One (1) Ghoststeel Shield
    One (1) pair of Glass Slippers

    Muros (High Street Domicile):
    Score a Fine Ring if you have the following:
    One (1) Ghoststeel Blade (Long Sword)
    One (1) Bascinet (helmet)
    One (1) pair of Vambraces (gloves)

    Betanzos (Pawn Shop):
    Score a Fine Ring if you have the following:
    One (1) Amentum (Spear)     
    One (1) Beaked Axe
    One (1) Steel Maul (Club)

3) Initiate encounters at the Fiend's Nest, Diver, and/or the Abandoned
    Village. This will change the day of the week (you can check which day at
    the Water Mirror). On certain days, faeries get trapped at one of the two
    traps (or sometimes strawberries (+1 LP) or bees (-1 LP). You can choose
    to keep the faerie for yourself or set it free. 

    If you set it free, it goes to the cocoon. You can redeem your reward from
    the cocoon at any time--think of it as a "Faerie Coinstar."

    If you keep it, then on certain days of the week (I think the lady says
    Wednesday, but I don't know what that translates to in Water Mirror-ese)
    a dancer will appear on the stage, and you can give her your captured fae
    to be sacrificed for materials. 

    (I'm not sure which fate is better for the faerie...)

4) You can also go to the Faerie Stone and insert your captured faerie there.
    I've said it before and I'll say it again: bad things happen when you 
    insert objects in strange holes, and this is no exception: an aura comes
    out of the hole and you'll fight an encounter in a special gimped
    formation. Nothing of substance to gain from doing that...

When finished with this place, you can go to just about any town and set sail
back to Cerenaif.

Now that we're done goofing around, let's head back to Kei.

***********************************************
* 6.1.5 Back in Kei after tying up loose ends *
***********************************************

From here, go ahead and send a character on missions at the usual places. If
you need to recover LP, munch on a strawberry (remember: top leaf to the right
is the strawberry, the other two are mandragoras).

If you want to continue on with the Main Quest, skip to Section "6.2 Provincia
Cindrea [En Route]." If you want to go on another Intermission, read on.

**********************************
* 6.1.6 ...A Third Intermission? *
**********************************

Well...no. It's not possible, but you can access every Trigger Region freely
if you are in that kind of situation.

Remember the "No Breaks Allowed"/"One Whole Main Quest Part" rule? 

That actually applies after the second Intermission as well!

If for example, you took Intermission 1 during Part 2 and Intermission 2 during
Part 4, then all Common Quest Trigger Regions that haven't been unlocked
already are locked during Part 5 (per the "No Breaks Allowed" rule) and un-
locked during Part 6! When you enter one of those Regions, you won't get a
"third Intermission"--you'll just have free access to it.

Of course if you followed my recommendation of waiting until Parts 4A and 6A
(when Arthur gets bored) to take your Intermissions, then this will never
happen to you. :D

In any case, if you have your second Intermission left and want to do it now
for some reason, here are your options:

|          P A R T  6:  I N T E R M I S S I O N    O P T I O N S              |
| Elective Quest        | Trigger Regions (travel from Kei to...)             |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Phoenix               | Jusitania (south of Hibernia) OR Mare Ilfee (take   
|                          boat from Zegna in Cerenaif)*                      |
| Scarlet Shards        | Normi (north of Termina or Maurehua) OR Jusitania
|                          (south of Hibernia ONLY IF Intermission 1 Phoenix
|                          complete) OR Bicyniro (south of Rhonicum)*         |
| Earth Serpent         | Megdasse (northwest of Kei)                         |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Notice the lack of Thracini as a Trigger Region for [Earth Serpent]? Remember
what happened to the early [Phoenix] Trigger Region that was in Part 2, but
disappeared afterward? Since Thracini is en route to the Northeast Boundary,
the Trigger had to be removed. 

As for the newer options, both have an asterisk (*) for good reason: they're
only accessible if you unlocked them during Part 5. If you found Sigfrei in
Bicyniro, then you won't have access to Cerenaif. If you went straight to 
Cerenaif and didn't bother with Bicyniro first, then you'll be locked out of
the crazy rumor Region (and have locked yourself out of potentially recruiting
Aslana Melek). So if you followed the instructions in section 5, you should
have both Cerenaif and Bicyniro unlocked. 

*******************************************************************************
* Even more broken record warning stuff here:                                 *
*                                                                             *
* Once you enter one of the above Trigger Regions, you CANNOT change your     *
* Common Quest selection, and you CANNOT get back to the Main Quest until you *
* finish the Intermission!                                                    *
*                                                                             *
* Likewise, if you reach the Northeast Boundary, you won't be able to do the  *
* second Intermission until you're finished with Part 6.                      *
*                                                                             *
* So save your game in a separate slot before leaving Kei!                    *
*******************************************************************************

Anyway, I still recommend holding off until you're forced to start the second
Intermission. Again, there's too much to miss out on if you start now. 

************************************
* 6.2 Provincia Cindrea [En Route] *
************************************

We pass by here a lot. The Duchess of House Erakleos must be thrilled.

Go northeast to Castle Knym to get to Termina.

************************************
* 6.3 Provincia Termina [En Route] *
************************************

Just passing by.

Go east to Josgad Stable to get to the next Region.

*************************************
* 6.4 Provincia Thracini [En Route] *
*************************************

Welcome to Provincia Thracini! The land of cool grandmas, hot springs, sluice
gates, and unstable volcanoes!

*MAP* 

Even though we're one Region away from our Objective Region, there's some stuff
to do here:

Elhuacan:
Like Stahl in Yaxart, Elhuacan's Smithy can work with Prisma Crystals! Keep
that in mind if you still haven't upgraded your Elemental Weapons from

Numadica (Terra), Hibernia (Natura), or Normi (Unda if you did first or second
Intermission [Scarlet Shards] and triggered from that Region) as well as any
popsicles you got from Macha's Toy at Teach na Macha (Hibernia).

The Trader Post (Curio Exchange) is just awesome overall because of the high
end Materials you can get/trade for.

Stabiae:
More town stuff here. Not as good as Elhuacan. Converse and you'll find the
ruler getting the people to hail the emperor. Um...hasn't the empire collapsed
a long long time ago?

The Trading Post (Flophouse) does have one of each weapon type to barter for
(albeit lower end, you can upgrade them later). There are infinite Great Staves
here, but only one of each of the other items.

Josgad Stable:
More town stuff here (of course you passed through here to get to this Region).
Send someone with high END on a Mission..

Now save your game in case something happens here that you don't want.

In the northwest part of the map, you'll see three sluice gates, monsters in
between each gate, and a sea creature. Go kill the monsters between the gates,
but do NOT open the gates yet or interact with the sea creature!

Notice that the volcano is more active.

Next, inspect one of those steaming purple rocks. Gas will come out of it. 
Inspect the rock again. More gas comes out and there will be an encounter. Win
the battle.

The volcano should either be more active or it may erupt outright! If it hasn't
erupted, gas up another purple rock and fight. The volcano should blow by now.

(FYI, if you open up the sluice gates or inspect the geysers, the volcano's
activity will decrease. If you do this too many times, you won't be able to get
the volcano to erupt)

Go ahead and pick up the debris (sparkles) from the eruption.

Fortunately, this isn't Romancing SaGa 2. You didn't sacrifice a whole race for
a new school of magic. All the lava flowed under Elhuacan. Everyone's fine as
far as the game indicates. You won't have access to Elhuacan for a bit, but if
you go just a tad north of Elhuacan toward the volcano, you'll see something
pop out of it:
...an egg? Yeah, an egg. 

I would suggest saving your game now unless you're OK with the Autosave file
covering you here. 

Inspect the egg and it will hatch. That's usually not a good thing:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Volcanic Dragon

This is a flat out damage race, plain and simple. If you kill the lackeys, the
dragon will have fire breath attacks (damage to everyone), scream (damage to
everyone and BP -2), and tail whip (more damage to everyone). That kind of
sustained damage is hard to survive.  

The dragon is immune to Paralyze, but not Stun. If Chiago or Lamar have Sweep
or if Robert has Tumble, put them in your Retinue and spam it. If you have
Maximus from an [Earth Serpent] first Intermission, use Dual Whirlwind and
Elysed and/or Kreisa use Call Lightning. You can also poison it with Mizuchi
from Chiago or Lamar.

If you were able to get the Hawkblade from Lug and one of your Lumberjacks has
Unbridled Frenzy, you can use that in place of a Dual Whirlwinding Julanius.
=======================

After the battle, a large sword symbol appears where the egg was. Inspect it
and you'll receive one of the five Elemental Weapons! (this one being Ignis)

The weapon you get typically depends on the highest weapon level among all the
characters in your party. The weapon can be of any type except for Staff.

There are very few places that can actually upgrade an Elemental Weapon.
Typically you can do so at a Smithy that handles Prisma Crystals. These are
some of the best weapons in the game (there are weapons that surpass these and
allow you to learn a unique technique, but they require items that are hard to
get until late in a Playthrough or a New Game+).

Now that you got the Ignis Weapon, go ahead and open the sluice gates so the
sea creature can swim away.

(You probably won't be able to open the Yomitana Sluice Gate right now, as that
leads to Marchiam Normi.)

Now that we're done goofing around here, let's get back to business.

Sea Bridge:
We find some unfortunate souls that want to get in our way by charging for
admission. You can either run past them or fight. You might as well fight them.
Otherwise they'll keep bothering you every time you want to go to the Northeast
Boundary.

*******************************************
* 6.5 Northeast Boundary [Main Objective] *
*******************************************

Welcome to the cold dark edge of the world. Despite not having any civilization
there's a lot going on here:

*MAP*

Inspect the Outpost. It's Sigfrei! Right out in the open, not in disguise or
anything! Then again, nobody cares about Siggy's past out here in the cold
depths of nowhere. For his new life, he's a foreman! A miner! He's not exactly
appropriately dressed to be mining (or being out in the cold for that matter),
but given Sigfrei's suicide-by-cop tendencies, I don't think he cares.

...but why would he want to mine? He doesn't want to rob us of the pleasure of
finding out. Joy.

You see that guy drowning in the Abyssal Swamp? Ignore him for now. Yeah, I 
know.

Aside from that, let's get started:

Fisherman (Northwest Corner): 
Talk to him and have him drag the line down the bottom. He'll find a Gargantuan
Key and give it to you. Now talk to him again and choose to Pray with him.
He'll give you a fish.

Village of No Presence (Far Southeast Corner):
When you Converse, you'll talk to the Villager who wants to revive imperial
culture and will start perhaps the longest Side Quest in the game: Product 
Development. 

It starts off by the Villager giving you Straw. At the next destination, you
need Straw to produce another product (Straw Net in New Wise/Mare Ilfee or 
Compost in the Nyu Settlement in the Marchiam Megdasse region). Eventually
product development will require two or three previously made products until
you eventually get back to the Village of No Presence to produce entire
buildings! Sounds like what TV Tropes calls "20 Bear Asses" alright.

Fortunately there are some pretty nice rewards (usually rare materials for
making the best weapons and armor). Don't expect to complete this Side Quest
in one Playthrough--it'll take forever. Instead carry over your progress to
future Playthroughs.

If you run out of Straw, you can always come back here for more.

Also, like Stahl and Elhuacan, this Smithy handles Prisma Crystals, so if you
haven't upgraded your shiny new Ignis Elemental Weapon yet, you can do it here.

Now exit and re-enter the Village of No Presence and Converse again. Say yes
to recruit one of the easiest characters to recruit in the game for all
Protagonists!

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Tissisaaq | 11|  9| 10| 13|  8| 11| 6|Te|Spear    |
-----------------------------------------------------

Ok, so Tissi doesn't have Chiago's insane DEX, but what she does have is speed!
She will be in the front of your timeline in battle the majority of the time! 
Use her to get the upper hand or prevent your pray from doing something scary!

Given how late it is, if you decide to stick with Chiago over Tissisaaq, I
can't blame you. If you do need a second Spear user (and you don't have Mondo
or Kahn from a New Game+ carried over from an Urpina or Taria Playthrough), she
can complement Chiago as 1B to his 1A.

Adamas Shrine (cave) (just to the west of the Village of No Presence):
Now go here and win the battle. The cave now becomes a shrine. Offer the
fish you got earlier to Adamas. When finished, let's go north to:

Finemundi:
In the very center of the map is this miner town. When asked to mine, say
"Not now" because we have a few things to do before we do so.

Send someone on a Mission by selecting "Dig Site" (Kreisa if she needs some
Terra magic levels--unfortunately you can't send Elysed). Select "Terrace
Houses" for a Minstrel tale. Do it again (may have to exit and re-enter, and
say "not now" again to the mining question) and you might run into the "Sprite"
for some training in a weapon or Martial Arts (+1, 2, or 3 levels).  When
finished, exit and re-enter, and go ahead and start mining.

As Arthur says, there are five spots that stand out for mining:
- Fang Terrae
- Spirit Lake
- Everbloom Tree
- Porta Inferni
- Abyssal Swamp

At each location, you can pick one of three spots to mine. One spot will
produce only crystals of a single element, one will produce a primary element
and one secondary element, and another will produce a primary element and a
different secondary element. For example, the three spots at the Spirit Lake
will produce:

- only Unda Crystals 
- Unda and Aes Crystals (since it's close enough to the Fang Terrae)
- Unda and Natura Crystals (since it's close enough to the Everbloom Tree)

Normally you can only dig up to five mines maximum, but with Sigfrei in charge
and not giving a crap about the environment, DIG EM ALL! TO HELL WITH THE
ENVIRONMENT! KEEP IT GOING!!!

...

...actually, if you stop at 5, return to Finemundi, pause development, and
then go back to the outpost, Sigfrei will thank you for assisting his enter-
prise. He's hiding something...altruism has never been his style.

Go back to Finemundi and dig up 5 more! Come back to Finemundi, pause develop-
ment, and then go see what Siggy has to say now:

Outpost:
Both human and Spiritual energy are dangerously low now. Ok, that sounds more
like a Sigfrei thing to do. Bal says that Siggy's always worked for his own
gain. Never for House Yanyouji, nor Lord William (whoever that is), nor Castle
Kohan, nor Provincia Kei. Only himself.

Sigfrei calls Bal's stance sanctimonious. He says that all people live for
their own sake. Living "for others" is hypocritical rubbish. He says that
revealing his plan now would not be for his own gain, so that'll be for
another day...

...or another 5 mines...

...you know what to do:

Finemundi:
Dig up the last five mines and come back.

...see? Nothing bad happened except monsters and the five elemental locations
around them rotting away, right? 

We might as well try to claim the goods from one of the mines...ummm...crap. 

Finish the battle. No goods 4 U.

*******************************************************************************
* WARNING IF YOU HAVE COMPLETED INTERMISSION 2 ALREADY:                       *
*                                                                             *
* If you don't want the worst movement restrictions ever imposed in a SaGa    *
* game once Part 7 starts, do yourself a favor:                               *
*                                                                             *
* PUT ARTHUR IN YOUR RETINUE. NOW.                                            *
*                                                                             *
* ...and KEEP HIM THERE until this Part is over.                              *
*                                                                             *
* If you don't have him in your Retinue during the boss fight at the end of   *
* this section, he will LEAVE YOUR PARTY FOR GOOD in Part 7!                  *
*                                                                             *
* Now that may not sound so bad if you don't like the guy or you haven't been *
* using him, but when he leaves your Party, you will only be allowed access   *
* to two Regions: Provincia Kei and Urbs Azhuacan!                            *
*                                                                             *
* If you want Arthur to leave your Party because you want to see an Arthur-   *
* specific Ending or the Arthur-less Endgame events, then I would consider    *
* this section of the FAQ to be your Point of No Return. Do everything you    *
* want to do now before proceeding!                                           *
*******************************************************************************

Now head back to the outpost.

Outpost:
Balmaint's asking Sigfrei why he's weakening the Region's Spiritual energy.
Sig replies that a weak force can move a large object if it's suitably distant
from the center. In this way, disturbances at the edge can create huge waves
throughout. In other words, the disruptions here can cause disturbances
throughout the whole world. 

That still doesn't answer why he wants to do this.

Sigfrei says that Balmaint is being wasted as an executioner, and that he's
better suited for a higher calling--perhaps even ruling.

Bal's not having any of that crap. Although no one is here to judge or accuse
Siggy, and Bal has no authority as executioner out in frozen nowhere, he will
stop Sigfrei's endeavors by his own hand.

*******************************************************************************
* LAST WARNING: If you've completed the second Intermission already, put      *
* Arthur in your Retinue now if he's not already, unless you are going for an *
* Arthur-specific ending and are well aware of the consequences!              *
*******************************************************************************

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Sigfrei

"This ends here, Sigfrei!"

Finally! We get to fight the man himself! No formal charges, just a good ol
fashioned ass whoopin!

...except it's not that easy. 

Like most trolls, they are protected by anonymity and a screen through the
Interwebz, and aren't very tough when confronted IRL. 

Well this guy is still protected by something when confronted directly. 

Try to attack him. Yeah, 0 damage. Get used to this.

Any physical attack has like a 99% chance of being nullified with magical
talismen or whatever is floating around him when that happens. It's like the
Aegis Shield spell in past SaGa games, but only this guy gets to use it, and
it's not a spell. It's just there. 

So how do you beat him? 

Apparently that shield doesn't work when he's casting a spell (in "Chanting" or
"Cast Delay" status). If there is a number with a circle next to his ugly mug
in the turn order, let him have it! 

Just be ready to deal with whatever spell he's about to hit you with if you
don't kill him before the countdown hits zero...

If you want to have fun with him, grab a Short Sword user or two with Golden
Note (Patricia and/or Giselle should be fine for this). Play a game of "How
high can we get the Cast Time to go?" Troll the troll, if you will. :D

If he's just not casting spells, then there are ways to get through that
shield:

- Cast spells of your own: he can't block those!
- If you've upgraded that Ettin's Blade from Teach Na Macha into an Ice Sword,
break out the ol popsicle and use the Hailstorm technique! It's expensive, but
it might be one of the few reliable ways you have to hurt him!

If he's casting dangerous spells with 1 Round delays (Wildfire, Snowstorm),
then you may have to try Stunning him (he's immune to Paralyze and Sleep). If
your Short Sword users are fast enough, you can try Golden Note and hope that
"1" turns into a "2"...if not, you're in deep ****.
=======================

After that mess...well...we know he'll rise one more time...but where?

                              *****************
                              * End of Part 6 *
                              *****************
===============================================================================

              ***************************************************
              * Part 6A: Arthur is Bored: Forced Intermission 2 *
              ***************************************************

NOTE: If you have completed Intermission 2 already, SKIP to Part 7. If you
haven't, read on.

"Some time after the defeat of Sigfrei in the Northeast Boundary..."

******************************
* 6A.1 Provincia Kei [Intro] *
******************************  

At this point, Sigfrei has gone into hiding. Our favorite whiny tool of a law
clerk is twiddling his thumbs, and we all know what that means: no he didn't
figure out why kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch. No, you're being forced to take
your second break. Coffee break, lunch break, smoke break, whatever. In pro-
fessional hockey, old movie theaters with double features, and in other video
games, they call these Intermissions.

So the Main Quest is paused just before the home stretch! Sounds like some of
my work days: taking a lunch break two hours before it's time to go home.

So our final set of Intermission options are:

|        F O R C E D   I N T E R M I S S I O N   2   O P T I O N S            |
| Elective Quest        | Trigger Regions (travel from Kei to...)             |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Phoenix               | Jusitania (south of Hibernia) OR Mare Ilfee (take   
|                          boat from Zegna in Cerenaif OR go east of Thracini
|                          ONLY if Intermission 1 Earth Serpent Complete)*    |
| Scarlet Shards        | Normi (north of Termina or Maurehua) OR Jusitania
|                          (south of Hibernia ONLY IF Intermission 1 Phoenix
|                          complete) OR Bicyniro (south of Rhonicum)*         |
| Earth Serpent         | Megdasse (northwest of Kei)                         |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Again, the asterisks (*) indicate that they're only available if they were
unlocked during Part 5.

*******************************************************************************
* For the last time in this FAQ:                                              *
*                                                                             *
* Once you enter one of the above Trigger Regions, you CANNOT change your     *
* Common Quest selection!                                                     *
*                                                                             *
* So save your game in a separate slot before leaving Kei!                    *
*******************************************************************************

*****************************************
* 6A.2 Picking your second Common Quest *
*****************************************

At this point, you only have two choices left, as you can't do the same
Common Quest twice.

As a reminder, there are a number of characters that can only be recruited
during specific Common Quests (some requiring two):

Characters that can be recruited directly during second Intermission [Phoenix]:

- Kumi (must have Bicyniro Region unlocked)
- Irene (Part 6A only)
- Raphael (Part 6A only; can be recruited during [Earth Serpent] as well under
    the same restrictions)
- Ogniana (must trigger Common Quest from Jusitania; can be recruited during
    [Scarlet Shards] as well under some very specific circumstances)
        
Characters that can be recruited directly during second Intermission [Scarlet
Shards]:

- Francis
- Hongswan
- Luna (Part 6A only)
- Aslana Melek (must complete the initial events during Part 5 in Bicyniro
    first before starting the Intermission)
- Ogniana (must have first Intermission [Phoenix] complete AND trigger second
    Intermission [Scarlet Shards] in Jusitania; can be recruited during second
    Intermission [Phoenix] as well)

Characters that can be recruited directly during second Intermission [Earth
Serpent]:

- Maximus (Part 6A only, must choose to keep him/DO NOT start the Urpina Kid-
    napping Events)
- Antonius (Part 6A only, Urpina Kidnapping Route)
- Armored Maiden (Part 6A only, Armored Maiden Route)
- Lord Stabiae (Part 6A only, either [URPINA RESCUE] or [ARMORED MAIDEN] Route)
- Raphael (Part 6A only; can be recruited during [Phoenix] as well under the
    same restrictions)
- Lewis Darling (Part 6A only, Urpina Kidnapping Route)
- Angle (Part 6A only, Urpina Kidnapping Route)
- Socrates (Part 6A only, Urpina Kidnapping Route)

Characters that have two Common Quest requirements:

- Julia (requires [Earth Serpent] and [Phoenix], order doesn't matter, both
    Intermissions can be started during any eligible Part)
- Nolan (requires first Intermission [Earth Serpent] started specifically from
    Megdasse and second Intermission [Scarlet Shards]; both can be started at
    any eligible part, as long as they're done in order)
- Hagar (requires first Intermission [Earth Serpent] started specifically from
    Megdasse and second Intermission [Scarlet Shards]; both can be started at
    any eligible part, as long as they're done in order)

Unlike the Chapter 3 sections of Urpina and Taria's Walkthroughs, I can't be
too lazy this time with a "What's new from Intermission 1" list for every
event, as many of these are either completely different now or the Regions in
question were not accessible earlier in the Story.

************************************************************************
* 6A.3 I know what Quest I want to do. Where should I trigger it from? *
************************************************************************

[Earth Serpent]:
There is one HUGE reason to trigger [Earth Serpent] from Megdasse and during
Part 6A: the Urpina Kidnapping Events. They won't occur if triggered from
anywhere else or any sooner than this! 

If you start any sooner than Part 6A, then it doesn't really matter where you
trigger from: you won't be able to recruit Maximus, Lord Stabiae, Antonius, or
the Armored Maiden! So just wait until 6A. :)

Nolan and Hagar are inaccessible at this point, so that's no longer a worry. 

If your only concern is recruiting Julia and you've already completed first
Intermission [Phoenix], then it doesn't matter where or when you start second
Intermission [Earth Serpent].

Verdict: Megdasse. Every day. Twice on Sundays.

[Scarlet Shards]:
Here it gets a little tricky:
1) Triggering from Normi will allow you access to Kenji and the Unda Elemental
    Weapon. If you trigger from Jusitania or Bicyniro, you won't be able to get
    to Normi until Endgame, but that might not be a big deal since you're one
    Part away...
2) You can only trigger from Jusitania if you completed first Intermission 
    [Phoenix]; otherwise you'll end up starting second Intermission [Phoenix] 
    instead. This is the ONLY way you can witness the Eye of Balor events in a
    Balmaint Playthrough and, at this point, your last opportunity to recruit
    Ogniana regardless of whether the second Intermission is [Scarlet Shards]
    or [Phoenix]. Although you can get to Jusitania during the Endgame, you
    won't be able to recruit Ogniana if you wait until then (although you can
    still recruit Mirane).
3) As long as you've unlocked Bicyniro during Part 5, you don't have to trigger
    from there to get Aslana Melek. You can trigger elsewhere and still have
    access to Bicyniro (and ultimately ze sculptor).

Verdict: Trigger from Jusitania if you've completed Intermission 1 [Phoenix].
Otherwise, you might as well trigger from Normi since Bicyniro should already
be unlocked from Part 5 and you're going to have to decide on who you want
more: Ogniana or Aslana Melek. If you want Ogniana, you're doing Intermission 2
[Phoenix] and not [Scarlet Shards]. 

[Phoenix]:
Well...there are only two spots you can trigger from: Jusitania or Mare Ilfee,
and it's a no-brainer:
1) Triggering from Jusitania will allow you to recruit Ogniana. 
2) Triggering from the Mare Ilfee not only makes little sense, but you can
    cause the free-sailing boat to not appear if you enter from Thracini! So
    just avoid the whole mess altogether.

Verdict: Jusitania. Every day. Twice on Sundays.

*******************************************
* 6A.4 About that Ultimate Branch Save... *
*******************************************

If your first Intermission was [Phoenix] (completed during Part 2), then you
can save your game in a separate slot now and then refer to it whenever you
want to see a different ending. More information is in the Endings section, but
to keep this section brief and minimize spoilers, you can get a different
ending by doing the following:

1) If you kept your usage of Arthur in your Retinue low (which meaning not
    having a mage for a while unless you trained another character from
    scratch to take his place, you picked up Kreisa while tying up loose ends
    after Part 2/before starting the Part 3 Main Objective, or you rushed to
    Part 4 to get Elysed), you can set yourself up to see all three Arthur-
    related Endings. Keep him out of the last boss fight of whichever Common
    Quest you select for this Intermission (if it's [Earth Serpent], do NOT go 
    down the [URPINA RESCUE] route), and he will leave your Party at the be-
    ginning of Part 7. Finish the Playthrough without having Arthur among your
    top 15 most used party members for one ending, grind to get him to within
    the top 15 (but NOT 1st place) for the second (newly discovered as of
    9/21/2020) ending, or grind a lot longer to get him to #1 among all Party
    Members (excluding Balmaint) for the third.

2) You can see another Ending by simply selecting [Scarlet Shards] for your
    second Intermission and keeping Arthur in your Party (must put him in your
    Retinue for the boss fight that occurs after getting the fourth Scarlet
    Shard).
        
3) You can see another Ending by NOT picking [Scarlet Shards] or the [URPINA 
    RESCUE] route of [Earth Serpent]...in other words, pick [Earth Serpent] and
    go down the traditional route or you can go down the [ARMORED MAIDEN]
    route. Arthur must be in your Retinue during the final snek battle.

4) ...and finally, you can see the sixth Ending by selecting [Earth Serpent]
    and going down the [URPINA RESCUE] route. For this one, it doesn't matter
    whether or not Arthur leaves your Party, but it does affect the Endgame
    events.
        
So from your Ultimate Branch Save, you would need to put anywhere from 2-4
hours of play time in to get to your Ending. That's still better than playing
Balmaint's Story six times! :)

****************************************************
* 6A.5 I heard that Arthur can leave your Party... *
****************************************************

I know you're probably tired of all these extra Sections and Subsections, but
this one deserves a special mention.

You must have Arthur in your Retinue during the last Boss Fight before Part 7
to avoid having him leave.

So if you have completed Part 6 already, then he will need to be in the Boss
Fight at the end of the second Intermission.

If you have NOT completed Part 6 and are taking your second Intermission now,
then he will need to be in the Boss Fight at the end of Part 6!

If in doubt: put him in both boss fights (Part 6 AND Intermission 2).

******************************************************************************
* If you chose [Earth Serpent], skip to Section "[Earth Serpent] Int.2.1."   *
* If you chose [Scarlet Shards], skip to Section "[Scarlet Shards] Int.2.1." *
* If you chose [Phoenix], read on.                                           *
******************************************************************************

**********************************************************************
* [Phoenix] Int.2.1 Provincia Jusitania (Trigger Region) (Objective) *
**********************************************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- From Part 5 Intro onward
- Must be triggered here to be accessible during the Intermission (unless you
    triggered first Intermission [Scarlet Shards] from Jusitania during Part
    4A)
- Mutually exclusive with Mare Ilfee

*MAP*

When you enter Jusitania, a giant flaming bird flies by and lands right in
front of you. When you approach it, you'll have to fight:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Phoenix

For a legendary immortal bird, it seems pretty wimpy. It's not THAT wimpy,
though! While its only attack is Fireball (and it sounds like a 1980's cartoon
blaster) it can take off about 50-60% of that character's health! So kill it
fast and Protect when needed!
=======================

We killed the Phoenix! Drinks are on Arthur!

There's a reason why the Phoenix is not so "immortal" here: it lays an egg
somewhere before it passes away, and its life carries on through its offspring.
So it's still "immortal" in a sense...

With the Phoenix Feather, Bal and Arthur hallucinate. During their trippiness,
they saw the Phoenix fly in from Hibernia.

Although the ultimate goal is to end up in either the Southeast Boundary or
Urbs Azhuacan (depending on whether you have access to Bicyniro), the following
regions have Phoenix-related events:

- Provincia Jusitania (Trigger Region from Part 5 onward) (Objective)
- Provincia Hibernia (flight path only)
- Provincia Gradion (flight path only)
- Provincia Cindrea (Objective)
- Provincia Maurehua (Objective)
- Provincia Kei (Objective)
- Provincia Cerenaif (Available if unlocked during Part 5) (flight path only)
- Provincia Rhonicum (Available from Part 5 onward) (flight path only)
- Marchiam Ria (Available if Cerenaif was unlocked during Part 5) (Objective)
- Marchiam Bicyniro (Available if unlocked during Part 5) (flight path only)
- Southeast Boundary (Available if Bicyniro was unlocked during Part 5)
    (Possible Final Objective)
- Marchiam Yaxart (Objective)
- Urbs Azhuacan (Possible Final Objective)
- Marchiam Megdasse (Available only if [Earth Serpent] was completed during
    first Intermission and was triggered from Megdasse) (flight path only)
- Provincia Termina (flight path only)
- Provincia Thracini (Available from Part 6 onward if unlocked before Inter-
    mission was started, during Part 6A, or earlier if [Earth Serpent] was
    completed during first Intermission by using Thracini as the trigger)
    (flight path only)

To open up Azhuacan or the Southeast Boundary, you have to complete at least
five Phoenix Objectives with one of them being the defeat of Macha at the True
Macha Shrine in Yaxart (but you don't want to do that too soon or else you
can't recruit Kumi). Defeating the Phoenix here counts as one of those, so...
OBJECTIVE COMPLETE...? :D

You know that Phoenix Feather you have in your inventory? Use this in other
Regions to see the Phoenix's last memories and its flight path so you can find
its offspring. If you use it here, nothing happens.

Anyway, there are some things we can do here before we start chasing fire
chickens all over the world. Let's start in the northwestern part of the
Region:

Nanim:
...so why are they begging us for forgiveness...? Weird. Of course they haven't
seen a giant flaming chicken either.

The Humble Hovel has an Ancient Tome if you have the following:

- One (1) Imperator. It's an upgraded Ettin's Blade, so if you're short on
    these, fight Macha's Toy in Teach na Macha (Hibernia)
- One (1) Knight's Armor
- One (1) Padded Clothes

Grumon Queendom:
"Who are you people?"

"Just simple travelers," says Balmaint. 

"Are you saying simple travelers offed the legendary Phoenix?"

Well...she wants us to hand over whatever we got from the Phoenix. After all,
everything anyone finds in Jusitania's the rightful property'a the Grumon
Queendom, y'hear? 

...yeah, sure. 

She says refusal isn't an option, but ya know...we're the ones that defeated
the Phoenix, so let's find out who ends up "cryin'."

You get a choice from this woman:
- I'll make YOU cry!
- I'll let you slide, this time.

Choose the first option and you end up in a boss fight:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Ogniana

Fighting her is like fighting a MUCH faster Strumiknen. Expect the same Axe
techniques here. You could stuff some of it back in her face if you have Leo
in your Retinue and the Shadow Reversal Great Sword technique (Interrupts
Slashing techs, stuffs back in face with a chance to Stun). 

The other dangers in this fight are the giant hammer-wielding Grumon Soldiers.
Their Conditionals (????) are annoying as you don't know what they're about to
Interrupt! They could interrupt Blunt (Seismic Strike), Piercing (Gale Strike),
or Slashing (Maniac Blossom)! They could just as well be Covering someone with
Block.

You could just bring Kreisa AND Elysed in this battle and show them what you
think of their Conditionals with Call Lightning. :D
=======================

"Awwww...are those tears I see?"

She wants us to get her away from this place, as she can't stand the bandit
princess life another day. Interesting. Might as well take her in. On the next
set of dialog choices, accept her request.

Now if you chose "I'll let you slide, this time," then there's no boss battle,
and we just cut to the chase about her joining us. Again, you can choose to
accept or not.

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Ogniana   |  9| 12| 12|  8|  5| 13| 4|Te|Axe      |
-----------------------------------------------------

This lumberjack's more Dex-heavy than your others, and that's a good thing! One
of the most annoying things about Axes is that, while they hit pretty hard,
they have a tendency to miss, and having high Dexterity decreases the chances
of missing! 

Honestly, that high DEX and high ACU lends better to other weapons like Bows, 
Short Swords, and Spears. So if you don't want Yet Another Lumberjack, switch
her to one of those! She may even overtake Colleen as your main Bow user since
Shadow Weave will land a helluva lot more often! You could even make her a
Martial Artist and have her Tumble, but the Strength is a bit low for other
Martial Arts techniques.

Obviously you don't want her to be a mage with that INT score. Oddly enough,
it's the same as Marion's, even though Ogniana seems to have more working
between the ears than our lovable Bodyguard.

One more thing: you may want to turn off Ogniana's Unique Role for now
(Oppressor: Physical-attack damage up (L)/Chance to be blocked/evaded up (M))
so you don't end up whiffing more than necessary. 

Anyway, moving on:

Lupagal Cave:
Just a grind spot at this point.

West Jungle:
"Welcome to the jungle. This place is wild." 

Yes, Bal really says that. :D

Win the encounter here and bees will start flying from here. This will make
traveling in this region easier (you'll see why in a bit).

Seaside Shop:
Can't do anything here yet.

Misery:
Go near this town and it gets invaded by pirates! Go into town and you have
the option to destroy the pirates or hold off. 

If you hold off, the pirates will leave town and sail around nearby, allowing
you to enter town after the "devastation."

While you're in town, send someone on a mission (Sanitation Bureau, high ACU
for best rewards...might as well send Ogniana. :D ).

Next time you enter, they'll invade again and you'll get the same choices.

Choose to destroy them for an encounter.

After the battle, go back in Misery and Converse. According to the shady mope,
during the Empire's peak, many aristocrats used this place as a health retreat,
including the emperor himself, so the pirates believe they have some sort of
treasure stashed here. 

Well...do you?

He says that even if there had been treasures here once, they'd have been
looted years ago. 

...yeah, we know this trope, pal. Hand over the booty! 

...

...never mind. We never learn whether or not there is treasure here.

Enigmatic Skeleton:
If you listened to the Minstrel's Tale in Misery, he said something about a
serpent. Could this be its remains? Hard to say, but you get a single encounter
with some Goldwings for your trouble.

Spira Tower:
Nothing here. Moving on.

Deserted Village:
Inspect here and Arthur talks about the history of aristocrats building resorts
in Jusitania. He thinks there might be treasure here. Bal tells him to get
digging, then. :D

Suddenly a doggo appears there. Inspect again and doggo likes Arthur. Arthur
doesn't like doggo. Reminds me of some meme about knowing who's a good person
by whether or not they're a dog person. Apparently that meme is truth.

Arthur bought some pastries to give to a cute girl, but he loathes having to
give them to a "mangy cur." Yeah, we know Arthur. Woe is you. Maybe we need to
stop in Elhuacan when we get to Thracini and get the tiniest violin they have.

Collector Nest:
Functions exactly the same as the one in Maurehua. If you gave the librarian in
Maurehua the Ionium and the Cindrean Firefly, this one will ask for Starsand. 
Fortunately, it's very easy to find on a beach somewhere. ;)

Grab the sparklies next to Misery an bring them back to the Collector's Nest. 
You just finished the first part of the Collectors Nest Side Quest and you get
a Samurai Sword for your troubles!

Go back into the Nest, and she'll ask for Erakleos Moss, Lamproite, and 
Ethereal Water--all located in Regions that you have unlocked already. We'll
get those later.

Astel Convent:
The nun wonders if everyone is all right, given the giant bird that was nearby.
Given that we are hearty and hale, she says that it's a blessing undoubtedly
due to the grace of Astel. There's more talk about the Phoenix itself, and she
mentions that she did see it fly in from Hibernia.

Guess we can't recruit her just yet.

Tveak Tower:
A triple encounter and a passageway to Rhonicum. 

Carl Falls:
OK, Carl. Here we come. Defeat the single encounter to get to the other side.

Was that a hot Carl or a warm Carl? Don't answer that.

On the other side of Carl Falls, we have...

Man Swinging Pickaxe:
Inspect and...just some guy digging for treasure. What else does it look like?

Inspect again, and you get to fight a single encounter while pickaxe guy picks.

Donseilla Mine:
The sign reads, "No treasure. Waste of time. Do not enter." I wonder who put
that sign up? ;)

Go on in for a double encounter.

East Jungle:
Win the battle and the bees will fly back and forth between here and the West
Jungle. 

To Marchiam Bicyniro:
Exactly what it says on the sign. Don't go there yet.

Since we now have the bees flying back and forth between jungles, let's go back
to that Seaside Shop:

Seaside Shop:
Hey, it's that mope from Misery again! His shop doesn't get attacked by pirates
because they have a great selection of drinks that they can't get enough of.

Well...that is until he runs out. The pirates want their grog. He's a bit short
on ingredients, and the pirates leave. Although that seems like good news, the
shop owner's not happy about it for some reason...

West Jungle:
Ingredients, eh? Score some honey here (not THAT kind of honey, Arthur).

Seaside Shop:
...and give the mope his honey.

Seaside Shop:
...and give the pirates their grog.

Pirate Ship:
...and swindle us a pirate ship. :D

Aside from the pleasure of pilfering some wasted pirates' Jolly Roger, why is
this important? There's a Side Quest that involves going back and forth between
western and eastern Jusitania, and doing this Johnny Depp style is by far the
easiest way!

There are also three sets of bubbles in the water: they could be encounters,
treasure, or nothing. 

Now go ahead and leave Jusitania and then come back. To the west of Spira Tower
you'll see some...crates?

Stash of Suspect Goods:
What's with these packages? A lady quickly tells us to get our hands off the
goods! She apologizes to us because it's not very Provincia Jusitanian of her
to shout at strangers. After all, it's a nice land, isn't it? The weather's
warm and the people are kind. 

...or she could be under the influence of whatever's in those crates...

...but she tells us to be careful, as if someone from Grumon hears us bad-
mouthing them, bad things can happen. 

Ok, that makes more sense. I've seen enough weird behavior from people in this
game that being under the influence of some kind of mind-altering substance is
a safer assumption than other possibilities...

Anyway, the lady is from Nanim and she creates gulmohar fabrics. That's her
work in the box. They have an arrangement with Grumon: they must offer up 60%
of the textiles she makes as tribute.

Arthur says it best: Nanim is the filling of a sandwich made of the Grumon
Queendom and Castle Fomoire. They can't catch a break from the slice on either
side.

She asks us if we're willing to take on some work for her. She wants to dis-
tribute the goods to Bicyniro before the Queendom gets their hands on them. 

(fortunately having Ogniana in our Party doesn't affect this)

If you say "can't do it," then you can inspect the Stash again, and she'll ask
if we've changed our minds, so you might as well accept.

We'll be taking the stash to the eastern side of the river. Remember the man
swinging the pickaxe? We're taking the stuff there.

That's why we needed the pirate ship. If we didn't have that, then the other
options are giving the fisherman our safe word "feeling great" (which doesn't
always work, as Grumon tends to catch on) or going across the bridge and having
the doggo from the Deserted Village save our asses, but that only works once.

So let's just sail across while talking like a pirate! Arrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Man Swinging Pickaxe:
We here to give you the booty from an old landlubber! You get some Ore
Fragments for your trouble.

Rinse and repeat this process two more times. You'll have to leave and re-enter
Jusitania to get the stash to respawn. If you lose your pirate ship, get more
honey from one of the jungles, give it to the Seaside Shop owner so he can get
the pirates wasted, and gank their ship again!

On the third delivery, we get busted by Grumon! Time for an encounter!

So...the lady betrayed everyone? Let's find out what's really going on here...

Grumon Soldiers and Goods:
Looks like the lady is long gone. She flat-out ghosted us! Used us as bait,
then ran for it! Arthur hates to admit it, but he's impressed.

The Grumon soldier recognizes us, saying we should think real hard about our
answer regarding where the lady is from. Your options:
- I won't say.
- Nanim.

...and it really doesn't matter which choice you pick--the solider knows that
the lady is from Nanim.

So let's see what happens to Nanim...

Nanim:
So that's why the man was profusely apologetic...Grumon treats them like crap.

In any case, everyone left the place. Guess that woman wasn't alone in the
plan--the entire village was involved in her scheme to redistribute her goods!
When her plan was about to be exposed, they used us as decoys and escaped!

In any case, let's visit the other slice of bread of this tragic sandwich...

Castle Fomoire:
We tell Lord Fomoire that bandits are running amok around Alligator Bridge
demanding tolls from anyone who wants to cross. 

(well that's not the main issue here, but...)

Since this increases costs of goods coming to Castle Fomoire, the Lord isn't
gonna take it anymore. The time for decisive action is at hand.

Revisit Nanim and we'll get the same events again. Only this time we now have
Fomoire Watchmen nearby:

Fomoire Watchmen:
They were supposed to help beat back the bandits occupying Alligator Bridge,
but what's going on in Nanim is a huge problem. They will report back to the
castle posthaste.

Nanim:
...and now we have a battle between Grumon and Fomoire.

Now walk away from Nanim and approach it again...

Nanim:
...yeah...the whole place is screwed. Arthur says this is what happens when you
make a woman mad.

Now let's walk across the Alligator Bridge...wait...um...

Nanim:
Yeah, another Nanim.

We see the overly apologetic man again! He says that Nanim was a place of pure
oppression. Trapped between Fomoire and Grumon, the village bore the brunt of
their war. Each blamed Nanim for the other's actions and punished them
constantly. 

So the villagers formed a plan to abandon the existing village and cross the
river where Grumon couldn't follow. Not all of them agreed. Some refused to
leave home. Some hated Fomoire and insisted that they pledged loyalty to
Grumon.

Those that wished to leave formed a secret plan. They would provoke Grumon into
attack by smuggling their goods away. When Grumon punished them, it united
everyone (the ol' "an enemy of an enemy"). They resettled to a site that used
to be an imperial health resort. Although they have to rebuild from scratch,
they seem to have hope now. The river is a natural defense against Grumon, but
they still have to deal with Fomoire.

The lady that was asking us to smuggle fabrics is this man's wife, and what she
came up with seems...pretty damn good!

Ok...now that we've essentially relocated Nanim, there is one more thing we can
do here in Jusitania.

Astel's Convent:
So NOW the nun is telling us to offer a prayer and show Astel some love (aka:
beat the crap out of her Holimont...these Celestials must be sadomasochists).

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Astel Holimont and friends

The Holimont won't do much during the first Round or two. Once it has enough BP
it will use an attack called Harvest Vitality, which can do any or all of the
following:

- HP damage
- instant death
- direct LP damage!!!

Overall it's not a super difficult battle. It is immune to Paralyze, but it's
not immune to Stun. 
=======================

After the battle, you will have the option to recruit Mirane. Re-enter the
Astel Covenant and accept the offer.

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Mirane    |  8| 11|  7|  9| 12| 12| 4|Te|Staff/Inc|
-----------------------------------------------------

Mirane starts with Earth Heal and Rain of Life, so she won't be contributing
any real offense to your team for now. Given that you have Kreisa AND Elysed in
your Party, you may not want to spend much time training Mirane...

Ok, NOW we're done in Jusitania! Time to chase fire chicken. Let's go to
Hibernia (may have to enter Castle Fomoire twice since that tool of a Lord
wants to gloat about Nanim). Skip to "[Phoenix] Int.2.3 Provincia Hibernia 
(Flight Path Only)."

*************************************************************
* [Phoenix] Int.2.2 Mare Ilfee (Trigger Region) (Objective) *
*************************************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- Accessible from Zegna (Cerenaif) from Part 6 onward if Cerenaif was unlocked
    during Part 5
- Accessible from eastern Thracini during Part 6
- Must be triggered here to be accessible during the Intermission regardless of
    above methods
- Mutually exclusive with Jusitania (unless Jusitania was unlocked during first
    Intermission [Scarlet Shards] during Part 4A)

NOTE: If you entered the Mare Ilfee from the northwest (from Thracini), it's
possible that the free-sailing boat won't appear, limiting your transportation
to going between Edinport, Battlwick, and New Wise, and will prevent you from
completing certain Side Quests. If you're going to trigger from here, enter
from the boat in Zegna (from Cerenaif).

...or better yet, just trigger from Jusitania and avoid the whole mess. :)

*MAP*

When you enter the Mare Ilfee, a giant flaming bird flies by and lands right in
front of you. When you approach it, you'll have to fight:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Phoenix

For a legendary immortal bird, it seems pretty wimpy. It's not THAT wimpy,
though! While its only attack is Fireball (and it sounds like a 1980's cartoon
blaster) it can take off about 50-60% of that character's health! So kill it
fast and Protect when needed!
=======================

We killed the Phoenix! Arthur wants to FLEX!
There's a reason why the Phoenix is not so "immortal" here: it lays an egg
somewhere before it passes away, and its life carries on through its offspring.
So it's still "immortal" in a sense...

With the Phoenix Feather, Bal and Arthur hallucinate. During their trippiness,
they saw the Phoenix fly in from Cerenaif.

Although the ultimate goal is to end up in either the Southeast Boundary or
Urbs Azhuacan (depending on whether you have access to Bicyniro), the
following regions have Phoenix-related events:

- Mare Ilfee (Trigger Region from Part 5 onward if Cerenaif is unlocked,
    otherwise not accessible; mutually exclusive with Jusitania unless it was
    unlocked during first Intermission [Scarlet Shards]) (Objective)
- Provincia Jusitania (Only accessible if unlocked during first Intermission
    [Scarlet Shards]) (Objective? ?NEEDS TESTING?)
- Provincia Hibernia (flight path only)
- Provincia Gradion (flight path only)
- Provincia Cindrea (Objective)
- Provincia Maurehua (Objective)
- Provincia Kei (Objective)
- Provincia Cerenaif (Available if unlocked during Part 5) (flight path only)
- Provincia Rhonicum (Available from Part 5 onward) (flight path only)
- Marchiam Ria (Available if Cerenaif was unlocked during Part 5) (Objective)
- Marchiam Bicyniro (Available if unlocked during Part 5) (flight path only)
- Southeast Boundary (Available if Bicyniro was unlocked during Part 5)
    (Objective, Possible Final Objective)
- Marchiam Yaxart (Objective)
- Urbs Azhuacan (Objective, Final Objective only if Bicyniro was NOT unlocked
    during Part 5)
- Marchiam Megdasse (Available only if [Earth Serpent] was completed during
    first Intermission and was triggered from Megdasse) (flight path only)
- Provincia Termina (flight path only) 
- Provincia Thracini (Available from Part 6 onward if unlocked before Inter-
    mission was started, during Part 6A, or earlier if [Earth Serpent] was
    completed during first Intermission by using Thracini as the trigger)
    (flight path only)

To open up Azhuacan or the Southeast Boundary, you have to complete at least
five Phoenix Objectives with one of them being the defeat of Macha at the True
Macha Shrine in Yaxart (but you don't want to do that too soon or else you
can't recruit Kumi). Defeating the Phoenix here counts as one of those, so...
OBJECTIVE COMPLETE...? :D

You know that Phoenix Feather you have in your inventory? Use this in other
Regions to see the Phoenix's last memories and its flight path so you can find
its offspring. If you use it here, nothing happens.

:OTHER MARE ILFEE SIDE QUESTS UNDER CONSTRUCTION:

***********************************************************
* [Phoenix] Int.2.3 Provincia Hibernia (Flight Path Only) *
***********************************************************

So why the hell are we going through Hibernia and not straight to Bicyniro?
First off we only have one Phoenix Objective cleared out. Secondly if you try
to go to Bicyniro from Jusitania sometimes the game won't let you for some
reason (even if you have the Region unlocked from Part 5). Lastly, the bird
came from Hibernia, so we're going to Hibernia, dammit!

So Hibernia it is.

Use the Phoenix Feather while we're here and watch the trippiness.

The Phoenix flies in from Gradion and out into Jusitania. So Gradion is our
next destination, as we don't care so much about where the Phoenix flew TO--
we care more about where it came FROM.

...but before we go to Gradion, we might as well recruit a certain Wacky Yak
Magician... :D

You see that little cabin with a yak just a bit west-northwest of Castle
Fomoire? Yeah, that's where all semblance of sanity comes to die. So buckle up,
clench your cheeks, and get ready.

*******************************************************************************
* Please consult the Character Recruitment FAQ for details on how to recruit  *
* Nemain, as this is a very long process. I'll put the details in this FAQ in *
* a future update.                                                            *
*                                                                             *
* NOTE: You may have to talk to the three houses TWICE on Step 7 because they *
* will talk about the Phoenix the first time and then the "strange aura" the  *
* second time.                                                                *
*******************************************************************************

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Nemain    |  8|  9|  7| 11| 12| 15| 5|Ae|Staff/Inc|
-----------------------------------------------------

For such a freaking klutz, her Acuity is INSANE! 

Given that you have Elysed, possibly Kreisa, and Mirane at this point, you're
likely not going to want to spend time to train Nemain, especially since all of
her spell levels start off at roughly 5% of your Battle Rank. That's a HUGE
uphill climb so late in the Playthrough!

You could use her as a fighter and take advantage of that stupid-high Acuity,
but her lowish Strength and Dexterity won't do her any favors.

Before we leave Hibernia, grab the Ethereal Water (sparkles) just a bit west of
Ceobhran, as that's one of the items the Imperial Librarian at the Survey Hut
requested.

**********************************************************
* [Phoenix] Int.2.4 Provincia Gradion (Flight Path Only) *
**********************************************************

You know the drill. Use glowing feather, hallucinate, see flaming chicken. This
time it comes from Cindrea and flies into Rhonicum. Generally we're more
interested in where it came FROM than where it's going TO, so...

Before you go, pick up the Erakleos Moss (sparkles) from the Erakleos Wall just
east of Yumen.

Now let's head north.

***************************************************
* [Phoenix] Int.2.5 Provincia Cindrea (Objective) *
***************************************************

Ah! A Region with an Objective! Let's use the hallucinogenic feather, shall we?

It flies in from the northwest (around Maurehua-ish), lands on the Imhokiel 
Dam, and then flies south into Gradion (where we came from). 

Balmaint doesn't think the Phoenix landing on Imhokiel Dam will cause too much
trouble, since the thing was made by the Celestial Imhokiel himself. Arthur
says that if it were to break, Cindrea would be annihilated. Can it break?
Let's find out.

Erakleos Soldiers:
Examine the formation of soldiers and you're told to stay back or face the 
consequences! 

Head north just a tad and now we have a conflict between Erakleos and another
group! Both seem to be pursuing the sacred-bird relic (I guess that's whatever
the Phoenix dropped on the dam? Usually when birds drop things on land--usually
mid-flight--it tends to be worthless and...rather gross...).

Since there's a little more ruckus there than just flaming bird poo, let's at
least warn the locals about what's happening:

Saqqara:
Converse here. The lady doesn't think the dam will fall because Imhokiel built
that thing with his own hands. Oh well, we tried.

Hadasht:
Irene of House Erakleos is readying the troops, as protecting the dam is their
number one priority. Arthur introduces himself and asks if he and Bal could do
something to help. Irene says that House Yanyouji's meddling would prove
useless here!

Balmaint says that Irene is larger than life. Massive in fact. Come out and say
it, Bal: T H I C C.

Fisherman (north-northwest of the dam):
If you haven't done so already (perhaps all the way back in Part 2), examine
the fisherman, and he tells you that there is a mythical treasure at the bottom
of the lake. He hasn't had any luck finding treasure or catching fish. He says
that the legendary beast at the bottom of the lake may be eating everything up.

Some bubbles appear in the lake! The fisherman thinks it's the legendary beast
and runs away! Well, time to slay some legendary beast!

Foam:
Again, if you haven't done so already, examine the foam for a double encounter,
the first being three Rubybugs (not so legendary yet). The second is two Goblin
Warriors and two Loup-Garous (not so legendary either, but Loup-Garous =
flamethrowing Ogres, and we know how dangerous those are, so get your Shadow
Weaves, Tumbles, and the like ready)!

Welp...that "legendary beast" was less than impressive. Perhaps the legend has
yet to show itself?

Imhokiel Dam:
Arthur thinks that fiends are always going to be in places where the Phoenix
lands. I guess they're like flies or maggots? Balmaint doesn't know if the dam
can withstand an all-out assault, despite being built by Imhokiel. Time for a
double encounter.

The second part of that encounter has a Greater Devil AND a flamethrowing Ogre,
so be careful!

IF THIS INTERMISSION IS NOT DURING PART 6A:
-------------------------------------------

...well the dam didn't fall. OBJECTIVE COMPLETE! 

If you go back to Saqqara, it's "praise by Imhokiel," and Bal comments on the
dam's sturdiness. Arthur doesn't just want to brush this off: he wants credit,
dammit! If you go back to Hadasht, then Irene reports that nothing was found...
and then "I KNOW YOU TOOK THE RELIC!" Bal says the people of House Erakleos
have active imaginations, and that he knows nothing about this. Irene says
she should strip him down to his marrow and see if the truth lies there. I'm
not sure if that's a bad thing or not? ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Anyway, Arthur informs the duchess that Balmaint is a legal executioner, and
legal executioners must be sure that their persons are protected at all times.
Irene says Arthur is an aggravating little man (tell us something we don't
already know...), and that they should leave Cindrea at once while they can
still walk.

IF THIS INTERMISSION IS DURING PART 6A:
---------------------------------------

If everything was done in the correct order, OBJECTIVE COMPLETE, but...the dam
collapses.

Saqqara has been wiped out, and where the lake stood is...a city?

We also see that the Fisherman is back. Talk to him and have him join us:

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Raphael   | 10|  9| 11|  8|  9| 11| 8|Ae|S. Sword |
-----------------------------------------------------

This is definitely NOT the Raphael from the first Romancing SaGa. One thing
both Raphaels have in common are that they join very late and that it's hard to
find a place for them in your Retinue. This Raphael loves fishing, has high LP,
and has a Tissisaaq-like Unique Role, but his low availability and mediocre
overall stats aren't enough to swing the pendulum in his favor.

If you pick up the materials (three sets of sparkles) from the dam's collapse,
you should receive some Beast Hides and Scales.

Hadasht:
Irene asks Bal and Arthur what they know of the enemy at the dam. Bal says the
outside enemy was a decoy--the true enemy was already inside the dam. Irene
asks if we lay blame at the feet of House Erakleos for not seeing through the
feint. Bal simply says he blames those that destroyed the dam. Irene says this
is a black mark against House Erakleos, so she must accept responsibility and
step down. 

"But know this, executioner! Even in abdication will I be keeping a very close
eye on you. You bring naught but disaster to this house, and so we must be ever
watchful."

Might as well have her join the fold! In fact, have her join. Now.

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Irene     | 10| 10|  8| 15|  9|  8| 5|Ig|L. Sword |
-----------------------------------------------------

This woman is THE REASON for doing this Common Quest during Part 6A! She and
nobody else gives you the formation Erakleos Guard, which is all but mandatory
for fighting super-bosses like Scarlet Fiends, True Scarlet Fiends, and the
most powerful form of the final boss! 

She's no slouch herself! Look at that Endurance! She is the Absolute Unit of
all Units! Her LP's nowhere near as high as other Units like Leonard or Sabit,
but her Endurance has no equal!

She also comes with a Bladebreaker, which is a relatively rare Long Sword that
some Protagonists (Urpina and Leonard particularly) can use as one of many
valid weapon combinations for recruiting Sabit! That means you would have to
carry over your weapons in a New Game+ with all four Protagonists cleared for
it to be of any benefit in that way. Then again, the Bladebreaker's maximum
upgrade is the Vanisher which has an attack power of 43 and an instakilling
built-in tech called "Divide."

However, the Thicc Duchess' availability is just as short as Raphael's, so it's
really hard to justify putting TOO much work into her. This would pretty much
need to be your super-boss busting Playthrough to justify grinding her up with
lots of Long Sword, Great Sword, and Club training (in addition to a touch of
Aes Magic because Armor Blessing is required for at least one defensive Role). 

Anyway, let's assess the rest of the damages:

Saqqara:
It looks like the people of Saqqara got away. Arthur says the people have
probably lost their faith in Imhokiel, and that their town will never recover
from this. Bal tells Arthur that he doesn't know that. Now is when they need
the power of Imhokiel more than ever. He will give them the strength they need
to rebuild.

Now let's investigate that city that was underneath the lake:

Mysterious City:
So what is this city and why was it here? Bal says it must be the legendary
city of Ur-Saqqara--the city of the false emperor.

We get a double encounter for our troubles.

After that, we get...the Walomir King Adill?!!! He says that Saqqara, the city
of the false emperor appearing once the dam was destroyed may be more valuable
than the relic here.

After Bal, Arthur, and Adill introduce themselves, Adill asks for their aid in
discovering the secret of Saqqara. Might as well go along with him. We get
a boss fight for our troubles.

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Taotie

Remember the Chiyous from the Drear Rock in Rhonicum? Expect more of the same
including being shot by a semi-automatic weapon that has no place in this
setting. Maybe we can test T H I C C  D U C H E S S here and see if even she
can shrug off rounds of the almighty Suppressing Fire (Double Machine Gun by
another name)!

Again, these things also have multiple Interrupts and Counters for just about
every situation except Hailstorm from popsicles, Rising Sun from Martial
Artists, and certain other spells that don't have Slashing, Piercing, or Blunt
attributes.

Fortunately there's only two of them this time. 
=======================

After the battle, Adill calls us fools for destroying the secret of Saqqara! He
says it doesn't matter, as he's already obtained a piece of it, and gets away.

So let's see what Thicc Duchess says about this:

Hadasht:
She asks us what we found in the sunken city (regardless of whether or not she
was actually with us at the time--go figure). Bal tells her about Adill, the 
Walomir king being there. Irene says that the group at the dam must have been
under his employ. Seeing that they were not Walomir themselves, she didn't make
the connection. Adill dreamed of a world united, but that dream wasn't made
true. Irene says Adill is a pitiful little man for yet still not surrendering
that vision.

Now let's leave and re-enter Cindrea. We have a Side Quest involving a mangy
doge. And crabs. Lots of crabs. They're blocking just about everything.

To get rid of the crabs, we fight the mother of all crabs that's parked at
what's left of the Imhokiel Dam:

Evercrab:
Get ready for a double encounter, the second being (supposedly) the queen
itself.

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Queen Crab

This game's limited bestiary strikes again! Giant Enemy uh...spider! It does
usual spider stuff. No weak point for massive damage that I know of.
=======================

Well there goes the crabs. Now let's see what the dog wants.

Bottled Meat:
Bottled...meat? When prompted, choose to give it to the dog. If you don't, you
won't be able to rebuild Saqqara or get the Scarlet Beat to appear in Cindrea.

Now SAVE YOUR GAME before going any further!!! Autosave won't bail you out if
you mess up here!

The dog will reappear multiple times with two types of treasure. If you examine
the treasure CLOSEST to the dog, there will be an item, and you get to choose
whether to give it back to Saqqara or keep it for yourself. 

There are three "strikes" toward rebuilding Saqqara and there are no mulligans
when it comes to the hot springs dog or the Scarlet Fiend.

If you "strike out," by keeping three or more treasures for yourself (or by
opening the treasure FARTHEST AWAY from the dog three or more times), then
Saqqara won't be rebuilt. However, if you do keep one or two items for
yourself, Saqqara will be rebuilt, but the hot springs dog and the Scarlet
Fiend won't appear. 

So for our purposes, examine the CLOSEST treasure and ALWAYS return them to the
town!

After doing this five times, the town gets restored!

Now go to about the southwest part of the Region, south of Hadasht, but east of
Taiffa. It's the doggo again!

Filthy Dog:
It found a hot spring! And the dog is...white? If those springs can clean up
that dog, I guess it can clean anything!

If you walk somewhere between Taiffa, Sanhigh, and the hot springs, the Scarlet
Fiend should appear (as long as your battle rank is high enough).

Anyway, we're finally done here. Since the Phoenix came from Maurehua, that's
where we're heading next.

****************************************************
* [Phoenix] Int.2.6 Provincia Maurehua (Objective) *
****************************************************

When you enter Maurehua, the Phoenix Feather shines once again. Use it, and
the Phoenix will come in from the south, fly around the perimeter of the
Region, and then drop its load on top of the Prayer Tower (or the rubble if you
chose to let it fall in Part 1).

While you're here, stop by the Collector Nest and drop off the Ethereal Water
and Erakleos Moss.

Now examine the Tower or its remains. 

If it's rubble, then you'll have a single encounter with some Ignis Spirits and
an easy OBJECTIVE COMPLETE!

If it's a fully intact tower, then you have a bit more work to do: a QUADRUPLE
encounter! Start climbing!

Parts 1 and 3 have blue worms. Part 2 has giant red slime. Part 4 has two
flamethrowing Ogres, which always suck. You might want to break out Robert
(Tumble), Patricia (Mesmerize), and Colleen (Shadow Weave) for this one.

After that...no egg! We did all that work for nothing? Balmaint tells Arthur
he can jump if he wants...Bal's heading down! OBJECTIVE COMPLETE!

Since the Phoenix came from Kei, we're heading there.

***********************************************
* [Phoenix] Int.2.7 Provincia Kei (Objective) *
***********************************************

Back home, the Phoenix Feather shines. Use it and start hallucinating. You'll
see the giant flaming chicken circle around the Great Arch, land, and then fly
away slightly south, southwest and disappear. 

Not sure if some of that underground Nangoon stuff will give you the same kind
of hallucinations as a sacred bird feather, but anyway, head over to the Great
Arch.

Great Arch:
We get a single encounter with Ignis Spirits. Their unique spells are annoying,
but otherwise not too difficult.

After the battle, Arthur asks the same question that was on my mind: "Fiends
follow this Phoenix wherever it goes. Maybe it's laying them instead of eggs?"
Well we know it likes to drop its crap on things like other birds do...

In the end we found nothing at the Arch, but look just south of it:

Dead Body:
Arthur says this guy is DEAD dead. Maybe he picked a Mandragora? Bal thinks he
must be a stranger if he's not familiar with Kei's mandragoras. 

In any case, there's something in the DEAD dead man's hand. Apparently this guy
beat us to that something, so, as Arthur says, his ignorance is our gain. Our
honorable executioner wants to give him a proper burial.

Supposedly there is another fragment of the item the man was carrying. Bal
thinks this is a trap. Unless Arthur doesn't know his Balmaint...we're going
even if it is a trap.

Anyway, where is our possible trap? Let's start with the next closest place:

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: If you want to recruit Julia, you must complete the following events  *
* (along with events during first Intermission [Earth Serpent]).              *
*******************************************************************************

Unremarkable Tree:
Examine this, and...yep...it's a trap. Thank the Celestials you still have
your knees. You can continue your adventure. 

The arrow, however, has a letter attached to it:

"Make the fragment whole at the mountain hut." How convenient. Let's head
north.

Mountain Hut:
Nobody's home, but there is a door leading to a cellar. Let's enter! We get a
single encounter.

After the encounter, a bald guy asks us if we are Arthur's envoys. Well...our
cowardly Law Clerk has no idea what's going on here. Baldy tells Arthur that
he's the one who approached them with a deal in the first place. Arthur still
claims to have no clue. Baldy says they're the ones in charge of Nangoon. Bal
says there's no time for this, as they're surrounded by thugs! Arthur wonders
if they're trying to take over Castle Kohan and Nangoon? Oh well, time to
fight off some thugs!

...except the "thugs" are a Queen Moth, a War Hog, and a Sigfrei's Acolyte. Who
hired these guys?

The bald guy has martial arts while the other two attack with Clubs.

After the battle, we get the second half of the fragment. Balmaint has no idea
how we got away, but we did. Arthur is not happy about being set up, though.

Bald guy comes back asking for Arthur's help or else Nangoon will fall. They'll
even become his subordinates if that's what he wants! 

Bal starts to wonder what Arthur's endgame is here. I told you he's a bit
shady...

Arthur says it wouldn't be a secret if he told him, so he's keeping it to
himself. Yep, he's a bit shady.

Bal says he won't ask again, and to be honest, he doesn't care what kind of a
person Arthur is. Perhaps it's better that way...

Anyway, since we got the other fragment. OBJECTIVE COMPLETE! 

We're going to deviate from the intended route here a bit because if we go to
where the Phoenix seemingly came from, Yaxart, and finish the Objective there,
we won't be able to recruit Kumi. So let's head east to Cindrea, south to
Gradion, and then south-southeast into Rhonicum for the time being.

***********************************************************
* [Phoenix] Int.2.8 Provincia Rhonicum (Flight Path Only) *
***********************************************************

Use the Phoenix Feather and...it's a short flight this time: from Cerenaif to
Bicyniro. Again, since it's coming FROM Cerenaif, we're going there.

***********************************************************
* [Phoenix] Int.2.9 Provincia Cerenaif (Flight Path Only) *
***********************************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- From Part 6 Intro onward and only if unlocked during Part 5

Use the Phoenix Feather: this time it flew in from Rhonicum up north of Nipelo,
then back south, and then northeast past Zegna. So that means either Marchiam
Ria or Mare Ilfee. 

Since you can't get to Mare Ilfee unless you started from there (Triggered the
Intermission from there), we're going to Faerie Land.

Take the boat from Nipelo to get to Ria.

***********************************************
* [Phoenix] Int.2.10 Marchiam Ria (Objective) *
***********************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- From Part 6 Intro onward and only if Cerenaif was unlocked during Part 5

Use the feather: the Phoenix immediately parks on top of the cocoon, turns it
bright red, and flies a bit to the south before disappearing! What the hell did
it do to the cocoon?

Cocoon:
Apparently a bunch of people are going inside the cocoon, one after another! 
They were screaming about the Phoenix's egg being inside of it.

...and when they come out...all kinds of body horror. Guess we have to do the
mercy deed...

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Ignis Spirit

Yes, a single solitary Ignis Spirit. Not even worth the boss music...
=======================

The cocoon is still lit up with Bad Phoenix Juju (BPJ). 

Now go to every single town in Ria. They will talk about various things from
the fae acting crazy from BPJ to crazy women wanting to sacrifice themselves to
the cocoon for the sake of love. After doing so, go back to the Cocoon.

Cocoon:
Bal and Arthur want to go INSIDE the cocoon to get rid of the BPJ. Crazy
bastards. Make it so.

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Crimson Beast and two Ignis Spirits

This fight's more difficult than it looks. While the Crimson Beast likes to do
hound stuff like Howl (Speed Up), Headwind Fangs (damage to entire Retinue +
chance of Paralysis), and other attacks, it can also cast Wildfire. With its
speed boost from Howl, this makes it very difficult to stop Wildfire and its
chance of Stun is no joke. Combine that with the Ignis Spirits' Sea of Flames
and Rain of Fire and all that damage can add up fast!

First things first: shut that goddamn pooch up! Go with one or two of the
following:

- An Archer with Shadow Weave (Colleen; Ogniana with her high DEX and ACU, but
    that's if you chose to switch her to Bows and have been using her that way
    since the start of this Intermission; Mondo if this is a New Game+ and he's
    finally joined you; Hongswan from first Intermission [Scarlet Shards];
    perhaps even Clover if you switched her to Bows at some point to take
    better advantage of her high Dexterity, but that's unlikely because of the
    shortage of Long Sword users outside of Maximus from first Intermission
    [Earth Serpent]).
- A Short Sword user with Mesmerize (Patricia; Giselle; Kenji from first Inter-
    mission [Scarlet Shards]; possibly Raphael, but his stats aren't that
    great)
- A Spear user with Sweep (either of the Parm/Zegna rivals Chicago or Lamar--
    preferably the former; Tissisaaq works as well)
- A Martial Artist with Stun (likely only Robert)

Unfortunately the two Ignis Spirits are immune to Paralyze and Sleep, and you
aren't Sweeping those things because they're airborne. With Robert likely being
your only semi-reliable Tumble user, your chances of shutting them up is pretty
low. 

If you have a mage with Snowstorm, bring them in and spam it. If not, you can
have the Elysed/Kreisa double-team come in with Call Lightning. 

A Dual Whirlwind Maximus could help with damage and Rampart duties if you have
him. The T h i c c Duchess could help with the latter, but not really with the
former.

Alternately, if you have a fully upgraded Frigid Ice Sword or two, try bringing
in Leonard and give em a taste of the ol popsicle with Hailstorm. Leo's
Intelligence is low so it's not going to do a whole lot of damage. If you've
switched Balmaint to Great Swords at some point, he might be a better choice if
his INT score is more serviceable. 
=======================

After the battle, you pop out of the cocoon, it turns back to normal, and
OBJECTIVE COMPLETE!

Enter one of the towns and take the boat back to Cerenaif, then head southwest
through Castle Parm to Rhonicum, and then south through Nekwa into Bicyniro.

***********************************************************
* [Phoenix] Int.2.11 Marchiam Bicyniro (Flight Path Only) *
***********************************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- From Part 6 Intro onward and only if unlocked during Part 5

Enter the region and the Phoenix Feather starts shining. Use the Feather and 
the Phoenix will fly from the far eastern part of the Region into the western
part. In other words from the Southeast Boundary into Bicyniro and then into
Jusitania. Since we've used and abused Jusitania, we won't bother with that. 

Let's head to...

*******************************************************
* [Phoenix] Int.2.12.1 Southeast Boundary (Objective) *
*******************************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- From Part 6 Intro onward and only if Bicyniro was unlocked during Part 5

*MAP*

Welcome to the Southeast Boundary! It's a jungle...everywhere! Sorry Bal: this
place is wilder than those puny little Jusitanian jungles.

Before we use the Phoenix Feather, let's get a little bit of business out of
the way at the one Village that's here:

Birdman Village:
YIKES! AND AWAY!!!! :crash:

If you are automatically taken into the Village after that crash-landing, then
you didn't witness the Tsubaki event back in Termina after the whole Raven
Manor/fisherman mess in the beginning of Part 3. 

If you are NOT taken into the Village automatically, then re-inspect the
Village: there she goes again! She claims to have found the witch of all
witches!

Now you'll be in the village. Send someone on the "Chef's League" mission, pre-
ferably one of your mages that needs Ignis magic levels. 

Leave the village and head all the way to the northeast to where there is a
cave and a suspicious person:

Hole of Chaos:
"Hear my vow, Arch Witch! On your head lies the responsibility for all of this,
thus it is your head we of La Chasse shall claim!" A bit obsessed, isn't she?

The Arch Witch tells her if she has so much vim, why not put it to use dealing
with the chaos being deeper in the pit?

Well...

...that didn't work out well.

After La Chasse gets pwned, Balmaint steps in to tell her to stand down. In
typical Knight Templar fashion, Tsubaki isn't having any of it. When given a
choice, choose "I'll do it." You'll be in a battle rated BRUTAL, but it's not
as hard as the rating says:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Chaos Fiend x 3

This fight would be something resembling Brutal if it weren't for one thing:
they're cannibals! 

They are repackaged spider enemies with similar attacks, including Feast
(called Entomb here). 

Once they start eating each other the fight gets way easier!

Otherwise, you may want to use a combination of characters that can Protect and
those that can jam (Stun/Paralysis/Sleep), as these guys hit HARD!
=======================

Now that the chaos has been beaten, the Arch Witch can depart. Balmaint wonders
if she is responsible for summoning that thing. The Arch Witch says she was
not. Centuries ago, a previous Arch Witch summoned the chaos at the emperor's
request to use it to fight the Wicked One. After the battle, the chaos stuck
around. Generations of Arch Witches have kept it sealed to prevent it from
going nuts. 

When Bal asks our obsessed witch hunter what she wants to do, have her join
the fold!

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Tsubaki                                           
|  (Camelia)| 10| 12| 11| 10| 12| 12| 5|Ig|S. Sword |
-----------------------------------------------------

Look at those stats! Nothing there is crazy high, but notice that nothing is
pathetically low either! This makes her a good candidate for just about any-
thing you want her to do! Have her fill in any gaps you might be missing in
your repertoire. Given that Balmaint's Story is front-loaded with a lot of
redundant specialists with major shortages in some areas (Long Swords outside
of an [Earth Serpent] Intermission), you might be able to find a role for
her to fill.

Your likely setup may include:

Great Sword: Leonard, Kumi. Possibly one of your lumberjacks if they were
    switched over at some point
Long Sword: Clover, Irene. Erreich if you didn't choose Kreisa. Possibly
    Maximus from Int 1 [Earth Serpent]
Short Sword: Patricia, Giselle. Possibly Kenji from Int 1 [Scarlet Shards]
Spear: Chiago, Tissisaaq (assuming no New Game+ deuteragonists like Mondo or
    Kahn)
Axe: enough to cut down an entire forest
Club: Ignatius, Muiredach (and neither are all that great)
Bow: Colleen. Possibly Hongswan from Int 1 [Scarlet Shards]. Isaac sucks, so
    he's not worth mentioning.
Martial Arts: Robert.
Staff/Incantations: Elysed, likely Kreisa. Arthur if you're not trying to go
    for an Ultimate Branch Save or a specific Ending. Plenty of other options
    as well like Nemain, Mirane, Francis from Int 1 [Scarlet Shards]

Since you're not hurting for Short Sword users, I would switch Tsubaki over to
Either Martial Arts or Bows depending on whether you think Colleen or Robert is
not cutting the mustard right now. Then again, considering that you can still
get a good Martial Artist like Griffin from one of the four towns that he
appears in (Finemundi in the Northeast Boundary, Chyokun in Numadica, Westdorf
in Normi, or Coruna in Ria), having Tsubaki go with Bows might not be a bad
idea. 

Anyway, we have one more character to recruit: remember the flying dude that
crash-landed earlier? Let's see how he's doing:

Crashed Glider:
He seems to be OK. He needs more feathers to be able to fly successfully. He
says that moa feathers are best, but cockatrice feathers will also work (the
latter being harder to get).

Well...let's go get some feathers!

Moa:
A wild Moa has appeared! Examine it. 

Moa uses Haul Ass. It's Super Effective!

Chase after it and you'll see three Rustling Groves. You'll also see a gazelle
appear from one of them after being turned into stone! 

The moa is one bush CLOCKWISE from the Petrified Gazelle.

For example:
        
        *****
        *(1)*
        *****
    ^ /       \ v
    ^/         \v
*****           *****
*(3)* <-<-<-<-  *(2)*
*****           *****
 
If the gazelle is in Grove #1, the moa will be in Grove #2. If the gazelle is
in Grove #3, then the moa will be in Grove #1.

When you find the moa, you'll receive a moa feather and a moa leg from it (the
process of acquiring these was, fortunately, not shown).

Rinse and repeat this process about 10 times or so, fighting a cockatrice or
two along the way by examining the gazelle instead.

(Cockatrice fights will give you a cockatrice feather, a cockatrice leg, and a
petrified gazelle leg.)

Go back to the Birdman Village and the gliding man will crash-land again.
Approach him and he says he won't give up (you may have to fight off fiends
first). You'll give him your moa and cockatrice feathers. 

Go back in the Village again: this time he'll fly a successful lap without
wiping out! A bird shadow will appear in the water south of the Village.

Go back in the Village one more time and Converse. Pick the option to have him
join!

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Orville   | 11|  6| 14|  9|  5| 10| 5|Na|M. Arts  |
-----------------------------------------------------

Another Martial Artist, but this one is fast! That DEX is awful, though. He's
not going to be very good at landing Tumble, so he won't be spelling or re-
placing Robert anytime soon.

Anyway, enough chasing witch hunters, dudes with feathers, moas, cockatrices,
and the like. Use the orange feather that we came into this Region with and
we see Ol Crispy fly from a nest at the Corner Isle! Let's investigate!

At this point, we need to go to the very southeast tip of the mainland, just a
bit southeast of the "Phoenix Nest?" (fake Phoenix Nest):

^-^    )
| |    |
Fork   (
Falls  )
        (      W
        |       A
         (       T
 (O)      |       E
 Phoenix  (        R
 Nest?     |
           (
----_____X___|

                       ( (O)
                       | Phoenix
                       ( Nest   
                        \         
                         |               Corner Isle
                         \
                            
Nameless Peninsula:
The X in that oh so fine ASCII art above is where you want to be. If the
Nameless Peninsula doesn't show up when standing there, use the Phoenix Feather
and try again.

Once "Nameless Peninsula" appears, investigate it. You'll need a ship in order
to cross. You'll need to go back to Bicyniro to get one...

*****************************************
* [Phoenix] Int.2.12.2 Back to Bicyniro *
*****************************************

So where can we get a ship? Since Caprese is nearby, let's try there!

Caprese:
"Do you need a boat? Then I am your man! I've sailed from sea to sea and fear
neither man nor beast!"

Great, then you'll take us to the Southeast Boundary!

"Whaaaa?"

Yeah, he's not going to work out, but wait! We have a pink-haired lady with
with the biggest jewels in all of Bicyniro. However, local legend claims that
only those that have the Spirituals' favor can pass through the maelstrom.
Balmaint introduces himself, and the lady muses that she may end up being in
his care some day (being an executioner and she doing her thing and all). The
lady says she'll still do it, but she doesn't want to hear any complaining
after seeing her boat!

Leave Caprese and let's go to this boat, shall we? While Arthur talks about the
legal issues of this being a pirate ship, Balmaint mentions that just having a
certain kind of ship alone isn't illegal. So Arthur overlooks it. :D

Of course pirates have always been a staple of SaGa games.

Kumi's Ship:
...

...DO WHAT YOU WANT 'CAUSE A PIRATE IS FREE, YOU ARE A PIRATE! 

HARRRRRRRRR!!!!

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: We avoided fighting Macha at the True Macha Shrine in Yaxart up until *
* this point for a very good reason! If you've already fought Macha, then     *
* Kumi will immediately sail through the maelstrom successfully and NOT join  *
* you!                                                                        * 
*                                                                             *
* If you have NOT fought Macha, then Kumi will join you now!                  *
*******************************************************************************

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Kumi      | 12| 11| 12| 10|  8|  8| 7|Un|G. Sword |
-----------------------------------------------------

Now THIS is a Great Sword user! In case you didn't get enough Ettin's Blades
from Teach Na Macha (or the fight was giving you trouble back then), Kumi comes
with one! She also comes with a unique role (First Striker) that increases her
physical attack power and her initial position a bit, making her somewhat of a
Great Sword version of Tissisaaq! 

Since you've had Leonard for a while now, it might be hard to make a place for
this pink-haired swashbuckler, but she is fun to play with many of her battle
quotes!

Anyway, we begin sailing and...nope. Spirituals say DENIED.

(unless you fought Macha already, in which case you make it through the mael-
strom, but it's KUMI that says DENIED in this case...)

Balmaint says we have no choice but to follow the Phoenix Feather and see where
it takes us at this point. 

...or you could just follow this guide. :D

Let's go ALL the way back to Kei:
- north through Nekwa to Rhonicum
- north through Fort Kathrin to Gradion
- north through Sanhigh or Yumen to Cindrea
- west through Taiffa to Kei

...and then southwest through Rowsui Tower to where we were originally going to
go, but instead detoured for a pink-haired pirate, a bat-**** crazy witch
hunter, and a somewhat-crazy man-bird:

**************************************************
* [Phoenix] Int.2.13 Marchiam Yaxart (Objective) *
**************************************************

Ah! Back to the Region of pilgrims!

As always, the Phoenix Feather shines when we enter a [Phoenix] Region. So
let's use the Feather and see what this region's hallucination shows us:

Hmmmm...flying from Kei...passes by every Celestial Shrine...drops its load at
a Shrine to the southwest...leaves by flying up north into Megdasse.

Remember the last "True Shrine" that I said we weren't going to mess with back
in Section "4.1.2: Tying up loose ends - Yaxart"? Yeah, it dropped it load on
that Shrine. 

Now that we have Kumi, we're gonna mess with it.

Mysterious Shrine:
Inspect and we end up in a two-part battle (one of those being with Macha's
Toy--want another popsicle?). Finish those, and we end up in a battle with...

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Five Spirituals and Macha

THE Macha? Yep. She's the Celestial of magic, and she is a cheating bastard!

...except she's not cheating as much as usual. There are two things going for
us here:

1) The Phoenix energy gave us a crapton of BP
2) There are only Ignis Spirituals here, and as a result, she only casts Ignis
    spells (you'll notice that every time you defeat an Ignis Spiritual, only
    one of her five beads light up).

Of course Crimson Flare is an Ignis spell, and being launched into the sun
after a one Round countdown is still going to inflict over 1000 HP of damage to
anyone in your Retinue (outside of some combination of Thicc Duchess + Maestro
of Flame + Mentalist Roles + every piece of fire resistance known to human-
kind).

Also, she's not going to escape this time, so you have to defeat her.

You can try bursting her down with your best techs and spells, hoping that if
she sends one of your Retinue members to the sun, that will cause a United
Attack. If you were able to get a hold of the Hawkblade from Lug and glimmered
Unbridled Frenzy, have your lumberjacks go Ren and Stimpy on her ass and start
flinging lots of logs! Everyone wants a log, right Macha?

Ms. Thunder and Ms. Lightning (Elysed and Kreisa) should do their usual thing.

You could also break out a Short Sword user with Golden Note and try to
Distract her (+1 to Cast Time). Kenji's probably not a good choice given how
slow he is--Thicc Goofy will probably get launched into the sun before Golden
Note lands.
=======================

After defeating Macha, your OBJECTIVE, as well as your True Pilgrimage, is
COMPLETE! Congrats on the Trophy if you didn't have it already (and not playing
the Nintendo Switch version).

We're not going to bother with Megdasse, Termina, and Thracini at this point
(all three Regions are just flight paths). 

We now have a choice: we can end the Intermission in Azhuacan or in the South-
east Boundary.

To end in Azhuacan, skip to "[Phoenix] Int.2.15 Urbs Azhuacan (Final
Objective)." If you didn't unlock Bicyniro during Part 5 (or if you started
this Intermission DURING Part 5), then that will be your only option. 

To end in the Southeast Boundary, read on.

***************************************************************
* [Phoenix] Int.2.14 Urbs Azhuacan (Possible Final Objective) *
***************************************************************

If you have no access to Bicyniro or the Southeast Boundary (because the Inter-
mission was started during Part 5 or if Bicyniro was not unlocked during Part
5) then you'll have to go to Azhuacan to end the flaming bird chase. 

If the Southeast Boundary is accessible/unlocked, then the former capital of
the old empire won't be the end of it.

In either case, the Phoenix will have something in store for us there.

From Marchiam Yaxart, go through Rowsui Tower, ignore the Marigan priest that
wants your sacred bird relic (and should get a sacred boot to the ass, but ah
well), and then from Kei, go southeast and take the ferry into Urbs Azhuacan!

*******************************************************************************
* WARNING IF YOU STARTED THIS INTERMISSION DURING PART 6A:                    *
*                                                                             *
* If you don't want the worst movement restrictions ever imposed in a SaGa    *
* game once Part 7 starts, do yourself a favor:                               *
*                                                                             *
* PUT ARTHUR IN YOUR RETINUE. NOW.                                            *
*                                                                             *
* ...and KEEP HIM THERE until this Intermission is over.                      *
*                                                                             *
* If you don't have him in your Retinue during the boss fight at the end of   *
* this section, he will he will LEAVE YOUR PARTY FOR GOOD in Part 7!          *
*                                                                             *
* Now that may not sound so bad if you don't like the guy or you haven't been *
* using him, but when he leaves your Party, you will only be allowed access   *
* to two Regions: Provincia Kei and Urbs Azhuacan!                            *
*                                                                             *
* If you want Arthur to leave your Party because you want to see an Arthur-   *
* specific Ending or the Arthur-less Endgame events, then I would consider    *
* this section of the FAQ to be your Point of No Return. Do everything you    *
* want to do now before proceeding!                                           *
*******************************************************************************

Once you're here, the Phoenix Feather shines. Before we use it, notice that we
have access to all four quadrants of Azhuacan now! 

I wouldn't bother with the Black Market right now: you still won't have the
three required weapons for recruiting Sabit unless this is a New Game+ or you
somehow got a (True) Katana at this point and the Twister from the Mare Ilfee's
Side Quests. The Endgame is close--you'll be back here in Azhuacan soon!

North Market:
This Smithy deals with Prisma Crystals, so this one can upgrade equipment that
even the Black Market can't. 

Select the Bustling Boulevard and hear the Minstrel's tale. Select it again,
and you'll run into the Arch Witch! She can train one of your party members in
a type of magic or the Staff. 

There is a way to recruit her: you have to repeat this process SEVENTEEN more
times! No, I'm not kidding! 

Unfortunately you can't just leave and re-enter the North Market 17 times. You
have to go through around 6-8 battles before you re-enter each time.

If you really want the Arch Witch on this trip, I would suggest hitting up the
Arena. 

Arena:
If you have around 350 HP or so, you'll be allowed to battle. Win three battles
and you'll be the champions! The first time you win three battles you'll 
get the Vermilion Rose. Each time afterward you'll get Dragon Scales (and many
of the best weapons and armor require these to upgrade!).

So if you want the Arch Witch, win the Battle Arena tournament twice, go back
to the North Market, have the Arch Witch train one of your mages, rinse and
repeat 17 times. Once you do that, you'll recruit one of the top two mages in
the game!

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Arch Witch|  6|  9|  8|  6| 16| 11| 4|Te|Staff/Inc|
-----------------------------------------------------

Min-maxed magician is min-maxed! This is a character that is the best at magic
and literally nothing else!!! If you did all that grinding to get the Arch-
Witch at this point, she DESERVES to be a part of your team! Since she only
starts with the spells Crimson Flare and Churning Earth, she'll still have a
long way to catch up to Ms. Thunder and Ms. Lightning.

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: If you don't want to do all that grinding now, you'll have access to  *
* Azhuacan again during the Endgame.                                          *
*******************************************************************************

After all that, let's use the Phoenix Feather and see what this bird has in
store for us. It flies in from the southeast (Testika in Gradion), circles the
Region, drops its load on Shaams Temple, and then flies away northwest toward
Kei.

So let's go there! 

IF THE SOUTHEAST BOUNDARY IS ACCESSIBLE OR UNLOCKED:
----------------------------------------------------

Hmmmm...what are those soldiers doing here?

Holy Republic Soldiers:
They saw the big fire chicken land on the temple as well, and they need all the
help they can get with the load it dropped. Might as well help out. We get a
triple encounter for our troubles--mostly Ignis Spirits and hogs. The third
encounter is a boss battle:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Imhokiel's Holimont and Ignis Spirits

...with more Ignis Spirits and hogs. 

They're tanky. They're annoying. If you're having trouble, break out the pop-
sicle(s) for this. Otherwise use Ms. Thunder and Ms. Lightning and some
Protectors to keep them alive.
=======================

After getting through that mess, the Holy Republic Soldiers think we're far too
strong to just be mere soldiers, and would like to hear our story. Eh...we're
just mere passers by. We'll leave it at that. OBJECTIVE COMPLETE!

Looks like we'll have to end this in the southeastern end of the world after
all. Skip to "[Phoenix] Int.2.15.1 Back to Bicyniro" for more bird chasing
adventure.

IF THE SOUTHEAST BOUNDARY IS NOT ACCESSIBLE OR UNLOCKED:
--------------------------------------------------------

Shaams Temple:
Arthur prays to the gods. Bal is wondering if it's the end of the world, as
this is not something Arthur would do. Arthur says that he's asking the gods
for something BECAUSE the world is ending.

...that's news to me!

Anyway, we have an encounter with an Ignis Spirit and Shaams's Holimont
(haven't seen these things in a while) to deal with. I'm hoping that's not what
you asked for, Arthur...

...after that, we find the egg! Maybe Shaams guided us to it? That thing's
enough to feed all of Castle Kohan...if we knew how to cook it...

...except Bal notices that it's starting to hatch. Arthur thinks he's
kidding...

...oh Arthur, Arthur, Arthur. You should know by now that Balmaint doesn't kid
around.

*******************************************************************************
* LAST WARNING: If this Intermission was started during Part 6A, put Arthur   *
* in your Retinue now if he's not already, unless you are going for an        *
* Arthur-specific ending and are well aware of the consequences!              *
*******************************************************************************

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Phoenix
If you've fought this bird with another Protagonist, you'll know how this
works.

For those not familiar, you can't hurt the Phoenix directly.

You have to cause ENEMY United Attacks! Instead of the United Attack actually
happening, the Phoenix absorbs the embers from the Ignis Spirits involved in
the Unite. 

Each time that happens, the Phoenix will torch your whole Retinue for a bit of
damage. It can add up over time if your HP is low. 

On the next Round the Ignis Spirits regenerate.

You're going to have to manipulate your characters' turn order to get these
United Attacks to occur. The good news is it doesn't matter how many enemies
are involved in the unite. You can involve the Phoenix itself and one Spirit:
the effect's the same. 

If you have a mage with Rain of Life, have them start it up on Round 1. That
should help immensely if their Unda level is high enough to heal at least 250
HP.

After about 4-5 unites, the Phoenix will retreat.
=======================

...and there it goes. Apparently Arthur was expecting some kind of eternal life
from all of this. Is there anything wrong with a little eternal springtime?
Dreams are fleeting by nature, says ol Bal.  

                   ****************************************
                   * [Phoenix] End of Second Intermission *
                   ****************************************
*******************************************************************************
* If you started this Intermission by detour during an earlier Part, then     *
* scroll back up to where you were, and refer to your regularly scheduled     *
* Sigfrei headhunting already in progress. If you were forced to do this      *
* because of a certain law clerk's boredom, then please skip to the Part 7    *
* section of this guide.                                                      *
*******************************************************************************

*****************************************
* [Phoenix] Int.2.15.1 Back to Bicyniro *
*****************************************

If we want to end the search for giant flaming chicken eggs in the far south-
eastern corner of the world, we will need to get back there:

From Marchiam Yaxart:
1) Go to Rowsui Tower to get back to Kei. A priest will say that Marigan should
    have the sacred bird relic. Bal and Arthur ignore him. I mean they could
    have given him a sacred foot in the ass, but I don't think that would end
    well...
2) From Kei, go east to Taiffa to get to Cindrea
3) From Cindrea, go south through either Region into Gradion
4) ...then through Fort Kathrin into Rhonicum
5) ...and finally through Nekwa into Bicyniro.

Now it's time to try sailing through the Maelstrom again:

Kumi's Ship:
This time, now that Macha has been defeated, we can make it through!

*************************************************************************
* [Phoenix] Int.2.15.2 Back to the Southeast Boundary (Final Objective) *

*************************************************************************

...and we're back! Let's explore the seas!

*******************************************************************************
* WARNING IF YOU STARTED THIS INTERMISSION DURING PART 6A:                    *
*                                                                             *
* If you don't want the worst movement restrictions ever imposed in a SaGa    *
* game once Part 7 starts, do yourself a favor:                               *
*                                                                             *
* PUT ARTHUR IN YOUR RETINUE. NOW.                                            *
*                                                                             *
* ...and KEEP HIM THERE until this Intermission is over.                      *
*                                                                             *
* If you don't have him in your Retinue during the boss fight at the end of   *
* this section, he will LEAVE YOUR PARTY FOR GOOD in Part 7!                  *
*                                                                             *
* Now that may not sound so bad if you don't like the guy or you haven't been *
* using him, but when he leaves your Party, you will only be allowed access   *
* to two Regions: Provincia Kei and Urbs Azhuacan!                            *
*                                                                             *
* If you want Arthur to leave your Party because you want to see an Arthur-   *
* specific Ending or the Arthur-less Endgame events, then I would consider    *
* this section of the FAQ to be your Point of No Return. Do everything you    *
* want to do now before proceeding!                                           *
*******************************************************************************

Phoenix Nest? (western island)
It's just a fake Phoenix Nest with a single encounter. If there's an egg,
you'll score an Elephant Bird egg after the battle.

Phoenix Nest? (southern island)
Same story here.

Blue Hole:
A double encounter with Rana Warriors, a Blackwing, and...Davy Jones?!!!!!!!!!
ROFLMAO!!!!!

...wait...that ain't no monkey! Or Monkee! Cut me some slack! I'm an old man!
Just call me oldmanb255 or oldmanbow if you want. It's the perfect excuse for
all the lame humor. :D

It's just another giant squid monster with its skull exposed. I wonder what the
Japanese version calls this thing? :D

After that, it becomes a single encounter. Davy Jones lives! Moving on.

Sea Fiend Flock (far south):
Single encounter. Next!

Sea Fiend Flock (northeast, north of the Corner Isle):
Another single encounter. Next!

Crested Ibis Shadow:
This appeared after completing the Birdman Side Quest. 

Examine this and...well that ain't no shadow! It flies northeast on top of the
Torii and...a bunch of Torii appear! Before we check it out, let's investigate
the guy standing on top of the waterfalls:

Fork Falls:
"The lord of Earth desires legs! Offer up your legs as tribute!"

...what? 

Are there any mind-altering substances up on top of those falls, and how much
of them have you consumed, kind sir?

"No? Then the Lord of Earth demands you bring some replacement legs!"

Ah...so that's what the moa/cockatrice/gazelle legs are for. Guess we'll give
the man some legs.

Giselle: "Wait! Uh..."

Yeah, the Lord of Earth doesn't appreciate those legs as much as this FAQ
writer does. 

Inspect the falls again and the man says the Lord of Earth desires more legs!

It seems like no matter how many legs you have, you still have to get at least
one more of each, so catch a moa and fight another cockatrice battle.

After doing that, go back to Fork Falls:

Fork Falls:
Give him the last of your legs and...the crazy hermit gets blown away and a
giant fiend appears! I'm glad we didn't sacrifice our Twai dancer's fabulous
legs!

Inspect again...a succubus monster asks us for our desire:

- Treasure
- A bout with you.
- Nothing.

The first two produce the same result: a fight. Choose "nothing" and she'll be
waiting there for you to come back and choose again.

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Carmilla

Succubus monster. Does Succubus stuff as always with her various Conditionals.
As always be careful about them, as it's hard to tell what she's going to
Interrupt or Counter.
=======================

You'll receive a Runic Rapier after the battle.

Oh, do we want more succubus? Arthur probably won't mind! Thanks to
/u/LanceHeart from the subreddit r/SaGa, who found another one here!

Go back to the Moa and have it use Haul Ass again. This time pick the grove
COUNTER-CLOCKWISE from the petrified gazelle. The Moa runs away, but you'll
find a small bird stuck in a trap. Choose to set it loose and it will fly
toward one of the five Enigma Jungle sections. I'm not sure if it's random or
not: /u/LanceHeart reported that it starts off east, then goes to the west
section, then north, then south, and then the center. For me, it was east,
west, south, north, and then center.

In any case, the center becomes:

Secret Flower Garden:
Succubus monster #2 asks us for our desire:

- Treasure
- A bout with you.
- Nothing.

Again, the first two produce the same result: a fight. Choose "nothing" and
she'll be waiting there for you to come back and choose again.

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Lady Moth

Yep, another succubus. Succubus gonna...suc..c..u..bus? If this were Cyberpunk
2077, sure, but this game's not M rated. Maybe Arthur knows this. Maybe he was
traumatized by a certain Donkey Kong meme, but not from Donkey Kong himself.
Who knows?

Anyway, fight it the same way you fought Carmilla.
=======================

You'll receive a pair of Glass Slippers after the battle.

Enough with NotMorrigan and NotLilith, let's move on.

All the other locations in this Region are grind spots...except for the Torii
now!

One Thousand Torii:
Avoid this for now unless you want to be transported back to Provincia Kei.
Then again, you'll get a lot of Screamroots from all of the flora and fauna
around the Great Arch there. 

If you did end up back in Kei, go ahead and pick up your Screamroots. I'll meet
you back here.

...

...I'll wait.

...

...

Happy now? Let's finish this up once and for all:

Phoenix's Nest (on the Corner Isle):
Notice no question mark in the name? Yeah, that should tell us something. First
we have to deal with the triple encounter.

...and finally...THE EGG! HOLY CRAP how are we going to get this thing out of
here?!!!

...except Bal notices that it's starting to hatch. Arthur thinks he's
kidding...

...oh Arthur, Arthur, Arthur. You should know by now that Balmaint doesn't kid
around.

*******************************************************************************
* LAST WARNING: If this Intermission was started during Part 6A, put Arthur   *
* in your Retinue now if he's not already, unless you are going for an        *
* Arthur-specific ending and are well aware of the consequences!              *
*******************************************************************************

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Phoenix

If you've fought this bird with another Protagonist, you'll know how this
works.

For those not familiar, you can't hurt the Phoenix directly.

You have to cause ENEMY United Attacks! Instead of the United Attack actually
happening, the Phoenix absorbs the embers from the Ignis Spirits involved in
the Unite. 

Each time that happens, the Phoenix will torch your whole Retinue for a bit of
damage. It can add up over time if your HP is low. 

On the next Round the Ignis Spirits regenerate.

You're going to have to manipulate your characters' turn order to get these
United Attacks to occur. The good news is it doesn't matter how many enemies
are involved in the unite. You can involve the Phoenix itself and one Spirit:
the effect's the same. 

If you have a mage with Rain of Life, have them start it up on Round 1. That
should help immensely if their Unda level is high enough to heal at least 250
HP.

After about 4-5 unites, the Phoenix will retreat.
=======================

...and there it goes. Apparently Arthur was expecting some kind of eternal life
from all of this. Is there anything wrong with a little eternal springtime?
Dreams are fleeting by nature, says ol Bal.  

                   ****************************************
                   * [Phoenix] End of Second Intermission *
                   ****************************************
*******************************************************************************
* If you started this Intermission by detour during an earlier Part, then     *
* scroll back up to where you were, and refer to your regularly scheduled     *
* Sigfrei headhunting already in progress. If you were forced to do this      *
* because of a certain law clerk's boredom, then please skip to the Part 7    *
* section of this guide.                                                      *
*******************************************************************************

************************************************************
* [Scarlet Shards] Int.2.1 Marchiam Normi (Trigger Region) *
************************************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- From Part 4 Intro onward, must be triggered here

When you enter Normi, a woman by the name of Sasha asks you to help her find
and destroy the Scarlet Shards. Unlike other Protagonists, you don't get the
option to refuse: once you enter Normi, the Intermission starts. Sasha will
put an incantation on your Pendant so it can be used to locate the Shards in
each Region.

The goal is to find all Scarlet Shards in the Regions Balmaint has access to. 
So if you start this Intermission early, you may only have to blow up three
Shards (Normi or Jusitania, Numadica, and Gradion), whereas if you start it
later, you may have to blow up six or seven! The following Regions have Scarlet
Shards hidden within them:

- Marchiam Normi (Trigger Region from Part 4 onward, mutually exclusive with
    Jusitania)
- Marchiam Bicyniro (Trigger Region from Part 6 onward, and only if it was
    unlocked during Part 5, mutually exclusive with Normi and Jusitania if used
    as a Trigger Region, but still accessible if you don't)
- Northeast Boundary (Available during Part 6A only)
- Marchiam Megdasse (Available only if [Earth Serpent] was completed during
    first Intermission and triggered from Megdasse)
- Provincia Cerenaif (Available from Part 6 onward, and only if it was unlocked
    during Part 5)
- Provincia Gradion (Available during Part 3 only if Gradion is visited before
    starting the Intermission in Normi, otherwise from Part 4 onward)
- Marchiam Numadica (Available from Part 4 onward)

NOTE: Provincia Hibernia has no Scarlet Shard in Balmaint's Story.

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: There IS a way to complete the whole [Scarlet Shards] Common Quest    *
* without destroying a single Shard!                                          *
*                                                                             *
* 1) Go to every one of the Regions listed above that you have access to.     *
*     This will trigger dialog between Bal/Arthur and Sasha regarding that    *
*     Region's Shard.                                                         *
*                                                                             *
* 2) After leaving the last Shard Region that you have access to (again, can  *
*     be as few as four or as many as seven depending on which Regions you've *
*     unlocked up to this point), Sasha will ask you if you want to give up   *
*     on finding the Scarlet Shards.                                          *
*                                                                             *
* 3) After doing your best Steve Harvey impression (since...ya know...Sasha   *
*     is obsessed with destroying these things, and now she's asking you if   *
*     you want to call it quits), select "I'm calling it quits." This will    *
*     IMMEDIATELY end the search and will skip you to "[Scarlet Shards]       *
*     Int.2.9 After Blowing Up The Last Shard..."                             *
*                                                                             *
* I don't recommend doing this unless you're either speedrunning the game or  *
* you render the Shard in Bicyniro inaccessible by running out of Rumors. In  *
* the latter case, you can still destroy the Shards in the other Regions and  *
* recruit [Scarlet Shards]-specific characters before telling Sasha that you  *
* want to punk out.                                                           *
*******************************************************************************

*******************************************************************************
* WARNING IF YOU STARTED THIS INTERMISSION DURING PART 6A:                    *
*                                                                             *
* If you don't want the worst movement restrictions ever imposed in a SaGa    *
* game once Part 7 starts, do yourself a favor:                               *
*                                                                             *
* PUT ARTHUR IN YOUR RETINUE. NOW.                                            *
*                                                                             *
* ...and KEEP HIM THERE until this Intermission is over.                      *
*                                                                             *
* If you don't have him in your Retinue during the boss fight that occurs     *
* after blowing up the last Shard or choosing to give up on finding them,     *
* he will LEAVE YOUR PARTY FOR GOOD in Part 7!                                *
*                                                                             *
* Now that may not sound so bad if you don't like the guy or you haven't been *
* using him, but when he leaves your Party, you will only be allowed access   *
* to two Regions: Provincia Kei and Urbs Azhuacan!                            *
*                                                                             *
* If you want Arthur to leave your Party because you want to see an Arthur-   *
* specific Ending or the Arthur-less Endgame events, then I would consider    *
* a "soft" Point of No Return to be after destroying two Shards.              *
*******************************************************************************

Anyway, finding the Shard here is pretty easy. Use the Pendant and you'll find
that it has landed on the far west end of the Region. 

Before you go get the Shard, investigate the building in the middle of the map:

Tidemarch:
Hmmm...pretty cool! How do you get there? Hmmm...

Heading west, you'll see...

Monument:
A stone monument to honor the Warriors Three, who fought valiantly to protect
these lands. It's not relevant to the Shard, but IS part of the Unda Elemental
Weapon Side Quest.

You can stop in Westdorf if you want. Town stuff.  

When you're ready, head to where the shooting star landed:

Castle Kubera:
Win the double encounter here...derp, Shard's not here. 

Westdorf:
The lady here says that the Shard was stolen by a common thief. Leave Westdorf
and you'll see the fate of our common thief...

Frozen Person:
Save here first. There will be a long series of encounters here while you're
trying to wrestle the Shard from the frozen person's grasp.

Now that we have the Shard, let's blow it up! 

...

...but Balmaint says we need permission from the townspeople. 

Fine.

Westdorf:
They don't mind if we "hold onto it." That was easy.

Do your thing, Sasha...except...we get a visit from a lady that looks like the
Imperial Librarian from the Maurehua Collector Hut. She tells us that we should
visit the Tidemarch if we want to know the Shard's power. 

Sasha just wants to destroy the damn thing already. 

If you have her destroy it, OBJECTIVE COMPLETE. So how does she destroy it...

...

...um...what is this i don't even. Anyway...

If you DO go to the Tidemarch:

Tidemarch:
The Shard glows and a passageway directly to the building is unveiled. Oh,
and we have a double encounter on the way there.

After that, we climb some stairs! As expected, Arthur's not exactly thrilled
with that idea...

During that time, we fight another double encounter, piss off Sasha (as if
that's not her usual mood), and then a boss fight:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Divinity, Mossbug, and two Harpiyas

Metal chicken, roly poly, and two succubi. You should know what to do here.
=======================

After the battle, a bright light shoots out of the tower and into the sky,
making an aurora! At this time of year, at this time of day, in this part of
the Region, originating entirely from this tower? Yep. Can we see it? Marion,
Clover, and Patricia say yes.

NOW we can have Sasha destroy the Shard! OBJECTIVE..COMPLETE...via...
bizarre...transformation...

...OK...let's pick up the debris (sparkles) that fell from the aurora--should
be some nice crafting materials!

If you want to do the Unda Elemental Side Quest while you're here, you can:

You see those two monsters at the south-southeast part of the Region: fight
them. A lot. Each time you do, an ice floe appears in the northwest part of the
Region. Between battles, walk the perimeter of the coast--a bottle will appear.
Inspect the bottle and you'll find...honey. 

Once you have enough ice floes, go to the northwest and walk the resulting ice
floe path. If you run into a polar bear, give it the honey to get it out of the
way. You'll also encounter a Frozen Person. Inspect the Frozen Person and win
the resulting battle. After that, a Ghost Ship will appear. Inspect the Ghost
Ship and fight that battle. After winning, a bottle should wash up shore. Open
the bottle and three caves will appear. 

You can repeat the whole process again twice (fight south-southeast enemies,
get more honey, get more ice floes to appear, find another Frozen Person, get
another Ghost Ship to appear, get another map in bottle) to get two more caves
to appear, which simply lead to optional battles that have nothing to do with
the Unda Weapon. 

Fight the battles in the three blue caves: one of those being a boss fight:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Five Astral Guardians

Their spells are annoying. You would think The Tower with its four Round chant
time wouldn't be much of a threat, but the other Guardians like to use some-
thing called Elemental Salvo, which reduces the chant time of its target by 1!
All of a sudden, when you think you can relax, you'll find some Tower coming
down one or two Rounds early and your Retinue gets wiped!

If you have Kreisa and Elysed, bring both of them along and start up Call
Lightning to give them a taste of their own medicine! You might also want to
bring Robert along and have him use Tumble in case the enemy spell countdowns
get too close for comfort.

If you have the Short Sword technique Golden Note on Patricia and/or Giselle,
bring them along! If you can't jam them, at least you can try Distracting them
by increasing their spell countdown by 1! 

In fact, a team of Robert, Patricia, Giselle, Kreisa, and Elysed should work
wonders here!
=======================

After winning the battles in all four blue caves, approach the tombstone--
you'll now see three snowmen! Talk to each one of them, and the telltale large
sword symbol appears where the tombstone once was. Inspect it and you'll
receive one of the five Elemental Weapons! (this one being Unda)

Just like the Terra weapon from Numadica and the Natura one from Hibernia, the
weapon you get here typically depends on the highest weapon level among all the
characters in your party. The weapon can be of any type except for Staff.
However, it's NOT going to be the same weapon type as the one you got for Terra
or Natura (or any other previous Elemental Weapon Quest in the same Play-
through), so if, for example, you got an Axe from the Terra Elemental Quest and
a Short Sword from the Natura Elemental Quest, and the highest weapon level is
still either Axe or Short Sword, it will revert to the third highest weapon
level among all the characters in your party. Any ties are broken at random. 

There are very few places that can actually upgrade an Elemental Weapon.
Typically you can do so at a Smithy that handles Prisma Crystals (like Stahl
back in Yaxart!). These are some of the best weapons in the game (there are
weapons that surpass these and allow you to learn a unique technique, but they
require items that are hard to get until late in a Playthrough or a New Game+).

Now there's one more thing you can do here. Go to Ostdorf:

Ostdorf:
Converse here and you can recruit Kenji!

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Kenji     |  9| 13|  5| 11| 10| 10|10|Ae|S. Sword |
-----------------------------------------------------

Another thicc Normi man. He's the DEX to Strumiknen's STR! He would be a direct
upgrade from Patricia or Giselle if it weren't for his horrible MOB! He's just
as slow as Strumiknen, so he's probably not going to land stuff like Mesmerize
or Golden Note when you need it most. Fortunately Interrupts like Lightspeed
and Matador don't care about your turn order, and Eulogy almost always goes
last anyway. 

After you recruit T H I C C  G O O F Y, skip past the next section since
triggering her in Normi means you can't go to Jusitania anyway. Continue from
"[Scarlet Shards] Int.2.3 Marchiam Bicyniro (Trigger Region)" or whichever
section that has a Shard you want to go after next. Just remember that if more
than four Shard Regions are accessible you'll only be able to blow up four
Shards, so keep that in mind when planning on which characters you want to
recruit during this Intermission.

*****************************************************************
* [Scarlet Shards] Int.2.2 Provincia Jusitania (Trigger Region) *
*****************************************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- Part 5 onward ONLY if first Intermission was [Phoenix]
- Must be triggered here to be accessible during Intermission
- Cannot access Normi until Part 7 if triggered here

*MAP*

When you enter Jusitania, a woman by the name of Sasha asks you to help her
find and destroy the Scarlet Shards. Unlike other Protagonists, you don't get
the option to refuse: once you enter Jusitania, the Intermission starts. Sasha
will put an incantation on your Pendant so it can be used to locate the Shards
in each Region.

The goal is to find all Scarlet Shards in the Regions Balmaint has access to. 
So if you start this Intermission early, you may only have to blow up three
Shards (Normi or Jusitania, Numadica, and Gradion), whereas if you start it
later, you may have to blow up six or seven! The following Regions have Scarlet
Shards hidden within them:

- Provincia Jusitania (Trigger Region only during Part 4A normally. Can be
    used as a Trigger Region later only if first Intermission [Phoenix] is
    complete, mutually exclusive with Normi)
- Marchiam Bicyniro (Trigger Region from Part 6 onward, and only if it was
    unlocked during Part 5, mutually exclusive with Normi and Jusitania if used
    as a Trigger Region, but still accessible if you don't)
- Northeast Boundary (Available during Part 6A only)
- Marchiam Megdasse (Available only if [Earth Serpent] was completed during
    first Intermission and triggered from Megdasse)
- Provincia Cerenaif (Available from Part 6 onward, and only if it was unlocked
    during Part 5)
- Provincia Gradion (Available during Part 3 only if Gradion is visited before
    starting the Intermission in Normi, otherwise from Part 4 onward)
- Marchiam Numadica (Available from Part 4 onward)

NOTE: Provincia Hibernia has no Scarlet Shard in Balmaint's Story.

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: There IS a way to complete the whole [Scarlet Shards] Common Quest    *
* without destroying a single Shard!                                          *
*                                                                             *
* 1) Go to every one of the Regions listed above that you have access to.     *
*     This will trigger dialog between Bal/Arthur and Sasha regarding that    *
*     Region's Shard.                                                         *
*                                                                             *
* 2) After leaving the last Shard Region that you have access to (again, can  *
*     be as few as four or as many as seven depending on which Regions you've *
*     unlocked up to this point), Sasha will ask you if you want to give up   *
*     on finding the Scarlet Shards.                                          *
*                                                                             *
* 3) After doing your best Steve Harvey impression (since...ya know...Sasha   *
*     is obsessed with destroying these things, and now she's asking you if   *
*     you want to call it quits), select "I'm calling it quits." This will    *
*     IMMEDIATELY end the search and will skip you to "[Scarlet Shards]       *
*     Int.2.9 After Blowing Up The Last Shard..."                             *
*                                                                             *
* I don't recommend doing this unless you're either speedrunning the game or  *
* you render the Shard in Bicyniro inaccessible by running out of Rumors. In  *
* the latter case, you can still destroy the Shards in the other Regions and  *
* recruit [Scarlet Shards]-specific characters before telling Sasha that you  *
* want to punk out.                                                           *
*******************************************************************************

*******************************************************************************
* WARNING IF YOU STARTED THIS INTERMISSION DURING PART 6A:                    *
*                                                                             *
* If you don't want the worst movement restrictions ever imposed in a SaGa    *
* game once Part 7 starts, do yourself a favor:                               *
*                                                                             *
* PUT ARTHUR IN YOUR RETINUE. NOW.                                            *
*                                                                             *
* ...and KEEP HIM THERE until this Intermission is over.                      *
*                                                                             *
* If you don't have him in your Retinue during the boss fight that occurs     *
* after blowing up the last Shard or choosing to give up on finding them,     *
* he will LEAVE YOUR PARTY FOR GOOD in Part 7!                                *
*                                                                             *
* Now that may not sound so bad if you don't like the guy or you haven't been *
* using him, but when he leaves your Party, you will only be allowed access   *
* to two Regions: Provincia Kei and Urbs Azhuacan!                            *
*                                                                             *
* If you want Arthur to leave your Party because you want to see an Arthur-   *
* specific Ending or the Arthur-less Endgame events, then I would consider    *
* a "soft" Point of No Return to be after destroying two Shards.              *
*******************************************************************************

So let's use the Pendant and see what it does (Menu -> Belongings -> Pendant):

WTF? Shooting star? It lands on Donseilla Mine. Let's go check it out!

...but we're either going to have to go through Carl Falls first or find
another way around. Since this is the ONLY time you can do any kind of [Scarlet
Shards] event in Jusitania with Balmaint, let's be nosy and check out the other
places starting with the northwestern side of the Region:

Nanim:
"Oh please forgive us lowly people!" 

Hmmm...what are they afraid of? They don't know anything about the Scarlet
Shard either. Moving on. 

Grumon Queendom:
"Who are you people?"

"Just simple travelers," says Balmaint. 

Although she's a little suspicious of us, she says she's busy right now
(although she'll still operate the Town Stuff for us).

Lupagal Cave:
Just a grind spot at this point.

West Jungle:
"Welcome to the jungle. This place is wild." 

Yes, Bal really says that. :D

Win the encounter here and bees will start flying from here. This will make
traveling in this region easier (you'll see why in a bit).

Seaside Shop:
Can't do anything here yet.

Misery:
Hop in here...well this is surprising. 99.9999999% of the time this town gets
invaded by something, be it pirates, ghosts, and other things!

Not this time!

Bal asks the guy if he knows anything about the Scarlet Shard. Nope, not a
thing, says the mope. 

Buy stuff, upgrade weapons, listen to the Minstrel, send someone on a Mission,
and finish your business here.

Enigmatic Skeleton:
If you listened to the Minstrel's Tale, he said something about a serpent. 
Could this be its remains? Hard to say, but you get a single encounter with
some Goldwings for your trouble.

Spira Tower:
"Hmmm...the Order of Spira doesn't seem interested in the Scarlet Shards." 

...or so it seems. Moving on for now.

Deserted Village:
Inspect here and Arthur talks about the history of aristocrats building resorts
in Jusitania. He thinks there might be treasure here. Bal tells him to get
digging, then. :D

Suddenly a doggo appears there. Inspect again and doggo likes Arthur. Arthur
doesn't like doggo. Reminds me of some meme about knowing who's a good person
by whether or not they're a dog person. Apparently that meme is truth.

Arthur bought some pastries to give to a cute girl, but he loathes having to
give them to a "mangy cur." Yeah, we know Arthur. Woe is you. Maybe we need to
stop in Elhuacan when we get to Thracini so we can get the smallest violin they
have.

Collector Nest:
Functions exactly the same as the one in Maurehua. If you gave the librarian in
Maurehua the Ionium and the Cindrean Firefly, this one will ask for Starsand. 
Fortunately, it's very easy to find on a beach somewhere. ;)

Grab the sparklies next to Misery an bring them back to the Collector's Nest. 
You just finished the first part of the Collectors Nest Side Quest and you get
a Samurai Sword for your troubles!

Go back into the Nest, and she'll ask for Erakleos Moss and Ethereal Water--
both located in Regions that you have unlocked already. We'll get those later.
Right now, we have a Shard to acquire!  

Astel Convent:
Greetings. The Astel Convent welcomes you! She knows some of the history of
the Scarlet Shards, but not much else for now. 

Tveak Tower:
Can't do anything here, as it violates Rule #1 of the Executioner Railroad:
"Go to your objective. Go directly to your objective. Do not pass Go. Do not
collect 200 Aes Crystals."

Carl Falls:
OK, Carl. Here we come. Defeat the single encounter to get to the other side.

On the other side of Carl Falls, we have...

Man Swinging Pickaxe:
Inspect and...just some guy digging for treasure. What else does it look like?

Inspect again, and you get to fight a single encounter while pickaxe guy picks.

East Jungle:
Win the battle and the bees will fly back and forth between here and the West
Jungle. Later on you can get some honey from either jungle to help with a Side
Quest.

To Marchiam Bicyniro:
Nope, violates Rule #1 of the Executioner Railroad again...

After we've goofed off as much as we can, let's go to our real destination...

Donseilla Mine:
Inspect, and we're told that we're intrudin' on Grumon Queendom territory! She
looks familiar...

Bal tells her to step aside, as we have bidness in the mine.

She asks us if we want to combine forces and take them on. If you say yes, we
get Yet Another Lumberjack in the Party!

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Ogniana   |  9| 12| 12|  8|  5| 13| 4|Te|Axe      |
-----------------------------------------------------

This lumberjack's more Dex-heavy than your others, and that's a good thing! One
of the most annoying things about Axes is that, while they hit pretty hard,
they have a tendency to miss, and having high Dexterity decreases the chances
of missing! 

Honestly, that high DEX and high ACU lends better to other weapons like Bows, 
Short Swords, and Spears. So if you don't want Yet Another Lumberjack, switch
her to one of those! She may even overtake Colleen as your main Bow user since
Shadow Weave will land a helluva lot more often! Then again, her INT is poo,
and some Bow techniques depend on that...

You could even make her a Martial Artist and have her Tumble, but the Strength
is a bit low for other Martial Arts techniques.

One more thing: you may want to turn off Ogniana's Unique Role for now
(Oppressor: Physical-attack damage up (L)/Chance to be blocked/evaded up (M))
so you don't end up whiffing more than necessary. 

Anyway, boss fight time:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Gaia Drake

This guy likes to put people to sleep with Sweet Breath and knock around the
whole Retinue with Shockwave. Shut him up by using the usual jamming tactics
(Stun, Paralyze, Sleep) and throw some Poison on him for his troubles. 
=======================

...and then three more fights in this three-part battle: Fomoire Guards for
Part 2, then another boss fight:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Nun of Astel

The Nun has a Short Sword and the Overgrowth is nothing to fear. 
=======================

...and another:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Spira Knights

All three have Long Swords and are a bit tanky. Otherwise no big deal.
=======================

After that, the Order of Spira ganks the Shard and you now have to go to Spira
Tower. Hold that thought for now. 

If you refused Ogniana's offer, you'll get another set of choices:
- Take out the bandits.
- Let's wait this one out.

Choosing to wait it out is basically the "Undo" button here. Inspect Donseilla
Mine again, and Ogniana will offer to join forces once again. Choose yes, she
joins you, and you fight the Gaia Drake. Pass and you'll get the second set of
choices again.  

Choose to take out the bandits, and you get a different boss fight:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Ogniana

Fighting her is like fighting a MUCH faster Strumiknen. Expect the same Axe
techniques here. You could stuff some of it back in her face if you have Leo
in your Retinue and the Shadow Reversal Great Sword technique (Interrupts
Slashing techs, stuffs back in face with a chance to Stun). 

The other danger in this fight are the giant hammer-wielding Grumon Soldiers.
Their Conditionals (????) are annoying as you don't know what they're about to
Interrupt! They could interrupt Blunt (Seismic Strike), Piercing (Gale Strike),
or Slashing (Maniac Blossom)! They could just as well be Covering someone with
Block.

You could just bring Kreisa AND Elysed in this battle and show them what you
think of their Conditionals with Call Lightning. :D
=======================

...and THEN you get the aforementioned Gaia Drake as first part of a four-part
battle, the Fomoire Guards for Part 2, the Nun of Astel/Overgrowth for Part 3,
and the Spira Knights for Part 4.

As you approach the Tower, the decoration at the top starts to rotate.

Spira Tower:
Double encounter, second of those being another boss fight with the same Spira
Knights as before.

After the battle, the Order of Spira disappears. Yeah, "disappear". Just like
that. Sasha says they were annihilated, but that's none of our concern. Again,
she has a one-track mind. Grab shard, asplode.

Underneath the Shard lies the Eye of Balor. Sasha says we should leave it
alone. How Bal and Arthur feel about this is :UNDER CONSTRUCTION: 

Asplode Shard, OBJECTIVE COMPLETE! However...if you want to go back in the
Tower--the hell with what Sasha thinks:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Balor Demon

If this game had a more diverse bestiary, the developers could put a more
threatening fight here. Since it doesn't, you've likely deal with giant demon
monster with Harvest Vitality and the two zombie monsters with zombie attacks.

The only caveat to this battle is that it ends after about 4-5 Rounds and you
don't get a chance to retry if the fight drags on too long. So kill em fast!
=======================

So what do you get out of this battle, aside from the Diamond Necklace drop?
Nothing of meaning. Story-wise, you get the Eye of Balor, but it doesn't do
anything. You get an Uzume Troupe act in Misery related to it, but that's it.
I guess SaGa developers gotta do what they gotta do with a limited budget. Ask
anyone that's played SaGa Frontier (Fuse's Story cut) or Romancing SaGa 3
(no time to develop Tatyana).

If you decided not to join forces with Ogniana, you can go back to the Grumon
Queendom and she'll want to fight you one more time, but she won't join you
afterwards. 

If you go back to Astel's Covenant, have the nun talk to you about grapes and
stuff, re-enter the Covenant, and answer "Sure," you can show your love for
Astel by beating the crap out of her Holimont (seems to be a pattern with some
of these Celestials):

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Astel Holimont and friends

The Holimont won't do much during the first Round or two. Once it has enough BP
it will use an attack called Harvest Vitality, which can do any or all of the
following:

- HP damage
- instant death
- direct LP damage!!!

Overall it's not a super difficult battle. It is immune to Paralyze, but it's
not immune to Stun. Take out the other enemies and if they happen to be sand-
wiched between two of your characters, this will trigger a United Attack
(everyone on either end of the "sandwich" attacks one enemy at the same time
and on the next Round gets a BP discount for techniques and incantations).
=======================

After the battle, you will have the option to recruit Mirane. Re-enter the
Astel Covenant and accept the offer.

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Mirane    |  8| 11|  7|  9| 12| 12| 4|Te|Staff/Inc|
-----------------------------------------------------

Mirane starts with Earth Heal and Rain of Life, so she won't be contributing
any real offense to your team for now. Given that you have Kreisa AND Elysed in
your Party, you may not want to spend much time training Mirane...

When finished, Continue from "[Scarlet Shards] Int.2.3 Marchiam Bicyniro
(Trigger Region)" or whichever section that has a Shard you want to go after
next. Just remember that if more than four Shard Regions are accessible you'll
only be able to blow up four Shards, so keep that in mind when planning on
which characters you want to recruit during this Intermission.

***************************************************************
* [Scarlet Shards] Int.2.3 Marchiam Bicyniro (Trigger Region) *
***************************************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- From Part 6 onward, and only if Region was unlocked during Part 5
- If triggered here, cannot access Normi or Jusitania until Part 7

If Intermission was NOT triggered here (aka: you triggered from Normi or
Jusitania--very likely Normi) you can skip to the subsection "CUTTING TO THE
CHASE".

IF INTERMISSION IS TRIGGERED HERE:
----------------------------------
When you enter Bicyniro, a woman by the name of Sasha asks you to help her
find and destroy the Scarlet Shards. Unlike other Protagonists, you don't get
the option to refuse: once you enter Bicyniro, the Intermission starts. Sasha
will put an incantation on your Pendant so it can be used to locate the Shards
in each Region.

The goal is to find all Scarlet Shards in the Regions Balmaint has access to. 
So if you start this Intermission early, you may only have to blow up three
Shards (Normi or Jusitania, Numadica, and Gradion), whereas if you start it
later, you may have to blow up six or seven! The following Regions have Scarlet
Shards hidden within them:

- Marchiam Bicyniro (Trigger Region from Part 6 onward, and only if it was
    unlocked during Part 5, mutually exclusive with Normi and Jusitania)
- Northeast Boundary (Available during Part 6A only)
- Marchiam Megdasse (Available only if [Earth Serpent] was completed during
    first Intermission and triggered from Megdasse)
- Provincia Cerenaif (Available from Part 6 onward, and only if it was unlocked
    during Part 5)
- Provincia Gradion (Available during Part 3 only if Gradion is visited before
    starting the Intermission in Normi, otherwise from Part 4 onward)
- Marchiam Numadica (Available from Part 4 onward)

NOTE: Provincia Hibernia has no Scarlet Shard in Balmaint's Story.

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: There IS a way to complete the whole [Scarlet Shards] Common Quest    *
* without destroying a single Shard!                                          *
*                                                                             *
* 1) Go to every one of the Regions listed above that you have access to.     *
*     This will trigger dialog between Bal/Arthur and Sasha regarding that    *
*     Region's Shard.                                                         *
*                                                                             *
* 2) After leaving the last Shard Region that you have access to (again, can  *
*     be as few as four or as many as seven depending on which Regions you've *
*     unlocked up to this point), Sasha will ask you if you want to give up   *
*     on finding the Scarlet Shards.                                          *
*                                                                             *
* 3) After doing your best Steve Harvey impression (since...ya know...Sasha   *
*     is obsessed with destroying these things, and now she's asking you if   *
*     you want to call it quits), select "I'm calling it quits." This will    *
*     IMMEDIATELY end the search and will skip you to "[Scarlet Shards]       *
*     Int.2.9 After Blowing Up The Last Shard..."                             *
*                                                                             *
* I don't recommend doing this unless you're either speedrunning the game or  *
* you render the Shard in Bicyniro inaccessible by running out of Rumors. In  *
* the latter case, you can still destroy the Shards in the other Regions and  *
* recruit [Scarlet Shards]-specific characters before telling Sasha that you  *
* want to punk out.                                                           *
*******************************************************************************

*******************************************************************************
* WARNING IF YOU STARTED THIS INTERMISSION DURING PART 6A:                    *
*                                                                             *
* If you don't want the worst movement restrictions ever imposed in a SaGa    *
* game once Part 7 starts, do yourself a favor:                               *
*                                                                             *
* PUT ARTHUR IN YOUR RETINUE. NOW.                                            *
*                                                                             *
* ...and KEEP HIM THERE until this Intermission is over.                      *
*                                                                             *
* If you don't have him in your Retinue during the boss fight that occurs     *
* after blowing up the last Shard or choosing to give up on finding them,     *
* he will LEAVE YOUR PARTY FOR GOOD in Part 7!                                *
*                                                                             *
* Now that may not sound so bad if you don't like the guy or you haven't been *
* using him, but when he leaves your Party, you will only be allowed access   *
* to two Regions: Provincia Kei and Urbs Azhuacan!                            *
*                                                                             *
* If you want Arthur to leave your Party because you want to see an Arthur-   *
* specific Ending or the Arthur-less Endgame events, then I would consider    *
* a "soft" Point of No Return to be after destroying two Shards.              *
*******************************************************************************

CUTTING TO THE CHASE:
---------------------

Go ahead and use the Pendant and see where the shooting star lands this time.

...um...here...and there...and there...they're everywhere!

Well...yes and no. All of those spots are places you can find the Shard depend-
ing on which Method you use to find it.

Before we do that, let's finish the steps for recruiting Aslana Melek!

If you unlocked Aslana's Studio when you completed Part 5 go back to her Studio
for Aslana Event 2 and have her join!

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Aslana                                       
|      Melek|  9| 13| 15|  8| 13|  5| 4|Na|M. Arts  |
-----------------------------------------------------

For all the trouble it takes to recruit her, she could be better. Yes, her
Mobility is awesome (higher than Orville!), but her overall stat distribution
doesn't scream "Martial Artist" to me. Her Dexterity is fine for this, but for
such a perfectionist her Acuity is HORRIBLE! If DEX is good enough for Tumble,
then she'll do just fine, but if ACU is needed as well, then forget it.

Either way, I'd have her spell Robert as 1A to his 1B at least.

Anyway, back to the Shard: there are four Methods for finding it:

Method A: Caprese Rumors
------------------------

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: If you started this Rumor Chain during Part 5, then this Method will  *
* not be available. If you did everything right to recruit Aslana Melek, then *
* this method DEFINITELY won't be available! Skip to either Method B or C,    *
* depending on whether or not you started those Rumor Chains during Part 5.   *
*******************************************************************************

Follow the flowcharts below to reach the "OBJECTIVE COMPLETE":

Caprese Rumor Flowcharts - Intermission 2 [Scarlet Shards]
----------------------------------------------------------

Start by going to Caprese and select "Converse".

+---------+
| START   |   +----------------+     +-------------+      +---------+
| CAPRESE >---> Believe X to   |  +--> Investigate |  +---> Go      |
| RUMOR 1 |   | the northeast? |  |  | statue?     |  |   | inside? |
+---------+   N----------------Y--+  N-------------Y--+   N---------Y
              |                      |                    |         |
          +---v----------+     +-----v------+     +-------v----+  +-v-------+
          | X disappears |     | Statue     |     | Hut        |  | Aslana  |
          +--------v-----+     | disappears |     | disappears |  | Event 1 |
                   |           +-----v------+     +-------v----+  +-v-------+
                   |                 |                    |         |          
                   v                 v                    |       +-v-------+
                   |                 |                    +->-->--> END     |
                   |                 +->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->--> CAPRESE |
                   +->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->--> RUMOR 1 |
                                                                  +---------+

When you reach "END CAPRESE RUMOR 1," go back to Caprese and select "Converse"
to start Rumor 2.

+---------+
| START   |   +--------------+     +------+   +--------------+
| CAPRESE >---> Believe X at |  +--> Exit >---> Believe X at |
| RUMOR 2 |   | Anchiano?    |  |  | Town |   | Anchiano?    |
+---------+   N--------------Y--+  +------+   N--------------Y
              |                               |              |            
              |                               |              |           
       +------v-------+               +-------v------+ +-----v-----------+
       | X disappears |               | X disappears | | Fight Attackers |
       +------v-------+               +-------v------+ +-----v-----------+
              |                               |              |
       +------v-------+              +--------v------+   +---v--------+
       | END CAPRESE  |              | Believe Giant |   | Anchiano   | 
       | RUMOR CHAIN  |              | X of Doom?    |   | Destroyed! |
       +--------------+      +--<--<-N---------------Y   +------v-----+
                             |                       |          |
                             |               +-<--<--+          v
                             v               |                  |
                             |        +------v------+  +--------v---------+
                             |        | Triple BOSS |  | Believe Giant X  |
                             v        | Fight!!     |  | of Doom?         |
                             |        +-----------v-+  Y------------------N
                             |                    |    |                  |
        +-----------+        v                  +-v----v----+             |
        | OBJECTIVE |        |                  | OBJECTIVE |             v
        | FAILED!!! <--<--<--+                  | COMPLETE! |             |
        +-----^-----+                           +-----------+             v
              |                                                           |
              +--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--+

If you reached the OBJECTIVE COMPLETE, then you've obtained the Scarlet Shard
and you are done.

If you reach OBJECTIVE FAILED, then you will likely have to give up on finding
the Scarlet Shards at some point (you can still destroy the Shards in the other
Regions before you tell Sasha that you're calling it quits).

If you reached END CAPRESE RUMOR CHAIN, then you will have to go through either
the Pescara or Anchiano chains to find the Shard. If you're out of Rumors, 
you'll get the Giant X of Doom. Trust it and you'll find the Shard and
OBJECTIVE COMPLETE. If you don't, then it's OBJECTIVE FAILED.

Caprese Rumor Descriptions - Intermission 2 [Scarlet Shards]
------------------------------------------------------------

Caprese Rumor 1:
"I heard a rumor that if you find a red stone deep in the forest, you'll be
turned to stone!"

Leave Caprese and investigate the X northeast of it. 

Don't believe rumor: The X disappears. Skip to Caprese Rumor 2. FAILURE
    CONDITION for recruiting Aslana Melek. Don't do this.

Believe rumor: The X turns into a statue.
    "Nay, it's much too dangerous.": Protest from Sasha occurs, further 
        Balmaint dialog :UNDER CONSTRUCTION:. Statue disappears. Skip to
        Caprese Rumor 2. 

    "We will do it regardless.": Statue disappears, Hut appears, go to hut:
        "Let's just forget all of this": Hut disappears. Skip to Caprese Rumor
            2.
        "We should go inside": Ze madness with ze sculptor. It doesn't really
            matter since you can't visit her again to recruit her at this
            point. 
                        
        Heading back to Caprese...
        
Caprese Rumor 2:
"Oh ho! I hear there's a man using a red stone to summon fiends near Anchiano."

Leave Caprese and investigate the X where Anchiano is located.

Don't believe rumor: The X disappears, and you'll enter Anchiano like normal.
    End of [Scarlet Shards] Caprese Rumor Chain.

Believe rumor: Man in Anchiano tells everyone that fiends are coming for the
    red stone and to run! You exit the town and the X is still there.
    
    "Believe": You fight the fiends.
            
        BOSS FIGHT :UNDER CONSTRUCTION:

        After the battle, Anchiano gets destroyed! Giant X appears in the
        middle of the Region.

        Trust: You Got: A Shard. Blow er up, Sasha! OBJECTIVE COMPLETE!

        Don't believe: OBJECTIVE FAILED. NO SHARD 4 U. Move on to another
            Region. You may have to choose to give up on finding the Scarlet
            Shards at some point in order to end the Intermission.

    "Don't Believe": The X disappears and you'll get a giant X in the middle of
            the Region.

        Trust: Triple encounter with every boss with the Shard as the reward.
                
        Don't believe: OBJECTIVE FAILED. NO SHARD 4 U. Move on to another
            Region. You may have to choose to give up on finding the Scarlet
            Shards at some point in order to end the Intermission.

Method B: Anchiano Rumors
-------------------------

Follow the flowcharts below to get to "OBJECTIVE COMPLETE." As you can see,
there's more than one way to get there.

Anchiano Rumor Flowcharts - Intermission 2 [Scarlet Shards]
-----------------------------------------------------------

Start by going to Anchiano and select "Converse".

+----------+                         +-------------+             
| START    |   +---------------+     | TATZELWURM! |           +-----------+
| ANCHIANO >---> Believe X at  |  +--> A) Capture  A-->-->-->--> OBJECTIVE |
| RUMOR 1  |   | Noono Forest? |  |  | B) Kill     |           | COMPLETE! |
+----------+   N---------------Y--+  | C) Leave be |           +-----^-----+
               |                     C-------------B                 |
               |                     |             |                 |
           +---v----------+   +------v-----+  +----v--------+        ^
           | X disappears |   | Tatzelwurm |  | BOSS FIGHT: |        |
           +--------v-----+   | Disappears |  | Tatzelwurm  >-->-->--+
                    |         +------v-----+  | (for shame) |
                    |                |        +-------------+
                    v                |                             +----------+
                    |                +-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->--> END      |
                    +->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->--> ANCHIANO |
                                                                   | RUMOR 1  |
                                                                   +----------+

If you reached the OBJECTIVE COMPLETE, then you've obtained the Scarlet Shard
and you are done. 

If you reach "END ANCHIANO RUMOR 1," go back to Anchiano and select "Converse"
to start Rumor 2.

+----------+
| START    |   +--------------+     +------+   +--------------+
| ANCHIANO >---> Believe X at |  +--> Exit >---> Believe X at |
| RUMOR 2  |   | Pescara?     |  |  | Town |   | Pescara?     |
+----------+   N--------------Y--+  +------+   N--------------Y
               |                               |              |            
               |                               |              |           
        +------v-------+               +-------v------+ +-----v-----------+
        | X disappears |               | X disappears | | Fight Attackers |
        +------v-------+               +-------v------+ +-----v-----------+
               |                               |              |
        +------v-------+              +--------v------+   +---v--------+
        | END ANCHIANO |              | Believe Giant |   | Pescara    | 
        | RUMOR CHAIN  |              | X of Doom?    |   | Destroyed! |
        +--------------+      +--<--<-N---------------Y   +------v-----+
                              |                       |          |
                              |               +-<--<--+          v
                              v               |                  |
                              |        +------v------+  +--------v---------+
                              |        | Triple BOSS |  | Believe Giant X  |
                              v        | Fight!!     |  | of Doom?         |
                              |        +-----------v-+  Y------------------N
                              |                    |    |                  |
         +-----------+        v                  +-v----v----+             |
         | OBJECTIVE |        |                  | OBJECTIVE |             v
         | FAILED!!! <--<--<--+                  | COMPLETE! |             |
         +-----^-----+                           +-----------+             v
               |                                                           |
               +--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--+

If you reached the OBJECTIVE COMPLETE, then you've obtained the Scarlet Shard
and you are done.

If you reach OBJECTIVE FAILED, then you will likely have to give up on finding
the Scarlet Shards at some point (you can still destroy the Shards in the other
Regions before you tell Sasha that you're calling it quits).

If you reached END ANCHIANO RUMOR CHAIN, then you will have to go through
either the Pescara or Caprese chains to find the Shard. If you're out of Rumors
then you'll get the Giant X of Doom. Trust it and you'll find the Shard and
OBJECTIVE COMPLETE. If you don't, then it's OBJECTIVE FAILED.

Anchiano Rumor Descriptions - Intermission 2 [Scarlet Shards]
-------------------------------------------------------------

Anchiano Rumor 1:
"I hear someone found a red stone over in Noono Forest."

Leave Anchiano and investigate the X in Noono Forest (northwest of Anchiano, 
southeast of Nekwa).

Don't believe rumor: The X disappears. Skip to Anchiano Rumor 2.

Believe rumor: The X disappears and an "Unidentified Creature" appears in its
    place! It's the tatzelwurm!
    "We should capture it.": CHASE THE TATZELWURM!!! Examine the X and you'll
        find that it swallowed the Scarlet Shard! OBJECTIVE COMPLETE! 
                
        (I think you still get the Tatzelwurm achievement, though.)
        
    "We should kill it.": Typical Executioner choice. 
        
        =======================
        BOSS FIGHT:
        Tatzelwurm
                
        ...
                
        ...you should be ashamed of yourself.
                
        =======================
                
        ...but...you get the Scarlet Shard! Apparently it wasn't a Tatzelwurm.
        It was a worm on Scarlet Bath Salts (like the people in Gradion). 
        Anyway, Sasha blows up the Shard. OBJECTIVE COMPLETE!
        
    "Leave it be.": Tatzelwurm disappears.
        
        If you chose this, head back to Anchiano.
    

Anchiano Rumor 2:
"Hey check this out: I hear there's a man using a red stone to summon fiends
near Pescara."

Leave Anchiano and investigate the X where Pescara is located.

Don't believe rumor: The X disappears, and you'll enter Pescara like normal.
    End of [Scarlet Shards] Anchiano Rumor Chain.

Believe rumor: Woman in Pescara tells everyone that fiends are coming for the
    red stone and to run! You exit the town and the X is still there.
    
    "Believe": You fight the fiends.
            
        BOSS FIGHT :UNDER CONSTRUCTION:

        After the battle, Pescara gets destroyed! Giant X appears in the middle
        of the Region.

        Trust: You Got: A Shard. Blow er up, Sasha! OBJECTIVE COMPLETE!

        Don't believe: OBJECTIVE FAILED. NO SHARD 4 U. Move on to another
            Region. You may have to choose to give up on finding the Scarlet
            Shards at some point in order to end the Intermission.

    "Don't Believe": The X disappears and you'll get a giant X in the middle of
        the Region.

        Trust: Triple encounter with every boss with the Shard as the reward.
                
        Don't believe: OBJECTIVE FAILED. NO SHARD 4 U. Move on to another
            Region. You may have to choose to give up on finding the Scarlet
            Shards at some point in order to end the Intermission.

Method C: Pescara Rumors
------------------------

Follow the flowcharts below to get to "OBJECTIVE COMPLETE." As you can see,
there's more than one way to get there.

Pescara Rumor Flowcharts - Intermission 2 [Scarlet Shards]
----------------------------------------------------------

Start by going to Pescara and select "Converse".

+---------+   +--------------+     +------------+    +---------+
| START   |   | Believe X on |     | BDSM Man   |    | END     |  
| PESCARA >---> opposite end |  +--> ("Sacrer   >----> PESCARA |
| RUMOR 1 |   | of river?    |  |  | Chardon?") |    | RUMOR 1 |
+---------+   N--------------Y--+  +------------+    +----^----+
              |                                           |  
          +---v----------+                                ^
          | X disappears >-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->--+ 
          +--------------+           

When you reach "END PESCARA RUMOR 1," go back to Pescara and select "Converse"
to start Rumor 2.

+---------+
| START   |   +---------------+     +---------------+   
| PESCARA >---> Believe X at  |  +--> BOSS FIGHT:   >->-+
| RUMOR 2 |   | Tuktuk Coast? |  |  | Aspidochelone |   |
+---------+   N---------------Y--+  +---------------+   v
              |                                         |
              v                                    +----v----+
              |   +--------------+                 | END     |
              +->-> X disappears >-->-->-->-->-->--> PESCARA |
                  +--------------+                 | RUMOR 2 | 
                                                   +---------+

When you reach "END PESCARA RUMOR 2," go back to Pescara and select "Converse"
to start Rumor 3.

+---------+
| START   |   +--------------+     +------+   +--------------+
| PESCARA >---> Believe X at |  +--> Exit >---> Believe X at |
| RUMOR 3 |   | Caprese?     |  |  | Town |   | Caprese?     |
+---------+   N--------------Y--+  +------+   N--------------Y
              |                               |              |            
              |                               |              |           
       +------v-------+               +-------v------+ +-----v-----------+
       | X disappears |               | X disappears | | Fight Attackers |
       +------v-------+               +-------v------+ +-----v-----------+
              |                               |              |
       +------v-------+              +--------v------+   +---v--------+
       | END PESCARA  |              | Believe Giant |   | Caprese    | 
       | RUMOR CHAIN  |              | X of Doom?    |   | Destroyed! |
       +--------------+      +--<--<-N---------------Y   +------v-----+
                             |                       |          |
                             |               +-<--<--+          v
                             v               |                  |
                             |        +------v------+  +--------v---------+
                             |        | Triple BOSS |  | Believe Giant X  |
                             v        | Fight!!     |  | of Doom?         |
                             |        +-----------v-+  Y------------------N
                             |                    |    |                  |
        +-----------+        v                  +-v----v----+             |
        | OBJECTIVE |        |                  | OBJECTIVE |             v
        | FAILED!!! <--<--<--+                  | COMPLETE! |             |
        +-----^-----+                           +-----------+             v
              |                                                           |
              +--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--<--+

If you reached the OBJECTIVE COMPLETE, then you've obtained the Scarlet Shard
and you are done.

If you reach OBJECTIVE FAILED, then you will likely have to give up on finding
the Scarlet Shards at some point (you can still destroy the Shards in the other
Regions before you tell Sasha that you're calling it quits).

If you reached END PESCARA RUMOR CHAIN, then you will have to go through either
the Anchiano or Caprese chains to find the Shard. If you're out of Rumors,
you'll get the Giant X of Doom. Trust it and you'll find the Shard and
OBJECTIVE COMPLETE. If you don't, then it's OBJECTIVE FAILED.

Pescara Rumor Descriptions - Intermission 2 [Scarlet Shards]
------------------------------------------------------------

Pescara Rumor 1:
"Here's a juicy bit of gossip: there's a man on the other side of the river
searching for a red stone."

Leave Pescara and investigate the X on the opposite side of the river just east
of where you're at.

Don't believe rumor: The X disappears. Skip to Pescara Rumor 2 by heading back
    there.

Believe rumor: The X disappears and a Worshipper appears in its place. 
    Inspect the Worshipper: "Scarlet...Shard? I don't even know what that is!
        No, I'm searching for sacrer chardon." Apparently "sacrer chardon" is
        a plant that showers you with verbal abuse when you touch its thistles.
        He gets tingly just thinking about what terrible things the plant might
        say to him! Whatever turns you on, dude.  
                
        Anyway, back to Pescara for Rumor #2 because we don't want to think
        anymore about that dude's fantasies...

Pescara Rumor 2:
"I hear there's a fiend on the Tuktuk Coast in possession of a red stone."

Leave Pescara and investigate the X just west of where you're at (it'll be
labeled "Tuktuk Coast").

Don't believe rumor: The X disappears. Skip to Pescara Rumor 3.

Believe rumor: The X disappears and OMGWTFBBQISTHAT?!!! Yep, there's a fiend.
    She didn't say it was bigger than Godzilla! Oh well, inspect it...
        
    =======================
    BOSS FIGHT:
    Aspidochelone
        
    Giant Squid II: Electric Boogaloo.
        
    I'm sure you know what to do by now. Poison, Paralysis, Sleep, and Stun
    should all be in your inner friends circle. 
        
    You'll get a Lapis Lazuli Earring for winning this battle.
    =======================
        
    Now go to Pescara Rumor 3.

Pescara Rumor 3:
"Ooo, guess what? I hear there's a man using a red stone to summon fiends near
Caprese."

Leave Pescara and investigate the X where Caprese is located.

Don't believe rumor: The X disappears, and you'll enter Caprese like normal.
    End of [Scarlet Shards] Pescara Rumor Chain.

Believe rumor: Man in Caprese tells everyone that fiends are coming for the red
    stone and to run! You exit the town and the X is still there.
    
    "Believe": You fight the fiends.
            
        BOSS FIGHT :UNDER CONSTRUCTION:

        After the battle, Caprese gets destroyed! Giant X appears in the
        middle of the Region.

        Trust: You Got: A Shard. Blow er up, Sasha! OBJECTIVE COMPLETE!

        Don't believe: OBJECTIVE FAILED. NO SHARD 4 U. Move on to another
            Region. You may have to choose to give up on finding the Scarlet
            Shards at some point in order to end the Intermission.

    "Don't Believe": The X disappears and you'll get a giant X in the middle of
        the Region.

        Trust: Triple encounter with every boss with the Shard as the reward.
                
        Don't believe: OBJECTIVE FAILED. NO SHARD 4 U. Move on to another
            Region. You may have to choose to give up on finding the Scarlet
            Shards at some point in order to end the Intermission.

Method D: "All of the above"
----------------------------

This method involves not believing the very first X of each Chain's final
Rumor. For Caprese, it's the first X on top of Anchiano. For Anchiano, it's the
first X on top of Pescara. For Pescara, it's the first X on top of Caprese. 
When this happens, you'll get a giant X just east of Pescara, but west of
Anchiano and northwest of Caprese. 

Walk up to the giant X. Unlike the [Sigfrei] version, you'll get a choice as to
whether or not you should trust the phenomenon.

+----------------------+     +-------+     +--------+
| CHOSE NOT TO BELIEVE |     | Trust |     | Triple |   +-----------+
| THE FIEND ATTACKING  >-->--> Giant |  +--> BOSS   >---> OBJECTIVE |
| RUMORS IN ALL THREE  |     | X of  |  |  | FIGHT! |   | COMPLETE! |
| TOWNS                |     | Doom? |  |  +--------+   +-----------+
+----------------------+     N-------Y--+                
                             |    
                         +---v-------+ 
                         | OBJECTIVE | 
                         | FAILED!!! |             
                         +-----------+              

Don't believe it: OBJECTIVE...FAILED! Yep, there's no way to get the Shard in 
    Bicyniro anymore. You may have to tell Sasha that you're giving up on
    finding the Scarlet Shards in order to actually end the Intermission. Keep
    this in mind after destroying all the other Shards and recruiting all the
    characters you want to recruit.

When finished, Continue from "[Scarlet Shards] Int.2.4 Northeast Boundary
or whichever section that has a Shard you want to go after next.

If this IS your final Shard, skip to "[Scarlet Shards] Int.2.9 After Blowing Up
The Last Shard..." and put Arthur in your Retinue (unless you really want him
to leave you during Part 7).

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
? FOR FUTURE EXPERIMENTATION: Do only the first rumor of the Anchiano         ?
? Standard Rumor Chain during Part 5 (make the well appear), and then get     ?
? Anchiano destroyed during second Intermission [Scarlet Shards]. Will        ?
? Caprese or Pescara's next rumor "revive" Anchiano?                          ?
???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

***********************************************
* [Scarlet Shards] Int.2.4 Northeast Boundary *
***********************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- Part 6A only

Use the Pendant and you'll find that the shooting star lands up north on top
of a shipwreck. 

So how are we going to get through those glaciers?

Snowy Hut:
Here you'll find a research base where an Imperial Librarian has set up shop.
She has come up with a plan for how to get through the glaciers.

Go back to the Fisherman and inspect. Nothing else to pull up regardless of
which choice you take, but that's fine for now. 

Go back to the Adamas Shrine and inspect. Next, go back to the Snowy Hut. 
You'll see that it's covered in blood! If this were a corporated area, you'd
probably see it roped off with crime scene tape, but that doesn't happen in the
middle of nowhere.

...but wait! What happened to that librarian? Should we press F to pay
respects?

When you leave the hut, all three glacier walls get broken down. 

Giant Freaking Monster:
OK, where did this thing come from? 

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Carmella

You might have seen this type of monster already: it's a flying succubus model.
If you have Maximus and/or Kahn, they'll have quotes in battle for them. :D

The most annoying thing about this fight is its multiple Conditionals (????). 
They have one that interrupts Piercing, one that interrupts Slashing, and a
Counter, which makes it tricky to try to quell. 

Fortunately they don't have an answer to Blunt attacks, so it's not a bad idea
to bring in some Martial Arts or Axe users with Blunt techniques. 

If you have the Frigid Ice Sword, you can use Hailstorm as well--it can't be
interrupted. 
=======================

After the battle, the monster turns into...the librarian?!!!

Apparently the librarian allowed herself to be possessed by a fiend in order to
break down the walls, but she had problems reversing the process. In any case,
she wants to join us! A bit shady, but hey...she wouldn't be the only shady
person in our Party, right?

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Luna      | 14|  9|  8|  7| 12| 12| 3|Ae|G. Sword |
-----------------------------------------------------

OMG look at that Strength! Does that skinny little thing lift? I means she's
almost as strong as Strumiknen! Her LP is low and she's a bit slow, though.

That Intelligence makes her the ideal popsicle wielder! Also the four Katana
techniques (Blizzard, Lunar Blade, Eclipse, and Scattered Petals) use INT in
their damage formula, so she's good for that too!

...oh, speaking of katanas...she comes with one! Not a Samurai Sword. Not any
other sword that's a Katana type. A Katana called "Katana"! Isn't that one of
the weapons needed to recruit Sabit in Azhuacan? Indeed it is!

Samurai Bookworm...GO!!!!

Anyway, now that we have access to the Frozen Ship, let's go there:

Frozen Ship:
Double encounter (one Easy, one Hard). No bosses this time, but you will have
to fight a Silver Wolf in the Hard encounter. 

Sasha does her thing, OBJECTIVE COMPLETE!

There is one more thing to do here: want the last Elemental Weapon? Let's go
back to...

Frozen Ship:
Double encounter (one Easy, one Hard). Second encounter is a...

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Black Drake and Gelatinous Matter (white):

The Black Drake will use Pick (Pierce damage to one Retinue member), Shockwave
(damages all Retinue members), and Fatal Bite (heavy Pierce damage to one
Retinue member with a chance of Instant Death). The Gelatinous Matter will do
usual Gelatinous stuff (similar to Macha's Toy back at Teach Na Macha in
Hibernia). 

Have Colleen use Shadow Weave on the Drake and focus everything else on the
Gelatin. You could also drop some Poison on the Drake if you feel sadistic
enough (Apid Venom from Patricia or Giselle, Poisonous Mist from one of your
Mages if any of them have it, Mizuchi from Chiago or Tissisaaq). 

The Gelatinous Matter may charge up the Siren spell. Try to Stun it to stop
the spell or kill it as fast as you can! It's also susceptible to Poison so
you can go that route as well!

Ideal team:
- Robert or Aslana: Tumble to Stun
- Tissisaaq or Chiago: Mizuchi for Poison, Sweep for Stun
- Elysed or Kreisa: Call Lightning for damage. 
- Colleen or Hongswan: Shadow Weave to Paralyze the Drake, use other Bow techs
    to burst down the Gelatin (as it's immune to Paralysis)
- Maximus if you have him: Dual Whirlwind for damage, Rampart to save lives,
    otherwise you could try using Luna with a popsicle or her Katana, but she
    won't have much offense initially...
======================= 

Once you beat these two, you'll discover a Ship's Log. After Arthur translates
what it says, go to:

Winter's Door:
Remember that Gargantuan Key you got from the Fisherman during Part 6? Open er
up! Let's explore further!

Monster and Monster:
Infinite grind spot and infinite grind spot. Just like the big one. 

Giant Glacier with Even Bigger Monster Inside It:
He ded yo. On the other hand, I think we've played enough RPGs to know where
this is going...

...except it's not going there yet. Wanna go there?

You'll need to fight eight battles and then check the Natura mine directly west
of the Everbloom Tree. Instead of giving you Natura Crystals as usual (or a
monster during Part 6 because Sigfrei was Sigtrolling us), it will give you an
item called a Bronze Heart. If you got Natura Crystals instead, then you'll
need to inspect the frozen fiend again, fight eight more battles, and check the
same mine again.

If you got the Bronze Heart, go to the Frozen Fiend. Go ahead and offer the
Bronze Heart. As predicted, he gets unfrozen and he ain't happy, so inspect
it again for a tough battle:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Eternal Dragon

Yeah, a dragon. Remember the Red Dragon you fought in Thracini to get the Ignis
Elemental Weapon? Same drill here: breath attacks (damage to everyone), scream
(damage to everyone and BP -2), and tail whip (more damage to everyone). 

Again, it's is immune to Paralyze, but not Stun. You might want to break out
either Robert, Griffin, or Aslana with some DEX and ACU boosting equipment
(the latter won't help Aslana at all...) and have them Tumble.

If either Tissisaaq or Chiago have Sweep, you can try using that to Stun as
well. Dragon is not immune to Poison so Mizuchi can help out.

Fight it the same way you fought the Red Dragon and you should be OK.
=======================

After the battle, a large sword symbol appears where the frozen fiend was. 
Inspect it and you'll receive the fifth and final Elemental Weapon: Aes!

As always the weapon you get typically depends on the highest weapon level
among all the characters in your party, but can't be the same type as any of
the four previous Elemental Weapons. Since there are only seven possible types
that it can be (no Staff), that narrows things down quite a bit!

When finished, continue from whichever section that has a Shard you want to go
after next. 

If this IS your final Shard, skip to "[Scarlet Shards] Int.2.9 After Blowing Up
The Last Shard..." and put Arthur in your Retinue (unless you really want him
to leave you during Part 7).

**********************************************
* [Scarlet Shards] Int.2.5 Marchiam Megdasse *
**********************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- Only if Intermission 1 [Earth Serpent] was started from Megdasse and
    completed

Yep, another [Scarlet Shards] Region with very strict access restrictions. 

Here we have four Settlements/Quarters:

- Highsha Quarters (center-ish)
- Nyu Quarters (south)
- Kaikow Quarters (north, covered with snek guts)
- Walomir Quarters (west)

Each of these Settlements have a pattern or Glyph nearby. 

The Highsha and Nyu Glyphs can be lit up without the help of a Common Quest. 

The Kaikow Glyph was lit up back when you splattered giant snake blood all over
it back in Intermission 1 [Earth Serpent].

That leaves us with the Walomir Glyph.

Anyway, use the Pendant and the shooting star lands...nowhere near any of the
Settlements! It ends up pretty far east (just south of the apple tree).

If you investigate there, you'll find nothing (for now...).

*******************************************************************************
* WARNING: DO NOT pick any apples from that apple tree! If you do, you won't  *
* be able to recruit Nolan! You must light up all the glyphs in order for the *
* apples to turn red, and THEN you can pick them!                             *
*******************************************************************************

So let's head west to ol Walomir.

Walomir Quarters
This schmuck happens to be King Adill of the Walomir tribe. Apparently he has
the Scarlet Shard. He has power with it, but not TRUE POWER. He will give us
the Shard if we light up the rest of the glyphs (which is supposed to give him
da powah).

Who does he think we are? Grahf from Xenogears?

...welp, let's light up some glyphs.

Walomir Glyph:
Here you'll see a giant tornado in the middle of the glyph itself. Approach it
and choose to battle:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Gila and four Peggies

The Gila's attacks are the same as the Bird of Paradise. You've likely dealt
with Peggies by now.
=======================

After the battle, the Walomir Glyph lights up, and a new glyph appears in the
far east.

Kaikow Glyph:
The Kaikow Glyph was already lit during first Intermission [Earth Serpent]
using the eponymous bastard's dead carcass.

Highsha Glyph:
A good portion of it is covered by the lake. 

Highsha Quarters:
Here you're told about the floodgate and the lake, which is their water supply.
Since apparently getting the Shard is more important than hydration...

Highsha Glyph:
The key is deep down in the lake. Balmaint dives right in and steps on some
monster's tail. The monster takes it out on the Highsha Quarters instead of the
big burly man with long hair and an axe. Oh well, we have to save Highsha.

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Ammut

These things can be a pain. 

First it Howls to jack up its speed. 

Then it uses either Paralyzing Fangs on individual party members or
Headwind Fangs to damage and possibly paralyze the whole party! 

If it uses Headwind Fangs, have two of your characters Protect two of your 
"jammers" (characters using Paralyze, Stun, Sleep, etc.). Have said jammers use
the usual boss-neutering tactics.
=======================

After the battle, the Highsha Observation Tower collapses. Go there for a
triple encounter.

Now go ahead and open the floodgate. The lake is drained and the glyph lights
up. Examine the glyph and battle:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Aqua Drake

One of many Drake enemies in the game, this one will use Pinpoint Breath
(damage plus Delay), Pick (Pierce damage to one target), Shockwave (damage all
Retinue members), and Painful Bite (Medium Blunt damage to one target plus
chance of Stun).

Fortunately it's not immune to Paralyze, so have Colleen use Shadow Weave.
Might as well drop Poison on the poor bastard as well, so Chiago with Mizuchi
or Patricia with Apid Venom can do the job.
=======================

One more Glyph before we can go to the Far East one:

Nyu Quarters:
The townsperson tells us that the glyph is a picture of the grusonii, a sacred
flower to the Nyu people. The grusonii blooms once every thousand years, and
the people pray to the glyph.

They say the grusonii will bloom if given a water droplet from each of the
three caves surrounding it. Many have ventured into the caves, but no one's
been able to collect the droplets. 

Back on the map, a large plant appears in front of the glyph.

Infernodrop, Stardrop, and Spiritdrop Caves:
Despite what the Nyu townsperson said, there ARE fiends in each cave. After a
single encounter each, you'll collect a drop (odd coincidence--we just happen
to be in the right place at the right time for a once-in-a-millennium event).

After gathering drops from all three caves, make the Giant Plant Bud bloom!

Now examine the Grusonii Flower and...gag on pollen and nectar.

Now examine the glyph and the butterflies will fly over it and light it up.
Par for the course of this game, we have to fight something as a result:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Grusonii

Yeah, the glyph sealed a giant purple pineapple with a face. 

Unfortunately, it's immune to Sleep and Paralyze, but you can still Stun it,
so you may have to put Robert (Tumble) and Chiago (Sweep) to work here. 

Watch out for Harvest Explosion--it will shoot its own fruit at your whole
retinue for some damage.
=======================

FINALLY! Let's go!

Far East Glyph:
Wow! This event has voice acting, which is surprising giving the strict
requirements for even getting to this point!

Adill compliments Bal on a job well done. Now that he has both the Scarlet
Shard and the power of the Infernal Aranea, he can manifest his empire. 

...which means he never had any intention of handing the Shard over. 

Arthur starts reading off the charges, which include:

- One count of fraud
- One count of summoning an Infernal (he must be taking lessons from Sigfrei)
- One count of falsely assuming the title of emperor and debasing the Empire's
    name
- One count of--

--except Adill doesn't think those old laws apply to him. 

...ah well.

- One count of contempt of the law.

Judge Dredd would have shot his ass dead by now. Since there are no guns in
this setting, it's time for the next best thing:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Adill AND Aranea

Adill's an archer, so you should be familiar with what he's about to attack
you with.

The Infernal Aranea is a giant spider enemy, which you should know how to
deal with as well. 

...or you can witness one of the funniest things in the game by having Aranea
use Feast to eat Adill! Mmmmm...gourmet Walomir man!

You'll get a Ring of Heroism for completing this battle.
=======================

After crapping all over Adill's ambitions, he escapes. Yes, he'll escape even
if he gets eaten by Aranea (that's some next level karma houdini **** there).

He also escapes with the Scarlet Shard! Sasha swears revenge in the name of the
Spirituals!

This still counts as an OBJECTIVE COMPLETE, though.

If this IS your final Shard, skip to "[Scarlet Shards] Int.2.9 After Blowing Up
The Last Shard..." and put Arthur in your Retinue (unless you really want him
to leave you during Part 7).

If this is NOT your final Shard, then you can recruit Nolan and Hagar now.

With all the Glyphs lit up, you can go back to the Kaikow Quarters and Converse
to recruit Hagar:

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Hagar     | 12| 12| 10|  9| 10| 15| 1|Te|Bow      |
-----------------------------------------------------

Stats are great! However, if she falls in battle, get used to hearing "This...
is me...." and subbing other characters in her place, as she is the 1 LP wonder
of SaGa Scarlet Grace! If you want to use her, make sure you have someone
Protecting her at all times! After all, LP-killed characters don't gain stats
after battle!

The apples on the tree will also be red--it's ok to pick them now. Feed them to
the sheep at the Walomir Quarters and you can recruit Nolan:

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Nolan     | 11|  6| 11| 10| 10| 12| 5|Te|Staff/Inc|
-----------------------------------------------------

For a mage, that Intelligence is PU. Acuity is not bad. For all the trouble it
takes to get him, he makes a better bench warmer than an active party member.

When finished, continue from whichever section that has a Shard you want to go
after next. 

***********************************************
* [Scarlet Shards] Int.2.6 Provincia Cerenaif *
***********************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- From Part 6 onward, and only if Region was unlocked during Part 5

Use the Pendant here and you'll find that the shooting star lands at the Spring
Cave to the northwest. 

I bet Arthur feels triggered right now, but we're heading there anyway.

Spring Cave:
Double encounter. The first encounter with zombies might give you some fits,
but the second encounter's not too difficult.

...

...nope, not here.

Well...let's stop and ask around:

Cingular:
Converse here and the local will tell you that the shard was found in the
Spring Cave, but it was taken into a castle, a fire broke out, and burned
the place to the ground.

So let's go!

Castello Guscio:
Double encounter. Second encounter has a Black Drake and a Giant Lemon.

...

Sorry Bal, but our Shard is in another castle! 

Figures.

From here we have two Methods for getting it:

Method A: Water Mill:
---------------------

Walk up to the Water Mill and you'll find that there's quite the commotion
there. It's not the first time we've walked into shady situations, so...

Water Mill:
Arthur asks about the Scarlet Shard. The man there won't give any info unless
we make a wager and play a dice game. We accept. The man loses, and he says the
Shard is in the haunted estate.

Haunted Estate:
Another double encounter. Still no Shard. 

We see a dog up north.

Dog:
Dog goes to the Westend Graveyard. Follow it.

Westend Graveyard:
Dog has something in its mouth. It's the Shard! Doggy is lucky it didn't turn
rabid after carrying that thing!

...of course it wouldn't...it disappeared. It's a ghost. Ghost dog. 

OBJECTIVE COMPLETE. MVP: Doge.

Method B: Nipelo:
-----------------

Nipelo:
Go here and you'll be told that someone found the Shard in the castle ruins
and gave it to the temple. 

Imhokiel Temple:
Sasha wants us to steal from a holy place, but I think that would be illegal
and we don't want our executioner trying to execute himself...

...but then again the drunk priest saved us the trouble by pawning it off in
Zegna. Good job, pastor. Good job.

Zegna:
The Zegna Guard tells us that the Shard was stolen, and that the thief took
off for the labyrinth and never came out. 

Labyrinth:
Before each encounter, you'll have a choice to go left or right. The actual
route doesn't matter--after three encounters you'll get the Shard! 

OBJECTIVE COMPLETE! 

When finished, continue from whichever section that has a Shard you want to go
after next. Just remember that if more than four Shard Regions are accessible
you'll only be able to blow up four of them, so keep that in mind when planning
on which characters you want to recruit during this Intermission.

If this IS your final Shard (whether the last Region you have access to or the
fourth Shard blown up), skip to "[Scarlet Shards] Int.2.9 After Blowing Up The
Last Shard..." and put Arthur in your Retinue (unless you really want him to
leave you during Part 7).

**********************************************
* [Scarlet Shards] Int.2.7 Provincia Gradion *
**********************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- From Part 4 Intro onward. For Gradion to be available during an Intermission
    that's started during Part 4, you must unlock it before going to a Trigger
    Region.

So how do we get the Shard in Gradion? Time to use that Pendant again. You'll
see a shooting star land just a bit south of Testika. 

Investigate where the shooting star landed and you'll find...a baby? A BABY!
Who the hell would abandon a baby like this?!!! Sasha gives no ****s: she says
it might have a Scarlet Shard. Looks like we're going to search for its
parents.

While you're carrying the baby, your travel speed is reduced quite a bit!
When fighting in certain battles, you'll be forced into the "For the Child"
formation (3-8 BP, Retinue lined up in a "V" shape). If you leave Gradion, 
you'll no longer have the baby, but when you return, you'll have it again (I
wonder what happens to the baby during this time?!!!). 

Anyway, before we try to find this kid's parents, let's go back to the spot you
picked it up from:

Suspicious Person:
Oh wait, it's freaking Camelia AGAIN! Despite telling her that she is breaking
the law (even going so far as to give her the penalty for doing so...the usual
death...no surprise there), she gives no ****s either. Apathy seems to be a
theme with many of the female characters in this game...

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Camelia and La Chasse lackeys

If you've spent time using Patricia and Giselle and/or fought the Fomoire and
Astel mooks to get the Shard in Jusitania, you'll know what Camelia can do to
you. Of course Camelia has some of the more advanced Short Sword techs like
Golden Note (heavy damage + Distract--increases spell casting time by 1) and
Eulogy (heavy damage + chance of Instant Death). 

One of the lackeys has a Long Sword and the other a Great Sword. 

Just use the tried and true boss tactics of neutering your foes with statuses
and you should be OK. The "For the Child" formation may limit what you can do
early on, though. 
=======================

Now that those nutjobs are out of our way, let's continue our hunt for the
kid's parents. 

Testika:
You'll have two choices: 

- Tell me about the baby.
- Tell me about the Scarlet Shards.

About the baby: Testika runs an orphanage. You can choose to leave the baby
    here or continuing searching elsewhere. 
    Leave baby here: The baby gets left at the orphanage. If you do this, you
        will have to go down the Baby-less Route for getting the Shard and, if
        you want, recruiting Francis. 
    Search elsewhere: You leave Testika. Search continues. 

About the Scarlet Shards: The priest says that they don't exist, and to even
    hold an interest in them is a betrayal of the Celestials. Yeah, keep
    telling yourself that...
        
    You leave Testika. Search continues. Arthur suggests Sanhigh or Yumen.

Sanhigh:
Again, you'll have two choices: 

- Tell me about the baby.
- Tell me about the Scarlet Shards.

About the baby: The lady will ask if you can leave the baby with her. 
    Leave baby here: You leave the baby with her. Unlike leaving her at the
        Testika orphanage, you wonder if leaving her here is a good idea. 
        Leave Sanhigh and...
                
        Baby: ...nope, it wasn't. Some people shouldn't be parents. Pick up the
            baby, head back to Sanhigh, and tell the lady she's a crappy mom.
                
        (NOTE: If you don't see the Baby in the spot where she was originally
            found, leave and re-enter Gradion)
        
        Search elsewhere: You leave Sanhigh. Search continues.
        
About the Scarlet Shards: She doesn't know, but she wants to know about the
    baby! Balmaint says it's not his, and the lady goes NUTS! Remember kids,
    stay away from bath salts. Especially if they're red.
        
    Beat up the Sanhigh woman and her Thugs, and you'll leave town. Go back
    in, and Converse with the lady again. It will default to "About the baby"
    (apparently she forgot about the ass whoopin she just endured...must be
    those bath salts...)

Overall, if you leave the baby in Testika, you have to go down the Babyless
Route, which is covered below. If you leave the baby in any other location, the
baby will be abandoned, and you'll have to pick it up again, chew out the
wannabe parent/guardian/mentor/etc., and...pretty much get nowhere. 

While you DON'T have the baby, you can go to the Forest Hut (defeat the enemies
around it first):

Forest Hut:
A man dressed in white wearing sunglasses takes great interest in your quest to
blow up the Wicked One's family jewels. Might as well add him to the fold!

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: If Francis won't join you, then you need to use the Pendant first.    *
* Otherwise he may not even be in the hut!                                    *
*******************************************************************************

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Francis   |  8| 12|  8|  9| 14| 10| 5|Ae|Staff/Inc|
-----------------------------------------------------

Hey, another mage! He starts with the very last Aes spell you can learn: The
Tower! Too bad that spell is impractical in almost every situation with its 4
turn Cast Time! Intelligence 14 is pretty good! 

The problem is that we now have a logjam of mages, and mages take long enough
to train. If you have any two of Elysed, Kreisa, Arthur, and Mirane trained
with a variety of spells, it might not be worth spending time with Francis.

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: If you go to the Forest Hut while you have the baby, Francis will say *
* "OOOOHHH a baby!" followed by "I know nothing." or "The time is not right." *
* If you go to the Forest Hut outside of the [Scarlet Shard] Quest, Francis   *
* won't be there. If you get the Shard in Gradion before going to the Hut,    *
* then that's a Failure Condition for recruiting Francis. So make sure you    *
* visit the Hut while the baby is in one of the town's custody.               *
*******************************************************************************

Anyway, get the baby back by leaving Gradion and coming back (If you dropped
the baby off in Sanhigh, go there, select the option to go to Cindrea, go back
to Sanhigh, and then back to Gradion. The baby will be in the same spot where
you found her). While holding the baby, let's head to:

Yumen:
Usual two choices: 

- Tell me about the baby.
- Tell me about the Scarlet Shards.

About the baby: The man will ask if you can leave the baby with him. 
    Leave baby here: You leave the baby with him. You wonder if it's a good
        idea (as always, it's not). Get the baby back from the original spot
        (or leave and re-enter Gradion before checking the spot), chew out the
        crappy wannabe dad). 
                
    Search elsewhere: You leave Yumen. Search continues.
        
About the Scarlet Shards: First he asks about the baby. Then the Bath Salts
    take effect. Time to beat up the Yumen Citizen and some Thugs. Leave town.
    Re-enter, and the man forgets about his beating, defaulting to "About the
    baby" dialog. 

West Bicornia:
You know where this is going, right? Well, I thought I did...

- Tell me about the baby.
- Tell me about the Scarlet Shards.

About the baby: The bandit will ask if you can leave the baby with him. 
    Leave baby here: You leave the baby with a freaking bandit. You do wonder
        if it's a good idea (who's on the bath salts now?!!). Get the baby back
        from the original spot (or leave and re-enter Gradion before checking
        the spot), chew out the bandit while he lampshades how stupid it is to
        leave a baby with a bandit.
                
    Search elsewhere: You leave West Bicornia. Search continues.
        
About the Scarlet Shards: :UNDER CONSTRUCTION. Not sure if you have to fight
    this guy with Balmaint or not. I know you don't with Urpina...:.

East Bicornia:
OK, the bandit was more sane than the Sanhigh and Yumen citizens. Maybe that's
a good sign for the East Bicornian knight?

- Tell me about the baby.
- Tell me about the Scarlet Shards.

About the baby: The bandit will ask if you can leave the baby with him. 
    Leave baby here: You leave the baby with the knight. You do wonder if it's
        a good idea. Maybe that knight honor means something here?
        
        Nope.

        Get the baby back through the usual steps. What's this guy's excuse? 
        It's a "change in the Order's policies." Yeah, suuuuure it is...
                
    Search elsewhere: You leave East Bicornia. Search continues.
        
About the Scarlet Shards: The knight asks about the baby. As usual, Balmaint is
    not the father. You don't need Maury Povich to tell you that. Then...yep,
    the bath salts made their way through the Order of Bicornia. "Then you
    choose death!" Sigh...
        
    After beating up three Bicornian Soldiers, we exit town. Re-enter, and the
    knight forgets about the beating as usual. Default to "About the baby."

Pixkimarigan:
...I have no faith in this turning out any better...

- Tell me about the baby.
- Tell me about the Scarlet Shards.

About the baby: The priest will ask if you can leave the baby with them so she
    can serve Marigan. 
    Leave baby here: You leave the baby with the priest. You do wonder if it's
        a good idea. It hasn't been the last few times, and it's not now.

        Get the baby back through the usual steps. So what's the priest's
        excuse? Marigan says no. Yeah, sure...
                
    Search elsewhere: You leave Pixkimarigan. Search continues.
        
About the Scarlet Shards: The priest says that the Shards must be gathered
    under Marigan, who stands at the head of the Celestials. How this turns out
    with Balmaint is :UNDER CONSTRUCTION: but I think there's still a fight
    from the priest being under the influence of Scarlet Bath Salts like usual.
        
    Beat up the Pixkimarigan Knights and exit this dump. Re-enter and the
    priest forgot about the punishment we administered. Default to "About the
    baby."
        
Fort Kathrin: 
Can't proceed to Rhonicum as that breaks the #1 Rule of the Executioner
Railroad.

Adamas Tower:

...sigh...

- Tell me about the baby.
- Tell me about the Scarlet Shards.

About the baby: The priest will ask if you can offer the child to Adamas. Sigh.
    Leave baby here: You leave the baby with the priest. You do wonder if it's
        a good idea. It hasn't been the last few times, and it's not now.

        This time the baby appears in its usual spot without leaving the
        Region! That baby must have really pissed off Adamas! Let's find out
        what the Excuse of the Day is!
                
        Adamas says no. Thought so. 
                
        Unfortunately, you won't be able to proceed any further without
        dropping the baby off at the Testika orphanage, leaving and re-entering
        Gradion, asking about the baby in Testika (the first part of the
        Baby-less Route) and then going to Adamas Tower and proceeding with the
        rest of the Baby-less Route from there (see below).
                
    Search elsewhere: You leave Adamas Tower. Search continues, except you
        can't go any further without either:
                
        A) Going back into Adamas Tower and selecting "About the Scarlet
            Shards"
        or
        B) Dropping off the baby in Testika, leaving and re-entering Gradion,
            going back to Testika to ask about the baby (the first part of the
            Baby-less Route), and then going to Adamas Tower and proceeding
            with the rest of the Baby-less Route from there (see below). 
        
About the Scarlet Shards: The priest says that the power of the Shards would be
    instrumental in locating a new vein of ore. Then he asks about the baby. No
    Shard Insanity this time...unless you count him telling you to find the
    Shard by taking the baby with you to any one of the three mines. 

    Time to go mining. With the baby. 

    It doesn't matter which mine you pick: Bollinger, Jardina, or Tula. Either
    way, you'll be in the "For the Child" formation.

    Bollinger has a Sword Servant (zombie) and two Netherworld Roots (undead
    plants that loves to poison with Corpse Moss among other things).

    Jardina has two Raptor Claws. Much easier than what it would have had if
    you went down the Baby-less Route. 
        
    Tula has a Hellhound and two Sacculinas. The Hellhound needs to be neutered
    (Stun, Paralyze, Sleep, etc.) or else Fang Salvo will give you fits.

    When finished at one of the mines, the baby will somehow have the Scarlet
    Shard in its possession! Huh?!! Er...OBJECTIVE COMPLETE! Good baby!      

Baby-less Route:
================
(you used the Pendant first, right?)

So you dropped off the baby at the Testika orphanage. How is she doing? Let's
check on her:

Testika:
Bal asks if the orphanage noticed anything particular about her. Many people
came by asking questions regarding a Scarlet Shard! Bal asks if the child
was holding a Scarlet Shard, and the priest adamantly denies that she was while
telling him to abandon him "foolish fantasies" and serve the Celestials with
all his heart. Okay...

Before we finish searching, get rid of the enemies around the Forest Hut. Once
you do, enter it:

Forest Hut:
A man dressed in white wearing sunglasses takes great interest in your quest to
blow up the Wicked One's family jewels. Might as well add him to the fold!

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: If Francis won't join you, then you need to use the Pendant first.    *
* Otherwise he may not even be in the hut!                                    *
*******************************************************************************

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Francis   |  8| 12|  8|  9| 14| 10| 5|Ae|Staff/Inc|
-----------------------------------------------------

Hey, another mage! He starts with the very last Aes spell you can learn: The
Tower! Too bad that spell is impractical in almost every situation with its 4
turn Cast Time! Intelligence 14 is pretty good! 

The problem is that we now have a logjam of mages, and mages take long enough
to train. If you have any two of Elysed, Kreisa, Arthur, and Mirane trained
with a variety of spells, it might not be worth spending time with Francis.

Let's continue our search for the Shard!

West Bicornia:
Looks like the bandits once had possession of the Shard, but someone made off
with it. 

East Bicornia:
"Excuse me, do you know of a Scarlet Shard?"

"SO YOU HAVE CHOSEN DEATH!"

....

...if you insist. Whoop up on the three Bicornian Soldiers and move on.

Sanhigh:
"Pardon me, but have you seen anything resembling a red stone?"

"Yeah, come with me...GRRRRRRHHHHH I'LL SHOW U RED HAAHAAHAHAHA!!!"

...see where this is going? Gotta beat up the Sanhigh lady and two thugs.

Yumen:
I think we know what's coming here. Balmaint asks about shard, response is that
he chose death. Beat up more citizens and move on.

Pixkimarigan:
...even the priests are going insane over red rocks? Sigh, let's beat up some
Pixkimarigan knights.

Adamas Tower:
...oh wait, no fight this time? So he knows where the Shard is? "Er...no...I
know nothing." Yeah, sure pal. 

Time to go mining.

It doesn't matter which mine you pick: Bollinger, Jardina, or Tula. 

Bollinger has three Sword Servants (zombies) and a Netherworld Root (undead
plant that loves to poison with Corpse Moss among other things).

Jardina has two flamethrowing Ogres. If you don't Stun, Paralyze, or put them
to sleep, you're going to be in a world of hurt!

Tula has a boss fight:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Deepfish

Yep, another giant squid that does giant squid stuff. You know what to do by
now. 

This time, he's accompanied by a Hellhound. It likes to Howl (speed up)
followed by Fang Salvo (damage to entire Retinue + chance of Stun). 

Sacculina is a roly-poly. It's the least of your concerns.

Try to Paralyze either the Deepfish or the Hellhound and focus fire on the one
that's not Paralyzed. If you can paralyze them both, awesome! 
=======================

When finished with either one of the mines, you score a Shard! OBJECTIVE
COMPLETE!

When finished, continue from whichever section that has a Shard you want to go
after next. 

If this IS your final Shard, skip to "[Scarlet Shards] Int.2.9 After Blowing Up
The Last Shard..." and put Arthur in your Retinue (unless you really want him
to leave you during Part 7).

**********************************************
* [Scarlet Shards] Int.2.8 Marchiam Numadica *
**********************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- From Part 4 Intro onward

Well...we're back. We can't run away from bad memories forever. 

Sasha's not all chomping at the bit to blow up a Shard here for some reason. 

...and wait a sec...Belike is back?!!! That usually doesn't happen for other
Protagonists!

In any case, use the Pendant. There's no shooting star, but we do see sparkles
coming out of Ashina. 

Ashina:
Balmaint asks the person there if they know anything of a red stone. He mumbles
to himself something about "Remus" changing because of a red stone. When asked
to tell us more, he gets angry for picking at his old wounds. Arthur shows no
pity--he wants him to spill what he knows! The man tells them to leave him
alone. 

So...how are we going to get any info from him? The Region is still in crappy
shape, so there may not even BE anyone to help us out here. Let's see:

Belike:
Nope. The town is back, but not the people.

Chyokun:
Nope. Nothing here either. 

Shaams Cave:
Nothing here.

Salt Cave:
Definitely nothing here. 

So what can we do? We leave the Region, that's what! 

Leave and re-enter Numadica, then go to Ashina.

Ashina:
You ask the man about the Scarlet Shard. He says that they need it to rebuild
the village as well as the rest of Numadica. So he won't let us have it. Either
you can honor his request or you can take it by force.

If you do your executioner thing, he'll plea for you not to take it. If you
insist, then...

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Selhaan

He's an archer, so you should be familiar with what he's about to attack you
with. 
=======================

Win the fight and you get the Shard. Sasha blows it up. Ashina is no more. Way
to go! OBJECTIVE COMPLETE! No more civilization in Numadica. You jerk.

If you choose to stand down, then re-entering Ashina will get reconstruction
going. Leave and re-enter Numadica (telling OOC Sasha that you are NOT giving
up) and keep checking on Ashina a bunch of times. Eventually the man will be
finished with the Shard, give it to you, and offer to join you:

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Hongswan  |  8| 14| 11|  7|  9| 13| 3|Un|Bow      |
-----------------------------------------------------

(Selhaan is his Nyu Tribe name and Hongswan is his Ashina Tribe name)

This is arguably the best Archer in the game with those high DEX and ACU
scores! Low END and 3 LP make him quite the glass cannon. He would be a full-
blown upgrade from Colleen if it weren't for the LP. If you have an A and a B
team going, you can have Hongswan be the 1B to Colleen's 1A (or vice versa,
depending on whether you want an emo or a Karen on your A team). 

His unique role drops his speed, so you may want to turn it off for now.

Shard Sasha'd. OBJECTIVE COMPLETE'D.

When finished, continue from whichever section that has a Shard you want to go
after next. 

If this IS your final Shard, put Arthur in your Retinue (unless you really want
him to leave you during Part 7) and read on.

***************************************************************
* [Scarlet Shards] Int.2.9 After Blowing Up The Last Shard... *
***************************************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
Either:
A) When the last accessible Scarlet Shard is destroyed (or Adill runs off with
    it in case of [Scarlet Shards] Int.2.5 Marchiam Megdasse), or
B) After you have visited every accessible Shard Region at least once during
    this Intermission, select "I'm calling it quits" after Sasha asks if you
    want to give up on finding the Shards (Meta Reason: anti-softlock mechanic,
    Story Reason: no ****ing clue, maybe Sasha's huffed too much of that shard
    dust after destroying so many of those things).

*******************************************************************************
* LAST WARNING: If this Intermission was started during Part 6A, put Arthur   *
* in your Retinue now if he's not already, unless you are going for an        *
* Arthur-specific ending and are well aware of the consequences!              *
*******************************************************************************

After blowing up the Shard in the last Region you have access to (or choosing
to give up on finding them when asked), Sasha will mention that there is one
more Shard...the Pendant. 

If you think Sasha was on some serious drugs telling you to give up on finding
more Shards...wait until you hear the crap that comes out of Balmaint's mouth!

He flat out refuses to blow the damn thing up! Why? Some Lawful Stupid code of
honor: he says he has no right to do what he wants with what an executed person
trusted him with! Arthur reminds Bal that Sigfrei is not even dead yet as he
resurrected himself! What does Balmaint call this? Sophistry! If Sasha wants to
destroy the Pendant, she's gonna have to kill him first! Arthur can join her if 
he wants! 

Ladies and gentlemen, if you ever wondered what Lawful Stupid is, this is
Exhibit A. 

Then again, it may be an excuse to have one Protagonist flat out refuse to have
Sasha destroy their heirloom (Urpina would have been a much better choice for
this than Balmaint, but what do I know?).

Anyway, Sasha understands, but she says the Spirituals don't answer to humans, 
and she won't back down. So...boss fight!

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Blackworm
    
So...what is in this ugly ass thing's repertoire?
    
- Call: Reorders the Sacculinas (swaps where they are in the turn order and/or
    changes their actions--usually to a conditional ????). A wasted action for
    the most part.
- Noxious Explosion: Damage to one Retinue member plus a long Delay (pretty 
    much to the end of the timeline)
- Scissor Strike: Slash damage to one character.
- War Stomp: Rolls over your Retinue like a bowling ball for heavy damage. You
    should only see this if the fight drags on long enough for the enemy side
    to have enough BP to use this.
    
If you kill any of the Sacculinas, new ones will fall from the sky on the
next turn to replace them, so just concentrate on the Blackworm.
=======================

So who will top Balmaint in completely asinine behavior? We won't know during
this Intermission because it's over now!

                ***********************************************
                * [Scarlet Shards] End of Second Intermission *
                ***********************************************
*******************************************************************************
* If you started this Intermission by detour during an earlier Part, then     *
* scroll back up to where you were, and refer to your regularly scheduled     *
* Sigfrei headhunting already in progress. If you were forced to do this      *
* because of a certain law clerk's boredom, then please skip to the Part 7    *
* section of this guide.                                                      *
*******************************************************************************
                           
**************************************************************
* [Earth Serpent] Int.2.1 Marchiam Megdasse (Trigger Region) *
**************************************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- From Part 2 Intro onward, but only if Intermission is triggered here

When you enter Megdasse, you'll notice a giant hole open near the Kaikow
Quarters. Go to the Quarters itself and Converse. 

Kaikow Quarters:
The townsperson tells you that the glyph is a picture of the Beast King, guard-
ian of the Kaikow people themselves. Once the king awakens, Kaikow will rule
the world. The Empire feared this prediction and ordered the Kaikow people to
watch over the image. 

Now leave the Quarters and go to its observation tower:

Kaikow Observation Tower:
Let's get a better view--OMGWTFSNEK!!! It's blocking our view!

Yep, a giant snek and his black armored buddies. 

Before we deal with them, let's do the usual Common Quest Primer:

The [Earth Serpent] Quest has more in common with [Phoenix] than it does
[Sigfrei] or [Scarlet Shards]. The goal is to defeat the Serpent with the
Emperor's Saw in the same Trigger Region used to start the Quest. Other Regions
do have [Earth Serpent] Objectives, but they're not all that important unless
you're trying to recruit certain characters. 

If you started this Intermission during Part 6A and you want to go through the
Urpina Kidnapping Events (which is pretty much THE REASON for a Part 6A [Earth
Serpent]), then the other Regions then become VERY important! For the record,
the following Regions have snek Objectives:

- Marchiam Megdasse (Trigger Region from Part 2 onward, MUST TRIGGER HERE
    DURING PART 6A if you want to start the Urpina Kidnapping Events!)
- Provincia Kei
- Marchiam Yaxart
- Urbs Azhuacan (Accessible during the course of the Intermission regardless
    of when it's started)
- Provincia Cindrea
- Provincia Rhonicum (Trigger Region during Part 4 and 4A only, accessible
    during Part 6 and 6A without being a Trigger Region)
- Provincia Thracini (Trigger Region from Part 3 onward, disabled during Part
    6, and then re-enabled during the forced second Intermission intro. DO NOT
    trigger here if you want to start the Urpina Kidnapping Events!)

In addition, if you go down the special Urpina Kidnapping Route, the following
Regions have events:

- Provincia Cerenaif 
- Mare Ilfee
- Northeast Boundary

Before we fight the snek, we have to deal with the Golems first. Once you deal
with them:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Earth Serpent

The snek will start off using Call to the Earth to summon miniature versions of
itself. The minisneks will use mostly biting attacks that can inflict Poison. 
They're not a huge threat, but can be annoying. 

Other attacks from the big boy include:

Charging Slash: Moderate damage to the entire Retinue
Fatal Stab: Heavy piercing damage to one character
Poison Breath: Exactly what it says on the tin to a single character
Earth Wave: Heavy damage to your entire Retinue. This sucks. A lot.

Put our green-haired Karen in the Retinue and have her Shadow Weave longboi.
Add some Poison to the mix by having either Patricia or Giselle use Apid Venom
or have Chiago or Tissisaaq use Mizuchi. Have everyone else use their best
techniques and spells and he should go down within a few rounds or so.
=======================

...and by go down I mean pop back up like nothing happened. Have you ever
experienced deja vu? I think I am...

So we need the Emperor's Power Tool to cut the snek to bits, so we need to make
a trip to Azhuacan to get it. Of course it won't be that easy, would it?

In any case, taking out the Serpent was the blood sacrifice needed to light up
the Kaikow Glyph. 

Anyway, we have a Saw to acquire!

*****************************************
* [Earth Serpent] Int.2.2 Provincia Kei *
*****************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- From the start

In order to get to Azhuacan, we have to pass through Kei. Unfortunately longboi
had the same idea.

Arthur and Bal are wondering if Castle Kohan is OK after the resulting earth-
quake. Well yes but actually no. There's a lot of Earth Golems around Kei and 
we have to get through those to get to the Serpent.

Earth Golems (take your pick, doesn't matter):
...but they never end! After defeating at least one encounter of these chumps,
examine the Unremarkable Tree.

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: If you want to recruit Julia, you must complete the following events  *
* (along with events during first Intermission [Phoenix]).                    *
*******************************************************************************

Unremarkable Tree:
Well you almost avoided taking an arrow to the knee...or worse. Said arrow has
a letter on it: 

"The well runs dry. Please do something about it."

It doesn't have anything to do with the Earth Serpent, but since it's a
domestic affair, that responsibility falls on Arthur's shoulders. So we have to
look into it. 

Fine.

Southwest of the tree is our well in question:

Old Well:
Hop on in! Immediately we're greeted by a robed figure who's appalled by us
profaning Lord Savnok's subterranean temple. Get use to it, buddy. We're coming
for you, your armored mooks, that long bastard above ground, your children,
your mother, and your clothes! Savnok's not gonna save you from us!

...and after the battle, we get none of those things. Then again, we CAN get
two of those things now: the armored mooks will die and we'll be able to get to
longboi.

Earth Golems (pick one):
Doesn't matter which one you pick--it's a two-part encounter either way.

After that, all the Golems are gone! Now for the Serpent.

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Earth Serpent

Fight's exactly the same as the one in Megdasse, Thracini, or Rhonicum
(whichever Region you started this Intermission from).
=======================

Now that that's settled, OBJECTIVE COMPLETE! We can go to Azhuacan. Before we
do, if you started this Intermission sometime after Part 2, then why not take a
stop in Yaxart to deal with the snek here? That way we don't have to backtrack.

*******************************************
* [Earth Serpent] Int.2.3 Marchiam Yaxart *
*******************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- From Part 3 onward

We're back! Look who joined the party! Yep. Them golem bastards and their giant
friend...

...er...wait. No...giant...friend?

Nope. Just six encounters with Golems surrounding the place. Take em out! Some
of the encounters will have a mix of other things like metal chickens and the
like.

After clearing all six of them out, the Serpent finally comes out of hiding!
Take him out as well!

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Earth Serpent

Same drill. Same snek. Same minisneks.
=======================

OBJECTIVE COMPLETE! On to Azhuacan!

*****************************************
* [Earth Serpent] Int.2.4 Urbs Azhuacan *
*****************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- After fighting the Earth Serpent at least once in the Trigger Region that was
    used to start the Intermission.

Before we go rent us a power tool, notice that you have a little more access
to Azhuacan now! If this Intermission was started earlier than Part 6, then
you'll have access three out of the four quadrants of Azhuacan (northeast will
be blocked off). If this was started during Part 6 or 6A, then all four quad-
rants should be accessible.

I wouldn't bother with the Black Market right now: you still won't have the
three required weapons for recruiting Sabit unless this is a New Game+ or you
somehow got a (True) Katana at this point and the Twister from the Mare Ilfee's
Side Quests. The Endgame is close--you'll be back here in Azhuacan soon!

If you have access to the northeast quadrant, try to get to...

North Market:
This Smithy deals with Prisma Crystals, so this one can upgrade equipment that
even the Black Market can't. 

Select the Bustling Boulevard and hear the Minstrel's tale. Select it again,
and you'll run into the Arch Witch! She can train one of your party members in
a type of magic or the Staff. 

There is a way to recruit her: you have to repeat this process SEVENTEEN more
times! No, I'm not kidding! 

Unfortunately you can't just leave and re-enter the North Market 17 times. You
have to go through around 6-8 battles before you re-enter each time.

Before you consider going through the grind, you may want to recruit Tsubaki
in the Southeast Boundary first. Otherwise if you recruit the Arch Witch now,
Tsubaki will no longer be recruitable, so I would suggest holding off until
then.

...but if you really want the Arch Witch on this trip (and either you recruited
Tsubaki already or you don't want to do so this Playthrough), you can hit up
the Arena for the required battles.

Arena:
If you have around 350 HP or so, you'll be allowed to battle. Win three battles
and you'll be the champions! The first time you win three battles you'll 
get the Vermilion Rose. Each time afterward you'll get Dragon Scales (and many
of the best weapons and armor require these to upgrade!).

So if you want the Arch Witch, win the Battle Arena tournament twice, go back
to the North Market, have the Arch Witch train one of your mages, rinse and
repeat 17 times. Once you do that, you'll recruit one of the top two mages in
the game!

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Arch Witch|  6|  9|  8|  6| 16| 11| 4|Te|Staff/Inc|
-----------------------------------------------------

Min-maxed magician is min-maxed! This is a character that is the best at magic
and literally nothing else!!! If you did all that grinding to get the Arch-
Witch at this point, she DESERVES to be a part of your team! Since she only
starts with the spells Crimson Flare and Churning Earth, she'll still have a
long way to catch up to Ms. Thunder and Ms. Lightning.

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: If you don't want to do all that grinding now or you would rather     *
* hold off until you recruit Tsubaki, you'll have access to Azhuacan again    *
* during the Endgame.                                                         *
*******************************************************************************

At this point, let's go to the crowd of soldiers in the southeast quadrant:

Holy Republic Soldiers:
You ask about the almighty power tool of the emperor. Maximus may or may not
be here depending on when this Intermission was started and from where. The
Soldiers tell you that you need someone of House Julanius blood to use it, but
first you have to deal with longboi and his buddies here in Azhuacan:

The first encounter is with a Greater Devil, even though there's no boss music
here. Treat him like the Frosty Djinn, Dark Ifrit, and other similar monsters.

The second one is the snek:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Earth Serpent

This time he starts with the minisneks already out to play. Otherwise it's the
same antics.
=======================

From here the events are going to be different depending on when you started
the second Intermission and which Trigger Region you used:

IF DURING PART 4 OR 5 REGARDLESS OF TRIGGER REGION:
---------------------------------------------------
Arthur immediately shoots down the idea of going to House Julanius for help, as
he thinks they'll come up with some kind of excuse not to give them the Saw.

So you'll have to go to the Marigan Temple and go through the trials.

Marigan Temple:
:UNDER CONSTRUCTION:

In the end you get the Saw. I guess if Marigan finds you worthy you don't need
no stinkin Julanius. You can skip to "[Earth Serpent] Int.2.11 Back To Where
The Snek First Appeared" if you want or for S&Gs, have that long bastard follow
you to other Regions and skip to the appropriate section.

IF DURING PART 6 REGARDLESS OF TRIGGER REGION:
----------------------------------------------
This time you'll either get a choice to have Maximus join you or serve the Holy
Republic nutjobs. Have him join you and he'll take the Saw with him:

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Maximus   | 12| 11|  6| 12| 12|  9| 5|Ae|L. Sword |
-----------------------------------------------------

You know what Julanius means? It means Duelanius. It means not ONE Long Sword,
but TWO! Needless to say, this man has a permanent spot in your Retinue. He
starts with Dual Cross Cut (damage bonus to Undead) and within a Round or two
of using that, should glimmer Dual Whirlwind! That technique when ranked up is
one of the best in the game! There are a few that are better, but this one is
probably the best for its BP cost!

With the Saw acquired, OBJECTIVE COMPLETE!

You can go back to your original Trigger Region, go Splatterhouse on the
Serpent, and end the Intermission, or you can go through more [Earth Serpent]
events for S&Gs.

For Splatterhouse: Skip to Section "[Earth Serpent] Int.2.11 Back To Where The
    Snek First Appeared"

If you let Maximus work with the Holy Republic, then you will have to get the
Saw yourself from Marigan Temple:

Marigan Temple:
:UNDER CONSTRUCTION:

In the end you get the Saw. I guess if Marigan finds you worthy you don't need
no stinkin Julanius. You can skip to "[Earth Serpent] Int.2.11 Back To Where
The Snek First Appeared" if you want or for S&Gs, have that long bastard follow
you to other Regions and skip to the appropriate section.

IF DURING PART 6A:
------------------
In this case, you'll get the same choices as Part 6, but with a twist! 

You can have Maximus stay with you or have him dedicate himself to the Holy
Republic. 

If he stays, he joins like the Part 6 events:

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Maximus   | 12| 11|  6| 12| 12|  9| 5|Ae|L. Sword |
-----------------------------------------------------

You know what Julanius means? It means Duelanius. It means not ONE Long Sword,
but TWO! Needless to say, this man has a permanent spot in your Retinue. He
starts with Dual Cross Cut (damage bonus to Undead) and within a Round or two
of using that, should glimmer Dual Whirlwind! That technique when ranked up is
one of the best in the game! There are a few that are better, but this one is
probably the best for its BP cost!

However, if you choose to have him dedicate himself to the Holy Republic, then
you'll get the Saw and you'll be told by Maximus to seek out his son Antonius
so HE can go Splatterhouse on some snek! 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT TO DO! Yes, Maximus is badassimus,
but his son is just as good and you can get some other characters as well!

So say goodbye to Maximus! We're grabbing the Saw and finding his son! This
triggers the [URPINA KIDNAPPING EVENTS].

*********************************************
* [Earth Serpent] Int.2.5 Provincia Cindrea *
*********************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- During Part 2 Intro if Cindrea is unlocked before starting the Intermission
- From Part 3 Intro onward

For S&Gs, the Serpent has appeared in Cindrea. House Erakleos isn't giggling
but some of the soldiers posted at the dam might be doing the other thing.
Then again, I didn't see "diapers" in Saqqara's Product Development list...

Speaking of Saqqara...

Saqqara:
Converse here. The lady doesn't think the dam will fall because Imhokiel built
that thing with his own hands. Oh well, we tried.

Erakleos Soldiers:
The soldiers here say they value defense above all else. Long-term sieges are a
basic tactic of war. 

Hadasht:
Irene of House Erakleos is readying the troops, as protecting the dam is their
number one priority. She muses that House Julanius should be dealing with the
Earth Serpent, and not her! 

Fisherman (north-northwest of the dam):
If you haven't done this earlier, examine the fisherman, and he tells you that
there is a mythical treasure at the bottom of the lake. He hasn't had any luck
finding treasure or catching fish. He says that the legendary beast at the
bottom of the lake may be eating everything up.

Some bubbles appear in the lake! The fisherman thinks it's the legendary beast
and runs away! Well, time to slay some legendary beast!

Foam:
Examine the foam for a double encounter, the first being three Rubybugs (not so
legendary yet). The second is two Goblin Warriors and two Loup-Garous (not so
legendary either, but Loup-Garous = flamethrowing Ogres, and we know how
dangerous those are, so get your Shadow Weaves, Tumbles, and the like ready)!

Welp...that "legendary beast" was less than impressive. Perhaps the legend has
yet to show itself?

Earth Golems (around the dam):
If this Intermission was started during Part 6A, you MUST fight these guys
first before fighting the Serpent if you want to recruit Raphael (and you want
some...tragedy...to happen).

Of course they regenerate...of course. 

Time for the big one again.

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Earth Serpent

Back to old tactics. Has to use Call to the Earth to get the minisneks out
(they're actually called "Soil Worms").
=======================

IF THIS INTERMISSION IS NOT DURING PART 6A:
-------------------------------------------

...well the dam didn't fall. OBJECTIVE COMPLETE! 

...except...the Golems are still around? Yeah, we have to finish them off.

If you go back to Saqqara, it's "praise by Imhokiel." Um...WE'RE the ones that
did all the work. "Bah, people like that are everywhere," says Bal. 

If you go back to Hadasht, Irene says she received a report of a strange group
battling the Earth Serpent and its golems. Bal tells her that we are the group
in question. She says she'll let such "insolence" pass this time, but if we do
that again, the punishment will be swift and severe. Arthur says that, despite
being a simple law clerk, he doesn't see how she can punish outsiders for dis-
obeying her orders. Irene replies that House Erakleos serves as the emperor's
proxy in the battle against the Infernals, which means subjects and outsiders
alike are obligated to obey their will. Is that clear enough, "clerk"? Arthur
reiterates that she's terrifying, and Bal says that it's understood, and that
we'll toe the line from here on out.

Anyway, S&Gs are over (Irene takes the Gs away and often adds the Ses). Time
to prime the pump on our magical power tool.

IF THIS INTERMISSION IS DURING PART 6A:
---------------------------------------

If everything was done in the correct order, OBJECTIVE COMPLETE, but...the dam
collapses.

Saqqara has been wiped out, and where the lake stood is...a city?

We also see that the Fisherman is back. Talk to him and have him join us:

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Raphael   | 10|  9| 11|  8|  9| 11| 8|Ae|S. Sword |
-----------------------------------------------------

This is definitely NOT the Raphael from the first Romancing SaGa. One thing
both Raphaels have in common are that they join very late and that it's hard to
find a place for them in your Retinue. This Raphael loves fishing, has high LP,
and has a Tissisaaq-like Unique Role, but his low availability and mediocre
overall stats aren't enough to swing the pendulum in his favor.

If you pick up the materials (three sets of sparkles) from the dam's collapse,
you should receive some Beast Hides and Scales.

Hadasht:
:UNDER CONSTRUCTION: I think Irene is pissed off, but somehow we're spared...

Anyway, let's assess the rest of the damages:

Saqqara:
It looks like the people of Saqqara got away. Arthur says the people have
probably lost their faith in Imhokiel, and that their town will never recover
from this. Bal tells Arthur that he doesn't know that. Now is when they need
the power of Imhokiel more than ever. He will give them the strength they need
to rebuild.

Now let's investigate that city that was underneath the lake:

Mysterious City:
So what is this city and why was it here? Bal says it must be the legendary
city of Ur-Saqqara--the city of the false emperor.

We get a double encounter for our troubles.

After that, :UNDER CONSTRUCTION:

So let's see what Thicc Duchess says about this:

Hadasht:
:UNDER CONSTRUCTION:

Now let's leave and re-enter Cindrea. We have a Side Quest involving a mangy
doge. And crabs. Lots of crabs. They're blocking just about everything.

To get rid of the crabs, we fight the mother of all crabs that's parked at
what's left of the Imhokiel Dam:

Evercrab:
Get ready for a double encounter, the second being (supposedly) the queen
itself.

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Queen Crab

This game's limited bestiary strikes again! It's a spider enemy! It does usual
spider stuff.
=======================

Well there goes the crabs. Now let's see what the dog wants.

Bottled Meat:
Bottled...meat? When prompted, choose to give it to the dog. If you don't, you
won't be able to rebuild Saqqara or get the Scarlet Beast to appear in Cindrea.

Now SAVE YOUR GAME before going any further!!! Autosave won't bail you out if
you mess up here!

The dog will reappear multiple times with two types of treasure. If you examine
the treasure CLOSEST to the dog, there will be an item, and you get to choose
whether to give it back to Saqqara or keep it for yourself. 

There are three "strikes" toward rebuilding Saqqara and there are no mulligans
when it comes to the hot springs dog or the Scarlet Fiend.

If you "strike out," by keeping three or more treasures for yourself (or by
opening the treasure FARTHEST AWAY from the dog three or more times), then
Saqqara won't be rebuilt. However, if you do keep one or two items for
yourself, Saqqara will be rebuilt, but the hot springs dog and the Scarlet
Fiend won't appear. 

So for our purposes, examine the CLOSEST treasure and ALWAYS return them to the
town!

After doing this five times, the town gets restored!

Now go to about the southwest part of the Region, south of Hadasht, but east of
Taiffa. It's the doggo again!

Filthy Dog:
It found a hot spring! And the dog is...white? If those springs can clean up
that dog, I guess it can clean anything!

If you walk somewhere between Taiffa, Sanhigh, and the hot springs, the Scarlet
Fiend should appear (as long as your battle rank is high enough).

Anyway, we're finally done here. 

***************************************************************
* [Earth Serpent] Int.2.6 Provincia Rhonicum (Trigger Region) *
***************************************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------
- Trigger Region: Part 4 only
- General Access: Part 5 onward

If [URPINA KIDNAPPING EVENTS] have been triggered, then you noticed a black
flag on top of Fort Kathrin as you entered from Gradion.

When you enter Rhonicum, you'll notice a giant hole open just a bit southeast
of Fort Kathrin. Inspect it and OMGWTFSNEK!

Earth Serpent:
Inspect again and...

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Earth Serpent

If you triggered the Intermission from Megdasse or Thracini, then you know what
this fight is about. 

If this is your first battle (because you triggered the Intermission here in
Rhonicum), then here's what this long bastard does:

The snek will start off using Call to the Earth to summon miniature versions of
itself. The minisneks will use mostly biting attacks that can inflict Poison. 
They're not a huge threat, but can be annoying. 

Other attacks from the big boy include:

Charging Slash: Moderate damage to the entire Retinue
Fatal Stab: Heavy piercing damage to one character
Poison Breath: Exactly what it says on the tin to a single character
Earth Wave: Heavy damage to your entire Retinue. This sucks. A lot.

Put our green-haired Karen in the Retinue and have her Shadow Weave longboi.
Add some Poison to the mix by having either Patricia use Apid Venom or Arthur
use Poison Mist. Have everyone else use their best techniques and spells and he
should go down within a few rounds or so.
=======================

...and by go down I mean pop back up like nothing happened. 

If you triggered the Intermission here, then you will need to go to Azhuacan
to get the Emperor's Almighty Power Tool to cut the snek to bits.

If you triggered elsewhere, then you already know this or you have the Saw
(and either Maximus or Marigan's blessing to use it). 

If you triggered the [URPINA KIDNAPPING EVENTS], then things get a whole lot
worse for House Julanius. 

Silmium [URPINA KIDNAPPING EVENTS]:
Longboi's black armored buddies are attacking Silmium. When you arrive, they
want you to die. Request denied!

After getting rid of some Earth Golems, a man is wondering where his sister's
at. This is Antonius Julanius. 

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Antonius  | 14| 12|  7| 11|  8| 10| 6|Ae|L. Sword |
-----------------------------------------------------

Higher STR and DEX than his father, still slow as hell like his father, but
still makes up for it by Julanius meaning Duelanius. So you couldn't make
Maximus a permanent staple in your Party. Boohoo. Make THIS MAN a permanent
part of it. Things are about to get a whole lot...well...keep playing. 

We are now tasked with chasing down that group that kidnapped his sister and
rescuing her. This will be known as the [URPINA RESCUE] Route. 

There are actually two ways to stay on this Route:

1) The Normal Way: you're basically playing a version of Urpina's Story with
the roles between Urpina and Antonius reversed! You'll pretty much have the
same choices that she had for Antonius as to whether to say on the [RESCUE]
route or to go down the alternate [BLACK-ROBE] route. In this case, the
alternate route is the [ARMORED MAIDEN] route. 

2) The Jerkass Way: You have the Saw, don't you? You have a Julanius, don't
you? You have everything you need to defeat the Serpent for good. So forget
about Urpina and skip to Section "[Earth Serpent] Int.2.11 Back To Where The
Snek First Appeared." This will end the Intermission, but the Endgame events
will still be the [URPINA RESCUE] route!

If you're doing a speedrun, the Jerkass Way is quite appealing, but there are
faster ways to get through the game than to give Antonius hope and then crap on
him. You also miss out on recruiting Lewis Darling (aka: Daddy Lighthouse),
Angle, Socrates, and Lord Stabiae! It also bypasses the possibility of the
[ARMORED MAIDEN] route and recruiting the eponymous character. 

So don't be a jerkass. Let's go chase these bastards down.

*************************************************************************
* [Earth Serpent] Int.2.7 Provincia Cerenaif (Urpina Kidnapping Events) *
*************************************************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------

Region: 
- From Part 6 onward, and only if unlocked during Part 5

Events:
- Part 6A only, must have Maximus leave party during Int.2.4 and recruit
    Antonius during Int.2.6.

We're back in the haunted part of SaGa Scarlet Grace. Since we cleaned up just
about everything that matters here, we shouldn't have anything stopping us from
following Urpina's kidnappers, so let's make a beeline to Zegna!

Zegna:
Well crap. They got away! 

You try to get a ship to go after them, but the Captain says they can't do it
without their navigator. You have a few options here:

A) Wait for the navigator.
B) Find the navigator.
or
C) Say "screw the navigator" and have the ship take off now, having Antonius
pay with Imperial Plot Monies.

If you choose A), nothing happens. 

Choose B), and you have to go south into the Labyrinth to find the navigator.
A few battles and some random turns later you find him. Go back to Zegna and
you'll set sail smoothly.

Choose C) and you'll actually set sail! It's not quite smooth (Sailing Under
the Influence?), but you make it to your next destination anyway...

*****************************************************************
* [Earth Serpent] Int.2.8 Mare Ilfee (Urpina Kidnapping Events) *
*****************************************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------

Region: 
- From Part 6 onward, and only if Cerenaif is unlocked during Part 5

Events:
- Part 6A only, must have Maximus leave party during Int.2.4 and recruit
    Antonius during Int.2.6.

Did I mention pirates are a staple of SaGa games?

*MAP*

You're standing outside the town of New Wise. Inspect the kidnappers' ship and
they will sail away. Antonius asks where the ship is headed and the Seafarers,
the pirates of the Mare Ilfee, won't cooperate. Don't despair! Suddenly the 
Man of all Men, His Magnificence, the Daddy of all Lighthouses simply commands
the vermin to cooperate anyway. They reveal that the kidnappers went to Old
Wise. You will have this option to have Mr. Lighthouse guide you:

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Lewis                                             
|    Darling| 11|  8| 13| 12|  7|  9| 7|Un|M. Arts  |
-----------------------------------------------------

His DEX and ACU are low, but you can fix that with some equipment. INT is a
dump stat--Daddy Lighthouse ain't touching magic without good reason. The rest
of his stats are pretty good! He says he's just a lighthouse keeper. The fist
marks in many a Seafarer's head say differently.

THIS is your replacement for Robert. Robert is just a lowly bodyguard. This is
Daddy Mother****ing Lighthouse! When Lewis Darling steps into the Mare Ilfee he
doesn't get wet. The water gets Lewis Darling.

Anyway, before we go to Old Wise:

SAVE YOUR GAME IN A SEPARATE SLOT!

This is a major branching point in this Intermission! Your choices here will
determine the following:

1) Whether you get a certain set of Endgame events and Ending by CONTINUING to
rescue Urpina. This will be referred to as the Urpina Rescue Route (at least
without using the Jerkass Method).
2) Whether or not you can recruit the Armored Maiden in Part 7 by choosing the
option to END the rescue efforts. This will be referred to as the Armored
Maiden Route.

Did you save? Yes? Good. Now then...

Old Wise:
One fight later, you've caught up to Savnok's lackeys. Here you will have the
first major choice to make: to destroy the Emperor's Saw or not.

If you destroy the Saw, you will automatically be placed on the (non-jerkass)
Urpina Rescue Route.

If you choose not to, then you will pursue Savnok's followers to...

Sugar Castle Lighthouse:
You are immediately greeted by a triple encounter. After this battle, you will
get a second set of choices. Choosing the first choice will place you on the
Armored Maiden Route, which will be marked [ARMORED MAIDEN] in this FAQ.
Choosing the second will continue the Urpina Rescue Route, which will be
marked [URPINA RESCUE]. 

[ARMORED MAIDEN] After the events here, you will have the Emperor's Saw intact.
Whenever you choose to, you can go back to Megdasse to destroy the Earth
Serpent for good, but there are some other things to do before doing so.

[URPINA RESCUE] After the events here, you'll be thrown into another boss
fight:

=======================
[URPINA RESCUE] BOSS FIGHT:
Urpina

"Bend the knee."

...only if you say "please."

You've seen what Antonius can do. You've probably seen what his father can do.
His sister can do the same thing. You know what Dual Whirlwind tastes like?
Surely not chicken. Definitely not like hot springs water. No Arthur, you
should not be relieved. 

She has another little surprise when her action shows ????. That's the third
dual-wield technique Dual Torrent. It interrupts Slash attacks with a bazillion
sword strikes that will surely kill whomever is unlucky enough to trigger that
Interrupt. So if you see ????, have someone with a Ranged attack quell it! You
DO NOT want to get hit with Dual Torrent. There won't BE a head left for Bal
to collect!

Have someone Protect Antonius and have him give his sister a taste of her own
medicine. That way if you do accidentally trigger Dual Torrent, it'll be that
person's armor and limbs on the pavement and not Antonius'.
=======================

After the fight, you will get one more opportunity to make a choice. Again,
first choice = [ARMORED MAIDEN] path, second choice = [URPINA RESCUE] path.

[URPINA RESCUE] After the fight, the Saw gets destroyed. Warranty is void.
Another boss fight:

=======================
[URPINA RESCUE] BOSS FIGHT:
Dark Kraken

AKA: Yet Another Giant Squid. 
=======================

[URPINA RESCUE] After THIS fight, Urpina gets taken away again by Savnok's
mooks. This is what happens by default, which is why the "Jerkass Method" works
the way it does...

...except you have a working Saw with the Jerkass method. Not so much when you
do the right thing. No good deed goes unpunished and all that good stuff.

[ARMORED MAIDEN] [URPINA RESCUE] Whether the next step is to cut up a large
snake into messy little pieces with a magical chainsaw or to find a way to
reforge said saw so you can do the deed, go back to New Wise to have Lewis
Darling offer to guide you through the Mare Ilfee.

After Lewis is finished guiding you (or everything gets out of his way), you
will be near Edinport. Choose to sail back to New Wise and Converse (you may
have to leave and re-enter town a few times)--we have another character to
recruit:

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Angle     | 12| 13| 10|  8|  9| 11| 5|Un|S. Sword |
-----------------------------------------------------

Angle is a great character: her stats lend to many different options. You can
use her as a direct upgrade to both Patricia AND Giselle (those Short Sword
statuses will land better with Angle's stats). If you don't want another Short
Sword user, you could have her go Martial Arts alongside her magnificent
colleague Lewis Darling (and, admittedly, Angle will do a BETTER job with
Tumble--Lewis has higher END, MOB, and LP, though). You could also have her
rock a Bow as an upgrade from Colleen somewhat (you might have to use equipment
to fix her INT a bit).

Anyway, let's sail back to Edinport so we can Converse and recruit Socrates:

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Socrates  | 10|  7|  7| 11| 11| 10| 7|Un|Spear    |
-----------------------------------------------------

Hmmmm...maybe you should stick to Chiago and/or Tissisaaq. His LP is pretty
good, but that's all he has going for him...

You might as well take a stop at the remaining town:

Battlwick:
If you are short on Staves, you can get some more here at the Trading Post. At
this point you should already have acquired some extras elsewhere.

Anyway, there is a Side Quest in the Mare Ilfee, but you won't have a free-
roaming boat until this Intermission is over, so we're pretty much done here.
Go west and pursue more head, ol executioner.

**************************************************************************
* [Earth Serpent] Int.2.9 Provincia Thracini (Trigger Region) OR [URPINA *
*     RESCUE] OR [ARMORED MAIDEN]                                        *
**************************************************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------

Region:
- From Part 3 Intro onward, but only if Intermission is triggered here
- Not available as a Trigger Region during Part 6, but will still have its
    events if unlocked during Part 6 and Intermission is started from another
    Trigger Region
- Becomes a Trigger Region again during Part 6A

Events:
- Part 6A only, must have Maximus leave party during Int.2.4 and recruit
    Antonius during Int.2.6.

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: I don't recommend triggering here. There are far more benefits to     *
* triggering from Megdasse than Thracini ([URPINA KIDNAPPING EVENTS] being    *
* the big one)                                                                *
*******************************************************************************

When you enter Thracini, you see that the Serpent popped up already and the
Golems are attacking Elhuacan! First thing you need to do is get rid of those!

After doing so, enter Elhuacan:

What happens here depends on which Part this Intermission was started from and/
or what Route you are on:

(Trigger Region) If Earlier than Part 6A:
-----------------------------------------

Elhuacan:
The Grand Empress Dowager (aka: Cool Ass Granny) is grateful that you defeated
the Golems. She mentions that the Emperor's Saw is the only weapon that can 
defeat the Serpent.

(Trigger Region) If Part 6A OR [ARMORED MAIDEN]:
------------------------------------------------

Elhuacan:
Unfortunately things are a lot more tragic for our Cool Ass Granny. You
bastards!

[URPINA RESCUE]:
----------------

Elhuacan:
No, the Grand Empress Dowager doesn't own a hardware store, but she is pleased
to see Antonius, despite House Julanius not exactly acknowledging the exist-
ence of the Eastern Imperium. Antonius does say that he has different plans for
the future of House Julanius which may change all of this for the better. In
any case, Granny Empress tells you to find the parts to repair the Saw in the
Northeast Boundary. So let's head back to cold ass nowhere and skip to Section
"[Earth Serpent] Int.2.10.1 Northeast Boundary [URPINA RESCUE]."

(Trigger Region) In any case, we still have longboi to deal with:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Earth Serpent

The snek will start off using Call to the Earth to summon miniature versions of
itself. The minisneks will use mostly biting attacks that can inflict Poison. 
They're not a huge threat, but can be annoying. 

Other attacks from the big boy include:

Charging Slash: Moderate damage to the entire Retinue
Fatal Stab: Heavy piercing damage to one character
Poison Breath: Exactly what it says on the tin to a single character
Earth Wave: Heavy damage to your entire Retinue. This sucks. A lot.

Put our green-haired Karen in the Retinue and have her Shadow Weave longboi.
Add some Poison to the mix by having either Patricia use Apid Venom or Arthur
use Poison Mist. Have everyone else use their best techniques and spells and he
should go down within a few rounds or so.
=======================

...and by go down I mean pop back up like nothing happened. Have you ever
experienced deja vu? I think I am...

So we need the Emperor's Power Tool to cut the snek to bits, so we need to make
a trip to Azhuacan to get it. Of course it won't be that easy, would it?

(Trigger Region) Part 6A/[ARMORED MAIDEN]: Before we leave Thracini, let's take
a stop in the far inferior town (and I'm not talking about Josgad Stable):

Stabiae:
Of course this guy disagrees with me. Oh well. At least you can recruit him.

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Lord                                             
|    Stabiae|  9| 12| 11|  7| 12| 10| 5|Ig|Staff/Inc|
-----------------------------------------------------

Take everything I hate about Lord Fomoire, add a dash of empathy (at least this
guy cares about his town and his people), make him playable for only two Pro-
tagonists very late in their Stories, give him only above average stats, and
you have this guy. Mages with low availability need top notch stats and the
best spells (like the Arch Witch and Sasha), but this guy has neither.

He has the same problems as Mirane, but at least Mirane is recruitable by any
Protagonist, is available longer for everyone not named Balmaint, and starts
off with healing spells that can get you through some situations. Again, this
guy has none of that. 

You can use him if you want to. I hate to keep him on the bench given his low
availability, but at this point, you have Elysed and likely Kreisa blowing this
"Lord" out of the water! Even if you don't have Kreisa, you might have Francis
and/or Mirane if your first Intermission was [Scarlet Shards]. If you did the
ridiculously long Azhuacan North Market back-and-forth mega-grind to get the

Arch Witch, then you DEFINITELY don't need Lord Stabiae!!

At least you can say you got this guy for the Character Trophy. If you're play-
ing on the Nintendo Switch, then...well...I don't know what to tell you.

*****************************************************************
* [Earth Serpent] Int.2.10.1 Northeast Boundary [URPINA RESCUE] *
*****************************************************************

AVAILABLE:
----------

Region:
- Part 6A only

Events:
- [URPINA RESCUE] route only. Not the Jerkass Version.

There's a guy drowning in the Abyssal Swamp again. Yep, we're going to ignore
him again. No this isn't another Jerkass Version of the [URPINA RESCUE] route.
It's a freaking trap, and we're not falling for it. 

Aside from that, let's get started:

The materials for rebuilding the Sawzinator 5000000 can be found in the five
locations surrounding Finemundi. Starting clockwise from the north:

Spirit Lake: 
Here you will need to select the reflection that fits your "true self."
Depending on which form you choose, you may or may not get a fight. Win the
battle if you get one and you will receive the "True Self" item. If no fight,
you'll get the "True Self" item outright. Not sure how a reflection can rebuild
a power tool, but oh well.

Everbloom Tree:
Win the battle here, and you'll see cherry blossoms blowing on the screen. 
You'll receive some "Eternal Blossoms" for your reward. OK, this is even
weirder.

Porta Inferni:
Win the encounter here and receive a "Lithic Heart." At least this one is more
plausible for reforging.

Abyssal Swamp:
OK, we're back to where the drowning guy was. Inspect it again and fight. Win
and you'll get the "Fenland Rock," a giant rock boat looking thing. I give up
on trying to connect these to a saw...

Fang Terrae:
Oh, this game. You would think that you'd be a single encounter away from
receiving the last item, right? WRONG! Save here because you're going to have
several encounters here without a chance to save in between!

After all that, you'll get the "Fang of the Mother." 

Now that we have all the items we need to forge the New and Improved Sawzinator
5000000, we could leave the Northeast Boundary, but before we do, let's explore
the last few places we can get to:

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: We could have gone through these steps during Part 6, but there's a   *
* reason I didn't mention it back then. If you wanted to go through second    *
* Intermission [Scarlet Shards], doing these steps before then would prevent  *
* you from recruiting Luna.                                                   *
*                                                                             *
* Since you chose second Intermission [Earth Serpent] instead, you can't re-  *
* cruit Luna anyway, so we might as well go through these steps now.          *
*******************************************************************************

Snowy Hut:
Here you'll find a research base where an Imperial Librarian has set up shop.
Not much else here...yet.

Go back to the Fisherman and inspect. Nothing else to pull up regardless of
which choice you take, but that's fine for now. 

Go back to the Adamas Shrine and inspect. Next, go back to the Snowy Hut. 
You'll see that it's covered in blood! If this were a corporated area, you'd
probably see it roped off with crime scene tape, but that doesn't happen in the
middle of nowhere.

Bloody Footprints:
Inspect these. You'll find that these lead to the large glaciers.

Glacier Wall:
Inspect this. There will be an encounter for each wall. Go ahead and beat em
up to get through. Once you do, you'll see:

Giant Freaking Monster:
One of the enemies in this encounter is a "Life Eater," which uses the Giant
Spider model. These guys are known for stuff like:

- Interrupting Pierce: Interrupts a Piercing attack with a Piercing attack that
hits your entire Retinue. Yeah...don't try to quell the ????.

- Feast: When it's down to about 2/3 of its health, it will eat one of the
other enemies and restore 2/3 of its health. If only the spider is left, it'll
"miss," essentially wasting its turn.

- Slash: No-frills moderate Slash damage to one Retinue member. 

- Heartpiercer: Heavy Piercing damage to one Retinue member. If anyone is low
on HP, have someone else use a Protect move (Rampart, Block, Deflect, etc.) to
keep him/her alive.

- Wild Pierce: Basically Interrupting Pierce without the Interrupt part. Not
fun. This particular Spider is immune to Paralyze and Sleep, so try to Stun it,
or if you can't do that, use Protect moves to keep your team alive. 

Once you defeat it...it stays...there...at least that's one more option for
grinding here in the Northeast Boundary.

Frozen Ship:
Double encounter (one Easy, one Hard). Second encounter is a...

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Black Drake and Gelatinous Matter (white):

The Black Drake will use Pick (Pierce damage to one Retinue member), Shockwave
(damages all Retinue members), and Fatal Bite (heavy Pierce damage to one
Retinue member with a chance of Instant Death). The Gelatinous Matter will do
usual Gelatinous stuff (similar to Macha's Toy back at Teach Na Macha in
Hibernia). 

Have your Archer use Shadow Weave on the Drake and focus everything else on the
Gelatin. You could also drop some Poison on the Drake if you feel sadistic
enough (Apid Venom from Patricia/Giselle/Angle, Poisonous Mist from one of your
Mages if any of them have it, Mizuchi from Tissisaaq or Chiago). 

The Gelatinous Matter may charge up the Siren spell. Try to Stun it to stop
the spell or kill it as fast as you can! It's also susceptible to Poison so
you can go that route as well!

Ideal team:
- Lewis or Robert: Tumble to Stun
- Antonius: Dual Cross Cut or Dual Whirlwind, Rampart to save lives
- Tissisaaq or Chiago: Mizuchi for Poison, Sweep for Stun
- Ms. Thunder or Ms. Lightning: what do you think?
- Colleen or whoever's on Archer duty: Shadow Weave to Paralyze the Drake, use
    other Bow techs to burst down the Gelatin (as it's immune to Paralysis)
======================= 

Once you beat these two, you'll discover a Ship's Log. After Arthur translates
what it says, go to:

Winter's Door:
Remember that Gargantuan Key you got from the Fisherman? Open er up! Let's
explore further!

Monster and Monster:
Infinite grind spot and infinite grind spot. Just like the big one. 

Giant Glacier with Even Bigger Monster Inside It:
He ded. Or so it seems. I think we've played enough RPGs to know where this is
going...

...except it's not going there yet. Wanna go there? 

You'll need to fight eight battles and then check the Natura mine directly west
of the Everbloom Tree. Instead of giving you Natura Crystals as usual (or a
monster during Part 6 because Sigfrei was Sigtrolling us), it will give you an
item called a Bronze Heart. If you got Natura Crystals instead, then you'll
need to inspect the frozen fiend again, fight eight more battles, and check the
same mine again.

If you got the Bronze Heart, go to the Frozen Fiend. Go ahead and offer the
Bronze Heart. As predicted, he gets unfrozen and he ain't happy, so inspect
it again for a tough battle:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Eternal Dragon

Yeah, a dragon. Remember the Red Dragon you fought in Thracini to get the Ignis
Elemental Weapon? Same drill here: breath attacks (damage to everyone), scream
(damage to everyone and BP -2), and tail whip (more damage to everyone). 

Again, it's is immune to Paralyze, but not Stun. You might want to break out
either Robert, Griffin, or Lewis with some DEX and ACU boosting equipment and
have them Tumble.

If either Tissisaaq or Chiago have Sweep, you can try using that to Stun as
well. Dragon is not immune to Poison so Mizuchi can help out.

Fight it the same way you fought the Red Dragon and you should be OK.
=======================

After the battle, a large sword symbol appears where the frozen fiend was. 
Inspect it and you'll receive the fifth and final Elemental Weapon: Aes!

As always the weapon you get typically depends on the highest weapon level
among all the characters in your party, but can't be the same type as any of
the four previous Elemental Weapons. Since there are only seven possible types
that it can be (no Staff), that narrows things down quite a bit!

Ok, we're finished here. We have our...I guess you can call them "materials."
Let's head back to Thracini.

***************************************************************
* [Earth Serpent] Int.2.10.2 Back to Thracini [URPINA RESCUE] *
***************************************************************

Welcome back! Let's go to...

Elhuacan:
We have the stuff. Apparently Granny's forge can magically use stone boats,
cherry blossoms, and ugly reflections of people and turn them into something
that would put Dewalt, Bosch, and Black & Decker out of business. It only
works for Protagonists named Balmaint and Taria for some reason. 

Either way, we have a new Saw! 

Before we go cut some long ass creatures up to itty bitty pieces, there's one
more character we can recruit. I hate to have this happen to our cool Granny,
but...

Leave and re-enter Thracini. Northeast Boundary or Termina will work for your
Region cycling.  

Once you get back in, we have more Golems attacking Elhuacan. Defeat them, and
enter town:

Elhuacan:
Unfortunately things just got tragic for our Cool Ass Granny. You bastards. :(

The reason we had to trigger this event was for this to happen in Stabiae:

Stabiae:
...and as a result, we can recruit him.

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Lord                                             
|    Stabiae|  9| 12| 11|  7| 12| 10| 5|Ig|Staff/Inc|
-----------------------------------------------------

Take everything I hate about Lord Fomoire, add a dash of empathy (at least this
guy cares about his town and his people), make him playable for only two Pro-
tagonists very late in their Stories, give him only above average stats, and
you have this guy. Mages with low availability need top notch stats and the
best spells (like the Arch Witch and Sasha), but this guy has neither.

He has the same problems as Mirane, but at least Mirane is recruitable by any
Protagonist, is available longer for everyone not named Balmaint, and starts
off with healing spells that can get you through some situations. Again, this
guy has none of that. 

You can use him if you want to. I hate to keep him on the bench given his low
availability, but at this point, you have Elysed and likely Kreisa blowing this
"Lord" out of the water! Even if you don't have Kreisa, you might have Francis
and/or Mirane if your first Intermission was [Scarlet Shards]. If you did the
ridiculously long Azhuacan North Market back-and-forth mega-grind to get the
Arch Witch, then you DEFINITELY don't need Lord Stabiae!!

At least you can say you got this guy for the Character Trophy. If you're play-
ing on the Nintendo Switch, then...well...I don't know what to tell you.

Ok, now that we had to...let's just go to Megdasse and go vroomvroomvroom and
chopchopchop on the Serpent because I don't want to talk about it. Otherwise
I'd use the Saw on Lord Stabiae for what I had to do to get him...

******************************************************************
* [Earth Serpent] Int.2.11 Back To Where The Snek First Appeared *
******************************************************************

Now that you have the Saw and someone of Julanius blood to use it (or Marigan
found you worthy and waived the Julanius requirement), let's cut some snek to
bits, shall we?

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Earth Serpent

This time he starts with the minisneks already out to play. Maybe the Soil
Worms are what comes out of him out of fear of the Saw? Um...OK, that's dis-
gusting. 

Anyway, nothing new here, except this time we're putting this big slimy bastard
away for good! In fact, having Maximus or Antonius around with Dual Whirlwind
should make this even easier!
=======================

Ah...don't you like covering an entire Region with giant snake guts?

[URPINA RESCUE] ...but where is Urpina? Antonius will stick around in our
battle against Sigfrei in hopes that we find her along the way.

                **********************************************
                * [Earth Serpent] End of Second Intermission *
                **********************************************
*******************************************************************************
* If you started this Intermission by detour during an earlier Part, then     *
* scroll back up to where you were, and refer to your regularly scheduled     *
* Sigfrei headhunting already in progress. If you were forced to do this      *
* because of a certain law clerk's boredom, then read on.                     *
*******************************************************************************

===============================================================================

                   *****************************************
                   * Part 7: Sigfrei in Azhuacan (Endgame) *
                   *****************************************

If after Part 6 and Intermission 2 was completed before or during Part 6 (not
6A), then you'll see this quote on screen:

"Some time after the defeat of Sigfrei in the Northeast Boundary..."

*******************************
* 7.1.1 Provincia Kei [Intro] *
*******************************

Sigfrei has been found in Azhuacan.

Arthur is worried. The fact that Sigfrei can resurrect seven times reminds him
of a certain wicked god. Balmaint thinks it's just a coincidence because people
like prime numbers. 

...really Bal? Are you going to start saying stupid **** again?

Anyway, if you didn't use Arthur in the last boss fight before this Part
began--either:

- Sigfrei at the end of Part 6
- the Phoenix at the end of Intermission 2 [Phoenix]
- the Earth Serpent at the end of Intermission 2 [Earth Serpent], or
- the Blackworm at the end of Intermission 2 [Scarlet Shards]

(whichever one of these came last)

...then Arthur will say "Goodbye...old friend" and leave your Party.

Otherwise he'll stick with you until the end. What a pal, right? /s

***********************************************
* 7.1.2 Tying up loose ends [ARTHUR IN PARTY] *
***********************************************

If Arthur is not in your Party, just skip this whole Section--you can't go any-
where other than Kei and Azhuacan anyway...

If he IS in your Party, then you can also call this Section "OMG FREEDOM!!!!!!"

For this guide, I tried to squeeze in as many Side Quests as possible, so there
are not as many loose ends left to address. Depending on which Common Quests
you completed during the two Intermissions, some things will get left out.

***********
* Gradion *
***********

If you have completed second Intermission [Earth Serpent] [ARMORED MAIDEN]
route, you can recruit the eponymous character by going just a little south of
Testika. Pick up the baby if you haven't already during first Intermission
[Scarlet Shards]. Walk a few steps away from the spot where you picked up the
baby and then walk back. Inspect the same spot again, and you'll meet the
Armored Maiden. She doesn't say anything, but she does give you the option to
have her join:

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Armored                                       
|     Maiden| 12| 11| 13|  8|  7|  9| 8|Ae|L. Sword |
-----------------------------------------------------

If you ever told yourself "I wish I had another character that can dual-wield
without having to learn it the hard way, no strings attached!" you got your
wish! Having Antonius alone with Dual Whirlwind carries parties--having both
Antonius and this chick can make some of the hardest battles MUCH easier! Of
course you'll have to work to get Dual Whirlwind's rank to at least Rank 2 for
the cost to be worth it. Might as well have a team of Antonius, Armored Maiden,
Elysed, Kreisa, and a lumberjack with Unbridled Frenzy. That team will wipe 
out anything that's not a super-boss! 

*************
* Jusitania *
*************

If your Intermission combo didn't involve Jusitania, then you haven't been
there at all. Refer to either the [Phoenix] or the [Scarlet Shards] section of
Part 6A of this guide for recruiting Mirane and completing some of the Side
Quests there. You won't be able to recruit Ogniana though.

You may also notice that the passage from Jusitania to Bicyniro is bugged out:
if you want to go to Bicyniro from Jusitania, you'll have to detour through
Rhonicum.

**************
* Mare Ilfee *
**************

If you went through second Intermission [Earth Serpent] [URPINA KIDNAPPING
EVENTS] then you should now have the free-sailing boat.

If you triggered second Intermission [Phoenix] from the Mare Ilfee by entering
from Zegna in Cerenaif, then you should also have the boat now. If you entered
from Thracini, then this will likely bug out the boat. 

If you've done neither of the above, then you haven't been to the Mare Ilfee
yet. Enter from Zegna in Cerenaif to avoid bugging out the boat. 

You should be able to travel freely with the boat by now instead of having to
rely on New Wise, Battlwick, or Edinport. 

First thing you should do is inspect the whirlpool with the lighthouse boat in
the middle of it. Balmaint and Arthur will talk about how to get the boat out
of the whirlpool.  

Now go to the island covered in fog/clouds:

Eilean Ceo:
This is the home to the Seafarers, the self-proclaimed rulers of the Mare
Ilfee. When you ask them how they cross the whirlpool, they initially refuse to
tell you. Mondo notices the Diemazu figurehead on their boats. Choose to take
their boat by force (don't choose to have them move the boat for you--that will
make life difficult when you want to actually go to the Diemazu Temple east of
the whirlpool. 

After the battle, you take their boat and trap the Seafarers on their own
island! ("HA HA!"). 

Now you have three "lighthouses" that you can light up with coal: the boat you
just moved, the Sugar Castle Lighthouse north of New Wise, and the Middle Range
Lighthouse (if you haven't lit it up already during Chapter 2 or 3 [Phoenix]).

Depending on what combination of coal you use in the three lighthouses, you'll
get a different result:

- Infernal/Spiritual/Celestial: Nothing happens. That maintains balance. If you
    want the Scarlet Fiend (or True Scarlet Fiend) to appear, don't do this.
- Two of the same and one different: Two fiends appear in the whirlpool. Defeat
    them and the whirlpool disappears! This is one way to get to the Diemazu
    Temple without ganking the Seafarers' ship! The enemies' strength is
    strongest when Infernal coal is used, moderate with Spiritual coal, and
    weakest with Celestial coal.
- Three of the same: One boss appears in the whirlpool. Again, defeat it and 
    the whirlpool disappears! Again, enemy strength is determined by, from
    strongest to weakest: Infernal, Spiritual, and Celestial coal.

*********
* Normi *
*********

If you haven't done the [Scarlet Shards] Common Quest or if you triggered
[Scarlet Shards] from any Region other than Normi, then you haven't been here
at all. You can now enter from Maurehua or Termina (or possibly the sluice gate
in Thracini).

Refer to either the Part 4A or 6A [Scarlet Shards] section of this guide for
how to get the Unda Elemental Weapon and recruit Kenji.

**********************
* Northeast Boundary *
**********************

If your second Intermission was [Phoenix] or if it was [Earth Serpent] and NOT
the [URPINA RESCUE] route (in other words: either the traditional route or
[ARMORED MAIDEN]), then there is a bit of unfinished business here. 

Check either the [Scarlet Shards] or [Earth Serpent] section of Part 6A for
dealing with the glaciers and getting the Aes Elemental Weapon. You won't be
able to recruit Luna, though.

************
* Thracini *
************

You should now be able to open the last sluice gate to let the creature go
free. If not, try entering Thracini from the other side of the gate in Normi.

************
* Bicyniro *
************

There is a standard set of Rumors not related to either Sigfrei or the [Scarlet
Shards] Common Quest. In a nutshell:

Caprese: 
Rumor 1 is the Bigfoot Rumor. Follow it all the way through and you can get a
Bladebreaker after fighting whatever game models pass as a "werewolf" and a
"zombie." 

Rumor 2 is a cave stuffed with treasure.

Anchiano:
Rumor 1 is the woman in a well.

Rumor 2 is a cave filled with monsters.

Pescara:
Rumor 1 is things falling from the sky. This rumor repeats until you choose NOT
to believe it. 

Rumor 2 is "the final boss cave." You can fight an Ebon Dragon which Defends
for a couple of rounds before it starts doing Dragon Stuff to you. 

I think the Scarlet Fiend appears in Bicyniro after getting Pescara Rumor 2 to
appear. 

There is one more Rumor that can occur depending on whether one of the towns
was destroyed during the Sigfrei or [Scarlet Shards] specific Rumor Chains and
whether the well rumor from Anchiano was believed. This Rumor, when believed/
followed, will produce an illusory version of the fallen town. For gameplay
purposes the illusory version functions the same way as the real thing.

**********************
* Southeast Boundary *
**********************

If you haven't recruited Tsubaki and/or Orville, refer to the [Phoenix] section
of Part 6A for details on how to recruit them. 

However, if you recruited the Arch Witch already, then Tsubaki will no longer
be available.

**********
* Yaxart *
**********

If you haven't fought Macha, you can try doing so now. Unlike the fight during
[Phoenix], this time she's a full-blown cheating bastard and she will escape
after about 5 or 6 Rounds. 

************
* Megdasse *
************

If for some reason you triggered [Earth Serpent] from a Region not named
Megdasse or your Common Quests were [Phoenix] and [Scarlet Shards], then you
haven't been here. 

Unfortunately you can't light up the Walomir or the Kaikow Glyphs without help
from Common Quests, so you're pretty much limited to lighting up the Highsha
and Nyu glyphs for S&Gs and several grind spots. 

*******
* Kei *
*******

...and finally, we have a rather long Side Quest here in our home Region!

To complete it, your Intermissions must have been [Phoenix] and [Earth Serpent]
in any order, and you must have completed the "Unremarkable Tree" events from
both Common Quests.

Anyway, are you ready to chase after 20 Bear Asses? Go to the Wishing Tree and
get this thing rolling!

Wishing Tree:
"Give the white-tiger insignia to the guard at Bullio Gate."

So where is this insignia? If you look between the three plants, you'll find
some crows:

Crows:
The crows were picking at a dead body. The developers seem to be necrophiliacs
or something...

In any case, the dead body is holding our insignia. We give him a proper
burial. 

Bullio Gate:
We give the insignia to the guard. He doesn't seem too happy about it...

Back at the Wishing Tree:
"Hand over a smithy's hammer to the server at Owtie Arbor." Where to find one
of those?

Mountain Hut:
Oh look, a blacksmith! He sees our Bullio Guard badge and is none too happy
about it. He gives us the hammer and wants us to never come back!

Now that we have it, let's head to...

Owtie Arbor:
...and she doesn't seem too happy with receiving the hammer...what the hell's
going on here?

The tree again...:
"Hand an emerald ring to the physician in Rowsui Tower." Just when I was about
to ask the important question, our answer shows up in the form of pink hearts
over Nangoon...

Nangoon:
Here we have a nobleman and a woman fawning all over him. Balmaint interrupts
to ask about the ring, and the woman takes exception to this. The nobleman
refuses to give up his ring, but says that the blacksmith can make replicas. 
We can head back to the Mountain Hut, but he won't be too happy to see us...

Mountain Hut:
"I told you to never come back here!" ...like I said.

...but he's at least willing to make the replica ring, but we need a beryl
stone. The nomads around here should know where to get one. 

There is a settlement in the northern part of the Region:

Nomadic Settlement:
So we've come at a poor time (when do we not?). They are trying to migrate
south, but there are fiends in the way. You know what to do by now.

Head south and then west of Castle Kohan to find our targets:

Fiends:
Two part encounter. No problem.

Beat them up and then head back to the settlement.

Nomadic Settlement:
PRAISE THE GODS! Uh, no...that was us. To thank us, the nomad tells us about
the "Green Mountain Somondoco," which should have a beryl stone.

Head west to the three mountains. Somondoco is the southernmost one.

Green Mountain:
Single encounter:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Hellhound and four Rumblebugs

In addition to the usual Howl, Fang Salvo, etc., the Hellhound also likes to
cast Poisonous Mist...even more of a reason to Paralyze/Stun/otherwise stop it.
Rumblebugs are usual roly-poly fiends doing roly-poly things.
=======================

We now have our beryl stone, and the Nomadic Settlement has migrated south. 

Let's go back to the Mountain Hut with the stone:

Mountain Hut:
It takes a while, but then again, this isn't chopping firewood.

Now let's head to Rowsui Tower with our replica ring.

Rowsui Tower:
If you are prompted to go to Yaxart, decline (select "Hold on a moment") and 
re-enter. In any case, the physician that we're supposed to give the ring to is
not here. Oh well. Back to the tree...

Wishing Tree:
Holy crap, that's a lot of arrows! That's a lot of wishes! We'll start with:
"Bring me some delicious, soft water." --The Server at Owtie Arbor

Owtie Arbor:
Oh hi, Colleen! She's complaining about the well water, which doesn't make good
tea. So we have to get her some soft water. Yep, she's still our Karen after
all this time.

Go just a bit south and we'll see a horse drinking from Pot Falls.

Pot Falls:
Go ahead and take some water from here.

Back to Owtie Arbor:
Give Colleen the water so she can have her tea party.

Wishing Pincushion:
From one of the nomad's arrows: "Return our lost sheep."

Nomadic Settlement:
The sheep ran off. Gotta find them. 

The first sheep is just southeast of us, south of Castle Kohan. The second one
is near the southeastern part of the Region, west-southwest of Taiffa. The
last one is southeast of the Great Arch.

Back at the Settlement:
Return the sheep, and the nomad is grateful.

Wishing Tree:
"I want a tasty sheep steak!" --Castle Kohan Guard

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: There are a few different ways the Wishing Tree Quest can be com-     *
* pleted. It is possible to give one of the nomad's sheep to the Castle Kohan *
* Guard during the retrieval, but I've never tried this.                      *
*******************************************************************************

Castle Kohan:
The guard had one of his colleagues shoot an arrow into the tree to wish for a
sheep steak because he can't leave his post...

We know where we can get sheep from...

Nomadic Settlement (again):
The nomad asks if we are aware of the wild horses, and would like to see one.
Well there just so happens to be one in the middle of the Region...

Mustang:
Is that supposed to be dirt?

Examine it three times and it ends up at Pot Falls. Examine it one more time
and Balmaint lassos it. Let's take it back to the settlement!

Nomadic Settlement (getting tired of this place):
We trade a lasso with...dirt hanging out of its ass for a tasty sheep.

Castle Kohan:
...and we give the sheep to the lazy guard.

Wishing Pincushion with even more Pins:
"Hand a hydra staff over to the noble in Nangoon."

Just southwest of us smoke rises from the well...

Old Well:
Why is there smoke coming from that well? Good question. Let's dive in and find
out.

Inside the well we have a doctor holding a hydra staff. Not sure why.

We tell him that we only want the staff. He gives us the staff, but wants us to
promise never to tell anyone where he is. Of course it would help that he not
light fires inside the well. If anything Smokey the Bear will jump in the well
and maul him.

Heading east...

Nangoon:
We give the staff to the snobby noble. He wants to know where the doctor is. 
We tell him he's hiding, but are not sure why. The noble says that it's
probably to avoid being killed by him...

...how disturbing.

He says it's a joke. 

I'm not laughing.

More Wishing Shenanigans:
"Grant my love." --Lovestruck at Rowsui Tower
AND
"My husband was attacked by fiends at the Great Arch. I want revenge!" -- Maid
of Castle Kohan

Let's start with the lovestruck person.

Rowsui Tower:
The Rowsui guard is in love with the Bullio guard, but the feeling might not be
mutual. Arthur has heard a tale about making an aphrodisiac out of a mandragora
root. I don't want to know how he knows this or what he's done with that know-
ledge.

You know the drill by now: the one with the top clover facing to the right is a
strawberry while the other two are mandragoras. You may want to eat the
strawberry (+1 LP) afterward to offset the mandragora (-1 LP).

You can take the mandragora back to Rowsui Tower or to Bullio Gate: the result
is the same.

Bullio Gate:
After giving the root to the guard, Bal and Arthur tell him to boil the root
and drink what remains after seeing the Rowsui guard.

Now let's address the vengeful maid:

Castle Kohan:
Her husband was attacked by a fiend. His body was found by the Great Arch.

Great Arch:
A robed man asks us who we are and what our business is. We tell him about a
man killed by a fiend from earlier and that we're here to deal with them. The
robed man says there are no fiends here. 

Back to Castle Kohan:
We tell the lady that the fiends have already departed. She thanks us none-
theless. She also mentions that her husband saw a suspicious figure and left
his post to investigate the manner.

Back to the Tree:
"I wait at the Great Arch."

...that's not a wish.

Great Arch:
An assassin awaits us at the Great Arch. He tells us that we pretty much ruined
his plans: all the people involved in this whole scheme was supposed to kill
each other and he was going to claim the rewards for himself. The Castle Kohan
guard sussed him out and that's when things started going south.

So...we have a double encounter with assassins. Yet another SaGa staple
alongside pirates.

After defeating the assassins, go back to the Wishing Tree one more time:

Wishing Tree:
If you completed all of the above tasks AND the [Phoenix] and [Earth Serpent]
tasks, the tree will snap. Otherwise it just stays there with over 9000 arrows
in it with letters attached. Poor tree.

If the tree snapped, go visit Nangoon. 

Nangoon:
The noble will be thankful for how things turned out and mention that he's been
an assassin target quite a few times! Leave and re-enter. Accept the option to
recruit Julia:

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Julia     |  8|  6| 10|  9| 11| 13| 5|Na|Staff/Inc|
-----------------------------------------------------

My biggest criticism about Lord Stabiae applies here as well. She joins Bal
INCREDIBLY late and she has nothing to make up for her low availability. She's
a snobby noble just like the Stabian Lord--probably even worse given the way
she treated us during the Wishing Tree Side Quest (although she seems a bit
nicer while in our Party). The fact that she requires TWO Common Quests to
recruit AND you can't complete the rest of the Wishing Tree Side Quest until
now makes things worse!

At least Urpina and Taria have a chance to recruit her during Chapter 2 (only
from the advantage of having one of the two Common Quests be their Chapter 1
Main Quest). Leonard gets the most availability out of her just from Leonard's
Story being the way it is. 

So no, I don't see much use out of Julia in Balmaint's Story. 

*********************************************
* Side Quests that involve multiple regions *
*********************************************

Imperial Library Survey Hut:
:UNDER CONSTRUCTION:

Product Development:
:UNDER CONSTRUCTION:

*******************************
* 7.1.3 Preparing for Endgame *
*******************************

So you had enough of Sigfrei and his constant trolling...and resurrecting...
and trolling? Is six Sigfrei heads not enough for your collection? Balmaint
hasn't kicked that addition to head, so let's prepare to get that last one!

1) If Arthur is NOT in your Party, then unfortunately your movement restrict-
    ions are worse than they were before! The only Regions you have access to
    are Kei and Azhuacan. The Wishing Tree has snapped, so you won't be able to
    complete that particular Side Quest or recruit Julia. You'll have to tackle
    the Endgame with what you have (although you do have some options in
    Azhuacan to train, upgrade equipment, and maybe pick up a couple of extra
    characters to help out).

2) How strong are your characters? The Endgame is doable at about 500 HP, but
    only if your equipment is at least around Blacksmith Rank XII. You have at
    least two Elemental Weapons: one from Part 3 and one from Part 4. You can
    upgrade those to their highest form in any shop that deals with Prisma
    Crystals.

3) What techniques do your characters have? If you have Maximus, Antonius, or
    Armored Maiden, I HIGHLY recommend putting them in your main Party and
    getting Dual Whirlwind to at least Rank 2. Call Lightning will continue to
    be a staple in your offense. If you got a hold of the Hawkblade from Lug,
    make sure your Lumberjacks have Unbridled Frenzy. In some ways, it's better
    than Dual Whirlwind (hits more times, potential for more damage, but has a
    tendency to miss). If Colleen (or whoever your Bow user is) has
    Millionaire, you can try and fit her in your final Retinue. Although 
    Millionaire is expensive, it wrecks things. Take advantage of United
    Attacks and turn everything in Azhuacan into pincushions!

4) Oh, those big fireball looking monsters that can appear in each region under
    certain circumstances? Those are the Scarlet Fiends. These are super-
    bosses, this game's version of Omega Weapon/Dark Aeons/Yiazmat/etc. Don't
    try to fight these guys on your first Playthrough unless you REALLY know
    what you're doing. Strategies for unlocking and defeating them are beyond
    the scope of this FAQ, and will likely be covered in a separate FAQ.
        
When you're ready, let's go to Azhuacan and put an end to Sigfrei's Doctor Who
shenanigans once and for all!

*********************
* 7.2 Urbs Azhuacan *
*********************

Time to get this over with, huh? 

*MAP*

For Balmaint, all roads lead to Sigfrei, so there's no need for a bazillion
subsections here. 

When you enter Azhuacan, you'll hear Sigfrei's voice coming from the Central
Palace. He is preaching about the Celestials being bad news and for everyone to
fight against them. Yeah, obvious troll is obvious.

You'll see monsters around a few of the Celestial Temples. Apparently they are
supposed to be Holimonts for their respective Celestial, but if you fight them
you'll find out that it's just more Sigfrei trolling.

Before we try and shut this guy up, let's do some exploring:

Black Market:
If you haven't done so during an Intermission, select the Dark Alley option,
and you will speak to Sabit. Repeat this over and over again and he will ramble
on and on about a weapon that you acquired. If you have the (True) Katana, the
Twister, and the Estoc, he will join your party:

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Sabit     | 11| 13|  8| 14|  9|  8|10|Te|Club     |
-----------------------------------------------------

You can get the (True) Katana from the third part of the Imperial Library
Survey Hut Side Quest or from Luna during second Intermission [Scarlet Shards].

You can get the Twister from the Diemazu Shrine after completing the Mare Ilfee
Lighthouse Coal Side Quest.

You can get an Estoc by forging the Fleuret to a Rapier and then that to the
Estoc.

Anyway, this dude is an Absolute Unit! With that Endurance and those LP, he has
one job: Tanking. Clubs are a good weapon for doing so, but if you want a
little more offense, you can switch him to Long Swords. He's a bit slow,
though. 

Since it's so late, you may not find yourself using him. 

When you start dealing with super-bosses like Scarlet Fiends, True Scarlet
Fiends, and the Firebringer Prime, that's when Sabit really shines!

You can also send someone on a mission (need high Mobility for max rewards).

Aside from that, you can upgrade most of your equipment to their maximum if
your Smith Rank is high enough and you have the right materials. For the few
pieces of equipment that you can't upgrade all the way, you have...

North Market:
...this place. 

In addition, you can choose the middle option to hear some Minstrel Tales and 
also have an old lady train characters in various types of Magic! If you go
through the LONG, LOOOONNNGG grind of doing this 18 times (!!) and you haven't
gone through the tedium during one of your past Azhuacan trips, she'll join
your party:

|           |         Stats         |  |  |         |
| Character |STR|DEX|MOB|END|INT|ACU|LP|EL|Specialty|
-----------------------------------------------------
| Arch Witch|  6|  9|  8|  6| 16| 11| 4|Te|Staff/Inc|
-----------------------------------------------------

Look at that Intelligence! Too bad you get her so late and in such a grindy
way! Once again, if you are without Arthur, you might consider it.

To make the grindiness less unbearable, you can go to...

Battle Arena:
If your party averages around 325 HP, you should be allowed to battle. 

Win a series of three battles and you'll get the Vermilion Rose Short Sword.
Do it again and you'll get Dragon Scales! 

So if you want to recruit the Arch Witch while farming for Dragon Scales, keep
fighting here! Check back at the North Market every two sets of battles and you
can have the Arch Witch train some of your mages that are behind on spell
levels while you're at it (Elysed, Arthur, Mirane, Nemain, Julia, or Lord
Stabiae). 

OK, so it's time to shut Siggy the hell up, but how? We can't swim across,
unfortunately.

Notice that unlike past trips to Azhuacan, you'll see manhole covers in 
different parts of the region. That's one option: get there Ninja Turtle style.

There is one other method, though:

Imperial Library:
If Arthur is NOT in your party, then the Imperial Librarian will ask Balmaint
who the heretic is: himself or Sigfrei. 

If you answer "Sigfrei," she'll let you pass. 

If you answer "Balmaint," then she won't let you pass and you'll have a boss
battle (see below).

If Arthur is in your party, then the Imperial Librarian may not let you
through without a battle, as she typically doesn't want Sigfrei or his pawns
to have access to what's below:

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: I'm not sure what the criteria is for the Imperial Librarian to let   *
* you through without a fight while Arthur is in your Party. I've had her let *
* me through exactly ONE time while every other time she wanted to rumble.    *
*                                                                             *
* The only possibilities I can think of are:                                  *
* - [Scarlet Shards] Intermission. I'm pretty sure I had to fight during      *
*     first Intermission [Scarlet Shards] tests. However, the one time I was  *
*     let through was with SECOND Intermission [Scarlet Shards]. Which leads  *
*     me to the next possibility:                                             *
* - Luna in your Party. That's only possible with second Intermission         *
*     [Scarlet Shards] during Part 6A. I thought about the possibility of     *
*     Francis as well, but I'm pretty sure I recruited Francis during my      *
*     first Intermission [Scarlet Shards] tests...                            *
*******************************************************************************

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Imperial Librarians

You'll fight two katana-wielding librarians here. 

If you didn't recruit Luna, you'll have to fight a third katana-wielding
librarian.

If you didn't recruit Francis, you'll have to fight him as well.

At this point, you should be able to beat them without a problem. Wheel
Swing might be annoying, Interrupts can be quelled without worry (either
Deflect, Optical Slash (Counter), or Shadow Reversal (interrupts Slash)).

If Francis is among them, take him out first, since spells are always bad
news when they go off.

If you're not ready for this fight, you DEFINITELY won't be ready for what's
about to happen at the Central Palace!
=======================

************************
* 7.3 Inferus Azhuacan *
************************

Well well well! Lookie here! All of this was under Azhuacan the whole time!

*MAP*

If you entered from the Imperial Library, you'll find that you can go straight
to the Center Teleporter. 

If you cowabunga'd here, you're going to have to make your way through at least
one set of barriers. 

Each set of barriers represents one of the five elements: Natura, Ignis, Terra,
Aes, and Unda. 

Among those barriers are...giant eggs. Yeah. It's what you think it is. It's
also a bit of an homage to some bosses in Romancing SaGa 3 that are just as
annoying (and also have a low chance of dropping some powerful Spears). 

Defeat the corresponding Dragonlord and that elemental barrier will disappear.

You can make your way to the Central Teleporter, you can go fight some more
Dragonlords (Dragonblood Spears are pretty nice, despite being this late), or
you can fight some of the other bosses down here. Speaking of which...

...the other bosses are from the Common Quest that you did NOT select during
the Intermissions.

So if [Phoenix] is the leftover Quest, you'll see a giant flaming bird trapped
in a magic barrier around where the other Ignis barriers and Ignis Dragonlord/
egg are (around the southeast part of the underground map). You can fight it if
you want to--it's completely optional.

If [Scarlet Shards] is the odd one out, you will see a giant ugly looking thing
in the far northwest corner of the map (where all the Unda barriers and dragon
egg are). If you've done the [Scarlet Shards] Common Quest with another Pro-
tagonist or a previous Playthrough, you'll know what this is. Again, you can
free it and fight if you want.

If you decided not to deal with the [Earth Serpent], then that long bastard is
waiting in the Terra part of the map.

So what's normally in the the other two parts of the map? For other Pro-
tagonists, if they decide not to bother with Sigfrei, then two Sublime
Spirituals are there: one Natura and one Aes. Since this is Balmaint's Main
Quest, he doesn't have these two bosses here.

Finally, before we move on, there are some "Insert Crystals Here" slots in
each of the five areas. Usually bad things happen when you recklessly insert
things in random holes, and this is no exception. Somebody needs to tell Arthur
this (if he's still in your Party).

You'll be asked to insert crystals that are of NOT of a certain element. 
Depending on the type of crystals, a different battle occurs. It's just an
option for grinding. Don't bother. If you're not ready by now, you can still
leave Azhuacan and pick any other Region and find a place to grind. 

**************************************
* 7.4 In Front of the Central Palace *
**************************************

Well, you made it. 

Balmaint will recap his encounters with Sigfrei here while speaking to either
Arthur (if he's in the Party) or Patricia, Marion, and Clover (if he's not).
Oddly enough, Bal will say "Let's go, Arthur!" in both circumstances. :D

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: This is the POINT OF NO RETURN in Balmaint's Story! The game will     *
* even tell you that it recommends that you save here. Do not EVER overwrite  *
* this save! EVER.                                                            *
*******************************************************************************

*********************************
* Central Palace: Common Events *
*********************************

In all cases, you will get three options after the Celestial symbol appears on
the ceiling.

If you chose "I will fight the gods" or "The gods have nothing to do with
this," you will get a three-part battle:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Servant of Voyagers and Vendors and Imhokiel's Holimont

Part one of the optional Holimont Marathon. 

This game's limited bestiary strikes again.

Servant of Voyagers and Vendors = giant squid
Imhokiel's Holimont = hog with hammer on head

You know how to deal with these. Git er done.
=======================

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Servant of Healing and Farming, Marigan's Holimont, and Servant of Marigan

Part two.

Servant of Healing and Farming = same as Astel's Holimont fight before
recruiting Mirane.

Marigan's Holimont = Sphinx with hound attacks (Howl, Headwind Fangs, etc.).

Servant of Marigan = Peggy

Limited bestiary is limited.
=======================

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Servant of Theatrics and Smithies, Servant of Nomads and Craftsmen, and
Shaams's Holimont

Part three.

Servant of Theatrics and Smithies = frog

Servant of Nomads and Craftsmen = roly poly

Shaams's Holimont = spider of da law from way back in Part 1

Nothing you haven't dealt with before.
=======================

...and then elevator go down.

************************************************
* Ei Hanum: Common Events with Arthur in Party *
************************************************

Once the elevator stops, Arthur will ask Balmaint a question depending on
which of the three choices you picked (fighting the gods, the gods having
nothing to do with this, praying to the gods).

If you fought the gods or said that they had nothing to do with this, then
Arthur will ask if Bal is planning on taking out the Celestials and the Wicked
One, and what does he figure will happen then. Bal responds that either every-
thing will happen or nothing will. He hasn't given it much thought. Arthur
figures that no matter what happens, perhaps they should go ahead and have
Balmaint be a god. Bal says that sounds like a pain...he'll leave that to
Arthur. Arthur said not to tease him like that--he says he would be the best
god this crummy world has ever seen!

If you decided to pray to the gods, then Arthur will ask whether we should
still rely on Celestial rule, considering that they are responsible for this
mess in the first place. Bal chides Arthur for asking this, as he's a servant
of Shaams and a Law Clerk. Arthur concedes "OK, one point for you." Guess
they'll rely on Celestial rule for just a bit longer.

As for Ei Hanum itself? Just blue with a white light in the middle. The game
will tell you to save in a separate slot. DO NOT OVERWRITE your save from in
front of the Central Palace! YOU CANNOT go back to civilization anymore! You're
stuck here!

Before you go to the white light, go through your Retinue and look at each
character's quote: they're all different now!

***************************************************
* Ei Hanum: Common Events without Arthur in Party *
***************************************************

No questions at all. Just the elevator ride down. 

As for Ei Hanum itself? Just blue with a white light in the middle. The game
will tell you to save in a separate slot. DO NOT OVERWRITE your save from in
front of the Central Palace! YOU CANNOT go back to civilization anymore! You're
stuck here!

Before you go to the white light, go through your Retinue and look at each
character's quote: they're all different now!

*****************************************************************************
* Central Palace: Intermission 2 Earth Serpent, Urpina Rescue Route, Arthur *
*    in Party                                                               *
*****************************************************************************

Hey, it's Urpina! Antonius will be glad!

...er...Urpina? We've run into enough junkies for the past 30+ hours. We don't
need you succumbing to the peer pressure.

...****.

Anyway, Sigfrei is here as well. 

...and the Celestials don't like what's going on. You'll get a choice.

- "I will fight the gods."
- "The gods have nothing to do with this."
- "I will pray to the gods."

If you want a warm-up marathon of bosses before the upcoming marathon of
bosses, feel free to choose one of the first two choices and see the "Common
Events" section above. Otherwise, just pray and ride the damn palace elevator
down.

**************************************************************************
* Ei Hanum: Intermission 2 Earth Serpent, Urpina Rescue Route, Arthur in *
*    Party                                                               *
**************************************************************************

After saving your game IN A SEPARATE SLOT, approach the white light and press
the Confirm button.

In the white light, we find Urpina again! She's still under some kind of
control, and you have to fight her:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Urpina

"Bend the knee."

...if she still hasn't said "please" by now, she's not going to.

You know what's coming. Put Antonius in your Retinue and go Julanius on her
ass before she does the same to you.
=======================

...what you probably didn't know is coming is a MARATHON of bosses.

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Savnok

I got tired of this guy during Urpina's Story. Now we have to deal with him
here as well. Welcome to the Pandemic. I guess it's just like the year 2020 of
the Gregorian Calendar.

Here's some of what to look forward to:

- Pandemic: Ok, this hits too close to home, Square Enix. It does a small
amount of damage and -1 BP. Social distancing doesn't help.

- Stab: No-frills Piercing attack to a single Retinue member.

- Poisonous Stab: Just like stab, but with Poison. Duh.

- Device of Savnok: He sticks his scepter in the ground. An energy blast
hits one party member for somewhat heavy damage and -1 BP. 

- Swarm: Swarm of flying insects inflict Piercing damage to the entire Retinue.

Savnok is immune to Poison, Paralysis, and Sleep. He also flies, so Sweep is 
not going to hit him. Since you got there through second Intermission [Earth
Serpent], you should have Daddy Lighthouse here. Have him Tumble, Tumble, and
more Tumble. Ms. Thunder and Ms. Lightning should pour on the shock and awe. 
Put someone with Block/Deflect/Rampart/etc. on Protect duty. The BP penalties
can add up, so you may want to sacrifice someone in the middle of the turn
order to get a United Attack and make your techs cheaper.
=======================

...but we're not done yet! I mentioned this was a GODDAMN MARATHON, right?

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Sigfrei

What would the world be like without this troll?

He has different lackeys with him, but overall expect the same shenanigans:
blocking 90% of anything that can be blocked unless he's in the delay status
of casting a spell.

If that spell is Snowstorm, you won't have much time before he wipes you out!

If you don't think you can defeat him before the spell goes off, either Stun
or Distract (Golden Note from Short Sword) him, or if that fails, Cover/Protect
your heavy damage dealers and have them finish the job. 

As always, Siggy can't block spells, United Attacks, or the Frigid Ice Sword's
Hailstorm.
=======================

...is it break time? No. It's Bringer time!

*****************************************************************************
* Central Palace: Intermission 2 Earth Serpent, Urpina Rescue Route, Arthur *
*    left Party                                                             *
*****************************************************************************

Similar events to the "Arthur in Party" scenario, except...well let's just
say Antonius is not happy with Arthur, despite Urpina being here.

Same choices:
- "I will fight the gods."
- "The gods have nothing to do with this."
- "I will pray to the gods."

Again, if you are a freaking masochist, pick one of the first two choices and
consult the Common Events section above. Otherwise pray and ride. Literally.

****************************************************************************
* Ei Hanum: Intermission 2 Earth Serpent, Urpina Rescue Route, Arthur left *
*    Party                                                                 *
****************************************************************************

After saving your game IN A SEPARATE SLOT, approach the white light and press
the Confirm button.

In the white light, we find Urpina again! She's still under some kind of
control, and you have to fight her:

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Urpina

"Bend the knee."

...if she still hasn't said "please" by now, she's not going to.

You know what's coming. Put Antonius in your Retinue and go Julanius on her
ass before she does the same to you.
=======================

...what you probably didn't know is coming is a MARATHON of bosses.

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Savnok

I got tired of this guy during Urpina's Story. Now we have to deal with him
here as well. Welcome to the Pandemic. I guess it's just like the year 2020 of
the Gregorian Calendar.

Here's some of what to look forward to:

- Pandemic: OK, this hits too close to home, Square Enix. It does a small
amount of damage and -1 BP. Social distancing doesn't help.

- Stab: No-frills Piercing attack to a single Retinue member.

- Poisonous Stab: Just like stab, but with Poison. Duh.

- Device of Savnok: He sticks his scepter in the ground. An energy blast
hits one party member for somewhat heavy damage and -1 BP. 

- Swarm: Swarm of flying insects inflict Piercing damage to the entire Retinue.

Savnok is immune to Poison, Paralysis, and Sleep. He also flies, so Sweep is 
not going to hit him. Since you got there through second Intermission [Earth
Serpent], you should have Daddy Lighthouse here. Have him Tumble, Tumble, and
more Tumble. Ms. Thunder and Ms. Lightning should pour on the shock and awe. 
Put someone with Block/Deflect/Rampart/etc. on Protect duty. The BP penalties
can add up, so you may want to sacrifice someone in the middle of the turn
order to get a United Attack and make your techs cheaper.
=======================

...but we're not done yet! I mentioned this was a GODDAMN MARATHON, right?

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Arthur

Antonius isn't the only one that's not happy with Arthur.

Fortunately, he's nowhere NEAR as difficult as Sigfrei. No ****-Off Shield to
deal with. Just Arthur being Arthur. He's a mage, so expect the same kind of
spells you'd expect in any other mage boss battle.
=======================

...need a break, right? If by break you mean "Firebringer," your wish has been
granted!

***************************************************************************
* Central Palace: Scarlet Shards Quest Completed, no Urpina Rescue Route, *
*    Arthur in Party                                                      *
***************************************************************************

As expected we find Sigfrei. He muses about the gods catching on to what he's
doing. 

Choices for Bal:
- "I will fight the gods."
- "The gods have nothing to do with this."
- "I will pray to the gods."

Want a marathon for absolutely no reason at all? Pick one of the first two
choices and consult the "Common Events" section above. Otherwise pray, have
Sigfrei mock you for it, and elevator go down.

*******************************************************************************
* Ei Hanum: Scarlet Shards Quest Completed, no Urpina Rescue Route, Arthur in *
*    Party                                                                    *
*******************************************************************************

After saving your game IN A SEPARATE SLOT, approach the white light and press
the Confirm button.

In the white light, we confirm Arthur's fear about who Sigfrei really is. He's
glad that Balmaint didn't destroy the Pendant. Balmaint tells him for the final
time to make his last words. Please do not make a drinking game out of him
saying that. 

Sigfrei pretty much says "No U" in response to this, and you fight him.

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Sigfrei

What would the world be like without this troll?

He has different lackeys with him, but overall expect the same shenanigans:
blocking 90% of anything that can be blocked unless he's in the delay status
of casting a spell.

If that spell is Snowstorm, you won't have much time before he wipes you out!

If you don't think you can defeat him before the spell goes off, either Stun
or Distract (Golden Note from Short Sword) him, or if that fails, Cover/Protect
your heavy damage dealers and have them finish the job. 

As always, Siggy can't block spells, United Attacks, or the Frigid Ice Sword's
Hailstorm.
=======================

...and we know what time it is after the battle.

***************************************************************************
* Central Palace: Scarlet Shards Quest Completed, no Urpina Rescue Route, *
*    Arthur left Party                                                    *
***************************************************************************

Similar situation as the with-Arthur route, and the same choices. 

Choices for Bal:
- "I will fight the gods."
- "The gods have nothing to do with this."
- "I will pray to the gods."

Want a marathon for absolutely no reason at all? Pick one of the first two
choices and consult the Common Events section above. Otherwise pray, be mocked
for it, and elevator go down.

****************************************************************************
* Ei Hanum: Scarlet Shards Quest Completed, no Urpina Rescue Route, Arthur *
*    left Party                                                            *
****************************************************************************

After saving your game IN A SEPARATE SLOT, approach the white light and press
the Confirm button.

In the white light...let's just say we have a Churroman-like situation here...

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Arthur

Fortunately, he's nowhere NEAR as difficult as Sigfrei, despite...well...
circumstances. No ****-Off Shield to deal with. Just Arthur being Arthur
(kinda). He's a mage, so expect the same kind of spells you'd expect in any
other mage boss battle.
=======================

...and sadly enough, it's Bringer time, and you've got the HARD version to
deal with...

*******************************************************************************
* Central Palace: Scarlet Shards Quest not Completed, no Urpina Rescue Route, *
*    Arthur in Party                                                          *
*******************************************************************************

As expected we find Sigfrei. He muses about the gods catching on to what he's
doing. 

Choices for Bal:
- "I will fight the gods."
- "The gods have nothing to do with this."
- "I will pray to the gods."

Want a marathon for absolutely no reason at all? Pick one of the first two
choices and consult the "Common Events" section above. Otherwise pray, have
Sigfrei mock you for it, and elevator go down.

*************************************************************************
* Ei Hanum: Scarlet Shards Quest not Completed, no Urpina Rescue Route, *
*    Arthur in Party                                                    *
*************************************************************************

After saving your game IN A SEPARATE SLOT, approach the white light and press
the Confirm button.

In the white light, we confirm Arthur's fear about who Sigfrei really is. 
Balmaint tells him for the final time to make his last words. Please do not
make a drinking game out of him saying that. 

Sigfrei is very happy now. Seemingly...aroused. "Oh Balmaint, you have made me
so happy!" Let's put this freak out of his misery.

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Sigfrei

What would the world be like without this troll?

He has different lackeys with him (two "Hydromancers", the one-eyed frog
model), but overall expect the same shenanigans: blocking 90% of anything that
can be blocked unless he's in the delay status of casting a spell.

If that spell is Snowstorm, you won't have much time before he wipes you out!

If you don't think you can defeat him before the spell goes off, either Stun
or Distract (Golden Note from Short Sword) him, or if that fails, Cover/Protect
your heavy damage dealers and have them finish the job. 

As always, Siggy can't block spells, United Attacks, or the Frigid Ice Sword's
Hailstorm.
=======================

...and we know what time it is after the battle. I guess this would be why he
was so aroused?

*******************************************************************************
* Central Palace: Scarlet Shards Quest not Completed, no Urpina Rescue Route, *
*    Arthur left Party                                                        *
*******************************************************************************

Similar situation as the with-Arthur route, and the same choices. 

Choices for Bal:
- "I will fight the gods."
- "The gods have nothing to do with this."
- "I will pray to the gods."

Want a marathon for absolutely no reason at all? Pick one of the first two
choices and consult the "Common Events" section above. Otherwise pray, be
mocked for it, and elevator go down.

*************************************************************************
* Ei Hanum: Scarlet Shards Quest not Completed, no Urpina Rescue Route, *
*    Arthur left Party                                                  *
*************************************************************************

After saving your game IN A SEPARATE SLOT, approach the white light and press
the Confirm button.

In the white light...let's just say we have a Churroman-like situation here...

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Arthur

Fortunately, he's nowhere NEAR as difficult as Sigfrei, despite...well...
circumstances. No ****-Off Shield to deal with. Just Arthur being Arthur
(kinda). He's a mage, so expect the same kind of spells you'd expect in any
other mage boss battle.
=======================

...and sadly enough, it's Bringer time.

*************************
* 7.5 THE WICKED ONE!!! *
*************************

All roads lead to him. It will always be a triple encounter with no story/
dialog breaks in between. 

The Firebringer's strength will depend on a number of things:
1) If you picked [Earth Serpent] for the second Intermission, whether or not
    you went down the [URPINA RESCUE] route.
2) If you did NOT go down the [URPINA RESCUE] route, whether or not you picked
    [Scarlet Shards] for either Intermission.
3) If you did NOT go down the [URPINA RESCUE] route, whether or not Arthur left
    your Party.

| [URPINA  |                   |                |    Firebringer Variations   |
| RESCUE?] | [Scarlet Shards?] | Arthur left?   | Phase 1 | Phase 2 | Phase 3 |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Yes      | Doesn't matter?   | Doesn't matter?| 4       | 4       | 4       |
| No       | Yes               | No             | 2       | 4       | 3       |
| No       | No                | No             | 1       | 1       | 1       |
| No       | Yes               | Yes            | 3       | 2       | 4       |
| No       | No                | Yes            | 2       | 2       | 2       |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1 = Weakest while 4 = Strongest

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Firebringer, phase one

Spiky hair, two swords, where's the fire? Is the Wicked One all bark and no
bite?

Anyway, here's what Phase 1 Bringer does:

- Shade of Kada: Recovers HP/status. Variations 1 and 3 supposedly use this,
    but I've never got this bastard to actually do it.

- Shade of Astel: Recovers HP/status. Variations 1 and 2 supposedly use this,
    but again, I can never get the Bringer to do it.

- Shade of Uzume: +2 BP to himself. Variation 2 likes to open up the battle
    with this. Variation 1 does as well, but it's more likely to open up with
    what's described below...

- Shade of Shaams: ...yeah, this. Lightning attack to all + near 100% chance
    of Stun. Variations 1, 3, and 4 use this--3 and 4 LOVE to use this every
    other Round. 

- Shade of Diemazu: Unda attack to all + high chance of Confusion. A favorite
    of Variations 2, 3, and 4--3 and 4 tend to alternate between this and
    Shaams.

- Shade of Marigan: "I am the bone of my sword..." Weapons rain down on all
    for heavy damage. Variations 2 and 4 will use this attack.
        
To summarize:
Variation 1: Shaams, Astel (yeah right), Kada (yeah right), Uzume. Low HP.
Variation 2: Diemazu, Marigan, Astel (haha), Uzume
Variation 3: Shaams, Diemazu, Kada (hahahahaha)
Variation 4: Shaams, Diemazu, Marigan. Highest HP out of the four variations.

For Shaams, Diemazu, and Marigan, the ONLY logical tactic is to have two
Protectors protect two heavy damage dealers and burst him down as fast as
possible. You can try using a Martial Artist to Stun, but they have to be
faster than the Bringer when using Shaams, which is very unlikely. 

Oh, I forget to mention, Firebringer Phase 1 has not one but TWO lives! The
good news is when you take him down to 0 HP on his first life, that cancels
whatever action he was about to do for that Round! Take advantage of that!
=======================

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Firebringer, phase two

OK, there's a little more fire involved here. This form likes to use servants
to do most of its dirty work:

- Light Servant: Summons up to three yellow clones that can Protect the Bringer
    or mimic the last Action you have taken (Echo). Watch out for this if a
    Servant survives Dual Whirlwind, Unbridled Frenzy, or Whirlwind because
    their Echo can wipe out your Retinue! Only Variation 3 summons Light
    Servants exclusively.

- Shadow Servant: Summons up to three dark orange clones that can either
    Protect the Bringer, mimic the last Action the Firebringer has taken
    (Copycat), or mimic the last action that one of your Retinue members has
    taken (Echo). Again, be careful about your Actions because you don't want
    to get wiped out by mimicked logs or arrows to the face. Only Variation 4
    summons Shadow Servants exclusively.

- Fire Servant: Summons up to three clones that can be either Light, Shadow,
    or a combination of the two (e.g.: one Light, two Shadow). Only Variations
    1 and 2 will do this.

When the Servants are out, the Bringer will start doing the following:

- Sonic Blade: Piercing damage to single target and also quells Conditionals.
    Variation 1 only, and it might take like 12 Rounds or so to get him to do
    it (usually opting for Conditionals (???) instead).

- Suction: Destroys one of his own Servants to heal himself and DEF up.
    Variations 2, 3, and 4 can do this.

- Dual Whirlwind: We know what this does by now. This is his LEAST threatening
    attack! (Variations 3 and 4 only)

- Thousand Blades: This makes quelling his ??? a bit of a guessing game (or a
    game of flipping between your own Interrupts to see if it can target him).
    Since it interrupts Piercing, you can't quell it without something like
    Gravedigger. (Variations 1, 2, and 3 only)

- Dual Torrent: This one can be quelled as long as you know it's Dual Torrent
    and not Thousand Blades. (Variations 1 and 2 only)

- Apathy: The ??? could also be this. Since it's a Counter and not an
    Interrupt, go ahead and quell it. (Variations 1 and 3 only)

- Halting Blade: Does Clover or a Julanius have this technique yet? If so,
    read its description. You hit, you ded. (Variations 3 and 4 only)

- Deathbringer: If Halting Blade wasn't bad enough, this gem can take away
    multiple LP!!! You might not want to use Griffin, Hongswan, Chichi, or any
    other 3 LP wonders here. (Variations 2, 3, and 4 only)
        
To summarize:
Variation 1: Fire Servant, Sonic Blade, Apathy, Thousand Blades, Dual Torrent,
    lowest HP of the four variants
Variation 2: Fire Servant, Suction, Deathbringer, Thousand Blades, Dual Torrent
Variation 3: Light Servant, Suction, Deathbringer, Apathy, Thousand Blades,
    Dual Whirlwind, Halting Blade
Variation 4: Shadow Servant, Suction, Deathbringer, Dual Whirlwind, Halting
    Blade, highest HP of the four variants

Light and Shadow Servant will always give away which Variation you're fighting.
If it's using Fire Servant, look out for Deathbringer or teh succ--if it uses
one of those, it's Variation 2. Sometimes he'll just spam ??? (Thousand Blades
and Dual Torrent) and you won't be able to easily tell if it's Variation 1 or 2
(if he doesn't use Suction within like six rounds or so, it's VERY likely
Variation 1, aka Tech de Jesus).        

First thing's first: if you have a mage with Snowstorm, start it up on Round 1.
Round 2 will annihilate the Servants, regardless of what type they are. If you
have a Great Sword user (Leonard, Luna, Kumi, maybe one of your initial
lumberjacks that you might have switched to Great Sword like Strumiknen,
Marion, or even Balmaint himself) with a Frigid Ice Sword, break out the pop-
sicle and bring on the Hailstorm! Double-Dual-Whirlwind from Antonius and the
Armored Maiden may do a number on him as well.

If all the Servants are dead, the Bringer will likely try to summon some more
and waste his Action! 

If he's about to use Halting Blade or Deathbringer you can try to Stun him. 
Otherwise either cover whomever you think is going to get nailed by it or if
they are in the middle of the turn order with other allies, let them get bodied
so you can get a United Attack...their sacrifice will definitely not be in
vain!

Like phase one, phase two has two lives! With a United Attack, you should be
able to take off one life and be halfway through the second! 
=======================

=======================
BOSS FIGHT:
Firebringer, phase three

Ok, NOW he brought the fire! He also brought a giant rock to hide in like a
little punk! 

...OK never mind, he broke out of it. 

You can tell which Variation this is by what he says (or doesn't say) while
breaking out of his rock.

Variation 1: Nothing. Just growls before breaking out of his rock.
Variation 2: "My only desire...is for humanity to finally awaken..."
Variation 3: "Grovel before my power..."
Variation 4: "What can be more entertaining than never-ending chaos?!!"

(Technically there's a fifth variation, and that's the Firebringer Prime, but
that's beyond the scope of this guide. He makes Variation 4 look like a chump).

He still has his two swords. This time they're separate enemies:

- Self-Immolation: Counter ???? for some damage

- Prominence: Slash damage to single target.

- Rampart: Covers/Protects the Bringer.

When I say he brought the fire, he brought the fire:

- Crimson Flare: It sends you to the sun. You probably won't survive. Only 
    Variations 1 and 2 will do this, as that 3 round delay usually means he
    just wrote his own will and testament.

- Psychokinesis: Hits single target for a bit of damage + Delay. (Variations
    1, 2, and 3 only)

- Meteorbringer: Moderate to heavy Ignis damage + chance of Confusion. 
    (Variations 1, 2, and 3 only)

- Fire Blaster: "SHOW ME YOUR STRENGTH!" Pretty heavy damage (usually about
    350-400 HP) + chance of Frenzy. (Variations 2, 3 and 4 only)
        
- Falling Zodiac: A small amount of damage to your Retinue, and -2 to your
    current BP. (Variations 1 and 2 only)

- Headbutt: More like "Giant Rock Ball Butt On Top Of Everyone". Interrupts a
    Blunt attack, spins around in his giant rock ball that does lots of damage
    to Retinue plus chance of Stun. Chance isn't as high as Shade of Shaams but
    it's there. (Variations 1 and 2 only)
        
- Vermilion Sands: Lights your whole Retinue's asses on fire for 375-450 HP
    damage depending on equipment, formation, defenses, etc. Every Variation
    EXCEPT #1 will use this!

- Galactic Rift: THE POWER OF THE STARS!!!!!! He shoves some asteroids in your
    entire Retinue's faces for about 300 HP damage or so and -3 BP! Every
    Variation EXCEPT #1 will use this, so if he's not lighting you up like a
    roman candle with Vermilion Sands, he's using this!

To summarize:
Variation 1: Psychokinesis, Meteorbringer, Falling Zodiac, Crimson Flare (will
    likely start the battle with this), Headbutt, lowest HP among the variants.
Variation 2: Psychokinesis, Meteorbringer, Falling Zodiac, Galactic Rift, 
    Crimson Flare (will likely start the battle with this), Fire Blaster (may
    start the battle with this if he doesn't use Crimson Flare), Headbutt,
    Vermilion Sands.
Variation 3: Psychokinesis, Meteorbringer, Galactic Rift, Fire Blaster (will
    almost always start the battle with this), Vermilion Sands.
Variation 4: Galactic Rift, Fire Blaster (will always start the battle with
    this as he doesn't have the BP for anything else), Vermilion Sands. Expect
    alternating Vermilion Sands/Galactic Rift spam. Highest HP among the
    variants.

First thing's first: get rid of the two floating swords! It won't take much to
do so.

Since the Bringer himself is now floating on what's left of his rock, you can't
use the Spear tech Sweep to Stun him anymore, but you can still use the Martial
tech Tumble!

Nail him with your best techs as usual (Dual Whirlwind, Unbridled Frenzy, 
Millionaire, etc.). You'll find that he has not one, not TWO, but THREE lives!
Again, drop a life bar down to 0 HP and it will cancel his Action. 

...but this time, the Firebringer is not the only one with more than one life!
If Balmaint is reduced to 0 HP, his Pendant's "Scarlet Grace" will automatic-
ally revive him one time! Unlike other Protagonists, Balmaint will always have
his Shard Artifact during this battle (just ask Sasha...). 

99% of the time this fight is over in 5-8 Rounds one way or the other. 
=======================

Once you defeat him, sit back and enjoy the show! 

Make sure you save your Completed save data after the Ending, as you can carry
certain things over to your next Playthrough!


                                 ***********
                                 * Endings *
                                 ***********

As mentioned before, Balmaint has SIX of these! The best way to see all of
these is to create the Ultimate Branch Save, as mentioned several times, and
employ the Methods mentioned below:

*******************************************************************************
* NOTE: You've probably noticed that I tend to minimize spoilers as much as   *
* possible, but I'm afraid these endings are too spoilerific to do this with, *
* so hopefully this note is warning enough for you to scroll up and turn your *
* eyes away if you really don't want to be spoiled.                           *
*******************************************************************************

**************************************************
* Ending 1: That Special Something Inside Us All *
**************************************************

Scarlet Grace:


Method: Intermission 2 [Earth Serpent], [URPINA RESCUE] Route, Arthur still
    in Party.
    This leads to the "Urpina Possessed by Savnok" Endgame. 
    Final Bosses: Urpina, Savnok, Sigfrei, 3x Firebringer in Ei Hanum

*******************************************
* Ending 2: Going Home, Business as Usual *
*******************************************

Scarlet Grace: 


Method: [Scarlet Shards] completed during either Intermission, NOT on the
    [URPINA RESCUE] Route, Arthur stayed in Party
    This leads to the "No U" Endgame. 
    Final Bosses: Sigfrei, 3x Firebringer in Ei Hanum

************************************************
* Ending 3: No More Head, Let's See the World! *
************************************************

Scarlet Grace: Kept (held up in the air)

Bal tells Sigfrei that it's over...or should he call him "Firebringer"? Siggy
says the world of the twelve Celestials needed to be destroyed, but the
Empire's collapse was not enough. In the end, it needed one...last...push. So
he chose to spread chaos and unrest throughout the world as a man called
Sigfrei. Balmaint wonders if he's a god or a demon.

Siggy tells Bal to call him what he will. Since Bal has the Scarlet Grace now,
Sig wants him to abolish Celestial rule and create a world fit for humans. He
says that as far as he's concerned, justice has been delivered, and that he has
no more worlds left to make. He bids Balmaint the Executioner farewell.

...then again, Balmaint tells Arthur that he resigns his post of executioner.
Imperial Law will quickly become obsolete, which means executions will no
longer be needed.

Arthur, on the other hand, chooses to remain a Law Clerk. He says that no
matter how much things change, we'll always need civil servants.

Bal wants to take some time off. He wants to travel the world and see how it's
changed so he can decide what shape the future he's going to create eventually
will take. 

After Arthur hears this, he changes his mind--he drops the whole clerk shindig
and decides to come along! Balmaint leaves and Arthur tells him to wait up! :D

Method: Neither [Scarlet Shards] completed nor on the [URPINA RESCUE] route of
    [Earth Serpent]. Arthur must still be in your Party.
    This leads to the "You Make Me Very Happy, Balmaint!" Endgame. 
    Final Bosses: Sigfrei, 3x Firebringer in Ei Hanum
        
*********************************
* Ending 4: Trollin til the End *
*********************************

Scarlet Grace: Kept (held up in the air)

Balmaint wonders why Arthur has done this. He wonders if Sigfrei is his doing
as well. Arthur says that it's all a story of his creation! Sigfrei--and
Balmaint as well--played their roles exactly as he laid out. He enjoyed seeing
people fussing about in the confusion. 

He'd been planning to reward Bal and co. handsomely following his "most
glorious" resurrection, but in the end things got a bit messy.

Balmaint tells Arthur that one must expect the unexpected when on stage, and
it's time for him to take his bow. He acknowledges Arthur, but wonders if he
should call him Sigfrei?

Arthur says he had a great time, aside from the little ending bit, but how
could he not when there was such a great protagonist? He bids Balmaint
farewell and disappears.

Balmaint says that it seems he must write the rest of this story himself.

Method: Arthur left party, he is NOT one of your top 15 most used Party
    members.
    This leads to the "Doctor Who Darlton" Endgame.
    (can be combined with the "Urpina Possessed by Savnok" Endgame if on the
        [URPINA RESCUE] Route)
    Final Bosses:
        If [URPINA RESCUE] route: Urpina, Savnok, Arthur, 3x Firebringer
            in Ei Hanum
        Otherwise: Arthur, 3x Firebringer in Ei Hanum

**********************************************************
* Ending 5: Turning the Tables (aka: Bal Gets An Empire) *
**********************************************************

Scarlet Grace: Kept (held up in the air)

Bal tells Arthur "tough break," as it seems that he was deemed more worthy of
the Scarlet Grace than Arthur was. That means the new empire will be created by
Balmaint's hands! Arthur wonders if this was Bal's plan all along. It wasn't,
but he didn't want to be used by Arthur, so he turned the tables on him. Bal
tells Arthur to make his last words, and choose them well; they will be passed
down by the descendants of his Imperial line for all of eternity. He thanks
Arthur for being his best friend, fade to black, and...CHOP.

Method: Arthur left party, he ranks among your top 15 most used Party Members,
    but NOT #1. He won't get an ending card among your top 15 (so technically
    your 16th place character will make the cut this time).
    This leads to the "Doctor Who Darlton" Endgame. 
    (can be combined with the "Urpina Possessed by Savnok" Endgame if on the
        [URPINA RESCUE] Route)
    Final Bosses:
        If [URPINA RESCUE] route: Urpina, Savnok, Arthur, 3x Firebringer
            in Ei Hanum
        Otherwise: Arthur, 3x Firebringer in Ei Hanum
                
**************************************
* Ending 6: Who Deserves Forgiveness *
**************************************

Scarlet Grace: Destroyed (crushed in hand)

Balmaint asks Arthur if he's good now. Arthur asks Bal if he's had any idea how
much of a talking-to he had to get from Patricia, Marion, AND Robert before he
could get himself over there to confront him. Arthur says he's having trouble
even looking Balmaint in the eyes right now.

Balmaint told Arthur not to worry--that's all in the past. Besides, Arthur had
to pay quite the hefty price.

Arthur asks if Bal forgives him. Bal responds that he put untold people to
death at Sigfrei's command, and he will carry that truth for the rest of his
days. He says that if anyone needs forgiveness...it's himself.

Arthur says that Balmaint DID get the Scarlet Grace, but Balmaint said that he
doesn't have it, even thought such a convenient trinket would erase the burden.

Arthur tell Bal that as a clerk of the law, he can't keep working with him, but
if something does come up...to which Bal replies that he's counting on it.

Method: Arthur left party, he is THE #1 most used Party member (excluding
    Balmaint himself).
    This leads to the "Doctor Who Darlton" Endgame. 
    (can be combined with the "Urpina Possessed by Savnok" Endgame if on the
        [URPINA RESCUE] Route)
    Final Bosses:
        If [URPINA RESCUE] route: Urpina, Savnok, Arthur, 3x Firebringer
            in Ei Hanum
        Otherwise: Arthur, 3x Firebringer in Ei Hanum
 
===========
IV. Credits
===========

1) The authors and contributors of both Japanese Wikis:
https://kamikouryaku.com/saga_sg/
https://www.spoiler.jp/game/saga_sg/hiiro/index.php

The biggest reason this game had no FAQs for so long is because it has branches
upon branches upon branches that are often not seen in most video games, much
less most RPGs! The above two sites + Google Translate have been the closest
thing the west has had to a strategy guide!

2) All the fine folks on GameFAQs Message Boards ranging from back in 1998 when
I first played SaGa Frontier up until today! A few come to mind:

- im_biggy: Unlimited Saga Character Build FAQs (Autowin is autowin) and
    Let's Play on YouTube.
- NessEggman: contributions to Unlimited Saga and SaGa Scarlet Grace. Visit
    Ness' website: http://thaao.net/sagasca/. Daddy Thomas and Hot MILF Becky
    4ever!
- Joewoof: Wrote the first FAQ for Unlimited Saga years ago, working on future
    FAQs for SaGa Scarlet Grace.
- Eleinia: FAQs for Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song and coming up with the Hasten
    Time cheese method for beating 10 Fatestone Saruin!
- Zaraktheus: For absolutely cracking SaGa Frontier's mechanics the ever hell
    open!
- Synyard for translating the list of weapons that Sabit is infatuated with
    from one of the Japanese wikis.
- Axersia for discovering that Adill ganking the Scarlet Shard counts as a 
    "destroyed" Shard, saving potentially many players that are trying to
    recruit Sasha from having to reset their game!
- Leon481 for mentioning that Balmaint can start a late 1st Intermission
    Scarlet Shards Common Quest in Jusitania, which allows another option for
    recruiting Ogniana. He also mentioned that Angle and Socrates recruiting
    options are more lax than what's mentioned in this FAQ. I'll confirm this
    in my next lap, and will put the updated success and failure conditions in
    the next version.
- Zach Keene for confirming that the Kahn Side Quest works in Urpina's Story if
    you decline the Grand Empress Dowager's offer in Chapter 1.

3) Square ENIX for continuing to develop this often-misunderstood RPG series 
    that is not for everyone, but those that love it love it a lot!
    
Since this is one of the first FAQs for this game on GameFAQs, and there is SOO
much to this game, it's possible that I may not have the correct information
in a few places. Please let me know on the GameFAQs Message Boards, so the next
version will have the appropriate corrections (don't worry about pointing out 
the blanks--they will be filled in in the future).

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