Turns out the Dire Straits reference wasn't wasted, after all, and I'm starting to remember why I like this game almost as much as I do Final Fantasy 4.
There's a lot of backstory to be had here, but before we get to that, I should mention my attempt to find Mog. I'm not sure if I did it wrong of if we can't get him just yet, but I couldn't find him where I thought he'd be. Maybe I'm just thinking of something that happens later in the game again. There's a few places I could look and/or ask if I really want to know. For now, though, I think I'll just get on with the game.
Moving along means heading west by way of Castle Figaro, which can tunnel beneath the earth once it's submerged into the sand. When the castle rises again, we'll be in a small patch of desert west of the mountains. Farther to the west is the town of Kohlingen. This is where we'll start to get a little backstory on both Locke and Shadow, since that's who we've got with us. I could have gotten some development on Edgar and Sabin as well, had I remembered in time. Taking them into the castle together any time now triggers a cutscene where they remember how it was when their father died, but I'll try to get that later so I can give a little more detail about that.
The first thing I did get this time, though, was a dream sequence where Shadow has a dream about a pair of guys named Clyde and Baram. These two are notorious train robbers who work under the name Shadow. I think there's a series of four or five of these, and so far I've only done two. In the first one, all we see is Clyde, who will presumably become Shadow, being approached by the ghost of Baram, who says “I'm doomed. Please find me here. Help me, Clyde!”. The next one has the pair talking about how they just jacked a million gold from a train and got away with it, which means they've earned a cool team name, which turns out to be the aforementioned Shadow. There's still a couple more parts to this, and I can't remember exactly how it goes. I'll try to get this part finished off next time.
It turns out that Kohlingen is also Locke's home town, and he was going steady with a girl from there named Rachel. One day, Locke took her to see something in a cave that was supposedly worth a fortune. As Locke crossed a bridge, it started to collapse. Rachel shoved him out of the way just in time, but fell instead. Although she did live, she got amnesia and forgot who Locke was. Her parents were understandably pissed about it, so they had him run out of town. Locke could only stay away for a year, but by the time he came back, it was too late. The Empire had attacked, and Rachel died only days after regaining her memory, and saying his name with her last breath.
This one gets a little creepy, though, because it turns out that Rachel's actually not quite dead. Turns out, there's a weird guy who's keeping her in some kind of stasis with Ancient Egyptian magic or something for Locke. The weird fellow says it might be possible to bring her back, and Locke will find it if he looks hard enough. That's foreshadowing, by the way, but it's going to be a good half the game, at least, before we get back to that. Until then, the best way to sum up Locke's motivations is that he's a reversed and somewhat less tragic version of the Marty Robins song ElPaso.
As we're learning all this, we're also getting a fix on where Terra went after she transformed and flew off from Narshe. The folks in Kohlingen say she went south to the town of Jidoor. Also, Shadow does join us. This time, he wants 3000 gold for food. It's also a good place to get supplies, if needed. For now, I'm fairly well stocked.
There's a lady who says she really wants to go to the opera house south of Jidoor. I don't think it's important just yet, but I may be wrong. I know it'll come up later when we get the first airship in the game, and its associated character.
It's good to have Celes along for this part of the game, for several reasons. She can factor into Locke's backstory a little bit, but more importantly, her Runic movie comes in handy because it'll really save the party a lot of grief against the new monsters. Quite a lot of them have magic-based attacks, and I almost got my ass handed to me by one from a human-type monster. It'll come in handy when we get it for Gau later, because it can deal a crapload of damage and confuse any party members it doesn't kill.
Shadow's dreams continue in Jidoor, and there are clues as to where Terra is. Since all the other things I've done this time have taken about 45 minutes as is, I'll save them for next time. There's some interesting things that happen, but to see them, we'll find ourselves in a City of Crime by the time it's all said and done.
See you then, folks, and as always, DFTBA!